Rep. Ken Buck Springs Early Retirement on GOP

By Jerry McConway, updated on March 13, 2024

House Speaker Johnson (R-LA) was given a gut shot punch on Tuesday.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) announced that he would not be finishing his term, thinning out the GOP's already small majority in the House.

Talking Points…
- Buck announces retirement
- Buck stuns the GOP by leaving early
- Analysis

Buck Announces Retirement from Congress

Buck and Trump have never had a good relationship, and that relationship became more strained when Buck would not bend the knee to follow Trump's lead that the 2020 election was stolen. Ever since then, Trump has attacked Buck at every step.

During the last election cycle, Buck announced that it would be his last term in office, and Trump could not have been happier. As soon as Buck announced that this term would be his last, Trump took to Truth Social to celebrate, posting:

"Good news for the Country! Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado, a weak and ineffective Super RINO if there ever was one, announced today that he won't be running again, which is a great thing for the Republican Party."

Buck explained why he was retiring, citing the fact that politicians and how they treat their voters have changed significantly over the years. He stated:

"Too many Republican leaders are lying to America, claiming that the 2020 election was stolen, describing Jan. 6 as an unguided tour of the Capitol and asserting that the ensuing prosecutions are a weaponization of our justice system.

"These insidious narratives breed widespread cynicism and erode Americans' confidence in the rule of law."

Buck Stuns GOP with Early Exit from Office

Regardless of how Trump or anyone feels about Buck, his vote is needed in the House due to the very slim majority. Buck, however, broke the news on Tuesday that he would be stepping down effective March 22, which is the deadline date to pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown. So he will be here for that vote, and then he is gone.

Buck, in announcing his early departure, stated:

"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. I look forward to staying involved in our political process, as well as spending more time in Colorado and with my family."

Analysis

As bad as things have been in the House for Speaker Johnson, they are about to get worse. With Buck leaving early, there will now be 218 Republicans and 213 Democrats. This means that Republicans have only two votes to spare in any vote, which gives the Freedom Caucus a considerable bargaining chip because Johnson will not be able to get anything passed unless the entire caucus is on board with the vote.

Even more bothersome for Johnson is that on April 30, there is a special election for the seat previously occupied by Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.). If we assume that seat stays blue, that will change the count to 218-214, giving the GOP only one vote to spare because a tie in a House vote is marked as a defeat. The GOP will have a chance to regain that extra seat on May 21, when McCarthy's seat goes up for a special election.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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