House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz is planning to directly challenge Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed House Speaker John Boehner, according to news reports.
The long-shot bid by Chaffetz, 48, who was first elected to Congress from Utah in 2008, comes less than a week before the Oct. 8 vote on new leadership by the House Republican Conference, Politico reports
, citing unnamed sources.
No floor vote for the speaker's job has been set — and Chaffetz's office declined to comment to Politico.
Talk of Chaffetz getting in the race also underscores continued frustration with the slate of candidates who are seeking to succeed Boehner, 65, who surprisingly announced last week that he was leaving Congress at the end of the month.
McCarthy, the five-term California representative who was elected majority leader last year after Eric Cantor was trounced in a Virginia primary election by newcomer Dave Brat, is expected to ascend to speaker.
He told CNN on Tuesday
that "I feel very good where I'm at" in obtaining enough votes to be elected speaker.
Florida Rep. Daniel Webster is the only announced challenger to McCarthy.
Earlier this week, Chaffetz openly endorsed South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a close friend who chairs the special House panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Gowdy has ruled out seeking the speakership.
Chaffetz also challenged McCarthy to apologize for saying that the Benghazi's committee's efforts have caused the poll ratings to fall for 2016 Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Democrats seized the remarks to renew their longstanding call to disband the panel, arguing that it has focused more on Clinton than the assaults that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others, including two former Navy SEALs.
Since being named chairman of the oversight committee at the outset of this Congress, Chaffetz has led investigations of Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos over the sale of fetal body parts and of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen after the agency's targeting scandal.
He also was on the panel with it probed the bungled "Fast and Furious" gun-running operation, which led to former Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress.
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