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Ken Buck's Sudden Retirement Could Complicate Lauren Boebert's Reelection

WASHINGTON ― Rep. Ken Buck’s decision to leave Congress next week could make it more difficult for fellow Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert to remain next year.

Buck had already said he would retire after his current term, then announced Tuesday that he would step down early, triggering a special election to replace him in June.

Boebert was already gunning for Buck’s seat in Colorado’s fourth district, having barely won reelection in Colorado’s less conservative third district in 2022. Now, whoever wins the special will likely try to hold onto Buck’s old seat — with the advantage of incumbency — rather than running in a wide-open race.

Buck is a conservative with an independent streak who has sometimes defied his party, such as by criticizing election denialism and the impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden. His decision to retire early will make the slim GOP House majority even slimmer, intensifying headaches for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

The Republican primary for Buck’s seat ― the contest Boebert had already entered alongside several other Republicans ― will be June 25. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said Tuesday that the special election for filling Buck’s seat for the rest of the year will be the same day as the primary, saving the state money on running two separate elections.

“One of the reasons I chose this time was because I didn’t want them to have to have a special election with all the cost,” Buck told HuffPost on Wednesday of his retirement. “So this way, they can run it at the same time as the primary.”

Several political commentators have speculated Buck’s decision was an intentional effort to spoil Boebert’s campaign plans.

“By resigning early, Ken Buck is giving an advantage to anyone but Lauren Boebert,” former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said on social media. “She cannot run in the special election since she already occupies a seat, so another person will be elected to serve out the term, and it won’t be Lauren.”

But Buck said Wednesday he wasn’t sure what effect his decision would have on the wacky, attention-seeking House sophomore’s reelection bid.

“You’ll have to ask her,” he said. “I don’t really know.”

Boebert announced her switch to Colorado’s 4th district in December, claiming “dark money” was out to get her after Democratic challenger Adam Frisch came within 500 votes of defeating her in 2022. Frisch said Boebert provided “angertainment” rather than political leadership.

Boebert said Wednesday that she will stick with her plans to run in the primary for CO-4 and not jump into the special election.

“I’m gonna win the primary and the general,” Boebert told HuffPost.

As for Buck, she called his decision to retire “weak sauce.”

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