Oct 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Buck says next speaker must publicly support 2020 election results

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) in the Capitol on Oct. 10.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10. Photo: Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said he voted "present" during the GOP's internal speaker nomination poll because neither House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) nor Rep Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) would clearly say if they believe the 2020 election was legitimate.

Why it matters: Though Scalise ultimately won the Republican Party's nomination, he may fail to get the 217 votes needed to clinch the gavel if he can't win over holdout lawmakers like Buck.

  • Until a speaker is elected, the chamber will be at a standstill despite an upcoming government funding deadline in November and the war that erupted between Israel and Hamas over the weekend.
  • It took House Republicans 15 ballots in January to elect former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted in a historic vote last week by all House Democrats and eight Republicans, including Buck.

Catch up fast: On Tuesday night, House Republicans held a candidate forum for potential speakers, during which neither Scalise or Jordan answered his question on the legitimacy of the 2020 election, Buck told MSNBC.

What they're saying: Buck said he believes Scalise and Jordan could not publicly say the election was legitimate because they would pay a "political penalty" in doing so.

  • Along with not answering his question on the 2020 election, Buck said he is also concerned over Scalise's lack of details on the upcoming spending bill and his failure to commit to holding a vote funding for Ukraine.

The big picture: Buck said that during Wednesday's vote, Scalise received 113 votes and Jordan 99.

  • He said he and two other Republicans voted present, while eight votes were cast for other candidates.
  • Buck said he believes Scalise currently faces seven Republicans who are strongly opposed to his speakership, while seven others, including him, remain undecided.
  • It's now expected that Scalise will meet with all 14 representatives and attempt to win their vote.

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