While Representative Kevin McCarthy of California is the frontrunner for Speaker of the House in the upcoming October 8 vote, Representative Jason Chaffetz is stepping up to challenge him. His formal announcement came this morning.
After the unexpected resignation of current Speaker John Boehner, this race becomes more and more relevant. The Speaker of the House is third in the line of succession for the Presidency of the United States.
Other potentials have included Paul Ryan, who has said he doesn’t want the job, Representative Daniel Webster of Florida and perhaps Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois.
Chaffetz was elected to the House n 2009, and is currently the Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
At the start of his tenure, he announced he would be sleeping on a cot in his office, saying, “I’m trying to live the example that it doesn’t take big dollars in order to get where we want to go. I can save my family $1,500 a month by sleeping on a cot in my office as opposed to getting a fancy place that’s maybe a little bit more comfortable.”
“We are now $10 trillion in debt. $10 trillion. Those are expenses that have to be paid at some point.” If he can tighten his belt in these tough economic times, Chaffetz said, Congress should be able to as well. (We don’t know if he still does this.)
Chaffetz has recently been in the press leading the investigation of the Secret Service. Revelations about an alleged attempt at retaliation by the Secret Service may bring him into the press limelight even further.
Chaffetz was outspoken with regard to the Benghazi attack, calling Susan Rice’s remarks “somewhere between an outrageous lie and total falsehood.”
Chaffetz also threatened D.C. Major Muriel Bowser with jail time if she implemented a local measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana in the capital city.
McCarthy as a considerable advantage, having been Majority Leader for the Republican led Congress, a position second only to John Boehner’s. He has spent years building good will with other members, raising money for colleagues, determining committee assignments and hosting dinners for congressional groups.
Chaffetz is younger and has less experience, so he faces long odds. But perhaps this challenge is a harbinger of things to come for Rep. Chaffetz.