#NeverTrump Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz is giving up his House seat and thus surrendering his chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Chaffetz, a top Paul Ryan deputy, strongly opposed Donald Trump during the election, supposedly on behalf of his Mormon constituents who were offended by Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape scandal. But Chaffetz showed his true political colors since Trump took office. Chaffetz has been banging the drum on the unsubstantiated theories that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians, and has been providing no air cover for Trump during the surveillance scandals.
Trump supporters are glad to see Chaffetz gone. An opportunist who tried to become House Speaker himself before Ryan stepped in, Chaffetz let down the president and the entire Republican base — not to mention the legacy of his hardnosed predecessor, Darrell Issa.
“Representative Jason Chaffetz, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told supporters on Wednesday that he would not seek re-election to Congress — or for any office — in 2018…
…More than 18 months out from the election in the heavily Republican district, there were already possible signs of a challenging race in Mr. Chaffetz’s future. Kathryn Allen, a physician and political newcomer running as a Democrat, has already raised nearly $400,000 more than Mr. Chaffetz this year, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday — most of it from donors outside of Utah. And Mr. Chaffetz had also acquired a primary challenger: Damian W. Kidd, a lawyer and another newcomer who accused the congressman of caring more about himself than his district.
Last year, Mr. Chaffetz publicly weighed the possibility of running for governor of Utah in 2020, when his committee chairmanship would be set to expire.
Even with his announcement, Mr. Chaffetz left open the possibility of his return.
“I may run again for public office,” he added, “but not in 2018.”
Mr. Ryan on Wednesday praised Mr. Chaffetz as “a great defender of liberty and limited government.”