Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) baited journalists this week into reporting on whether he’s seriously considering a 2016 presidential bid after his campaign said he’s being encouraged to run for the White House.
After all, the next presidential election is only 1,207 days away, as of this post.
If the 11-term, 69-year-old congressman put his money where his mouth is and declared his candidacy, the pugnacious long shot would be vying to become the second sitting member of the House of Representatives to become president after James Garfield in 1881, The Washington Post noted.
“While I’m nowhere near ready to declare my candidacy, I am concerned about the lack of a coherent national security and homeland security and counterterrorism policy by the Republican Party,” he wrote in an email to donors published by Politicker. “So, I won’t rule out a possible run.”
The email included a link to the right-leaning website Newsmax that first reported the story Wednesday.
That was two days after King sat in the front row in court to watch his friend, William Flanagan—the ex-second deputy Nassau County police commissioner appealing his misconduct and conspiracy conviction for a school burglary cover-up—be sentenced to 60 days in jail.
It wouldn’t be the first time that King has been publicly urged to run for president. Nassau Republican Party Chairman Joe Mondello floated the idea at a GOP dinner two years ago.
King, a former Homeland Security Committee chairman, previously drew national headlines upon holding a series of hearings on radicalization of Muslims in America—sparking sharp criticism from opponents who questioned his credentials on terrorism given his past support for the IRA.
A King presidential candidacy would require financial support from the National Republican Committee, which could prove difficult for the congressman after he told New York political donors to snub his party when Congressional GOPers stalled on passing Sandy aid for New York.
The New York Times reported that, at the very least, “talk of a presidential run will mobilize his financial supporters at a time when Democrats see Mr. King, a devout Catholic with conservative positions on a number of social issues, as increasingly vulnerable to a challenge in heavily Democratic New York.”
Of course, if King were to become the first president with an LI residence since Theodore Roosevelt more than a century ago, he would have to serve more than 200 days to outlast Garfield, the lone prior congressman-turned-president who was the second of four U.S. presidents to be assassinated.