Colorado 4th Congressional District: Rep. Ken Buck, Ike McCorkle

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democrat Ike McCorkle, left, and Republican Rep. Ken Buck.

Ken Buck – Republican – Incumbent

Republican Rep. Ken Buck has represented this Eastern Plains district since 2015 and is seeking his 5th term in office. 

He currently sits on the Judiciary Committee where he is a ranking member of the Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee. He also serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee where he sits on the Subcommittee on Asia, The Pacific, and Nonproliferation. He’s a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus and is a founding member of the new Freedom From Big Tech Caucus. 

Much of Buck’s recent legislative focus has been on tackling Big Tech antitrust issues, working across the aisle with fellow Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse. The pair also worked together to designate Camp Amache, which is located in Buck’s district, as a National Historic Site. A strict fiscal conservative, Buck has voted against the large coronavirus relief packages and other large spending and government funding bills.

While Buck did sign on to an amicus brief supporting Texas’ attempt to overturn election results in four key states, he did not join objections to the 2020 presidential election certification by the House, arguing Congress lacked the authority to disqualify electors sent from the states. During his time as head of the Republican Party in Colorado, he also defended the integrity of the state’s election system. He was also one of a few Republicans to speak up for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney when the party voted to move her as GOP conference chair last year.  

Buck recently said he is against expanding healthcare access to undocumented immigrants in Colorado with the “No Federal Tax Dollars for Illegal Aliens Health Insurance Act” which he co-sponsored with Colorado Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn. Buck often ardently disagrees with the state’s democratic delegation and their views on gun control. 

Buck graduated from Princeton University and earned a law degree from the University of Wyoming in 1985. Following law school, Buck worked for Congressman Dick Cheney on the Iran-Contra Investigation and went on to be a prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. Buck was elected Weld County District Attorney three times. 

Buck has about $543,000 cash on hand for the November election.

Ike McCorkle – Democrat – Challenger

The former Marine and single father is making a second run for Congress in this ruby-red district. McCorkle lost to Ken Buck in 2020, 36 percent to 60 percent. He says he is running again because “all Americans deserve representation that serves the people, not just the elite.”

McCorkle notes that in his 2020 election bid, he received tens of thousands more votes than past Democratic challengers to Buck. In 2022, his strategy is to target the unaffiliated voters in the more densely populated and suburban areas of the district – such as around Fort Collins, Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch. 

If elected, McCorkle says his first action item would include scheduling meetings with each local leader in his district: city and town council members, fire chiefs and sheriffs – to learn what they want to see done at the Congressional level. 

The candidate also says he would work to reestablish the expanded Child Tax Credit — a priority of fellow Colorado Democrat, Sen. Michael Bennet — and advocate for federal infrastructure dollars to come to the district because he wants to see a reinvestment in rural Colorado. McCorkle said he’d like to serve on the Armed Services Committee, although the district does not include any military bases. 

McCorkle describes himself as “an unapologetic environmentalist” and says climate change is a national security issue. His platform covers a range of issues, from transitioning the energy industry to clean renewable sources to boosting affordable housing, job training, and caring for veterans. 

McCorkle noted that since his last run, he has been working to introduce himself across party lines, by attending events, like Colorado Cattlemen's Associations Conventions, which typically draw more conservative crowds. He said he’s also tried to engage with fellow veterans in small rural areas all across the district. 

After serving in the United States Marine Corps for 18 years, McCorkle now lives in Parker with his four children. He completed four combat tours and was awarded a Purple Heart. He earned a B.A. in Military History from the University of Colorado in 2009. 

McCorkle has just under $200,000 cash on hand going into the fall election.

CPR’s Caitlyn Kim contributed to this report.