Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) announced earlier this year that he would not be running for re-election in next year’s mid-term elections and would not seek further political office, saying he wants to pursue a career in the private sector.
“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” Chaffetz said last month.
Following the announcement, the rumor mill immediately began to churn. Some politicos said Chaffetz is eyeing a run at the Utah governorship in 2020, but Chaffetz quelled those rumors.
“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector,” he wrote on Facebook.
“By announcing now, I hope to give prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run,” Chaffetz explained.
But now a report from the Washingtonian reveals that Chaffetz may indeed be heading to the private sector to work for none other than Fox News, the most popular cable news network that is most friendly to Republicans, conservatives and President Donald Trump.
From the Washingtonian:
According to two GOP lawmakers who have spoken to Chaffetz directly and four senior House Republican aides, Chaffetz has been telling people he’ll take on what one source calls a “substantial role” in on-air talent at Fox News Channel, possibly as early as July, amplifying whispers that Chaffetz will not finish out his current term.
Indeed, the day that Chaffetz announced his decision to not run for re-election in 2018, Fox News announced that Bill O’Reilly would not be returning to the network amid a sexual harassment scandal. Still, its unclear what role Chaffetz would play at Fox News should he find employment at the network after he leaves Congress.
If Chaffetz does leave Congress to head for Fox, Republican congressional aides wouldn’t find it surprising.
“Let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised,” one aide told the Washingtonian.
“He’s probably one of the most media-capable members in the House,” another aide added, noting the amount of time Chaffetz has spent on cable news networks during his time in Congress.
“I know he was gunning for it…Fox was his first choice once he announced his plans,” explained a House Republican member “close to Chaffetz.”
If Chaffetz were to head to Fox, he wouldn’t be the first member of Congress or politician to do so. Noteable former politicians to be employed by the network currently or in the past include former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).