House Committee on Government Oversight & Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) blindsided pretty much everyone Wednesday morning when he announced he's not going to seek reelection in 2018.
In a statement released on his Facebook account, the five-term congressman explained that he was following his own advice regarding term limits:
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative in the United States House of Representatives. Serving is an honor and a privilege that I have never taken for granted.
After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018.
Since late 2003 I have been fully engaged with politics as a campaign manager, a chief of staff, a candidate and as a member of Congress. I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career. Many of you have heard me advocate, "Get in, serve and get out." After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018.
For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.
I am grateful for all of you in the current and previous 3rd Congressional District. I acknowledge the outstanding work of my dedicated staff. Together we have been a strong advocate for Utahns.
By announcing now, I hope to give prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run. I have no doubt the 3rd Congressional District will be represented by a Republican. I trust you to find the best person to serve.
Chaffetz's departure from Congress will definitely leave a hole for the conservative movement to fill. He has been a central figure in several congressional investigations, including those looking into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private, unsecured email server and the IRS' targeting of conservative political groups.
He was a leading member of the "conservative youth movement" in 2008 that went after the Republican Party establishment and later joined the House Freedom Caucus.
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