The announcement sets up a gavel fight for the chairmanship of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
by Paige Lavender, Matt Fuller
(HuffPo) – Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the controversial chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on Wednesday he will not run for re-election, after BuzzFeed reported that he would retire at the end of this term.
Chaffetz posted a statement about his decision on his Facebook page:
Chaffetz noted he would “not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” leaving open the possibility he may run for governor in 2020.
In his role as chairman of the oversight committee, Chaffetz continually investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business, and he was one of the first Republicans to go after Clinton for her response to the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attack. But he’s been slow to investigate any issues with President Donald Trump and his administration, receiving criticism for the way he’s handled topics such as Trump’s unverified claims about voter fraud and wiretapping.
Chaffetz appears to have had enough of the controversy ― for now ― and is ready to move on from Congress.
His decision sets off an immediate gavel fight to take over the top spot on the oversight committee. Under GOP conference rules, Chaffetz could have held onto his chairmanship for another term, until 2021, but his retirement means there will be a new top watchdog of the Trump administration.
Among some of the leading contenders for the spot are former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.), and the man Chaffetz beat out for the gavel in late 2014: Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio).
Chaffetz’s vacancy also opens up a congressional seat, though his district is reliably Republican.
Still, Kathryn Allen, a Democrat and family physician from Cottonwood Heights, Utah, announced plans to run against Chaffetz in March, using his dismissal of angry constituents as paid, out-of-state protesters to launch a successful fundraising campaign.