WASHINGTON — One-time college placekicker Jason Chaffetz of Utah wants to boot Republican House leaders off their path to promotions.
Chaffetz declared Sunday that he's running to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner, even though Boehner has chosen Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as his successor.
It's far from clear that Chaffetz, the 48-year-old chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will win enough support in the House's complex selection process. Within moments of his announcement, Republicans friendly to McCarthy raised questions about his fitness for the post. But Chaffetz insists that the biggest House majority in decades needs an overhaul at the top, and that he's being called to lead it.
"I've had enough members who've come and said, 'Please Jason, do this,' " Chaffetz said on Fox News Sunday. "'We don't want to fight internally. But realistically, we can't vote to promote the existing leadership.'"
His congressional investigations have raised Chaffetz's prominence but also drawn criticism. The Republican field of White House candidates routinely cite the debate over whether to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, an issue that Chaffetz's committee is probing but which some conservatives complain has produced no clear GOP win.
Chaffetz also is tangling with the Secret Service as he leads a probe into security lapses at the White House and on presidential trips.