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Former mayor’s win in Colorado will pad House GOP’s thin majority

Lopez will fill Buck’s unexpired term but is not running for full term in November

Republican Greg Lopez won a special election in Colorado's 4th District to succeed Rep. Ken Buck, who resigned in March.
Republican Greg Lopez won a special election in Colorado's 4th District to succeed Rep. Ken Buck, who resigned in March. (AndyCross/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Republican Greg Lopez, a former mayor who twice sought the Republican nomination for governor, cruised to victory Tuesday in a special election in Colorado’s 4th District and will replace former Rep. Ken Buck, who resigned in March.

Lopez had 57 percent of the vote to Democrat Trisha Calvarese’s 36 percent when The Associated Press called the race at 9:32 p.m. Eastern time. Two third-party candidates were also running.

Lopez will serve the remainder of Buck’s term, which runs through Jan. 3. He did not run in the simultaneous primary Tuesday for the nomination for a full term. He raised only $40,000 through June 5 for the special election, according to the latest disclosure at the Federal Election Commission. That total included $5,000 contributions each from the leadership PACs of Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Rep. Tom Emmer, former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

A Texas native and an Air Force veteran, Lopez has served as mayor of Parker, Colo., and as Colorado district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, a post he left in 2014. In 2020, SBA alleged he had attempted to influence the agency’s handling of a loan guarantee to a personal friend. He agreed to pay $15,000 for violating conflict-of-interest rules.

A hard-line conservative, Lopez intends to join the Freedom Caucus and focus on issues related to immigration and the economy.

“I’m looking to bring some options and different angles on how we can solve the border crisis, as well as bringing attention to our national debt,” he said. “Those are the two topics that I’m focusing in on, because I am realistic on what I can achieve in six months.”

Lopez’s victory came the same night Republican Michael Rulli was sworn in to fill a vacant seat representing Ohio’s 6th District that he won in a special election on June 11. When Lopez is seated, Republicans will outnumber Democrats 220 to 213, with vacancies set to be filled in the heavily Democratic 10th District in New Jersey on Sept. 18 and the solidly Republican 8th District in Wisconsin on Nov. 5.

The 4th District in Colorado backed President Donald Trump over Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 18 percentage points in 2020, and the race for the seat in November is rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.

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