'It's Been A Great Run:' Rep. King Won't Seek Reelection

WCBS 880 Newsroom
November 11, 2019 - 12:46 pm
Peter King

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Long Island Rep. Peter King says he will not seek reelection in 2020.

King said while he's in good health, it's time to start a new chapter in his life.

"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 said in a statement posted to Facebook.

The 75-year-old Republican congressman, who has represented parts of Long Island since 1993 and currently represents the 2nd District of New York, said he and his wife decided "it is time to have the flexibility to spend more time with our children and grandchildren."

King delivered the news first to President Donald Trump in a 10-minute phone call on Sunday. The president asked King if he would reconsider, but in an interview on WCBS 880, the 14-term congressman says it is time to retire.

"I'm gonna stay in New York, but I just felt I needed more freedom of movement, not to be tied down and be able to spend more time with my family and grandchildren and it's just, there's a season for everything," King said.

King is one of 20 GOP House members to announce their retirement at the end of this Congress, but he says he didn't fear losing the election.

"I had over $1 million dollars in my campaign account, fundraising schedule, all of that, so, my polling showed I was in as good a shape as I've ever been," King said. 

Before leaving Congress, King says he intends to vote against President Trump's impeachment and will support the president's bid for a second term next year.

The former chair of the House Homeland Security Committee called his time in Congress "an extraordinary experience" and says it's been "a great run."

His daughter, Erin King Sweeney, was a Hempstead Town Councilwoman and had been considered one of the top choices for her father's seat before she moved to North Carolina where her husband took a new job. 

King is confident the seat will remain in Republican control.

"I think the fact that Republicans did so well in Nassau County this year especially in the part of Nassau County that's in my district is a very good harbinger of what's going to happen next year," King said.

As a moderate Republican, King enjoyed widespread support in the 2nd Congressional District until the 2018 midterm election, when he narrowly beat a relatively unknown democrat.

Hofstra University dean and former Newsday political columnist, Larry Levy, says King's exit sets the stage for a high-profile battle. 

"This now becomes a truly competitive, probably, winnable seat for the Democrats as the district along with most of Long Island is becoming more and more Democratic and an open seat will attract what we call top tier or A-list candidates and also very very big dollars," Levy said. "The country is going to be looking at this race."