Jason Chaffetz To Retire Early
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is expected to announce Thursday that he is resigning before the end of this congressional term, according to three sources familiar with his plans.
Chaffetz did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. Multiple sources say he will leave Congress on June 30.
Chaffetz, 50, is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the top investigative body in the chamber. He recently subpoenaed James Comey’s memos, and invited the fired FBI director to testify next week before his panel.
Chaffetz told POLITICO last month he had begun exploring employment outside Congress. Several sources in the Capitol say Chaffetz has told his colleagues he will appear on Fox News.
Democrats Are Trying To Change The Rules For Replacement
SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers ratcheted up their fight with Gov. Gary Herbert Wednesday over how the state should handle a vacancy in Congress should Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, step down.
Both House and Senate Republicans voted unanimously in their lunchtime caucus meetings to tell the governor to call a special session of the Legislature so a law can be passed putting a special election process in place.
GOP lawmakers now have agreed to a plan for conducting a special election to fill the 3rd District congressional seat that would have political party delegates nominate candidates instead of holding a primary.
That would involve “as many people as possible in as short a time as possible,” and permit an election for a new member of Congress during the municipal primary vote in August, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said.
But the Republican governor isn’t budging from what House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, labeled a “secret plan” for a 180-day or so election process that still allows candidates to gather voter signatures for a place on the primary ballot.
Yesterday, Chaffetz also told The Salt Lake Tribune that “all the options are still on the table” with regard to his next move in politics. “I’m not opening or closing the door on anything,” he said, adding that he may potentially seek another bid for office.
Utah’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, has said he’s not likely to seek another term, leading observers to speculate that Chaffetz may run for the position in 2020.
Chaffetz, who breezed through four re-election campaigns, has faced mounting criticism in recent months for declining to investigate President Donald Trump and likely would have faced a bruising primary and general election battle in 2018.
If Chaffetz runs for Utah governor, however, he won’t necessarily be the front-runner, Karpowitz said.
He’s expected to face a stiff challenge from potential GOP candidates that include the state’s popular lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox, and Josh Romney, a Salt Lake City-based real estate developer and son of Mitt Romney.
Chaffetz’s announcement came on the heels of surprisingly strong showings by Democrats in races in Georgia and Kansas and fundraising reports that showed he was being outraised by a Democratic challenger, though it’s unlikely the GOP will lose the seat.