Vern Buchanan calls possibility he will resign ‘laughable and ridiculous’

The Longboat Key Republican said he wants Kevin McCarthy as Speaker and feels confident he will Chair Ways and Means.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is pushing back hard on a report he might resign from Congress if he loses a leadership race.

The Longboat Key lawmaker will be the senior-most Republican on the Ways and Means Committee when a new Congress opens on Jan. 3. He appears to be the front-runner for Chair of the powerful panel, but remains in a heated race with U.S. Reps. Adrian Smith of Nebraska and Jason Smith of Missouri.

“I’m committed to helping elect Kevin McCarthy Speaker and continue to work every day to earn the support of the Steering Committee to become the next Ways and Means Chairman,” Buchanan said.

A Punchbowl News report suggested Buchanan was considering resigning his seat in Congress if he loses the Ways and Means race, and could do so ahead of a vote on the next Speaker.

“A real risk here for McCarthy is if Buchanan loses Ways and Means, he could end up retiring before Jan. 3, according to GOP lawmakers,” the report reads. “That would mean House Republicans would hold 221 seats and McCarthy’s path to the speaker’s chair becomes even narrower. McCarthy allies are very concerned about Buchanan’s potential retirement.”

Buchanan said McCarthy’s team shouldn’t be worried.

“I was never contacted for that story, but the notion that I would consider resigning is laughable and ridiculous,” Buchanan said.

Sources close to Buchanan characterized the news blurb as a vicious rumor from Smith world.

The report comes as votes on contested Chairmanships remain unscheduled. While such races are normally held shortly after Midterm Elections, the GOP Steering Committee is not expected to vote on several Chair decisions until next week at the earliest. Uncontested contests for Chairmanships were officially determined in a Steering Committee vote this week.

Many attribute the delays to uncertainty around the Speaker’s race. While Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the lead candidate to become House Speaker, several members of the Republican caucus have said they do not intend to vote for the California Republican. With Republicans set to hold a thin majority in the House, every “no” vote within the caucus raises the prospect that McCarthy falls short of 218 votes needed for a majority.

Buchanan has stressed he will support McCarthy. The prospective Speaker joined the House in 2006 as part of the same freshman class as Buchanan. McCarthy has already repeatedly campaigned with Buchanan for his own re-election bid and to raise money for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Notably, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, is among a handful of House Republicans who said they will not support McCarthy as Speaker. U.S. Rep.-elect Anna Paulina Luna, a St. Petersburg Republican, tweeted this week a suggestion that there needs to be a change in GOP leadership.

Buchanan raised more than $4 million for national Republicans, more than any other House Republican not currently in leadership.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • PeterH

    December 8, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Republicans are positioning themselves to lead the House when they should be engaged in reforming immigration policies.

    Republicans whine about the Southern border….. but THEY are the only ones who can change immigration laws.

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