House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz will not run for re-election in 2018, he announced in a Facebook post Wednesday.
In a statement on Facebook, Chaffetz noted that he has long advocated that public service should be for a limited time.
McMullin has previously indicated his intention to mount a potential bid against either Chaffetz or Senate Pro Tem Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in 2018, but his odds for a primary victory against either of the GOP heavyweights were slim, saidIJR.
Chaffetz said he was confident he "would continue to be re-elected by large margins", and there were "no ulterior motives" behind his decision.
Chaffetz said that by leaving the race early, he will give "prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run".
Approximately half of the voters in Chaffetz's 3rd congressional district, which spans from Salt Lake to southeastern Utah, are registered Republicans.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, rose to prominence on Capitol Hill through his dogged investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election.
Democrats championed Chaffetz announcement, saying "Chaffetz' behavior has always been beneath the dignity of the office he holds". No firm progress on either of those ideas has been made so far in the present Congress. "That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector". The comparison prompted scorn and criticism for Chaffetz and Republicans as they promoted a bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
Referring to the possibility of a special election or a temporary appointment by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert - which would only be necessary if he left his seat in Congress vacant - Chaffetz added: 'The state needs to figure out how this works'.
News of Chaffetz's plans was first reported by BuzzFeed. Donald Trump won the district by 24 points but only got 47% of the vote, in part because Evan McMullin ran an independent campaign focused nearly entirely on Utah. The powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee has repeatedly cited turning 50, growing tired of sleeping on his office cot, and his family being back in Utah.
But the pending retirement of the Republican chairman of one of the most influential congressional committees has prompted Democrats to declare victory.