Mike Johnson Stunned by Unexpected Departure That May Jeopardize Lauren Boebert’s Career

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Representative Ken Buck’s unexpected announcement to leave Congress has taken the Republican leadership by surprise, marking a significant moment in the political landscape. Buck, a Republican from Colorado, had previously indicated his plans to retire after a nine-year tenure but chose to expedite his departure, catching House Speaker Mike Johnson and others off guard.

This move adds to the growing list of GOP members who have chosen not to seek re-election or have resigned from the 118th Congress, a body characterized by its internal strife, power struggles, and divisive atmosphere. To date, 23 Republican lawmakers, including key committee chairs, have opted out, signaling a period of transition and turbulence within the party.

“No, he was blindsided, as was Steve Scalise, the No. 2 in the House leadership,” Martin said. “Ken Buck has not been happy for a long time. It kind of reflects the sort of radicalization of somebody in Ken Buck, who came to some level of prominence running as a Tea Party candidate in 2010, which feels like the ice age for the U.S. Senate, a political outsider who gets to the House, has done 10 years in the House.”

Buck has been vocal about his dissatisfaction, particularly with the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and the direction of certain legislative initiatives. His decision to leave sooner than anticipated further narrows the already slim majority held by the GOP in Congress. This delicate balance means that the Republicans can only afford to lose two votes on legislative matters without seeking support from Democratic members, complicating the party’s legislative agenda, according to the Colorado Sun.

The implications of Buck’s early exit extend into the political dynamics of Colorado, particularly affecting Representative Lauren Boebert’s ambitions. Boebert, initially representing the 3rd congressional district, had strategically moved to the 4th district following Buck’s retirement announcement, aiming to circumvent a challenging reelection battle against Democrat Adam Frisch. However, with Buck’s seat now prematurely vacated, a special election will be triggered, leaving the selection of nominees to the state’s Republican and Democratic parties.

“He has come to the conclusion, as quite a few folks have in the House at this point in time, that this place is not worth it anymore, and Buck realized that and decided not to run,” Martin said. “But he’s so frustrated now he says, ‘Take this job and shove it – I’m leaving next week.’ It’s an extreme version of where a lot of people are in the House. He just says it out loud.”

The situation poses a unique challenge for Boebert, known for her controversial stance on various issues. Should she decide to vie for Buck’s now-vacant seat, Colorado law mandates that she resign from her current position in the 3rd district, as it prohibits a candidate from running for more than one office simultaneously. Such a move would necessitate another special election for her previous seat, adding another layer of complexity to the political landscape in Colorado and within the Republican Party at a national level.

Buck’s early departure and its ripple effects underscore the ongoing challenges and shifts within the GOP, highlighting the intricate interplay of personal, local, and national politics. As the party navigates these turbulent waters, the decisions of individual members like Buck and Boebert will continue to shape the party’s trajectory and its ability to pursue its legislative and political objectives.

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