Republican Majority Shrinks Again as Buck Announces Departure

House Republicans gained control of the chamber in January 2023 with just 222 seats, marking one of the slimmest margins in decades. However, their numbers have dwindled to 219 over the past 14 months. This leaves the party with little room for error, requiring near-universal attendance and support to pass legislation. Adding to the challenge, the Republican majority is set to diminish further following the unexpected announcement of a prominent member’s departure.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) took to his X/Twitter account on March 12 to declare his forthcoming resignation the following week. He expressed gratitude for the privilege of representing Colorado’s 4th Congressional District for nine years, extending his appreciation to his constituents for their ongoing encouragement and backing.

Determined to provoke debate, the congressman with five terms under his belt openly criticized Washington’s dysfunction during a discussion with reporters later that day, asserting that the situation continues to deteriorate. He also quipped that House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) attempts to persuade him to stay would be as fruitless as convincing him to pursue unconstitutional impeachments further.

Introducing another complication, Olivia Beavers, a contributor to POLITICO, revealed that Buck neglected to inform Speaker Johnson in advance about his resignation. Instead, Buck’s spokesperson confirmed that he left a voicemail for the speaker approximately thirty minutes prior to his public announcement.

Continuing his trend of generating controversy, Buck added further fuel to the fire during a short interview with Axios. When questioned about any pressure he might be facing from his Republican peers, he suggested that the next three departures from the House would likely concern Republicans more. Naturally, his remark prompted speculation regarding his knowledge of potential future resignations.

Moreover, Aaron Fritschner, the chief of staff for Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), highlighted that Buck strategically chose the timing of his departure to inflict maximum harm on Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) chances of securing another term. Buck had previously declared his intention not to seek reelection, effectively opening the door for Boebert to vacate Colorado’s 3rd District and vie for his position.

Fritschner clarified that by departing over 90 days before the general election, Buck compelled Colorado authorities to conduct a special election to complete his term. Consequently, Boebert confronted the dilemma of either relinquishing her current position to pursue candidacy or permitting another Republican to assume Buck’s seat. This scenario would grant the latter candidate the advantage of incumbency in Colorado’s primary race.




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