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Peter T. King (born April 5, 1944) is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of New Yorkmarker, currently the United States Congressman for the state's 3rd Congressional District. Along with Chris Lee, who represents New York's 26th congressional district, King is one of only two Republicans to represent the state of New York at the federal level. King was considered a possible candidate for United States Senate in 2010, but has decided to run again for his congressional seat.

Early life

King was born in Manhattanmarker and was raised in Sunnyside, Queensmarker. His family has strong Irish roots that trace back to County Galwaymarker and County Limerickmarker. His Irish upbringing played an instrumental role in King’s later involvement with the Irish peace process when he became a Member of Congress. His father, Peter, was an officer with the New York Police Department.

King graduated from St. Francis Collegemarker in Brooklynmarker in 1965 and went on to get his Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law Schoolmarker in 1968. King served in the Fighting 69th Infantry Regimentmarker for the New York National Guard from 1968 until he was honorably discharged in 1974. Upon graduating from law school, he worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office until Democrat Denis Dillon came to office in 1974 (like King, Dillon would later become a staunch conservative Republican and involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland).

Early political career

Peter King first ran for public office in 1977, when he ran for Hempstead Town Council in Hempstead, New Yorkmarker. He won the at-large seat with the backing of the then-powerful Nassau County Republican Machine run by Joseph Margiotta and then in 1981, he successfully ran for Nassau Countymarker Comptroller. He was successfully re-elected in 1985 and 1989. As Comptroller, he showed his zeal for independence, often criticizing the budget proposals of County Executives Francis Purcell and later County Executive Thomas Gulotta, both Republicans. In 1986, he ran a long-shot campaign for New York State Attorney General against popular incumbent Robert Abrams. King lost by a 2-1 margin.

Support of the IRA

In the 1980s, King frequently traveled to Northern Irelandmarker to meet with IRA members. In 1982, speaking at a pro-IRA rally in Nassau Countymarker, New Yorkmarker, King said: “We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.” He was branded by a judge in a Northern Ireland court “an obvious collaborator with the IRA”. He became involved with NORAID, an organization that the British, Irish and US governments accuse of financing IRA terrorist activities and providing them with weapons. He was banned from appearing on British TV for his pro IRA views and refusing to condemn IRA terrorism in the UK. "

In 2000, he called then-presidential candidate George W. Bush a tool of "anti-Catholic bigoted forces."

He stopped supporting the IRA after being offended by Irish public opposition to the invasion of Iraq, labelling it as begrudgery rather than suspicion of and opposition to the war.

In 2008, King spoke in defense of bail for a fugitive IRA member, convicted terrorist Pól Brennan, who had escaped from prison in the UK and been detained in Texasmarker 15 years later. The IRA member, who had broken out of prison during the Maze Prison escape and entered America illegally, was being held without bail after his work permit expired; King said: "My experience dealing with (Irish) republicans is that they don't jump bail in this country. They honor their commitments."

Years in Congress

King first came under the national spotlight during the Impeachment of Bill Clinton. King was one of few Republicans in the House to argue that the President should not be removed from office.

In 2000, King supported John McCain as the Republican nominee for President over Texas governor George W. Bush, even though Bush carried King’s home state of New York in the primaries. As a result, King was unpopular with the Bush administration until September 11, 2001. New York's Third Congressional District lost over 150 residents on 9/11, many of whom King knew personally. King worked extensively with the administration and supported its decision to invade Iraq.

In the time since, King has met with the White Housemarker as well as the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and held Congressional hearings on funding for the New York City Fire Department and first responder programs with witnesses such as Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Chief Ray Kelly in attendance.

Funding for New York has increased across the board in all major homeland security grant programs over the last two years, including a new program created with the intent of protecting the New York metropolitan area from radiological devices. In 2007, King helped restore $20M to the Securing the Cities program.

After House Appropriators attempted to cut the program in half, King introduced an amendment on the House floor restoring the program to its full $40M funding level. Transit security funding went up $97M since FY ’06 to $151M for the current fiscal year, along with port security being increased $17M from ’06 to ’08. In total, homeland security funding for New York has increased over $176 million since the funding cuts of 2006.

In February 2006, King was the first Republican to come out against the proposed Dubai Ports Worldmarker deal that would have transferred management of some American ports to DPW, a company owned by the United Arab Emiratesmarker. With the support of New York senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer as well as New Jerseymarker senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, the deal was suspended despite strong lobbying by former Long Islandmarker Congressmen Ray McGrath and Tom Downey to support the proposed deal. After DPW withdrew its name from the plan, King drafted the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act (SAFE Port). The bill was introduced and received overwhelming bipartisan support except from Congressmen Edward Markey (D-MAmarker) and Jeff Flake (R-AZmarker). Markey claimed that the Republican legislation was weak and did not help to prevent any future terrorist attack, which caused a yelling match between King and Markey to ensue during the floor debate of the bill.

The 3rd congressional district is made up of middle-class and upper middle-class communities in eastern Nassau Countymarker, such as Bellmoremarker, Hicksvillemarker, Levittownmarker, Massapequamarker, Massapequa Parkmarker, Farmingdalemarker, Seafordmarker, and Wantaghmarker, as well as some South Shore Suffolk Countymarker towns like Amityvillemarker, Copiaguemarker, Lindenhurstmarker, West Babylonmarker, Babylonmarker, and West Islipmarker. The district also includes the cities of Long Beachmarker and Glen Covemarker.

