Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election in 2018. He’s returning to the private sector after eight years representing Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.
Chaffetz has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage and a proponent of limited government. He explained his decision to step away from politics Wednesday on KSL’s The Doug Wright Show.
“I got a wife I love and kids I adore,” he said. “I spend 1500-plus nights away from my family. And it was just time to sort of re-evaluate and re-calibrate my life.”
Chaffetz became chairman of the House Oversight Committee in 2014. He led investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and her handling of the 2012 Benghazi attack. But he’s been criticized for not investigating President Trump’s potential conflicts of interest and his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. Protesters heckled the congressman at a Cottonwood Heights town hall in February over the issue. Chaffetz told Wright political rancor didn’t have anything to do with his decision.
“I tend to be attracted to the volatility. I like to go into the firestorm,” Chaffetz said.
When asked about whether he’s considering a run for Utah Governor in 2020, as some have speculated, Chaffetz said he has not ruled it out.
Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans says there are plenty of people interested in Chaffetz seat.
“I think we’ll have a vigorous process by which a replacement will be chosen and we believe that that seat will remain Republican,” he said.
Democratic candidate Kathryn Allen is running for the seat in the third district and is actively fundraising for her campaign.