Photo via Michael.Jolley/Flickr (CC-BY)
‘I don’t think anybody saw this coming,’ Utah’s lieutenant governor said in response to the news.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) may be leaving Congress earlier than he initially said.
Chaffetz reportedly told host Doug Wright, of Utah-based radio station KSL, in a text message that he “might” resign from his seat earlier than when his term ends in 2018.
“He said ‘I will continue to weigh the options, but I might depart early,’” Wright said on air Thursday morning.
— KSL Newsradio (@kslnewsradio) April 20, 2017
Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, announced on Wednesday that he would not seek reelection after his term ends.
Utah’s Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox told Wright on Thursday morning that Gov. Gary Herbert would oversee a special election if Chaffetz was to resign early. Cox also said he was shocked at Chaffetz’s announcement on Wednesday.
“I don’t think anybody saw this coming,” he told the radio station on Thursday morning. “I understand the toll that this type of public service can have on families. … I get all of that and commend his willingness to get in and get out.”
“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,” he wrote.
Since taking office in 2008, Chaffetz was critical of Hillary Clinton’s handling of the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, and continued to be critical of the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate during the 2016 election.