House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz stunned Washington on Wednesday by announcing that he won't run for re-election next year.
Chaffetz later confirmed in a statement on Facebook that he will "will not be a candidate for any office in 2018". He first entered the political arena in 2003, serving as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.'s campaign manager and chief of staff for two years, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, where he's remained ever since.
"Let me be clear I have no ulterior motives", Chaffetz wrote on Facebook.
He says that after more than 1,500 nights away from home, "it is time" to step aside.
Henderson said she and her family are strongly considering a campaign, and Curtis said Wednesday that he hasn't made any decisions but Chaffetz's announcement "has certainly given me pause for thought about my future". I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins.
In Utah, officials have begun running informal scenarios on how and when to hold a special election should Chaffetz resign, but have not been formally notified of the congressman's intentions, Mark Thomas, the state's director of elections, told Reuters.
There's already no shortage of candidates to replace Chaffetz, who faced a raucous crowd at a town hall meeting earlier this year angry that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs was not investigating Trump.
Whatever he decides, it is nearly certain that we won't have seen the last of Chaffetz when he leaves office in 2019. No firm progress on either of those ideas has been made so far in the present Congress. For now at least, Jason Chaffetz is preparing to enter the private sector when his current term expires, Fox News reports.
Twitter reacted quickly to Chaffetz's decision. Chaffetz won 73 percent of the vote last fall.
As House Oversight chairman, Chaffetz also was strongly criticized by Democrats for saying he had no intention of investigating possible conflicts of interest between Trump's global business empire and his presidency.
Chaffetz' statement says he isn't ruling out running for elective office in the future, and Republicans believe that this move may be created to help him lay the groundwork for a statewide run soon.
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told the Deseret News Thursday the national party sees a real opportunity to claim Chaffetz's seat.