New York Rep. Peter King has confirmed he's really considering running for president in 2016. "It’s certainly something that I’m going to look at," King told Politicker's Colin Campbell on Thursday. That follows a report from the conservative site Newsmax, which said on Wednesday that a source close to King said he wouldn't rule out a run.
As Newsmax reported, the 11-term Republican said he'd like to campaign "on national security and defense issues." King has a long and interesting record on that issue. Starting in 2011, he held a series of controversial hearings on Muslim radicalization in America. (He also held hearings about the hearings.) And King has repeatedly called for prosecuting journalists who report on leaked national security information. In the 1990s, he was friendly with the IRA. But King tells Politicker that he's considering a 2016 campaign to counter the libertarian, and more isolationist, wing of the Republican Party:
"It bothers me. [Kentucky Senator] Rand Raul is talking about running for president—doing filibusters on drones... The image of the Republican Party is that we’re more concerned about Americans being killed by CIA attacks at Starbucks. We’re more serious than that."
King said his decision would depend on who else runs. But he's not the only northeastern Republican famous for yelling at people who's interested in 2016. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also fits that mold, and Christie already faces a problem in reaching out to conservative voters since he hugged President Obama after Hurricane Sandy. King scolded fellow Republicans who voted against sending aid to Sandy-affected areas. He even told New Yorkers to stop donating money to the GOP. But King's clearly thought about that. "If I ran, it’d be a different type of coalition than what’s there now," he said.