Republican Majority Shrinks Again as Buck Announces Departure

( – House Republicans took control of the chamber in January 2023 with only 222 seats, one of the narrowest margins in decades. The number of GOP lawmakers in Congress has dropped to 219 over the last 14 months, meaning the party can only afford to lose a couple of votes and pass any legislation if everyone in the chamber is in attendance and voting.

Making matters worse, the Republican majority is about to shrink again after a leading Republican announced his imminent — and untimely and unexpected — departure.

Republicans About To Lose Another Seat in the House

On March 12, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) issued a statement on his X/Twitter account announcing his decision to step down the following week. He noted that it had been an honor to serve Colorado’s 4th Congressional District for the last nine years and thanked his constituents for their encouragement and support.

Buck Leaves With a Bang

Hellbent on stirring up controversy, the five-term congressman freely lashed out against Washington’s “dysfunction,” claiming “this place just keeps going downhill” while talking with reporters later that day. He also said House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) capacity to talk him into staying would be “as successful as his ability” to talk him into continuing to pursue “unconstitutional impeachments.

Adding another issue to the mix, POLITICO contributor Olivia Beavers reported that Buck didn’t bother informing Johnson about his resignation ahead of time. Instead, his spokesperson confirmed that Buck left the speaker a voicemail message about half an hour before he made his announcement.

Not yet satisfied that he had stirred up enough controversy, Buck threw some more fuel on the fire during a brief interview with Axios. Asked if he was “facing heat from his [Republican] colleagues, he said he thought the “next three people that leave” the House will be the ones Republicans would “be worried about.” Predictably, that response sparked speculation that he knew something about future resignations.

Additionally, Aaron Fritschner, Congressman Don Beyer’s (D-VA) chief of staff, pointed out that Buck timed his departure to cause maximum damage to Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) prospects for winning another term. He had previously announced his decision not to run for reelection, paving the way for her to leave Colorado’s 3rd District and run for his seat.

Fritshner explained that by leaving more than 90 days from the general election, Buck forced Colorado officials to hold a special election to fill the remainder of his term. That means Boebert faced the prospect of having to vacate her seat to run or allowing another Republican to take over Buck’s seat, giving that individual the advantage of being an incumbent heading into Colorado’s primary.

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