New York representative Peter King will not seek a 15th term in Congress, the Republican announced on Monday.
“The prime reason for my decision was that after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford,” King wrote on Facebook.
King is now at least the 20th House Republican to not seek reelection in 2020. He told local New York outlet Pix11 that “to be part of history is more than I could’ve ever dreamed of.”
“I intend to still be a presence, still be a voice in New York and on Long Island, and again, I’m looking forward to it. Life has been very good to me, I never expected I’d be in Congress in the first place, and to have been there for 28 years, and to have been there during some of the stark moments, whether it was Clinton’s impeachment, whether it was the Irish peace process, whether it was 9/11, whether it was Superstorm Sandy, and so many other issues, certainly MS-13 here on Long Island, I’ve been involved in all of that,” he said.
King has served his Long Island district since 1993, most recently defeating Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley in 2018. The former head of the House Homeland Security committee has been hard on terrorism and crime over his career, but also is seen as a supporter of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.
Earlier this year, Democrats mentioned King’s district as a potential target in the coming election.
On Monday, the Congressman dismissed the notion that his decision was made out of fear of a potential Democratic challenger, saying that local elections this past week showed Republicans gaining ground on Long Island.
“If we had had real defeats on last Tuesday, it would have been tough walking out and leaving the party in bad shape. Right now, despite what is happening in suburbs around the country, the Republican Party did exceptionally well on Long Island, certainly in my part of Long Island that’s in my district, so I think Republicans should be the favorites in next year’s election on Long Island,” King said. “And nationwide, listen — there were so many seats that were so close last year, that if we do the right thing we can win those seats back and be back in the majority.”
King described “the right thing” for Republicans to do as being “strong” on law enforcement, foreign policy, and supporting the hardworking middle class. He also said he plans to vote against President Trump’s impeachment and will support him in 2020.
“I spoke with him yesterday, I had a good conversation with him yesterday,” King said. “. . . It’s basically to get ourselves focused. Sometimes, I think we get diverted. Listen, there is a certain bias against Republicans, but we can’t complain about that. We have to fight hard, we got to keep our message out there, and hopefully we can get it done.”