After House Oversight Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced Wednesday morning that he will not seek re-election to the House when his term ends in 2018, former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin spoke with advisers to evaluate his options in the state with a victory suddenly seeming more likely than before.
McMullin has previously indicated his intention to mount a potential bid against either Chaffetz or Senate Pro Tem Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in 2018, but his odds for a primary victory against either of the GOP heavyweights were slim.
After Chaffetz made his announcement, a source close to McMullin told Independent Journal Review that McMullin is “considering running in 2018” but still hasn't made a decision on how he will proceed.
The news drastically changes the situation for McMullin, though. When asked how Chaffetz's plans will affect McMullin's bid, the individual — having just spoken to McMullin after seeing the news — assessed the situation:
“It is a different race. It's primarying an incumbent versus an open seat.”
“Other people will come forward,” the source continued. “I mean, Evan has the advantage of just having run a presidential race. There is a name recognition factor that is helpful.”
Emphasizing that “nothing’s predictable right now,” the individual indicated McMullin will be making a decision soon — but the time frame is up in the air.
“We got this news with everybody else,” the McMullin ally told IJR. “We did not know this was coming.”