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Politics and Government

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck says he will seek reelection, dispelling speculation to the contrary

Buck, a Windsor Republican who is in his third term, also is chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. Potential GOP successors -- like George Brauchler and Jerry Sonnenberg -- started to line up campaigns to replace him.

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U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, speaks with a constituent. (Handout)

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck will seek reelection to his congressional seat next year, the Windsor Republican said Wednesday, dispelling any speculation that he was planning to give up the seat. 

“I have been running for this position and I will continue to,” Buck, who is in his third term, told The Colorado Sun.

The confirmation comes as several high-profile members of the Republican Party were considering campaigns for Buck’s 4th Congressional District seat if he decided not to run for another term. The potential contenders included 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, who fell short in his 2018 bid to become Colorado attorney general, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling and state House GOP leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock.

“I support Ken in whatever direction he chooses to go,” said Sonnenberg, who had gone as far as to form a team in case Buck stepped aside. “With that said, I am prepared to utilize my experience and leadership as a candidate in the 4th CD when he chooses to no longer serve in Congress.”

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Buck also serves as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, and his dual roles have raised questions about there being too much on his plate.

The seat, which includes all of Colorado’s Eastern Plains, is deeply Republican and not expected to fall out of GOP hands.

“There are always times when you wonder whether it would be a lot more fun to spend time with grandkids and do other things,” Buck said. But, he said, he has never stopped campaigning for reelection and he never indicated otherwise publicly. 

“I’m running until I’m not running,” Buck said.

In June, Buck was rushed to the hospital after experiencing chest pain during a congressional baseball team practice. He said his health has improved since then.

“I’m doing great,” said Buck, who is Weld County’s former district attorney. “I’m doing my congressional job, doing my state party job. I’m writing a book. I’m plenty busy.”

His two jobs continue to create conflict. A Republican activist began collecting signatures last month at the Colorado Republican Party’s organizational meeting in an effort to oust Buck from his job as chairman.

Ken Buck, second from left, the newly elected state Republican Party chairman, poses with Vera Ortegon, middle, and George Leing, right, after winning the election March 30, 2019. (John Frank, The Colorado Sun

Peg Cage, the immediate past chairwoman of the Boulder County Republican Party, told The Sun that she feels Buck is spending too much time working in Washington as a congressman and not enough time doing his job as state chairman, fundraising, recruiting candidates and serving as the GOP’s public voice.

“He’s demonstrated no leadership toward that objective goal of taking back the state,” she said. “He’s not doing the job.”

At the party’s central committee meeting last month, Cage distributed forms seeking written consent from members of the governing body to force his removal. She needs to convince a majority of the roughly 450 members to force the issue. She declined to say how many she’s received, but added: “We have a long way to go, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Buck said he wasn’t aware of Cage’s effort and that he’s planning to continue his work as chairman ahead of what he forecasts to be a good 2020 election cycle for Colorado Republicans.

Buck won the party’s leadership post in a close vote in April. Cage supported one of Buck’s opponents, state Rep. Susan Beckman, in the chairman’s race.

Staff writer John Frank contributed to this report.

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