Rep. Jason Chaffetz won’t seek re-election

WASHINGTON — The chair of the House Oversight Committee, who used his post to interfere in local D.C. governance, will not seek re-election in 2018.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, announced his decision on Facebook on Wednesday.

D.C. Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen welcomed the news but said that Chaffetz’s departure won’t ensure that his successor wouldn’t also attempt to block and change the District’s local laws.

“Another congressional representative from somewhere else in America will assume the committee chair and have the same ability to interfere with locally passed laws by locally elected representatives. D.C. residents will remain committed to stopping congressional meddling and are serious about saying ‘Hands off D.C.’,” Allen said in a statement.

Chaffetz tangled with District officials over marijuana legalization and more recently the city’s death with dignity law.

Chaffetz, who is in his fifth term, posted the following on his Facebook page:

“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.”

The 50-year-old Chaffetz has been rumored as a possible candidate for Senate or governor. But he was facing a surprising challenge from a Democratic newcomer, Dr. Kathryn Allen, 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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