Ridding New York of its GOP Congressmen
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Jun 17, 2009 at 03:40:44 AM EDT
Following the 2008 elections, just three of New York state's 29-Member delegation to the House of Representatives were Republican. With the President's appointment of John McHugh to serve as the Secretary of the Army, the list of New York Republicans in the House was headed towards just two -- Pete King and freshman Chris Lee. But apparently that wasn't enough for the Obama White House, which according to the New York Daily News made a serious effort to get Congressman King to leave the House and join the administration.
The White House dangled the ambassadorship to Ireland in front of GOP Rep. Pete King, even before that coveted post went to the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Daily News has learned.
King (R-L.I.) chose to remain in Congress despite the Democrats' desire to wipe out all the Republican members of Congress in the Northeast.
"I'm shocked [King] didn't pursue it," said an inside source. "He loves Ireland almost as much as he loves the U.S."
King, who embraces his Irish roots, was a key player in peace talks between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland during the Clinton administration.
King represents one of the very few congressional districrs in New York state that Barack Obama did not carry in 2008 -- John McCain won in the Long Island-based third district by a 52 percent to 47 percent margin -- so a Democratic special election victory would not have been assured had King opted to accept the offer from the Obama White House. That said, Republicans could have ill afforded yet another open seat race, particularly one in which they were forced to play defense in a blue state, considering that they are miles away from getting back to the majority in the House any time soon. So in that regard, at least, they did catch a break. Then again, even without King saying yes to the White House, President Obama gets to once again burnish his bipartisan credentials for having invited a Republican to join his administration, so in the overall zero-sum game of politics this isn't really a win for the opposition.