Special Elections Could Save Republicans’ Slim House Majority

Republicans’ majority in the House is narrower following Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-CO) recent announcement that he would soon depart Congress.

Upon Buck’s departure, Republicans will only hold a four-seat majority in the chamber, given the likelihood of a Democrat winning a special election at the end of April 2024, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Washington Examiner pointed out that Republicans could retain their slim majority in the House.

On Dec. 31, 2023, former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) left Congress less than three months after being ousted from the speakership by eight House Republicans and all Democrats. The ex-California congressman’s seat is rated “solid Republican” by the CookPoliticalReport.

Republicans are favored to win McCarthy’s old seat, with GOP Assemblyman Vince Fong being the favorite to win. A special election primary to fill the seat for the remainder of the 118th Congress will take place on March 19, 2024, while the general election will occur on May 21, 2024.

McCarthy’s departure from the House was followed by former Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), who exited the House on Jan. 21, 2024, after working in Congress for over a decade.

Johnson’s former seat, like McCarthy’s, is rated “solid Republican” by the CookPoliticalReport, meaning it is highly unlikely Democrats will fill the seat. A special election primary for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District is slated to take place on March 19, 2024, with the general election scheduled for June 11, 2024.

Buck had announced he would not seek reelection in November 2024. The ex-Colorado congressman resigned from Congress. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) recently announced that the state would conduct a special election “to align with Colorado’s primary on June 25.”

Buck made his decision to depart Congress, citing political dysfunction.
“It is the worst year of the nine years and three months that I’ve been in Congress and having talked to former members, it’s the worst year in 40,50 years to be in Congress,” Buck told CNN host Dana Bash.

Colorado law requires a special election to occur no less than 85 days or more than 100 days after a seat is left vacant. Given the requirements, it is likely the election will be held sometime in June 2024, according to the Washington Examiner.

House Republicans’ slim majority in the House could be retained, given the areas where the special elections will take place.

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