As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports:
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck announced Thursday that he will not seek a second term as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party…
Buck was narrowly chosen for the top spot by the Colorado GOP’s central committee — a gathering of about 400 politicians, party officials and activists — in March 2019, months after Republicans suffered an electoral shellacking in 2018.
This November wasn’t much better for Republicans. Though they mostly held their ground in legislative races, Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the largest presidential margin here in several decades and Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was easily defeated by Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper.
Taking the job with a bold promise to teach Democrats to “spell R-E-C-A-L-L” after 2018’s historic defeat for Republicans in Colorado, Rep. Ken Buck’s term as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party was an unqualified disaster. The promised recalls failed one after another including the particularly misguided attempt to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the Aurora shooting and whose advocacy for gun safety is above reproach. As a result, recalls have turned from a feared weapon of political retaliation in Colorado politics into something of a joke.
Later, during the 2020 primary season, Buck was accused by fellow Republicans in El Paso and Weld Counties of shenanigans including pressuring an official to submit falsified assembly vote counts to the state–incidents that continue to reverberate in recent news stories, and for which Buck remains under investigation by the state’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.
In Congress the last couple of years, Buck hasn’t fared much better. Buck’s attempts to “help” President Donald Trump during investigative hearings that led to Trump’s impeachment became national headlines when his questioning backfired and reaffirmed that Trump could be prosecuted after leaving office. Buck has been an embarrassing spectacle of “COVIDiocy” throughout the pandemic, though we’ll concede that is probably least likely to hurt his image representing a district apparently full of like-minded denialists.
It’s been rumored off and on that Buck might retire from Congress, owing to health issues and/or his supposed disenchantment with Washington politics. For Republicans, it’s clear in retrospect that hiring a part-time GOP chairman was a very bad idea. In a year when Republicans in some other states clawed back gains made by Democrats in the 2018 elections Buck achieved absolutely nothing–and is leaving the Colorado GOP with no vision for the future other than a gaping hole where Donald Trump is supposed to be.
Whoever succeeds Buck won’t just be picking up the pieces. They’ll be starting from scratch, because there is nothing Ken Buck has done for this party that’s worth carrying forward.
Unless you’re a Democrat! In which case this is all going swimmingly.