UPDATE: According to an email we received from Buck’s Communications Director Brittany Yanick, “this is falsely reported information.” Writes Yanick: “Congressman Buck has no official plans to retire anytime soon nor in the foreseeable future.”
Earlier today we saw some interesting news from Nathan Gonzales, Editor and Publisher of “Inside Elections” whose expertise is following Congressional races and how they may ultimately impact majority control of either chamber:
Retirement Watch: GOP Rep. Ken Buck told several people at his April weekend fundraiser in Sarasota, Fl. that he is considering not seeking re-election.
Keep as Solid R until the race develops.
— Nathan Gonzales (@nathanlgonzales) May 8, 2019
We haven’t seen any more information about this report from Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who was busy today railing about the House Judiciary Committee’s vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to turn over the unreacted Mueller report to a select number of Representatives (the Judiciary Committee voted by a 24-16 margin to hold Barr in contempt this afternoon). At the same time, we wouldn’t be quick to dismiss this report as entirely inaccurate.
This would not be the first time that Buck has hinted at leaving Congress on his own terms; as recently as 2017 he flirted with running for Colorado Attorney General before ultimately deciding to stay put. Buck is also just weeks removed from being elected State Republican Party Chairman, though he has pledged to continue his work in Congress while turning over day-to-day responsibilities to former Party Chair Steve House.
Buck very nearly defeated Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) in a closely-watched Senate race in 2010; he might have even won had he not eaten his foot in a disastrous “Meet the Press” appearance a few weeks before Election Day. Buck put his political aspirations on hold in 2013 while battling lymphoma, then returned to the center stage to win election to Congress in 2014 when then-Rep. Cory Gardner vacated his seat to run for U.S. Senate.
Ever since he was first elected to Congress, there has been regular speculation about Buck’s next potential campaign. It’s no secret that Buck would like another shot at the Senate; if that were to happen in 2020, Gardner would have to step aside, or Buck would have to be comfortable with a bruising Republican Primary. Buck would also need to figure out what to do with his other job as Colorado Republican Party Chairman.
Hopefully Buck isn’t battling health problems once more, which would be an obvious question to ask of someone with a recent history of cancer. Of course, it might just be that Buck has soured on being in the House Minority and/or is getting tired of the blowback after regularly making a fool of himself on a number of high-profile issues (from LGBTQ rights to race relations).
Regardless of what Buck decides, CO-4 is still a Republican seat until redistricting in 2021. Buck coasted to a 21-point victory in 2018 and should have little trouble keeping his job for at least one more cycle. Should Buck bow out, however, there would be a mad scramble among Republicans to position themselves for the GOP nomination in 2020 — think of names like House Minority Leader Pat Neville, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, and nutcases-extraordinaire such as Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Lori Saine.
For now, consider this report unconfirmed; but if it’s true, there could be a big shakeup coming among Colorado Republicans.