House GOP freshman president survives threat

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Rep. Ken Buck’s position as president of the House GOP’s freshman class is safe — at least for now.

House GOP freshmen have decided not to oust the Colorado Republican as their class president, said lawmakers leaving a hastily called emergency meeting Thursday morning.

{mosads}Buck had been warned by colleagues earlier this week that opponents had the votes to remove him from his post. And Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), the freshman liaison to leadership, issued a statement a day earlier saying the meeting would focus on the “direction of future leadership.”

But apparently the message had been sent to Buck, and his colleagues decided not to pull the trigger. 

“At the meeting’s conclusion, we believe we sufficiently addressed these concerns with Ken and look forward to working together moving forward,” said Walters.

“The only person who ever suggested this meeting was to remove Ken as our class President was Ken himself,” Walters added.

Buck appeared to try to fundraise off the controversy on Wednesday, as his campaign Twitter account declared, “Bring it on.”

“I highly doubt” he will be removed, freshman Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said as he exited the meeting. 

“We had a good conversation,” he continued. “We resolved many of our differences and everyone had an opinion to share what they like, what they don’t like, their frustrations, their joys, and I don’t foresee that we’ll have a problem.”

The meeting followed moves by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his allies to retaliate against several of the 34 conservatives who this month bucked leadership and voted against a procedural motion that nearly killed a critical trade package.

Buck was among those who voted no, and many in the Capitol suspected the effort to unseat Buck was part of Boehner’s political payback. 

Freshmen said the trade vote was a “small part” of the discussion but that the complaints about Buck were much broader.

The larger issues were “we haven’t met enough, we haven’t gotten to know each other enough, we’re not communicating enough. That’s what it boils down to,” Curbelo added.

“He listened to everyone, and he acknowledged everyone’s concerns.”   

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