Ken Buck one of multiple Republicans receiving death threats for voting against Rep. Jim Jordan as House Speaker

Ken Buck
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., folowed by reporters arrives to the Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Updated at 5:24 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.

Republicans who voted against Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan as House Speaker have reported receiving threats stemming from a pressure campaign and some hardball tactics led by his supporters and right-wing media. And that includes one from Colorado.

Rep. Ken Buck told NBC News, “So far, I’ve had four death threats.” His office has also received a barrage of phone calls, to the point that there are 20,000 voicemails they haven’t been able to get to.

His office said per policy, threatening calls are reported to authorities immediately to be investigated.

Buck added he was also served an eviction notice at one of his state offices because “the landlord is mad with my voting record on the Speaker issue.” 

Buck’s office confirmed that the landlord of his Windsor office has chosen “to terminate the lease.” 

CPR has not spoken to the building’s owner.

Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks told CNN she received “credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls,” while the wife of Rep. Don Bacon received threatening anonymous texts because they did not vote for Jordan.

Wednesday night, Jordan condemned the threats, urging anyone making them to stop. “We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we come together.”

Buck’s ongoing opposition to Jordan’s Speaker bid has already mobilized some in Colorado’s Republican Party.

Former gubernatorial candidate Heidi Gahanl tweeted out Buck’s office number, urging people to call. The state GOP sent out a letter to members saying it “wholeheartedly supports” Jordan for Speaker. The message concluded with the postscript “You are welcomed and encouraged to let your voices be heard” and the numbers of all three Republican congress members. Both Reps. Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert support Jordan’s bid.

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said threats would not work with the group of holdouts and that Jordan’s supporters “didn’t read the room very well.” 

Buck reiterated he would not support Jordan in a future vote. 

The House Republican caucus remains at an impasse. Jordan met with several of the holdouts Thursday evening, but no one indicated they were going to change their position.

In an effort to break the stalemate in the House Republican conference, Jordan backed the idea of empowering acting speaker Patrick McHenry for a limited amount of time. But that proposal was shot down after a tense, hours-long meeting of the conference. 

The resolution would have allowed McHenry to move legislation on the floor for a limited time, lifting the paralysis that has afflicted the chamber since Kevin McCarthy was ousted on October 3. It could also buy time for Jordan to win over detractors.

“The U.S. House of Representatives is paralyzed without having a fully empowered Speaker,” said Lamborn in a statement. He voted for Jordan but added, “to keep things moving forward, we should also give Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry the power and authority to fully operate as Speaker and pass a necessary Israel aid package.”

On Thursday, some of Colorado’s Democratic members indicated an openness to the idea. However, the idea went over like a lead balloon with many in the far right of the caucus.

Boebert wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, Thursday, “I will not sit back and watch a complete betrayal of the GOP base with this ‘plan’ that’s being discussed.”

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks was even more blunt in his description of the idea, calling it “the biggest F-U to Republican voters.” The chair of the House Freedom Caucus Scott Perry said, “It sets a bad precedent.”

Majority Leader Steve Scalise and GOP Whip Tom Emmer also came out against the plan.

It means any such resolution would have to pass with the help of Democrats, something Republicans are loath to pursue at this time.

Jordan left the meeting saying that the resolution would not come to the floor now, rather he would meet with the holdouts who have denied him the speakership and that he plans to continue his campaign for the gavel, go to the floor, get the votes, and “win this race.”

But he continues to face a very steep climb; 22 of his Republican colleagues didn’t vote for him, based on the last Speaker vote, and any candidate can only afford to lose four votes.

The next Speaker vote could happen as early as 8 a.m. (MST) on Friday.