Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), one of Barack Obama’s strongest critics on Capitol Hill, announced he would not run for reelection next year.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, he wrote that he was ending his fast-rising political career – for now.
“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” he wrote. “I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”
The move came as a shock to most of establishment Washington. Chaffetz rose to prominence as one of Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama’s toughest critics. He was considered as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate. But he didn’t say he was out of politics completely.
“I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career,” he wrote. “After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018.”
He also quickly dispelled any possible rumors about why he was leaving Congress:
“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives,” he wrote. “I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker [Paul] Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.”
Chaffetz has one of the safest Republican seats in the Country. Utah’s 3rd District runs from the Salt Lake City suburbs to the state’s southern and eastern borders. Chaffetz won re-election four times in a row with at least 70 percent of the vote.