Ken Buck ponders an AG bid
The GOP lawmaker is waiting to see if Cynthia Coffman joins the race for guv.
WASHINGTON» Political dominoes are falling across Colorado, and the latest could have Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck run for state attorney general in 2018 if Cynthia Coffman, the current officeholder, decides to join the crowded race for governor.
Two Republican operatives said that Buck, a two-term lawmaker from Windsor, has begun to talk about the possibility, and he confirmed his interest in a brief phone interview.
“If she decides that she’s not going to seek (the) attorney general’s office, I would certainly keep my options open,” Buck said.
The scenario is far from remote. Coffman told The Denver Post earlier this week that she’s looking seriously at a gubernatorial bid and how she could win a Republican primary and a general election.
“I’m a data- and research-driven person, so I have folks who are looking at those things for me,” Coffman said.
For Buck, a run for attorney general would be well within his political wheelhouse.
Before he punched his ticket to Congress in 2014 — taking the place of now-U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District — Buck served as Weld County district attorney.
Buck said his tenure there helped cut the county’s crime rate, though it wasn’t without controversy. Buck raided a tax service in Greeley because he suspected the theft of Social Security numbers — a move later ruled unconstitutional by the Colorado Supreme Court.
Before his time in Weld County, Buck served as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice and a staffer to Dick Cheney, the Wyoming congressman and future vice president, during the Iran-Contra investigation.
His political career also includes a failed 2010 bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
Buck was widely criticized in the homestretch of that campaign — in what was otherwise a wave year for Republicans — for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism in an appearance with Bennet on “Meet the Press.”
Since coming to Capitol Hill, Buck has been a frequent critic of the way it runs.
That includes publishing a book this year called “Drain the Swamp,” in which Buck blasts Congress’ cronyism and fundraising culture.
He said Friday there’s an appeal to returning to work in Colorado and that he’s not the only one to
recognize it — citing the decisions of Democratic U.S. Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter to run for governor (though Perlmutter later would drop out).
“There’s a reason why Jared and Ed walked away from this job and are more interested in living in Colorado,” Buck said.
The race for attorney general has attracted a number of contenders, including Democrats such as state Rep. Joe Salazar; Phil Weiser, a former Obama administration official; Denver attorney Brad Levin; and prosecutor Michael Dougherty.