Chaffetz avoids re-election battle, eyes Utah governor race

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is not running for re-election

He first entered the political arena in 2003, serving as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.'s campaign manager and chief of staff for two years, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, where he's remained ever since. "I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career", Chaffetz said in a statement posted to his official Facebook page.

"When I contemplate another 200 nights away from home, it is just too much", Chaffetz told FOX 13 news anchor Bob Evans.

Both Harding and Weiler say Chaffetz has a bright political future in Utah if he chooses to - including a possible gubernatorial run in 2020, which Chaffetz said he's open to.

"I'm not going to be here forever", Chaffetz said of Washington.

Chaffetz faced more than 1,000 protesters at a town hall in February in his Utah district. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Tuesday that Democrat Kathryn Allen had outraised Jason Chaffetz by more than $400,000 in preparation for 2018, with a large chunk of that money coming after Chaffetz blundered by suggesting Americans should prioritize health insurance over a new iPhone. He stressed that he did not have "ulterior motives" for making the decision and said he "may" run for office again. On Tuesday, Democrat Jon Ossoff fell a few percentage points short of an outright victory amid an 18-candidate scramble in Georgia's 6th Congressional District .

After Chaffetz made his announcement, a source close to McMullin told Independent Journal Review that McMullin is "considering running in 2018" but still hasn't made a decision on how he will proceed.

Chaffetz has said in past interviews including one with the Deseret News in January 2016 that he was interested in leaving Capitol Hill to pursue the Utah Governor's mansion.

If Chaffetz is over it all, it's tough to blame him. Trump won the Beehive State in 2016 but voters in the largely Mormon state were less than thrilled with his brand of conservatism.

Karpowitz said most of the action in the 2018 congressional race will likely be in the Republican primary because the district leans Republican. Many of those donations are reportedly from out-of-state contributors (including Rosie O'Donnell, who has tweeted her support) attempting, however improbably, to flip Chaffetz's historically Republican seat to blue.

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