Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced Wednesday morning that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
Before running for Congress, Chaffetz worked for politician and diplomat Jon Huntsman Jr.in 2004 as campaign manager in Huntsman's successful race for Utah governor, then as chief of staff after Huntsman took office. "I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins", Chaffetz wrote in a post on his Facebook page. Chaffetz's decision to not run is another victory in a battle against politicians who want to sell off our public lands, leaders who gloss over the Trump administration's abysmal ethics, and Members of Congress unwilling to put public trust above party politics.
"Congressman Chaffetz has represented Utah in the United States House of Representatives with distinction, and I have appreciated working with him over the last eight years on issues vital to our state", Herbert said in the statement.
Update: Amber Philips at the Washington Post suggests that Chaffetz may be bowing out in 2018 in order to run for governor in 2020.
The media-friendly Republican, who assumed leadership of the powerful Oversight Committee in 2015, led investigations into Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. Some 1,000 people attended a raucous February town hall meeting, yelling at Chaffetz to "do [his] job" and investigate Trump for potential conflicts of interest.
"God speed and hope to see you run for office some day in the near future", Cindy Burchett added. No firm progress on either of those ideas has been made so far in the present Congress. He said he made the decision after consulting his "family and prayerful consideration".
Trump, however, severely under-performed, winning just 47% in the district.
But the pending retirement of the Republican chairman of one of the most influential congressional committees has prompted Democrats to declare victory. He says the state of Utah needs to figure out how that would work.
Jeremy Pope, a BYU political science professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, agreed that the Republican primary will be very competitive.
But Chaffetz is telling reporters in terse emails that it's 'absolutely ot true'.
He gets to at least try to reboot the Chaffetz brand, getting away from the partisan firebrand and bomb-thrower he has been on the House Oversight committee and recast himself as more of a statesman and problem-solver - in short, more gubernatorial.
In addition, Chaffetz has made a series of high-profile gaffes in recent weeks, including a freaky tirade in March in which he said iPhones were keeping poor people from affording health care.