Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., a 14-term congressman and former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, says he is retiring, becoming the 20th House Republican to decline to seek reelection next year.
In a Facebook post Monday, King, 75, one of the more moderate members of the GOP caucus, said he made the decision after “much discussion” with his wife and children.
“The prime reason for my decision was that 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. “This was not an easy decision.”
King represents a South Shore Long Island district that includes parts of Nassau County and Suffolk County. He won reelection in 2018 with 53% of the vote over Democrat Liuba Grechen Shirley — his lowest percentage since first being elected in 1992.
In a statement, Shirley said she was “seriously considering” another run for Congress.
“As a mother, grassroots activist, and national childcare advocate, I know how much is at stake in the upcoming elections,” she said.
In his statement, King said that he plans to remain politically active and that he looks forward “to seeing what opportunities and challenges await me in this next chapter of a very fortunate life.”
“Politically I will miss the energy and dynamism of a reelection campaign especially since my polling numbers are as strong as they have ever been and I have more than $1 million in campaign funds,” King said.
King joins a growing number of Republican members of Congress who have announced retirements, resigned or said they will seek another office next year.
Before his announcement, 19 House Republicans had said they would not seek reelection, according to a tally by the House Press Gallery. By comparison, eight Democrats have announced they will not seek reelection.
Statement from Liuba Grechen Shirley: “I wish Peter King well in his upcoming retirement after 28 years serving Long Island. As a mother, grassroots activist, and national childcare advocate, I know how much is at stake in the upcoming elections. The issues I focused my campaign on last year-from paid family leave and affordable healthcare to climate change and a woman’s right to choose-are still very much at the forefront of today’s political debate. I’ve heard from many encouraging supporters across the district, and with so much on the line for our community, I am seriously considering another run for Congress.”
Those praising King’s service on Monday included both Republicans and Democrats.
“Peter King stood head & shoulders above everyone else,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a tweet. “He’s been principled & never let others push him away from his principles. He’s fiercely loved America, Long Island, and his Irish heritage and left a lasting mark on all 3.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement that King’s retirement “underlines just how serious Republicans’ problems are in swing districts across this country.”
“Republicans know their toxic health care repeal agenda and wholesale embrace of President Trump’s recklessness will guarantee they remain in the minority for years to come,” Bustos said, adding that Democrats will seek to take King’s seat next year.