WASHINGTON Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican who doggedly investigated Hillary Clinton before the 2016 presidential election but declined to investigate President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he won't for re-election or any other office in 2018.
Chaffetz, who has been rumored as a possible candidate for Senate or governor, says that after consulting with his family and "prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018."
The 50-year-old Chaffetz had strolled to four easy re-election wins in his Republican-friendly Utah congressional district. But he was facing a surprising challenge from a Democratic newcomer who raised more than a half-million dollars by tapping into anger over Chaffetz' recent comment suggesting people should spend their money on health insurance instead of iPhones.
Dr. Kathryn Allen has been transformed from a political unknown into a liberal hero for calling out Chaffetz on Twitter, giving her an early boost in name recognition.
Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, also drew fire from Democrats after saying he would not investigate Trump's sprawling business empire, given that he had promised before the 2016 election that he would investigate Clinton "for years" if she was elected.
In a statement on Facebook, Chaffetz noted that he has long advocated that public service should be for a limited time. He said that after more than 1,500 nights away from home, "it is time" to step aside.
Chaffetz said he has "no ulterior motives" is healthy and confident he would re-elected.