Surprise Departure Shrinks GOP Majority, Leaves Mike Johnson “Blindsided” and Puts Lauren Boebert’s Candidacy at Risk

Mike Johnson “blindsided” as abrupt departure shrinks GOP majority — and puts Lauren Boebert at risk

Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, has announced his resignation from Congress, surprising many with the suddenness of his decision. Buck made the announcement on social media, stating that he will step down at the end of next week, foregoing the remainder of his term. Previously, Buck had declared that he would not seek re-election, aligning with his decision to leave Congress early.

As a prominent member of the House Freedom Caucus, Buck has often found himself at odds with the more conservative factions of his party, notably the MAGA wing. He distinguished himself by being one of three Republicans to vote against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and criticizing the GOP’s efforts to impeach President Joe Biden.

With Buck’s departure, the Republican majority in the House will shrink to 218 seats, compared to the Democrats’ 213 seats. This leaves the GOP in a precarious position, unable to afford more than two defections on any party-line vote.

While Democrats are poised to gain a seat in the upcoming special election to replace Rep. Brian Higgins of New York, Republicans anticipate adding seats in subsequent special elections to fill vacancies left by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California and former Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio.

Lauren Boebert
Lauren Boebert (Credits: Newsweek)

The unexpected resignation has caught some within the Republican leadership off guard. House Speaker Mike Johnson and House GOP Leader Steve Scalise expressed surprise at Buck’s announcement, with Johnson admitting he was unaware of it beforehand.

The dwindling majority has raised concerns among Republican lawmakers, who recognize the challenges it poses for leadership. Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas and House Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole acknowledged the difficulty of navigating a narrower margin in Congress.

Buck’s departure also complicates the political landscape in Colorado, particularly for Rep. Lauren Boebert, who had been eyeing his seat. Boebert, who narrowly won re-election in her current district, had announced her candidacy for Buck’s district after he decided not to seek re-election.

However, with Buck’s early resignation, a committee of Colorado Republicans will need to select a nominee for the special election to complete his term. Boebert’s chances are now uncertain, as she may not be chosen as the nominee due to her lack of ties to the district.

The situation has prompted speculation and strategic maneuvering within the Republican Party. Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger highlighted the advantage Buck’s resignation gives to candidates other than Boebert in the special election. However, Boebert expressed concerns about potential confusion among voters and criticized Buck’s early departure as “swampy.”

In explaining his decision to leave Congress, Buck cited the dysfunction and lack of professionalism in the institution. He lamented the state of affairs in Congress, describing it as a year marked by bickering and inefficiency. Despite the challenges, Buck expressed a desire to pursue other opportunities outside of Congress, believing there is important work to be done elsewhere.

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