left right FILE PHOTO: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) listens to testimony during a committee hearing about the private email server of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, used during her tenure as Secretary of State, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files 1/2 left right FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Jason Chaffetz before testimony on the 'Oversight of the State Department' in Washington, U.S. July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo 2/2
WASHINGTON U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of a House committee with broad investigative powers, said on Thursday that it is possible he could leave office before his term finishes next year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"My future plans are not yet finalized, but I haven't ruled out the possibility of leaving early," Chaffetz told the Journal a day after the Utah congressman announced he would not run for re-election in 2018.
Chaffetz could not be reached immediately for comment.
Utah state officials have begun making plans for a special election to replace Chaffetz in his heavily Republican district, the newspaper reported, citing Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox.
The conservative Republican, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, gained prominence as head of the committee that investigated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state.
Chaffetz's remarks on a possible early departure were first reported by KSL Radio in Salt Lake City.
Chaffetz, 50, in the past had considered running for a U.S. Senate seat. A former Chaffetz aide on Wednesday told Reuters the congressman may seek to run for Utah governor in 2020, though no firm decision had been made yet.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric Walsh and Leslie Adler)