House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced Wednesday morning he will not seek re-election to the House when his term ends in 2018.
Chaffetz's announcement comes as no surprise. He has long hinted at his plans to leave the House by 2020 and perhaps mount a gubernatorial bid, but the lawmaker faced recent speculation that he might run for Senate Pro Tem Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) seat in 2018.
Chaffetz dispelled those rumors in a statement Wednesday morning.
“I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career,” Chaffetz's explained. “Many of you have heard me advocate, 'Get in, serve, and get out.' After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018.”
Chaffetz may have ruled out a Senate bid in 2018, but he has clearly left the door open for future runs for public office. In January of 2016, the lawmaker opened up to Deseret News about his plans for the future:
“I'm not going to be here forever. I would take a serious, serious look at running for governor. I want to go as hard and fast as I can in the House and then go home.”
Chaffetz explained his decision to announce the move so early, adding that he hopes to give prospective Republican candidates enough time to prepare their campaigns to represent Utah's third district.
“I have no doubt the 3rd Congressional District will be represented by a Republican,” Chaffetz said. “I trust you to find the best person to serve.”