Reintroducing Ken Buck: Tea Party Climate Change Denier Launches Second Campaign For Senate

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R)
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R)

Disgraced former prosecutor and unsuccessful 2010 Colorado Senate nominee Ken Buck (R) filed papers Wednesday to run against Sen. Mark Udall (D). Should he again win his party’s nomination, he will bring a record of unethical professional behavior, far-right views, and extreme comments to the race.

Here are seven things to everyone should know about Buck:

1. His career as a prosecutor did not go well. Back in 2000, Buck’s career as a federal prosecutor reached an abrupt end after he received an official letter of reprimand from the U.S. attorney for showing a “reckless disregard of [his] obligation to keep client information confidential.” Four years later, he was elected Weld County District Attorney, but in that role he refused to prosecute a man who was recorded admitting that he raped a woman. Buck later told the victim that “[i]t appears to me . . . that you invited him over to have sex with him.” In a 2010 debate, he again dismissed her allegations as “buyer’s remorse.”

2. He believes not wearing heels makes him qualified to be a Senator. Asked in his 2010 primary against former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton why a voter should back him, Buck responded, “Because I do not wear high heels.” He went on to explain, “She has questioned my manhood; I think it’s fair to respond. I have cowboy boots on. They have real bullshit on ’em. That’s Weld County bullshit, not Washington D.C. bullshit.” His opposition to women’s reproductive choice is absolute — he opposed abortion being legal even in cases of rape and incest.


3. He thinks people choose to be LGBT. In a 2010 debate, Buck falsely claimed that being gay is a choice and is like alcoholism: “I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice.” He opposed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal because he feared “distractions that are caused by allowing lifestyle choices to become part of the discussion.”

4. He is a climate-change denier. Rather than embracing the overwhelming scientific consensus, Buck embraced climate-denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Touring the state with the man he celebrated as “the most conservative senator in the U.S. Senate.,” Buck endorsed Inhofe’s senseless conspiracy theory: “Sen. Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated. The evidence just keeps supporting his view, and more and more people’s view, of what’s going on.” Buck warned that a cap-and-trade plan was “a huge threat to this country.” He opposed subsidies for renewable energy, noting, “I am opposed to government pushing forms of energy.”

5. He want more religion in government. Incorrectly claiming that it was not written in the U.S. Constitution, Buck told voters at a 2010 candidate forum, “I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state.” Repeating an Internet hoax, he lambasted President Obama for not having a Christmas tree at the White House.

6. He loves privatization. In 2010, Buck told a Pueblo, Co. Tea Party meeting that he believed a Veterans Administration hospital would be “better run” by the private sector than by the government. Though his campaign put out a statement saying that Buck didn’t actually want to privatize VA hospitals — which have been called “the highest quality healthcare in the country” — a month later he reiterated on Face the Nation “I think the private sector runs operations like hospitals better than the government, if we can reduce the deficit and increase the quality of care for veterans I’m in favor of doing something like that.” He also proposed a partial privatization of Social Security, though he denied that such a plan amounted to privatizing Social Security. He also said he believed the Department of Education was unconstitutional and should be eliminated — while blaming the department for an imaginary decline in the American education system.

7. He opposed comprehensive immigration reform. In 2010, Buck’s campaign website made clear that he opposed any path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. “Finally, we need to stand firm and say ‘no’ to amnesty,” he wrote. “Illegal immigrants must return to their country of origin to enter the United States with respect to our laws. This will ensure that immigrants receive the proper protections of law and not be forced into the shadows of our society.”

In 2012, Buck was part of the unsuccessful campaign against cannabis decriminalization in Colorado, warning, “Our brand will go from business-friendly and healthy to Rocky Mountain high.” He will face announced candidates Sens. Randy Baumgardner and Owen Hill in next year’s GOP primary.