Popular Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) made waves with his surprise announcement that he would not be seeking to run for re-election in the upcoming midterm elections, with many pundits suggesting that he could be setting his sights toward the Utah gubernatorial race in 2020. However, a new report suggests that Chaffetz has his eye on a very different sort of gig.
Multiple congressional sources have claimed that Chaffetz has been floating the idea of accepting a “substantial role” as an on-air member of the Fox news Channel, the Washingtonian reported. He might even start as early as this summer, a decision that would corroborate rumors that Chaffetz is not planning on finishing his term.
Chaffetz, who emerged as a strident critic of governmental waste as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, issued an unequivocal statement that he would be retiring from politics completely.
“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. 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,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Perhaps coincidentally, Chaffetz made the announcement on the same day that Fox News revealed that it would be parting ways with longtime anchor Bill O’Reilly. Neither Chaffetz nor Fox News has yet to address the speculation surrounding a future merging of interests.
Fox News is already home to several former politicians, including former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), so Chaffetz’s move wouldn’t be unprecedented. GOP aides familiar with Chaffetz have noted that he is comfortable in front of the camera and has proven media-savvy during his time in Congress.