Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 1, 2008
POLITICS: A New King In Albany?
The NY Times reports that Long Island Republican Peter King is considering a run to reclaim the scandal-tarred New York governorship for the GOP. It's early yet - King is up for re-election to the House, and won't make a formal decision until after the fall elections. The 63-year-old King may also wait to see how badly things continue to go with David Paterson (presumably Paterson, who King had warm words for before the nasty revelations started pouring out, will hang on to 2010, but if he were to resign, a special election would be held earlier), whether other GOP powerhouses like Rudy Giuliani elect to get in the race (reports have suggested that Rudy might be interested in a special election but not in 2010), and whether King's sometime ally John McCain wins the White House, thus potentially offering a chance at a job like the Homeland Security post (it's 11 years now since McCain sniped that "the only 'Republican' organization I have ever noticed Mr. King represent is the Irish Republican Army,"; those wounds healed long enough for King to be a vocal McCain backer in 2000, though he was equally outspoken in support of the Giuliani campaign this time around).
King is an eclectic sort of politician with a 'maverick' streak of his own, a pro-union Republican who is generally moderate on economic and spending issues but is a confirmed hawk on what his campaign ads bluntly called "the War on Islamic terror" (he made headlines in the past with broadsides against subversive mosques; more here), pro-life (he's Catholic), and an immigration hawk. Stylistically, his blunt, two-fisted-Irishman style is well-suited to New York's pugilistic politicals, and particularly to the always-dicey task of translating a downstate politician into support in the Rust Belt areas of upstate NY. And for now, King is talking a good game about getting the prostrate NY GOP off the canvas at a time when the state's Democrats ought to be on the ropes themselves:
He pointed, for example, to what he said had been the reluctance of state Republican leaders to call for Eliot Spitzer's resignation as governor immediately after federal authorities identified him as a client of an expensive prostitution operation.
"I just think that a lot of Republicans have become gun-shy," Mr. King said. "We have to be more outspoken. When Al D'Amato was there, he was outspoken. And when Rudy Giuliani was mayor, he was outspoken. We have to stop playing it safe."
I'm not the biggest King fan, but he's a serious guy who would be a strong candidate. This could end up being a race worth watching.