Washington (CNN) – New York Rep. Peter King is headed to New Hampshire later this month on a trip that includes a meeting with a well-placed Republican operative and a speech to a group that aims to elect local Republicans.
King, whose name has been thrown around as a possible Republican candidate in 2016, told CNN in an interview that he is only traveling to the crucial primary state “as a national politician” and will not be “asking for anyone’s endorsement or for donations.”
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“Because my name got out there, groups have invited me to come speak,” he said on Friday. “Obviously, the more time I spend on the ground and the more time I spend talking to people, I will get a better idea of what people want for the party.”
King, a Republican from Long Island, will travel to the state on December 16. He will give two speeches – one to a group of state troopers and another at the Christmas Celebration for the New Hampshire Committee to Elect House Republicans.
King will also have lunch with Tom Raft, a New Hampshire political consultant who was close to Mitt Romney's 2012 Republican presidential campaign. The congressman described Raft as “a legend in New Hampshire politics who has been around for years.”
During the day, King said he plans on meeting with local media and talking to other Republican operatives in the state.
This is far from King’s first trip to New Hampshire. The congressman has visited the state a handful of times in 2013, including speaking to the New England Council's "Politics & Eggs" breakfast in October and delivering remarks at two GOP events in September.
King seemed to stoke presidential speculation in July when he told reporters that he was being urged to run for president by colleagues concerned about the party's direction on matters of national security.
The congressman said on Friday that he wouldn't make up his mind about a presidential run for “another year-and-a-half,” but said he understood how this latest trip to New Hampshire would further fuel speculation. In defense of the trip, King said he is “just taking advantage of an opportunity” to see what people outside of Washington think about politics and the Republican Party.