Will Long Island Republican Peter King Switch Parties?
I don't expect Long Island Republican Peter King to ever switch parties. He's a committed conservative Republican, albeit a mainstream conservative, not some kind of Confederate neo-fascist who gets all his talking points from Hate Talk Radio, Fox and religionist charlatans the way most modern Republicans do these days. He's very much not like the other Republican Congressman King, Iowa sociopath Steven King.
His Nassau County base was once a white flight suburban area-- like when he was on the Hempstead Town Council in the late 1970s and then Nassau County Comptroller but that's a long time ago and Long Island is a lot more diverse-- and a lot more inclined to vote for Democrats. Redistricting has shifted the district considerably east and there are far more voters in the Suffolk County part than in the Nassau County part-- and they tend to be more Democratic and less committed to King. Because of Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 final results for NY-02 still aren't finalized, but Obama won the district in 2008 with 51%. And in November, Obama took both counties, which are split between several congressmen, handily-- Nassau with 53% and Suffolk with 51%.
King's career-long ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is 8.33 which shows he's one of the 3 dozen Republicans most likely to break with Boehner and Cantor on important votes. His score for the 113th so far is 75%-- the highest, by far, of any Republican... and more progressive than 41 Democrats including some running for higher office like Massachusetts Senate wannabe Stephen Lynch (50%). Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate (and New Dem) Allyson Schwartz (42.86%), chief New Dem Ron Kind (37.50%), as well as Vatican City would-be ambassador Dan Lipinski (50%). Yep, King hasn't been feeling any love towards his party this year, primarily, though not exclusively, because they screwed him on Hurricane Sandy aid and because Boehner took away his Homeland Security Committee chair and gave it to some dumb (rich) yahoo from Texas.
During the Hurricane Sandy dispute he urged New York donors to stop contributing money to Republicans and this week he doubled down when Marco Rubio announced he would be in New York City raising money for his presidential run. “It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you, now make us president?’... Rubio and these other Republican candidates are coming to New York to raise money. I don’t think any senator or congressman who voted against aid for Sandy should get one nickel from New York.” Plenty of New Yorkers agree-- though not the big-money plutocrats who the Rubios, Ryans and Rand Pauls are courting.
And on Thursday King lashed out at his side of the aisle again, this time in solidarity with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another non-Confederate Republican, who was excluded from CPAC. "If Republicans had any brains they'd stay away from CPAC," King said. "The thought that he's being penalized because he sought to get the aid for Sandy relief is disgraceful regional bias. To hold that out against him shows a narrow-minded bigotry from the party."
King warned that CPAC's decision is "very dangerous" for the Republican Party because it makes it "look like a narrow regional party."King has little to worry about politically. DCCC chairman Steve Israel, who occupies the district next door, has given him a free reelection pass and makes sure no plausible Democrat gets any support to run against him.
"That the conservative movement would reject Christie this way is worrisome," he said. "Unfortunately CPAC is defined as a part of the presidential campaign, for whatever reason. That's nonsense. CPAC is a small faction of the party, it's not representative of the party, and it's insanity to not invite Chris Christie, who's the most popular governor of the country."
The mid-March gathering of top conservatives will feature many top presidential aspirants, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).
The Long Island congressman also said any presidential aspirant who voted against the Sandy relief aid package because of "phony arguments about pork" shouldn't be president. That list includes Rubio, Ryan and Paul, though Rubio supported a bill that appropriated a smaller amount of money for Sandy relief.
"That should disqualify anybody for president," King said. "I don't care who they are, anyone who voted against it should not get money from the people of New York ... these guys want to run for president by screwing New York."