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Powerful House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz Will Not Seek Re-Election

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The Oversight Committee chairman announced Wednesday he would not be seeking reelection to the House in 2018. Chaffetz said in a text message: "My future plans are not yet finalized but I haven't ruled out the possibility of leaving early".

Chaffetz was more recently a leading figure in Congress' investigations into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email and server as secretary of state.

Chaffetz said he continues to have the confidence of House leadership to remain chair of the committee through next year.

Given those options, Chaffetz made the smart move.

"I take him at his word that he's exhausted, that it's time to take a look at his own life and 1,500 days on that cot has taken its toll".

If Chaffetz runs for Utah governor, however, he won't necessarily be the front-runner, Karpowitz said. Donald Trump won the district by 24 points but only got 47% of the vote, in part because Evan McMullin ran an independent campaign focused nearly entirely on Utah.

In a statement, the Republican from Utah thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve as their representative.

Chaffetz faced more than 1,000 protesters at a town hall in February in his Utah district.

Kathryn Allen has been transformed from a political unknown into a liberal hero for calling out Mr Chaffetz on Twitter, giving her an early boost in name recognition. Democrats clearly have the momentum firmly on their side. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Now that the seat is wide open, it will be interesting to see whether grassroots Democrats in the state will work to assemble a strong campaign to take over the deep red district as they have attempted to do in Kansas and Georgia. His decision to make the Wednesday announcement, he says, was to give prospective candidates in Utah "time to lay the groundwork for a successful run".

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.

Representative Chaffetz said he chose to announce his intention not to run for re-election now to allow fellow Republicans the time necessary to develop the essential groundwork and campaign apparatus necessary to win the race.

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