Chaffetz may not finish final term in Congress

Chaffetz may not finish final term in Congress

But, of course, he does.

Chaffetz said he will return to work in the private sector despite saying he is "confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins".

Chris Karpowitz, co-director at Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Chaffetz's decision to bow out is somewhat surprising but eases the path for a governor's race.

I'm not going to be here [in Washington, D.C.] forever.

Chaffetz wasn't immediately available for comment.

More sinister theories have Chaffetz preparing to face indictment over unsubstantiated ties to Russian Federation, or public embarrassment related to his committee's investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terror attack. "We did not know this was coming". He came to the realization he didn't want to be in the Senate.

Attorney Damian Kidd, a Republican who had already stepped in to challenge Chaffetz, said hopes the congressman's exit will free up fundraising money.

It will be up to Gov. Gary Herbert to call a special election for Chaffetz's seat if he leaves before his current term ends at the beginning of 2019, but there is no process in place in state law.

That included people like Republican House Speaker Greg Hughes who expressed what became a similar refrain among lawmakers.

He has faced pressure from protesters in his home district and federal watchdogs for not pursuing investigations into the Trump administration more forcefully.

Then there is the Trump complication. Unlike Chaffetz, McMullin has remained steadfastly opposed to Trump and has been one of the main voices on the right in standing up to the president.

The reasons go beyond the recent questions about his role as the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is tasked with keeping a check on fraud and waste in the White House and the federal government.

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". He shed the Trump baggage and will return to Utah to shore up support for what will probably be a hard-fought Republican primary in 2020.

Democrats saw the Chaffetz decision more in the prism of a political pendulum that is swinging back against President Trump, and the GOP.