August 31st, 2009
02:27 PM ET
9 years ago

King not taking on Gillibrand

King denied a Senate bid.

King denied a Senate bid.

(CNN) - Peter King made it official Monday.

The Republican congressman from New York State announced that he won't take on Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand next year when the appointed senator runs for the final two years of Hillary Clinton's term.

After Clinton announced that she would step down from her seat to become secretary of state, King - the last remanning GOP congressman from Long Island, a former Republican bastion - hinted that he might make a bid for statewide office. But in recent months, most political observers wrote off any actual run by King.

King says it came down to money.

"The reality is that a statewide Democratic candidate starts the race with a voter registration edge of almost 3 million. To overcome such a large margin, there would have to be intensive media coverage of the race and I would need to raise at least $30 million," said King in a statement.

He added that he would have made a bid for the Senate if New York Governor David Paterson had named Caroline Kennedy to Clinton's seat rather than Gillibrand.

"Her candidacy would have generated the media coverage and financial contributions necessary for me to run a competitive race," said King.
"That race was not to be. Senator Gillibrand generates neither strong support nor opposition. This makes it virtually impossible for me to raise the campaign funds I would need to overcome the built-in Democratic registration advantage and the countless millions of dollars which the Democrats will make available to Senator Gillibrand."

King is one of just three New York Republicans in Congress, one of whom - upstate Rep. John McHugh - plans to step down to serve as secretary of the army in the Obama administration.

–CNN Congressional producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report

Filed under: Kirsten Gillibrand • Peter King
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. I can see Canada from my house!

    The state GOP has been mired in corruption for years, with links to moral lepers like Roy Cohn. The Democrats are no prize either, but the thesis that King represents the last of dying breed, the white blue collar workers in NY, is an over-simplification. NY has always been diverse, and more accepting than other states precisely because we butt heads and we are forced to get along. When the GOP decided to hitch its wagon to a conservative star, that effectively doomed the GOP here. The insistance on a far-right ideology created a vacuum that Gillibrand, Maffei, and other new Democratic leaders just walked into and will be impossible to get off for at least a generation. When I hear rural GOPers who were affirmed Hillary-haters singing the praises of Obama, you know things have changed here. The GOP offers nothing to anyone here.

    August 31, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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