Longtime Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingBiden pays homage to Obama by rocking tan suit during birthday week Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly to host New York radio show Top GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee MORE (R-N.Y.) said Monday that he will not seek reelection, becoming the latest in a long line of GOP lawmakers to announce their retirement before the 2020 elections.
King said in a statement on Facebook 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."
"This was not an easy decision. But there is a season for everything and Rosemary and I decided that, especially since we are both in good health, it is time to have the flexibility to spend more time with our children and grandchildren," King said.
"My daughter’s recent move to North Carolina certainly accelerated my thinking," he added. His daughter, former Hempstead Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, resigned from office earlier this year and was replaced by another Republican in last week’s election.
King, 75, serves on the House Homeland Security and Financial Services committees. He was chairman of the Homeland Security Committee from 2005 to 2006 and again from 2011 to 2012.
A wave of House GOP retirements is creating headaches for party leaders and suggesting Republicans see little chance of winning back the chamber in 2020 after losing it last year.
So far, almost two dozen Republicans have announced this cycle that they are retiring from the lower chamber, resigning or running for other offices.
A handful of those departing lawmakers would have faced tough reelections in competitive districts, but a vast majority occupy safely conservative seats.
King, currently in his 14th term, endorsed President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE in 2016, the same year the congressman was reelected by a margin of more than 24 percentage points over his Democratic challenger.
But in 2018, when Democrats across the country flipped GOP seats, King faced a stronger challenge from his Democratic opponent Liuba Grechen Shirley. Shirley, who lost by approximately 6 percentage points to the longtime incumbent, said in a statement on Monday that she is "seriously considering" another run for Congress.
Before King's retirement, the Cook Political Report had rated New York’s 2nd Congressional District as “lean Republican” in the 2020 election. Trump won King's district by 9 points in 2016 while President Obama won it by more than four points in 2012.
In February, King was among the GOP lawmakers on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) “retirements to watch list” of potential targets ahead of the 2020 election cycle.
“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. Congressman Peter King’s retirement, from a heavily suburban Long Island district, underlines just how serious Republicans’ problems are in swing districts across this country," Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood One year later: A lesson Democrats confront rising retirements as difficult year ends MORE (D-Ill.), the chairwoman of the DCCC, said in a statement on Monday.
"New York’s 2nd Congressional District has been a pickup target of ours from day one of this cycle, and we will compete to win it in 2020," she added.
Democrat Jackie Gordon, who was challenging King in New York's second district, thanked the congressman in a tweet for his years of service, adding that she sees a "desperate need" for new leadership that will do more for constituents.
This District is in desperate need of new leadership and a representative who will do more for their constituents. Just as I served my country, I am ready to serve the people of Long Island in Washington. #NY02— Jackie Gordon (@VoteJackie4NY) November 11, 2019
The House Republicans’ campaign arm, meanwhile, called King a “political institution” in a tweet. The National Republican Congressional Committee added that his seat will remain in the GOP’s hands “thanks in no small part to the insane socialist agenda of Democrats in both Washington and Albany.”
.@RepPeteKing has been a political institution in Long Island politics for a generation and we wish him well. This will remain a Republican seat thanks in no small part to the insane socialist agenda of Democrats in both Washington and Albany. #NY02— NRCC (@NRCC) November 11, 2019
Rebecca Klar contributed to this report, which was last updated at 2:39 p.m.