Rep. Jason Chaffetz is not running for re-election

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Arun Jaitley

One thing is clear from Chaffetz' decision Wednesday - he doesn't believe he can actively be President Donald Trump's boy in the U.S. House - as chairman of the House Oversight Committee which is supposed to be a check on the president and executive branch - and still be a viable statewide candidate in Utah.

Before running for Congress, Chaffetz worked for politician and diplomat Jon Huntsman 2004 as campaign manager in Huntsman's successful race for Utah governor, then as chief of staff after Huntsman took office.

"I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career", he said in a statement.

"After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018", Chaffetz told his supporters on his Facebook page.

After Chaffetz announced he would not seek reelection in 2018, Watson directed her Twitter followers to a tweet from Louise Mensch that said her "sources" told her there was compromising material, or "kompromat", on the Utah congressman.

Names started emerging as potential replacements for Chaffetz to represent Utah's Third Congressional District.

The media-friendly Republican, who assumed leadership of the powerful Oversight Committee in 2015, led investigations into Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

At a recent town hall in his home district, Chaffetz was roundly criticized by a furious audience, an indication of just how favorably his district views their representative. Fueled by Chaffetz's comments about iPhones and poor people and, she has raised more than $560,000. "I like to go into the firestorm", Chaffetz said. There have also been reports that he may run for Governor in 2020 since the current Republican incumbent, Gary Hebert, has already said he will not seek re-election in 2020 even though he would be eligible to do so.

Chaffetz is at least the seventh House Republican to resign this year or announce plans to retire, including four who left to join Trump's Cabinet. While someone like Jason Chaffetz has no worries about losing his own seat, the idea of being in the powerless House minority has to hold zero appeal to him.

To Democrats, his exit is yet more evidence that anti-Trump protests are having an effect on Republicans.

It's possible that Chaffetz doesn't see a place for himself under the Trump administration.

"His razor-sharp mind, expansive knowledge and gift for communicating will serve him well when he transitions into the private sector", Herbert said. "I trust you to find the best person to serve". So, too, has his refusal to investigate the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Might we be rid of Chaffetz while also welcoming a new blue replacement? The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday on a grassroots crowdfunding effort by Kathryn Allen for the 2018 Democratic nomination in UT-03 that was fueled by Chaffetz' dismissal of health-care costs last month.

Readers, are you surprised at Chaffetz's decision to step aside?

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