Both his champions and his critics were caught off guard - but beyond that, reactions were starkly divided.
Jason Chaffetz is not running for reelection in 2018, opening the field in what has been a strongly Republican district in the state. His job as chairman of the oversight panel is to investigate the government, and it probably would have been a lot more fun for this tea party-leaning Republican to investigate Hillary Clinton's government than President Trump's. But more importantly for Chaffetz, is that his departure from Congress won't likely mark the end of his political life. Chaffetz repeatedly said, "hold on", and "give me a second", as audience members in a Salt Lake City suburb reacted negatively to almost all of his statements and implored him to "do your job" and investigate Trump.
"I feel like the earth shifted just a little bit, and I haven't reassessed after that little shift of the earth to see if it is different", said Curtis, who is not seeking a third term as mayor. "So what we need to do is celebrate each victory as it comes, and really take that moment to celebrate and to be happy and to fuel ourselves for the future fight".
There has been speculation that McMullin planned to challenge Chaffetz for his seat in 2018.
Half of the voters are registered Republicans in Chaffetz' 3rd congressional district, which stretches from suburban Salt Lake City to desert towns in southeastern Utah and includes heavily conservative Mormon areas.
Some criticized the Utah Republican. "This levels the playing field".
"I'm a little sad", said state Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, said she is also "seriously considering a run".
Chaffetz wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, "I am healthy". "He's done such great things".
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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Tyler Law also called for Chaffetz to give up his chairmanship and said his "behavior has always been beneath the dignity" of the office he holds. "He's been a fantastic champion for Utah".
If the lawmaker's decision to step down is indeed based on his desire to set an example to encourage other lawmakers to "get in...get out", it's a noble one.
"Oftentimes, people in power are loathe to get out", Henderson said.
"For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives", he explained in the statement.
In his role this year, he's also had to navigate how to address ethical complaints about the current Trump administration.
"He didn't accept an indirect answer", Dewberry said.
In a message on his Facebook page, Chaffetz thanked supporters and announced he will "not be a candidate for any office in 2018". Serving is an honor and a privilege that I have never taken for granted. I'm proud to call him a friend.