Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the influential chair of the House Oversight Committee who has been sharply criticized by many liberals, announced he won’t seek reelection. He denied having “ulterior motives,” saying his health is good and he believes he would win “overwhelmingly” if he ran in 2018, and explained he wants to return to the private sector. In other words, he wants to make money.
This is somewhat plausible, as in his FEC filings, Chaffetz reported a net worth of $1.2 to $5 million, mostly equity in a personal residence, with only about $500,000 of other assets. If true, this makes him relatively poor compared to many members of Congress; nowadays, politics is a hobby for millionaires, because no one else can afford it.
But it occurs to me that leaving Congress in January 2019 will position Chaffetz to run for president in 2020. This is so obvious it’s the first thing that will jump into the minds of most journalists and many casual observers. Why else would he bring up the topic of “ulterior motives”? And he was specific in not ruling out running for public office in the future. Chaffetz is not a Trump fan; he’s been critical of Trump, didn’t endorse him until late the in campaign, and then only reluctantly. He looks exactly like what a Republican politician scheming to challenge Trump in the 2020 primaries should look like. Which leads me to suspect that’s what he is.
According to Wikipedia, prior to politics, Chaffetz worked in the “multilevel marketing” industry, which many people consider somewhat of a scam. Chaffetz’s father was once married to Kitty Dukakis, who is the mother of Chaffetz’s older half brother.