One of the most powerful House Republicans announced on Wednesday (19 April) that he will not seek re-election in the 2018 midterm elections. Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told supporters he will not run for any office in the upcoming election.
In a message posted to his Facebook page, the Utah Republican thanked his constituents for electing him to office, calling it an "honour and a privilege that I have never taken for granted". Chaffetz cited his family as his reason for not seeking re-election and clarified he had no ulterior motives for leaving office.
"After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time," Chaffetz wrote. "I may run again for public office, but not in 2018."
There are signs that Chaffetz may do just that, according to a new report. Fusion says that Chaffetz's campaign committee has registered two domain names that suggest he may plan to run for the White House. More than a week before his announcement, Friends of Jason Chaffetz registered two domain names: Jason2028.com and JasonChaffetz2028.com.
According to The Hill, the domains, which redirect to a generic landing page, were secured by his campaign on 6 April. Another domain, JasonForGovernor.com, redirects to his congressional campaign page.
Chaffetz has been considered as a potential candidate for the Senate or as governor of his home state, The Hill noted. Senator Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) seat is up for grabs in 2018, while Utah Governor Gary Herbert's (R) seat is free in 2020.
Herbert has announced that he will not seek a third term, the Washington Post reports. Josh Romney, son of Mitt Romney, has said he is "strongly considering" running, but that would not stop Chaffetz from joining the race. When asked by The Atlantic's McKay Coppins if he would run for governor, Chaffetz answered: "Definitely, maybe."
In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Chaffetz reiterated that he wants to spend more time with his family. "I've been away from my family for more than 1,500 nights, and it's as simple as a fact that I love my wife and I adore my kids and you just gotta reevaluate your life when you're sleeping on a cot in your office," he said.
"I want to reintroduce myself to my family."