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Republican Congressman Ken Buck Resigns, Sparking Political Turmoil in Colorado

In a surprising move that has sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill and the Colorado political landscape, Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado announced on Tuesday that he will resign from Congress at the end of next week. Buck, who had already declared last fall that he would not seek re-election, cited frustration with the dysfunction in the House and the increasing polarization in Washington as the reasons behind his early departure.

The unexpected move comes at a critical time for the GOP, as it further erodes their slim majority in the House. Buck’s resignation will cut the House Republican margin to 218-213, leaving Speaker Mike Johnson with only a two-vote cushion before needing Democratic support. The decision to step down early adds an additional layer of complexity to an already challenging political landscape.

Speaking to reporters, Buck expressed his dissatisfaction with the current state of Congress, stating, “This place just keeps going downhill, and I don’t need to spend my time here.” He criticized the focus on impeachment as a social media issue rather than a constitutional concept, adding that he believes there is a job to do outside of Congress.

The timing of Buck’s resignation has triggered the need for a special election in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. State law requires the seat to be filled through a special election, scheduled between 85 and 100 days after the vacancy occurs. If Buck resigns on March 22, the election could coincide with the state’s congressional primary on June 25.

The sudden development has caught many of Buck’s colleagues off guard. House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed surprise at the announcement, stating he was looking forward to discussing it with Buck. Fellow Republicans, including Rep. Pat Fallon of Texas, described the move as “very surprising” and “alarming.”

Ken Buck, a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, gained a reputation for frequently breaking with his party on significant issues. He criticized fellow Republicans for echoing former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election and expressed doubts about the evidence supporting impeachment efforts against President Joe Biden.

Buck’s departure also raises questions about the potential impact on the GOP’s legislative agenda, with the party already facing challenges in maintaining cohesion. Illnesses and unexpected absences could further complicate Speaker Johnson’s already difficult task in navigating a narrow majority.

The race to fill Buck’s seat is expected to be highly contested, with multiple Republicans, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, already announcing bids. Boebert’s decision to run for Buck’s seat adds an extra layer of complexity, potentially creating a domino effect with implications for her current district.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, responding to the development, announced that the special election to fill Buck’s seat would be held on June 25, aligning with the state’s primary elections. The move aims to minimize taxpayer costs but sets the stage for a dynamic political landscape in the coming months.

Ken Buck’s resignation marks the end of a nine-year congressional career marked by both adherence to conservative principles and frequent clashes with his own party. As Colorado gears up for a pivotal special election, the nation will be closely watching the unfolding political drama in the Rocky Mountain State.