Jason Chaffetz says he may leave Congress early

Chairman of the powerful House oversight committee Jason Chaffetz may not finish out his term in Congress, he said Thursday, a departure that would invite jockeying for his high-profile position.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who heads the House Oversight Committee, will not run for reelection in 2018.

"I may run again for public office, but not in 2018", Chaffetz wrote on Facebook. Chaffetz says he won't for re-election or any other offi. Allen took issue with Chaffetz's comments about the need for low-income Americans to make purchasing healthcare more of a priority than buying the latest iPhone.

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) talks before the start of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.

He has faced pressure from protesters in his home district and federal watchdogs for not pursuing investigations into the Trump administration more forcefully.

Trump, however, severely under-performed, winning just 47% in the district.

Chaffetz' statement says he isn't ruling out running for elective office in the future, and Republicans believe that this move may be created to help him lay the groundwork for a statewide run soon.

Referring to the possibility of a special election or a temporary appointment by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert - which would only be necessary if he left his seat in Congress vacant - Chaffetz added: 'The state needs to figure out how this works'.

As for potential opponents, well, Utah Democrats are already planning a dance party to send Chaffetz off, so there's that. Chaffetz has been the representative of Utah's Third Congressional District since 2009, and he has never failed to win at least 66 percent of the vote since his maiden campaign for the seat. Josh Romney, son of Mitt Romney, has said he is "strongly considering" running, but that would not stop Chaffetz from joining the race. "That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector", Chaffetz said in the statement.

Chaffetz rose to national prominence in his role as the chair of the House oversight committee.

Chris Karpowitz, a BYU political science professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Chaffetz' announcement is big and surprising news. Sam Johnson of Texas and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas are retiring.

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