Newly nominated Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck clarified on Friday a statement he had more than a year ago in which he said he supported efforts to repeal the amendment allowing for the popular election of candidates like him to the United States Senate.
In a brief phone call to the Huffington Post, Buck said that he did not favor repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows the public, not state legislatures, to vote on who represents them in the Senate. As late as June 2009, Buck had held the opposite view, telling the Pikes Peak Economics Club, that the American public needed to be educated "about the populist nature of the 17th Amendment and how it has taken us down the wrong path."
"I don't know that we get [repeal] tomorrow, but I think we get there in the very near future when people understand just what a horrendous effect the 17th amendment has been on the federal government's spending."
Reached by phone on Friday afternoon, Buck explained that immediately after delivering those remarks, he rethought his position on the 17th Amendment debate. Since then, he stressed, he has been opposed to the notion of repeal.
"It is not a position I still hold and it wasn't a position I held a day later when I called back the guy who asked the question and talked to him about the issue and reflected more on it," Buck said. "It doesn't make sense to repeal the 17th amendment and I have said it a dozen of times."
The idea of repealing the 17th Amendment is a favorite among Tea Party goers in addition to being treated with credence by some of the GOP's intellectual heavyweights who see it as a way to shift the balance of power (or at least political oversight) back to state authorities.
Among office seekers, however, the irony of asking people to vote for you so that you could do away with -- a portion of -- the popular vote has been too obvious to brush aside. In backing away from his previous support, Buck joined several other GOP candidates who flirted with the notion of 17th Amendment repeal only to ultimately abandon it at a later date. The list includes Steve Stivers in Ohio, and Vaughn Ward, an Idaho Republican who lost his primary race to a more devoted 17th Amendment repealer. One candidate who has not moderated his support for the idea is, Mike Lee, the Utah Republican who appears to be a shoo-in for the Senate.