Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House oversight committee, won’t seek re-election in 2018.
The Utah Republican announced the news on Facebook Wednesday.
“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” he said.
He added that were “no ulterior motives” behind his decision.
“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,” he said. “That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”
Making his announcement now will allow other candidates to lay the groundwork for their own runs, he said.
He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a future run, though.
“I may run again for public office, but not in 2018,” he said, effectively ruling out a run for the Senate if fellow Utah Republican Orin Hatch retires.
Later, Chaffetz said on Fox News, “My life will be complete if I’m not a United States senator.”
One possibility for his next election: the Utah gubernatorial race in 2020. In 2016, he said he would take a “serious look” at running for governor. Additionally, the URL jasonforgovernor.com redirects to a Chaffetz campaign page, jasonforcongress.com.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., tweeted after Chaffetz’s announcement: “Thankful to have served with @jasoninthehouse, a great defender of liberty and limited government. Wish him the best.”
Chaffetz said on Fox that he discussed his decision with Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus. He insisted that he won’t take a job at the White House, repeating a desire to go back to the private sector.
Chaffetz has served in Congress since 2008 and as chairman of the oversight committee since 2015. In November, he won re-election with 73% of the vote.
He has faced criticism during his time as chairman over his handling of investigations into both Hillary Clinton and President Trump. Chaffetz was one of the top Republicans leading the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of State.
This year, a town hall in his district drew out many constituents who were angry over Chaffetz’s refusal to investigate Trump’s potential conflicts of interest.
Chaffetz also recently made headlines when, after Republicans unveiled their Obamacare replacement plan, people should perhaps forgo buying…