(CNN) – A lot of people have been floated as potential candidates for the 2016 presidential race.
But few expected Republican Rep. Peter King, a longtime congressman from Long Island, to submit his name to the possible crop of contenders.
In media interviews and in a fundraising email to supporters Thursday evening, King did just that, saying he's being nudged to consider a presidential bid because of his national security experience.
He's also concerned about the direction of the GOP on matters of foreign policy. His younger Republican colleagues and speculated 2016 contenders, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, hold national security views that are potentially "damaging" to the GOP, he said.
King, who's now in his 11th term, cited Michael Mukasey, former federal judge and U.S. attorney general under George W. Bush, and former California Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. as two Republicans supporting the idea of a 'King for President' campaign.
"While I'm nowhere near ready to declare my candidacy, I am concerned about the lack of a coherent national security and homeland security and counterterrorism policy by the Republican Party," he wrote in the email.
"So, I won't rule out a possible run," he added, including a link where supporters can donate to his congressional campaign.
Speaking to CBS News earlier, King said he hadn't formed an exploratory committee but is "looking at it."
"This all came very suddenly in the last week or so," he said.
The 69-year-old said Paul and Cruz, who tend to have more non-interventionist viewpoints on foreign policy, are looking at national security "from a very backwards point of view."
"Basically they seem more concerned about the CIA killing Americans having a cup of coffee in Starbucks than they are about us being attacked by Islamic terrorists," King said, referring to the recent drone debate spearheaded by Paul and Cruz.
"I don't want over the next year, 18 months, two years, for the Republican foreign policy debate to be dominated by people like Sen. Rand Paul," he added.
King, whose constituents were deeply affected by 9/11, has been known for his hardline view on Islamic extremism in the United States. He led a series of controversial hearings in 2011 on what he dubbed as the radicalization of Muslims within U.S. borders.
He held his chairmanship on the Homeland Security Committee in 2005-2006 and again in 2011-2012. He is now chair of the subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
If he decides to run, King has a strong homebase in New York for fundraising efforts. The state is known as a lucrative wellspring for those seeking campaign contributions.
King criticized some in the GOP for trying to tap into that wellspring earlier this year, including potential 2016 contender Sen. Marco Rubio. King blasted his fellow Republicans for trying to raise money in the state, despite initially voting against federal relief aid after Superstorm Sandy.
- CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.