Could We See A Gov. Chaffetz In 2020?

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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While 2020 may seem like a long way off, speculation that GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah will seek higher office once he terms out is widespread.

The Republican congressman stated his interest upon returning to the Beehive State, and political operatives said the wheels are in motion to position Chaffetz for a successful 2020 gubernatorial bid.

“He has stated from this first election that he has always dreamt of being governor of Utah, and his goal was always to serve in that capacity – I would take him for his word, when he sends out a trial balloon like that, that he is almost all in,” the former state director for Sen. Mike Lee told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Obviously he has his current campaign staff that’s always in place, but he does have the ability to reach a state-wide organization very quickly.”

Being governor is something that sparks his interest, Chaffetz confirmed to TheDCNF, since he doesn’t want to stay in Washington forever. But there are a number of factors he will take into consideration before making any final decision, Chaffetz added.

“I’m a definite maybe, but I really don’t know,” he said adding he is a strong supporter of current Gov. Gary Herbert. “I want to be the chairman of the oversight committee, that’s what I sought to do and that’s what I’m privileged to be able to do,” he said. “I’m trying to be as candid as I can it is something I will keep my eye on, but I haven’t done anything more than that. I’m going to run a vibrant campaign here in Utah for Congress, that’s what my focus is.”

A Utah-based political consultant told TheDCNF that there have been “substantial rumblings” amongst the state’s political insiders about the congressman challenging GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch in a primary in 2018.

“Chaffetz has surrounded himself with a group of highly talented and extremely loyal political operatives,” the consultant said. “Whether he chooses to run for his seat again in Congress, speaker of the House, governor of Utah, or even Sen. Hatch’s seat, he’s got the team, track record, and public support to be a very competitive candidate.”

A political operative close to the campaign noted the congressman considered challenging Hatch prior to the 2012 election, in the event he wasn’t elected chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“He hasn’t made any final decision yes but he wanted to know that the foundations were in place for a Senate run in 2018 if he didn’t get House Oversight – but he got House Oversight and that’s a six year run,” the source said. “So here’s literally where Jason is at on the DL, he’s 100 percent focused on the House Oversight thing, that’s it for him, once that’s over in four more years, he’s just kinda burnt out on Washington.”

Chaffetz said if he wins his race and remains chairman of the powerful House committee, that he will be more interested in running for governor than a seat in the upper chamber.

“Twenty-twenty seems like a long ways away, but I’m probably less likely to want to run for the Senate, but I haven’t closed the final door on that yet,” Chaffetz told TheDCNF. “If that meant having to give up my chairmanship on Oversight, I highly doubt I would do that. My life would be complete if I’m not a United States Senator.”

The Utah Republican is currently leading the congressional probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The congressman said he will continue his mission to hold government officials involved in the controversy accountable and work on helping Republicans maintain the majority in Congress.

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