Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck throws fellow House Republicans in disarray, imperils slim majority with announcement of early exit from Congress

 March 13, 2024

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) announced in November that he would not seek re-election to another term in Congress, and the logical assumption was that he would simply serve out the remainder of the current term before formally retiring in January.

In a major shock to his House Republican colleagues, however, Buck announced on Tuesday that he would resign from his seat at the end of next week, well before the conclusion of the current term, Breitbart reported.

His sudden and early departure from Congress further diminishes the already exceptionally slim majority Republicans hold in the House, likely making it even more difficult for them to get anything of substance accomplished legislatively for the rest of the year.

Buck is headed for the exit early

In a statement posted to social media, Rep. Buck said, "It has been an honor to serve the people of Colorado’s 4th District in Congress for the past 9 years. I want to thank them for their support and encouragement throughout the years."

"Today, I am announcing that I will depart Congress at the end of next week," he added. "I look forward to staying involved in our political process, as well as spending more time in Colorado with my family."

The Colorado Sun reported in November that Rep. Buck, who was first elected in 2014, had announced that he would not seek another term in the 2024 election, largely because of the actions and words of some of his fellow Republicans.

Buck had taken issue with his GOP colleagues who continued to question the results of the 2020 election as well as those who'd downplayed the severity of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021. He also stood outspokenly opposed to the ongoing efforts to impeach President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas, even as his own constituents clamored for him to get on board with those efforts.

House GOP leadership caught by surprise

As noted, when Rep. Buck first announced his decision to not run for re-election, the natural presumption was that he would simply serve out the remainder of his term in office before stepping aside, given the slim majority control his party maintained over the House.

Now, with his sudden and unexpected revelation that he will leave Congress in a matter of days, it appears that he caught his fellow House Republicans entirely off guard and scrambling to react, according to an Axios report.

"I was surprised by Ken's announcement -- I look forward to talking with him about that," House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told reporters, while Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) similarly stated, "I haven't gotten to talk to him. He wasn't on the floor but I'm curious to see why he's leaving early."

GOP majority further imperiled

The Republican majority in the House was never that big to begin with this term and it has only become smaller over time, as Buck's early departure follows the premature exits of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who likely left out of embarrassment after being ousted from leadership, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), who left to accept a university leadership position, and ex-Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who was expelled amid mounting scandals.

Once Buck leaves, the House GOP will hold a mere five-seat majority over the Democrats, 218-213, meaning they can only afford to lose the votes of two members, either through absence or siding with the opposition, and still hope to pass any legislation.

Further cause for concern among his colleagues was Buck's cryptic comment to Axios that signaled he might not be the last GOP member to depart early, as he was asked whether he was "facing heat" from his fellow Republicans about his decision and replied, "I think it's the next three people that leave that they're going to be worried about."

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