Rep. Peter King weighing run for the White House in 2016
By Joseph Straw / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Rep. Peter King of Long Island may be considered a moderate in some circles, opposing abortion but supporting new gun laws and breaking with many rank-and-file Republicans.
They said the party needs a candidate with a strong background in national security — a credential that two of the GOP’s potential 2016 candidates, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, do not have.
King has chaired the House Committee on Homeland Security.
“My concern is that there’s no Republican speaking out on national security from a national security standpoint. Rand Paul is talking about the CIA killing people in Starbucks with drones,” King said, referencing Paul’s doomsday scenario of uninhibited government power.
The obstacles to a King candidacy would be enormous.
Although King opposes abortion, sharing a view embraced by GOP primary voters, he supports new gun controls, breaking with many rank-and-file Republicans. And his successful push for $60 billion in Hurricane Sandy aid for storm-battered states put him at odds with most House Republicans.
King brushed off the idea of that his positions might make it hard to sell his candidacy to the conservative Republicans who turn out for the party’s presidential primaries. Instead, he said he could help the GOP win back moderate “Reagan Democrats.”
“Right now we’re giving up too many votes by antagonizing people like carpenters, engineers, cops and firefighters,” King said. “These people need to be part of the Republican conversation, and I’ve shown that I can appeal to them.”
Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia noted that King is “well-known, at least to the political community, and he’s clearly associated with terrorism and national security issues. Those are all pluses.”
But no incumbent House member has become President since James Garfield, in 1880.
“Politicians often float trial balloons with no real intention of following through,” Sabato said. “This may be one of those cases.”
Late Thursday, King sent supporters an email that said “my name has been floated as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.”
“I’m nowhere near ready to declare my candidacy,” King wrote, but he added that he was “concerned” about his party’s positions on security and counterterrorism.
The email ended with a link to make donations to King’s congressional campaign.
Original post: Rep. Peter King weighing run for the White House in 2016