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US House Oversight Committee Chair Won't Seek Office Next Year

  • VOA News

FILE - House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) listens to testimony during a committee hearing about the private email server of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, used during her tenure as Secretary

Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz will not seek re-election or run for any other office next year.

"After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018," the Utah Congressman wrote Wednesday on Facebook.

Chaffetz, who had been mentioned a candidate for Senate or governor, quickly rose to prominence after relentlessly investigating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election but declined to investigate President Donald Trump.

He also sought to dampen speculation about why he is leaving the political arena.

"Let me be clear I have no ulterior motives," he wrote. "I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be reelected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker [Paul] Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee."

Chaffetz was easily reelected four times in one of the most Republican congressional districts in the country. He was confronted, though, with an unexpected challenge from Democratic newcomer Kathryn Allen who raised more than a half-million dollars in the first quarter alone after Chaffetz suggested lower-income people should invest in health insurance rather than iPhones.

Chaffetz was also heavily criticized by Democrats for saying he would not investigate Trump's global business empire after vowing before the 2016 election he would investigate Clinton "for years" if she won the presidency.

Chaffetz, who left open the possibility of returning to politics, is at least the seventh House Republican this year to resign or announce retirement plans, including four who joined Trump's cabinet.

"After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018," he wrote.

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