Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) says he will consider running for president in 2016.
“It’s certainly something that I’m going to look at,” King told Politicker. “It’s an opportunity to speak out on national security and defense issues.”
King is a regular presence on cable news and has held an important position as chairman of the House homeland security committee. He has also been outspoken in recent months as many House Republicans voted against emergency funding for the Northeast following Hurricane Sandy.
If he did run, things could get interesting — if for no other reason than his public feuding with some of the top 2016 GOP hopefuls.
King has had particularly harsh comments for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), after Rubio voted against the Sandy bill. King even urged New York donors to stop giving money to Rubio.
He has also criticized Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his position on drones, which King has vociferously defended as vital to national security.
“It bothers me," King told Politicker. "Rand Raul is talking about running for president, doing filibusters on drones. The image of the Republican Party is that we’re more concerned about Americans being killed by CIA attacks at Starbucks. We’re more serious than that.”
Running for president would, at the very least, provide King with a platform to press his opponents on issues of national security.
He appeared to acknowledge, in an interview with The Hill, that his campaign would be more about that platform than about actually winning.
"What I'm going to try to do is certainly use this as an opportunity to get my views out on national defense and foreign policy," he said.
Even as King is among the more high-profile members of the House, the chamber rarely serves as a springboard for presidential candidates.
Recent examples include former congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Thadddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). In 2008, there were Paul and now-former congressmen Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.).
Most of these candidates were long shots with limited appeal outside a very particular constituency, though, and King would likely be regarded as a more serious candidate -- if not a top-tier one.
Only one president has ever been elected as a sitting member of the House: James Garfield.