Colorado Republican joins crowded field vying for Rep. Ken Buck’s seat after surprising retirement

EXCLUSIVE: Another Colorado Republican is joining an already crowded field of contenders to replace Rep. Ken Buck in the House.

Jerry Sonnenberg, a rancher and former Colorado state senator, will announce his bid for the GOP nomination for the 4th District seat in Colorado. Four other Republicans and three Democrats have also declared their candidacy for Buck's seat.

"Rural Coloradans and hardworking families all across this district need a voice in Washington who understands our community, our principled conservative values, our way of life, and our unique challenges," Sonnenberg said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital.

Sonnenberg has deep ties in the solidly Republican rural Colorado district. He served on the Colorado Farm Bureau board of directors before being elected to the state House in 2006 – where he was the only farmer and rancher in the chamber – and was elected as a state senator in 2014.


"We need strong, conservative leadership in Congress to stand up and fight for people who've been left out of D.C.'s priorities. Whether you are a farmer or a rancher, a small business owner, a mom or dad raising your kids in suburban Colorado, or a young person making a life here, I will be your principled voice in D.C. because I've proven that I know how to stand up for our values and deliver results," Sonnenberg said.

Sonnenberg denied in September that he would consider challenging Buck for the GOP nomination. "I support Congressman Buck as he represents the 4th District in Colorado," he told The Hill, following reports that he may be considering a run for the seat. At the time, Buck himself said he would seek re-election.

Three candidates made moves to run for the seat before Buck even dropped out in early November. State Rep. Richard Holtorf, a former U.S. Army colonel and rancher, Navy veteran Trent Leisy, and candidate Justin Schreiber, all made moves to potentially challenge Buck in the GOP primary scheduled for June 25, 2024. Deborah Flora, a radio host and parental choice advocate, announced her bid just after Buck said he would not run again.

Sonnenberg enters the race with over a dozen endorsements from local leaders, including county commissioners, law enforcement and state legislators, who praised his knowledge of local issues and conservative values.


"Jerry is a true leader who has a servant’s heart. He is clearly the best choice to represent Congressional District 4," said former state Senate Minority Leader John Cooke in an endorsement.

Buck, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced his departure weeks after voting to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. First elected in 2014, Buck recently drew ire from members of the GOP for speaking against the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.