Reporting Steve Scott
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Rep. Peter King is leaving the door open for a possible presidential bid.
King represents a congressional district on Long Island. His national profile has soared as head of the House Homeland Security panel.
King says he’s taking a wait-and-see approach to a suggestion by a powerful hometown Republican that he run for president.
“I guess anything can happen but right now I’m just focusing on getting reelected to Congress,” King told 1010 WINS on Wednesday. “What happens with any presidential run right now that’s in the hands of the Nassau Republican Party and we’ll see where it goes.”
Joseph Mondello, the longtime chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee – once considered among the most powerful GOP organizations in the country – drew widespread applause from 1,100 fellow Long Island Republicans at a dinner Tuesday night when he suggested King consider a candidacy.
“It’s a great honor to be a favorite son of the Nassau County Republican organization,” King said.
Joseph Mondello says King doesn’t speak from a pollster’s cue card. He says King also understands the national debt and the war on terror.
“Should he decide to run I would have no difficulty whatsoever in supporting Peter King — a man of courage, character and integrity,” Mondello told 1010 WINS.
King, 67, held hearings earlier this year on what he termed the radicalization of homegrown Islamic terrorists in America. He is serving his 10th term in Congress and, despite being a favorite of conservative groups, has also worked to build bi-partisan relationships with political foes. He has easily won re-election from his suburban Long Island district.
He has become a leader in advocating for more anti-terrorism funding for New York City and noted he was having dinner with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat and Republican who is now an independent, when he learned of the county chairman’s comments Tuesday night. He also has supported Long Island Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy on some of her gun-control initiatives and was one of only two New York Republicans to vote against impeaching President Clinton.
King said his office receives 15 to 20 telephone calls or e-mails each week from constituents and others urging him to run for president.
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