Colorado Republican Ken Buck ruled out a 2022 U.S. Senate bid on Thursday night, ending speculation that he may try to challenge Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet next year in a repeat of their face-off a decade ago.
The Windsor Republican announced his decision in a tweet, saying he has been “humbled by the interest and support” he has received ahead of a potential Senate bid. He did not provide a reason for why he decided not to challenge Bennet.
“I look forward to continuing to serve and represent the wonderful people of Colorado’s 4th District in Congress,” Buck tweeted.
Buck also recently announced he won’t be seeking a second two-year term as Colorado GOP chairman, a job he held simultaneously as he served as a congressman.
Buck was courted by national Republicans seeking a candidate to challenge Bennet in 2022. There are a dearth of GOP elected officials in Colorado, which had made Republicans anxious about who will run against Bennet next year.
Bennet will seek his third term in the Senate in 2022. He was first appointed to his seat in 2009 by former Gov. Bill Ritter.
Colorado’s electorate has increasingly moved to the left since Bennet first entered the Senate. No Republican running for statewide office secured more than 45% of the vote in the past two election cycles.
After Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper in November, the only Republican holding statewide office is Heidi Ganahl, a University of Colorado regent. Ganahl is seen as a likely candidate to run against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in 2022.
Several Republicans – including state Rep. Patrick Neville, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler – have expressed interest in running for Buck’s 4th Congressional District seat should he decide to step down.
Buck has held his 4th District seat since 2015.
Buck recently assigned some blame for the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol to President Donald Trump.
“I think there’s plenty of blame to go around,” Buck said during an appearance on KDVR-TV earlier this month. “The president deserves some of the blame. His language, obviously, got people fired up.”
Buck said he thinks the riot stems from years of political divisions in the U.S.
“I blame myself and I blame others in Congress for what happened,” he told KDVR. “The bottom line is we need to figure out a way to move forward and find ways to develop good policy without the kind of rhetoric and heat that has been developed.”
Colorado Sun editor Larry Ryckman contributed to this report.The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.