NY Rep. Peter King Retiring, Giving Dems a New District to Target - NBC 7 San Diego
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NY Rep. Peter King Retiring, Giving Dems a New District to Target

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LI Residents React to Rep. Peter King's Retirement

    The decision by the congressman, who has served the Long Island area for nearly 28 years, came as a surprise to many of his constituents. Meanwhile, Democrats are already positioning themselves for a potential run to take the seat away from Republicans. NBC New York’s Greg Cergol reports.

    (Published Monday, Nov. 11, 2019)

    Rep. Peter King, a moderate Republican from New York, announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2020, citing more time to spend with his family.

    "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, who grew up in Queens, wrote in a Facebook post.

    The 75-year-old Republican says he intends to remain in Seaford and still be politically active. 

    King's district includes southwestern Suffolk County and a portion of Nassau County, about an hour's drive east of Manhattan.

    With King's retirement, Democrats seem certain to target the district in 2020. While the district went narrowly for Trump in 2016, many suburban districts around the country have been moving steadily toward Democrats as moderate, well-educated voters swing away from the polarizing president.

    King, a former chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, has cultivated a reputation for bipartisanship while maintaining a hard line on immigration and crime. He is the longest-serving Republican member of New York's congressional delegation. Still, he won reelection in 2018 by just 6 percentage points.

    Twenty House Republicans have announced they will not seek reelection. Three other GOP lawmakers have resigned and already left Congress.

    House Democrats retook the majority in 2018, and are looking to defend their majority and grab new seats in suburban districts in what they see as a backlash against Trump.

    Only a handful of the Republican-held districts being vacated by retirements are expected to be seriously competitive next year. But King's district will be one of them, underscoring GOP vulnerability in suburban areas, spotlighted last week as suburban voters in Virginia and Kentucky flocked to Democratic candidates in elections for state offices.

    King said he will complete his term in office and serve his Long Island constituents "all the way to the final bell of the final round on Dec. 31, 2020."

    The 14-term congressman took office in 1993 after serving 11 years as the Nassau County Comptroller.

    Before that, Rep. King had experience as a practicing attorney and civic leader. He began his political career in November 1977 by winning election to the Hempstead Town Council.

    NBC's Kiki Intarasuwan contributed reporting.