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By Mae Slater on
 March 16, 2024

Ken Buck leaving Congress, further cutting down Republican's House majority

In a move that caught Washington by surprise, The Huffington Post reported that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) has announced his resignation from Congress.

This decision comes as he aims to engage more deeply in the 2024 general election process, signaling potential shifts in the political landscape.

Announced on a brisk Tuesday, Buck plans to exit the congressional stage "at the end of next week." His intentions are clear: to dive into the 2024 election and candidate selection process, motivated by concerns over the current presidential candidates and the overarching election process for political leaders. This move is not just about leaving; it's about where he's headed next.

Unpacking Buck's Political Legacy

Buck, a staunch conservative and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has never been one to shy away from challenging his party's status quo. His readiness to defy party leaders and hardliners on certain issues has marked his tenure in Congress. This independence was notably evident in his opposition to the impeachment of President Joe Biden, where he cited a lack of sufficient evidence for impeachable offenses.

His upcoming departure will leave the Republicans with a precarious majority of 218 members to the Democrats' 213, opening up four seats. This slender majority could complicate legislative proceedings, giving the GOP a razor-thin margin for error in passing votes. Buck's unexpected resignation, having previously announced he would not seek reelection, surprised many, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

The Republicans' ability to maintain control of the House is now under significant scrutiny. Buck's resignation not only narrows their majority but also brings to light the challenges of managing such a slim margin, especially considering potential absences due to illness or other obligations. This scenario is reminiscent of the delicate balance seen in the 72nd Congress back in 1930, where similar narrow majorities were the norm.

The necessity of relying on Democratic votes for significant legislation has been a recent trend for the GOP, and Buck's exit is likely to further complicate this dynamic. The upcoming special election triggered under Colorado law, due to Buck's vacancy occurring more than 90 days before a general election, introduces another layer of complexity, potentially impacting Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who is eyeing Buck's seat.

Buck's Departure: A Reflective Decision

Buck's decision to step down is rooted in a deep concern for the current state of presidential choices and the overall election process. "Everybody I’ve talked to is complaining about the choices they have for president. And it is time that we start talking about how we elect presidents, and how we elect Senators and congressmen and local leaders," Buck articulated. This sentiment underscores his motivation to reshape the political landscape beyond his congressional tenure.

"And I feel very strongly about that. I don’t have an organization to join. I just know in my heart, I want to get involved in this election cycle and work on that issue," Buck added, highlighting his commitment to influencing the upcoming election cycle from a new vantage point.

Reaction and Reflection

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) expressed surprise at Buck's announcement, indicating the unexpected nature of the decision within Republican circles. "I was surprised by Ken’s announcement. I look forward to talking to him about that," Johnson said, reflecting a mix of curiosity and concern among GOP leadership regarding the implications of Buck's departure.

Democrats, on the other hand, see Buck's resignation as an opportunity to reclaim control of the House. A Democratic strategist optimistically remarked, "Just give us the majority for the rest of the year. Good grief," capturing the sentiment that Buck's exit could tilt the balance of power in their favor.

Buck himself believes that his early resignation may inadvertently benefit the GOP, particularly by eliminating his potential opposition to further impeachments. "I’m actually helping them in some ways, because I’m not gonna vote against more impeachments," he stated, offering a nuanced perspective on the impact of his departure.

Conclusion: A Shift in the Political Landscape

  • Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) announced his resignation from Congress to influence the 2024 general election process, marking a significant shift in his political career.
  • His departure tightens the Republican majority in the House, presenting challenges for the party's legislative agenda.
  • Buck's career has been characterized by a willingness to defy party norms, notably opposing the impeachment of President Biden.
  • The upcoming special election in Colorado adds another layer of complexity to the GOP's efforts to maintain control of the House.
  • Buck's move reflects broader concerns about the current political climate and the process of selecting leaders, signaling his commitment to shaping future elections.
Written By:
Mae Slater

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