Committee assignments


When Democratic Congressman Robert Mrazek announced his short-lived candidacy for Senate against Republican incumbent Alphonse D'Amato in 1992, King ran for the now vacant 3rd Congressional District seat. Despite being outspent 5-to-1, King won 50% to 47%. From 1993-2008, he sometimes faced only token opposition, while in other races, he ran against those who could self-finance their campaigns. Yet, while King would be outspent in those races, he would win by double-digit margins. In 2006, originally Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg was going to run against King but when he dropped out two days after his announcement, fellow legislator Dave Mejias ran instead. While many pundits and Long Island’s local newspaper, Newsday, believed this race would be close due to dissatisfaction with Bush, King defeated Mejias 56 to 44%. King again sought re-election to Congress in 2008. The Democrats fielded 25-year-old newcomer Graham Long in a long-shot bid to defeat King. King won the 2008 election with 64% of the vote.

In the 2008 presidential election, King encouraged candidate John McCain to bring up the subject of William Ayers and Ayers' association with Barack Obama.

Possible 2010 Senate campaign

After briefly contemplating running for Governor of New York in 2010, King announced that he was seriously thinking of running for the U.S. Senate in a special election for the last two years of the term won in 2006 by Hillary Clinton, who had since been appointed Secretary of State. King had contemplated running for Senate in 2000 against Hillary Clinton, and even created an exploratory committee in 2003 to challenge Chuck Schumer. Both times he ended up deciding against them. King said there would be no primary with former New York Citymarker Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the latter would instead opt to throw his support behind King and possibly explore a gubernatorial bid.

When Kirsten Gillibrand, the congresswoman representing New York's 20th congressional district in the House, was appointed to fill the seat until the special election by Governor David Paterson, King said he would consider holding off on making a run for the seat: "If he appointed Caroline Kennedy, I was ready to file papers right away because she’s a superstar and you can’t let her build a head of steam – and she was totally unqualified in my perspective. With Kirsten, she’s entitled to be given an opportunity to build a record for the state." However, two days after the Gillibrand pick, King demanded Paterson justify his selection of the congresswoman, saying there were more qualified candidates.

Political positions

King opposes the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention campmarker. He opposed the 2009 economic stimulus package and the Lillie Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. He voted for the Wall Street bailout and he has been a vocal opponent of illegal immigration.

Despite his earlier refutations of George W. Bush, King later became a Bush supporter: "Look, we have not been attacked in seven years and it's not because of luck." Although he supported John McCain for president, King opposed McCain's 2007 effort to enact a path to citizenship for current illegal immigrants and also opposed McCain's calls for an end to torture methods used during terrorist suspect interrogations. Unlike McCain, King supports congressional earmarks. King has supported the Iraq War since 2002. The New York Times wrote that King was "the Patriot Act's most fervent fan."


Comments about mosques

In a September 2007 interview with the website, King said that "There are too many mosques in this country... There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them." A few days later, King said that he had been misquoted:

Comments about Michael Jackson

On July 5, 2009, shortly after the death of Michael Jackson, King made a video statement calling the late entertainer a "child molester". He also chided the media for its coverage of Jackson's death:

Due to the high-profile nature of Jackson's death, King's statement generated national media coverage and expressions of both criticism and support. In reaction to the controversy, King said he felt "an obligation to speak out. I believe I'm articulating the views of a great majority of the American people".

Personal life

King resides in Seaford with his wife, Rosemary, with whom he has two adult children and one grandson. King has two siblings, Kevin and Barbara. He is an author of three novels that are loosely based on his years in Congress: Terrible Beauty, Deliver Us From Evil, and Vale of Tears.

Electoral history

Third party candidates omitted, so percentages may not add up to 100%.

New York's 3rd U.S. Congressional District
Year Candidate Votes %
2006 Peter T. King (R) 101,787 56.04%
David Mejias (D) 79,843 43.95%
2004 Peter T. King (R) 171,259 62.96%
Blair Mathies (D) 100,737 37.03%
2002 Peter T. King (R) 121,537 71.88%
Stuart Finz (D) 46,022 27.22%
2000 Peter T. King (R) 143,126 59.52%
Dal LaMagna (D) 95,787 39.84%
1998 Peter T. King (R) 117,258 64.29%
Kevin Langberg (D) 63,628 34.88%
1996 Peter T. King (R) 127,972 55.29%
Dal LaMagna (D) 97,518 42.13%
1994 Peter T. King (R) 115,236 59.23%
Norma Grill (D) 77,774 39.98%
1992 Peter T. King (R) 124,727 49.56%
Steve Orlins (D) 116,915 46.46%

See also

1986 NYS Republican ticket


  1. Should Rep. Peter King replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate?
  3. Newsday, 4/10/83, Nassau Budget Watchers Begin to See Red
  13. CNN Early Edition interview, 2/21/2000
  15. City Gets $29 Million To Prevent Nuclear Attacks
  16. Newsday, 10/21/1992, Well Financed 1st Run For Congress
  17., 1998 Race Profile, 2000 Race Profile, 2002 Race Profile, 2004 Race Profile
  18. Newsday 9/19/1996, Tweezerman's Offbeat Campaign Makes Sense, Newsday, 9/28/2000, Candidates Seeking Comeback Campaigns
  20. Democrats take longshot against King
  21. New York Times 04/01/08
  24. Giuliani Senate run not happening, congressman says
  25. Peter King praises Gillibrand
  26. Rep. Peter King calls on Paterson to justify Senate pick
  27. "Rep. King: There are 'too many mosques in this country'". The Crypt's Blog -

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