Rep. King: 'I'm serious' about considering a White House run
New York Rep. Peter King may be serious about looking into running for president, but so far, he hasn't done anything to prove that.
"This is not a game I'm playing, I'm serious," King told The Hill after spending the earlier part of this week in New Hampshire meeting with voters.
King said he's headed back to the first-in-the-nation primary state for the first two weekends in September to continue testing the waters, but that his final decision won't likely come before early 2015.
"I'm serious about looking at it and we'll see where it goes from there," he said. "I have no intention of being there just for the sake of being there, so if I think there's any real chance and support, then we'll move forward."
The 11-term lawmaker has yet to hire any campaign staff, conduct any polling, or extensively reach out to major donors, however, which has given GOP insiders pause as they wonder whether King is really serious about vying for the presidency in 2016.
"The congressman is a classic definition of a long-shot primary candidate up here if he decides to run, there's no question about that," said Jim Merrill, who led Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign in New Hampshire.
"That's not to say that he can't contribute meaningfully to the debate but it'll certainly be a challenge for him."
King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the highly secretive Intelligence panel, has become a leading voice on television news shows espousing his views on the issue of national security and criticizing the Obama administration.
The issue has become his central platform and initial message to voters, as he tries to guide his party away from the libertarian foreign policy and defense positions held by other potential GOP presidential candidates, such as Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).
"This has nothing to do with Rand Paul personally, but I definitely want to keep the party from going the route of what I call the 'Rand Paul isolationist wing' of the party," King said.
Is there room in the campaign for two northeastern moderate Republicans? That would be the result if Chris Christie also jumped in the race. Splitting the RINO vote - at least in the early primaries - would be a godsend to conservatives, especially if Rand Paul picks up where his father left off. The Ron Paul campaign in 2012 did very well in caucus states like Iowa and Rand Paul's libertarianism might play very well in New Hampshire. Splitting the moderate or establishment vote could propel one conservative - Paul, Cruz, or even Paul Ryan - to an early lead.
It's hard to see that far into the future, but national security hasn't been a big campaign issue since 2004 when America was involved in two wars and 9/11 was still an open wound. It probably won't be a big issue this time around either.