Utah's Chaffetz says he may not finish term in Congress

Frederick Owens
April 21, 2017

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Wednesday he will not run for reelection when his current term concludes at the end of 2018.

Two Democratic National Committee staffers took to Twitter Wednesday to push an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory after Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced he will not seek re-election in 2018.

As chairman the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz has drawn attention and criticism for his handling of conflicts of interest investigation into Hillary Clinton and potential investigations into President Donald Trump.

Chaffetz said he has "no ulterior motives" is healthy and confident he would re-elected. Allen took issue with Chaffetz's comments about the need for low-income Americans to make purchasing healthcare more of a priority than buying the latest iPhone.

Chaffetz signaled the move was in part to spend more time with his family.

Trump, however, severely under-performed, winning just 47% in the district.

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In the four presidential elections between 2000 and 2012, Republican candidates won the district by more than 65 percent of the vote.

Chaffetz told NPR's Morning Edition in February that his committee was concerned with possible mishandling of classified information when Trump was apparently briefed on a North Korean missile test at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida while dining with the Japanese prime minister.

On 19 April 2017, PalmerReport.com posted a story reporting the claim that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has information that the Kremlin has "kompromat", or compromising information, that could be used for blackmail, on Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Chris Karpowitz, co-director at Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Chaffetz's decision to bow out after 2018 is somewhat surprising but eases the path for a governor's race. He did not mention those possibilities in announcing his decision to leave the political arena, just five months after his re-election to Congress for a fourth term. It's been rumored, and Chaffetz hasn't exactly shot it down, that he could run for Governor of Utah in 2020.

The 50-year-old powerful figure on Capitol Hill, said he was returning to the private sector after more than 13 years as an elected official. He added, "Republicans have a deep bench of talented candidates in Utah who are more than up to this challenge". Sam Johnson of Texas and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas are retiring.

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