Jason Chaffetz Enters Race For Speaker

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz has entered the race to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Sunday announced his intention to run to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“Today, here, I am announcing my intention to run for Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Chaffetz said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said he does not believe House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is the favorite to take over the Speakership, can get the requisite number of votes from Republicans to win.

“Kevin McCarthy is a good man, he’s a big reason why we have such a solid majority, but things have changed, and there’s really a math problem,” he said. “You need 218 votes on the floor of the House, there are 246 Republicans who will vote, but there are nearly 50 people and a growing number that will not and cannot vote for Kevin McCarthy as the Speaker on the floor. He’s going to fall short of the 218 votes on the floor of the House.”

The Utah Republican positioned himself as a candidate who can bring together an increasingly divided Republican Party in Congress, saying he appeals to establishment and Tea Party members.

“That’s why I’m offering myself as a candidate, to try to bridge that divide,” Chaffetz said. “I think those 50-plus people find that I’m a fair, even-balanced person, that I can bridge that divide between our more centrist members and some of the more far-right-wing members. That’s why I entered this race.”

Chaffetz also said several representatives have urged him to run for the Speakership, saying they can’t vote for McCarthy.

Chaffetz did not specify whether he would support the Speaker-designate who emerges from a closed-door vote at the Republican House Conference on Thursday, but said he would support the eventual Speaker.

Chaffetz has only been in Congress since being elected in 2008, and while that’s a typically unusual amount of time for someone who would ascend to the Speaker’s Chair, it’s worth noting that McCarthy himself has only been in Congress two years longer than Chaffetz. The main difference is that McCarthy has risen much higher in leadership than Chaffetz, who currently heads the House’s Government Oversight Committee. Chaffetz has also been seen as the most likely successor to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who was last re-elected in 2012 and will be 85 when his seat is up again in 2018. He’s also been someone who has been more adept at bridging the divide between the conservative wing of the House GOP Caucus and leadership than most others on the right. Whether that will be enough to get him into the Speaker’s chair is an open question. In addition to Chaffetz, McCarthy also has a challenger in Florida Congressman Daniel Webster who has deeper ties to the Tea Party win of the caucus so it’s possible that the opposition to McCarthy will end up being sufficiently divided for him to slip through. Additionally, the fact that the leadership elections are only four days away means that Chaffetz will have little time to gather supporters, something McCarthy has been doing since the morning Boehner resigned.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    And don’t forget the head of Planned Parenthood made him look like a complete ignorant, lying ass in the recent hearings on that organization. Although that may be an advantage in today’s Republican party.




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  2. Mark Ivey says:

    He has charts . . . . . . :))




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  3. Gustopher says:

    @Ron Beasley: I think you mean “exposed him as” rather than “made him look like a”. He really is a complete ignorant, lying ass.

    But, he’s willing to be ignorant about things that refute right wing arguments, and he’s willing to lie for the cause, so that’s all a big plus.




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  4. Tony W says:

    @Gustopher: It’s hard to hide that sort of thing in open session. But, as Ron says – the party of Trump rewards that sort of behavior.




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  5. James Pearce says:

    “That’s why I’m offering myself as a candidate, to try to bridge that divide,” Chaffetz said. “I think those 50-plus people find that I’m a fair, even-balanced person, that I can bridge that divide between our more centrist members and some of the more far-right-wing members. That’s why I entered this race.”

    Poor guy thinks he can handle snakes and not get bit….

    Good luck with that.




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  6. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @James Pearce:

    ” Chaffetz said. “I think those 50-plus people find that I’m a fair, even-balanced person

    Not only doesn’t he think he won’t get bitten, but apparently he thinks that the 50 Tea Party and assorted whackos are looking for a “fair, even balanced person”.

    Is he really living in this universe?




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  7. dmichael says:

    This is your current Republican Party: Two leading candidates for the third highest constitutional position in the federal government. McCarthy, the consensus front runner, who cannot put words together in any coherent fashion, who would give “Mrs. Malaprop” a run for her money, and who admits publicly the Republican’s intentional abuse of congressional hearings and Chaffetz, a right-wing nut from Utah who is a lying bully who thinks that abusing a woman at a hearing qualifies him for this position even after she handed him his sorry ass. If you haven’t seen a video of his actions at the Planned Parenthood hearing, give yourself a treat and do so. Make some popcorn first.




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  8. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: He will not oppose anything that they want. How can you get more “fair even-balanced” than that (outside of Fox News, of course)?




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  9. al-Ameda says:

    Jason Chaffetz is, for better or for worse, a Republican ‘centrist extremist,’ while Kevin McCarthy is trying to pretend that he’s a ‘centrist extremist.’

    It would not shocking to see a last minute putsch that installs the authentic ‘centrist extremist’ – Jason Chaffetz as Speaker.

    McCarthy is a nod to the upcoming elections, Republicans are trying to tell us that they’re user friendly, not the ‘anti’ party that they’re portrayed to be. Jason Chaffetz can say what McCarthy says, but the true believers know that he doesn’t mean a word of it, whereas when McCarthy says it the true believers aren’t sure that he hasn’t sold them out.

    The Idiocrats are at the gates, they really do believe that they’re running the table, that they’re going to win the White House too.




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  10. SnyorDave says:

    @dmichael: I saw the video and I saw Chaffetz being a complete lying sack of crap. He was incredibly smug and disrespectful to Ms. Richards and I thought she exposed him for what he is, but… In today’s modern GOP I’m guessing he is practically a folk hero for his dismantling of Planned Parenthood. At least that is how they saw it.




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  11. t says:

    “I think those 50-plus people find that I’m a fair, even-balanced person, that I can bridge that divide between our more centrist members and some of the more far-right-wing members. That’s why I entered this race.”

    This is the same guy that threatened to jail DC officials because they legalized weed.

    http://www.washingtonian.com/blogs/capitalcomment/local-news/jason-chaffetz-is-powerless-to-stop-dcs-marijuana-legalization.php




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  12. David in KC says:

    John Oliver had a funny segment on him tonight




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  13. dazedandconfused says:

    Ten gets ya twenty he’s doing what McCarthy or McCarthy’s boys have asked him to do. Pretend-run to split the wing-nut vote, just in case that tide gets some serious mo.




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  14. Franklin says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: I’m a bit surprised by his statement that he can bridge the gap between centrists and (these are his own words) “the far right wing members.”

    Now I know the Tea Party folks fancy themselves to be true conservatives, but I’m not sure they would appreciate being called extremists. On the other hand, recalling one of Barry Goldwater’s famous lines, maybe they do. (“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”)




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  15. CSK says:

    When the fringe finds out that he’s the son of Kitty Dukakis’s first husband, and that he worked for Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign in 1988, they’ll start foaming at the mouth.




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  16. Mu says:

    The only way the Republicans have to not make this a public relations nightmare is to lock all their 246 house members in a room and not open the door until they have a speaker. After one day, you withhold the food. After two, the toilet paper.




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