PHOENIX — A day after his name emerged as a possible challenger for U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake in the 2018 Republican primary, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar said he wasn’t interested in pursuing the office.

Gosar, R-Prescott, is in his fourth term representing Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, which covers much of western Arizona, including Mohave County.

The Arizona Capital Times reported earlier this week that Gosar was considering running against Flake but Gosar published a statement saying he has “no plans to run for a different office at this time.”

It isn’t clear, with the wording intentionally left open, that he could choose later to run against Flake.

Gosar was recently elected chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and was appointed chairman of the House Committee on Nature Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals.

“Now is the time for bold leadership and I am honored to have been given the responsibility of chairing the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources,” Gosar said. “We are in a prime position to help foster America’s energy revolution and I intend to empower my colleagues to take real action and enact practical solutions. 

“By listening and engaging with our nation’s energy producers and consumers, this subcommittee can reduce the unnecessary and job-killing red tape that continues to hold back economic development. Enacting a true all-of-the-above energy strategy will usher in real prosperity for all Americans. I am humbled by Chairman (Rob) Bishop’s confidence in my leadership and look forward to working closely with him throughout the 115th Congress.”

On Thursday, Gosar co-sponsored the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act, joined by three other Western congressmen, Trent Franks of Arizona, Mike Thompson of California and Jared Polis of Colorado as primary sponsors. Trent and Gosar were Republican co-sponsors of the legislation while Polis and Thompson are Democrats. A total of 20 representatives are listed as cosponsors, a mixture of 11 Democrats and nine Republicans.

Arizona representatives Andy Biggs (R-District 5), Raul Grijalva (D-District 7), David Schweikert (R-District 6) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-District 9) also are listed as cosponsors.

“This bipartisan bill removes government red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy while developing a streamlined process that will drive investment toward high quality renewable resources,” Gosar said. “The revenue-sharing mechanism in this bill will help local governments deliver critical services on important projects such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement.”

A release from Gosar’s office Thursday night noted that the bill, yet to be numbered, has broad support from a number of outdoors organizations, including Trout Unlimited, the American Sportfishing Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

“This bill is great news for America’s thriving clean energy economy and our great outdoors,” said Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate at The Wilderness Society. “By scaling up renewables development, it will ensure our public lands continue to help guide us toward modern energy future.

“And by investing in local communities, conservation of land and wildlife habitat, and recreation access, it will help protect the West that we love.”

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