Rep. Chaffetz, brash committee chairman, eyes speaker’s race

Rep. Jason Chaffetz launched his bid for House Speaker Sunday, casting himself as a more articulate and unifying alternative for the post than House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Cannon had been endorsed by President George W. Bush and much of Utah’s Republican establishment.


The longshot pitch kicked off the first serious challenge to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy who was Speaker John Boehner’s right hand man. “I think they want a fresh face and a fresh, new person who’s actually there at the leadership table in the Speaker’s role”. There is a reason why we see this phenomenon across the country and you don’t just give an automatic promotion to the existing leadership team.

Rep. Chaffetz is taking this opportunity to pounce on what he may be viewed as a weakened candidate for House Speaker, which involves a serious violation of Congressional Ethics rules of using official government money to advance a political agenda.

But Chaffetz said McCarthy can’t muster enough backing on the House floor because a few 50 of the 247 GOP members won’t vote for him.

He announced his candidacy on “Fox News Sunday“.

Huelskamp has not been alone in predicting others could emerge to challenge McCarthy, whether Chaffetz or someone else. “I think I was a good leader and that I listened … and reconsidered that decision”.

“They want us to take that fight to the Senate“, he said, alluding to the GOP-led chamber.

Chaffetz was one of the loudest critics of McCarthy’s comments on Benghazi, calling on McCarthy to apologize for “a total mischaracterization” of the committee’s work.

“Kevin’s record in Congress demonstrates a rare combination of principle, leadership and effectiveness”, Ryan wrote of McCarthy in the Townhall op-ed Sunday.

Chaffetz’s position at the head of the oversight panel has put him at the center of high-profile Republican initiatives, including the grilling this week of Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards. But, on the House floor, the eventual victor must capture 218 votes to officially take the job.

McCarthy later tried to correct the damage his statement caused to the Benghazi committee, but the bottom line is that the use of the House’s investigative powers has served the GOP’s interests.

He also suggested that while McCarthy could muster support from a majority of House Republicans in a secret ballot, he would be unable to get the absolute majority of congressmen in a vote on the floor of the House. He enjoys a week’s head start in building support, a ready-made political infrastructure and close relationships across the Republican conference built during his stint as the GOP’s chief House candidate recruiter ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.


During that House hearing, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) was deeply offended by Rep. Chaffetz.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz