Chaffetz makes play for Speakership

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is launching a bid for the Speakership, challenging Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), The Hill has confirmed. 

An informed source told The Hill that Chaffetz is definitely running. Politico first reported on Chaffetz’s Speakership bid.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said in a statement obtained by The Hill that Chaffetz has been invited to a House forum on Tuesday to audition for the Speakership.

“The forum invitation was extended to the two individuals currently announced as running for Speaker,” Huelskamp said in the statement. “And given the recent reports, we have also invited Chairman Chaffetz – should he decide to announce his candidacy – to join the forum as well.”

McCarthy’s only competition for the post so far is Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who is seen as the underdog.

{mosads}Chaffetz, 48, a four-term lawmaker well respected in the conference, would be a more serious challenger, but is entering the race late. McCarthy has been making calls to GOP members seeking their support over the last week.

Chaffetz had criticized remarks by McCarthy this week that linked the work of the House Select Committee on Benghazi to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s falling poll numbers, saying he should apologize.

McCarthy’s comments undercut GOP arguments that the panel was not set up for political reasons — and led some to question whether he was ready for the House’s top job.

“I’m very supportive of Kevin McCarthy, but those statements are just absolutely inappropriate. They should be withdrawn; McCarthy should apologize. I think it was absolutely wrong,” Chaffetz said on Thursday.

During his chairmanship of the Oversight Committee, Chaffetz has investigated allegations that Planned Parenthood traffics in fetal body parts, taken Secret Service to task for security lapses, and probed the IRS over allegations that the agency targets Tea Party groups.

The House GOP Conference will hold elections on Oct. 8.

The elections were triggered by Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to resign, effective at the end of October.


–Updated 6:59 p.m. Scott Wong and Bob Cusack contributed to this report. 

Tags Benghazi Jason Chaffetz John Boehner Kevin McCarthy Trey Gowdy
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