It will be another three years before voters across the country choose the nation’s next president. But Rep. Peter King has already put the wheels in motion on a potential run for the White House.
Reports in recent weeks have connected the 11-term Republican congressman from Seaford with at least toying with the idea of a candidacy for president.
On Thursday, King seemed to be quite serious about a run.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Bridges Academy private school in West Islip, King said he is continuing conversations with national GOP officials about a possible run.
“I was approached by folks at the national level who spoke with me about making a run,” he said. “There is concern that some other possible (Republican) candidates don’t understand just how serious the terrorist threat is to this country. I’ve lived through 9/11 and don’t want to do so again.”
While he did not mention anyone specifically, King has been an outspoken critic of his fellow Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul has stated a need for the United States to eliminate foreign aid and has raised concern over possible government use of drones to attack Americans on American soil.
King previously labeled the latter a “non-issue.”
The congressman said he has spoken to GOP officials in numerous states across the country about his potential candidacy, and has been invited to speak at a “top event” to be held by Washington state’s Republican Party.
In addition, he spent this past weekend in New Hampshire and has plans to return for future speaking engagements with Republicans in the Granite State.
“I want to see if there is an audience out there and see if (running for president) is viable,” King said. “I need to do more events and get a grassroots effort going.”
In previous reports, King has said if he were to run, he would likely make an announcement in 2014, the same year he would turn 70.
If he were to run in 2016, King would be 72, one year younger than President Ronald Reagan was when he was re-elected to a second term in 1984. At 73, Reagan was the oldest person to be elected to the nation’s highest elected office.
But age is of no concern to King.
“I’m in pretty good shape,” he said through a wry smile. “I had a boxing match a few months ago and did pretty well.”