Powerful Republican Jason Chaffetz says he won't run for Congress again

Jason Chaffetz's decision Wednesday not to run for re-election in 2018 is the clearest signal yet that ambitious, young politicians view time served in Washington as an impediment to seeking - and winning - higher office.

Chaffetz said that by leaving the race early, he will give "prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run".

Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election to his House seat or any other political office in 2018.

KSL Newsradio posted on its Facebook page Thursday that Chaffetz had told host Doug Wright, via text message, "I will continue to weigh the options, but I might depart early". In a Facebook announcement on Wednesday, he crowed that had he chose to run again, he'd handily beat any challenger.

"I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins", Chaffetz, whose term ends in 2018, bragged on Facebook.

Political blog The Hill and news site Fusion both speculated that Chaffetz may be running for president.

While the natural temptation and easy click bait for some websites are to blame the Russian Federation scandal for his decision, the political reality is that Chaffetz is likely leaving because he thinks Republicans have a good chance of losing the House in 2018, and he doesn't want to serve in the House minority.

But now Chaffetz will return home to Utah, vacating his seat.

"I would expect that lots of people get into that race, where a Republican would be heavily favored to win the general election, and the primary gets a lot of attention and money", Pope said. Kidd had raised $15,500 in recent months but was left with only $1,600 after spending most of it, according to his most recent fundraising reports.

Chaffetz told the station he will get a job in the private sector, but didn't say what that would be.

The Democratic National Committee said it was sending Chairman Tom Perez and Vermont independent Sen. "The state needs to figure out how this works".

Chaffetz had previously served as chief of staff to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Make no mistake, Chaffetz must resign from his Chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

News of Chaffetz's plans was first reported by BuzzFeed.

But the pending retirement of the Republican chairman of one of the most influential congressional committees has prompted Democrats to declare victory. Sam Johnson of Texas and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas are retiring.

Latest News