Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) made the surprise announcement on Wednesday that he will not seek to hold onto his congressional seat in 2018. The influential House oversight committee chair, who earned a reputation as a no-nonsense corruption watchdog, expressed his desire to spend more time with family.
“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” Chaffetz wrote on his Facebook page.
“After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time,” he continued. “I may run again for public office, but not in 2018. For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives.”
The decision to step down does not seem like it will shake up the current dynamic within the House oversight committee, which famously led investigations into Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton’s private email server under Chaffetz’s leadership.
“I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector,” Chaffetz concluded.
Chaffetz, who was elected in 2008 after he defeated former Rep. Chris Cannon in a 2008 primary runoff, entered the national spotlight amidst the turmoil following former Speaker John Boehner’s resignation from the leadership role.
As House oversight chairman, Chaffetz championed a frugal approach to governance that saw him bring alleged wasteful officials before his committee and chastise them for their overspending. The Secret Service most frequently found itself on the other end of Chaffetz’s wrath during the Obama administration after getting implicated in a slew of scandals and security incidents.