New York Rep. Peter King’s announcement that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election next year made him the latest longtime and incumbent Republican to flee Washington with his tail between his legs as Democrats continue to flip seats that have been red for years. King, a notoriously racist Congressman who saved the bulk of his hate for Black and brown people – especially Muslims – borrowed from the standard Republican template and said his decision was based on wanting to spend more time with his family.
The funny thing is, King, who was in his 27th term representing Long Island on Capitol Hill, in all likelihood would have been voted out in 2020, if recent voting across the country was any indication. That presumed loss would have given King, who once compared NFL players kneeling to giving a Nazi salute, plenty of time to spend with his family.
While King didn’t mention more about next year’s election, it can’t be ignored that he likely would have ended up facing off against Jackie Gordon, a Black Democrat and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who declared her candidacy for New York’s 2nd Congressional District back in May. According to Gordon’s official website, health care is among the main issues she is basing her campaign on. That was important to note because she supports Obamacare, which King has always vehemently opposed.
But it also can’t be ignored that Gordon is a Black woman candidate, an attribute that has proven decidedly victorious as part of the wide-sweeping “Blue wave” elections that began with the midterms last year. Black women have been called the backbone of the Democratic Party as its most dedicated and devoted voting bloc. With King’s decision against seeking re-election, the Democratic National Party could choose to throw some serious muscle behind Gordon’s campaign in order to flip King’s important and pivotal seat in Congress.
Gordon’s race would have undoubtedly been an issue for King if he was seeking re-election. Aside from King’s crude criticism of NFL players’ silent protests of police brutality against Black people, he also blamed and shamed Eric Garner for his own death that appeared to be caused by an illegal chokehold employed by the NYPD.
“If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, almost definitely he would not have died,” King said about Garner in 2016 after a grand jury declined to charge Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD cop seen on video choking Garner to death in 2014.
The overwhelming response to King’s announcement was greeted on social media with a collective “good riddance” that pushed King’s name to the top of Twitter trending topics on Monday morning. Many people were quick to point out King’s Islamophobia as a prime reason they were happy he was joining the Republican retirement party. King, after all, was the one who championed calls for nationwide surveillance of Muslims in America when he had glowing remarks for the NYPD program that profiled Muslims. He said in 2016 that the program that never produced any intended results was “very effective in stopping terrorism and really should be a model for the country.”
Years earlier, Keith Ellison, a Black man who was also the first Muslim elected to Congress, said he confronted King on the House floor over concerns of the New Yorker’s bigotry.
King, who pledged his undying support to Trump, has spread his racism to include Asians, too. Like the time he disparaged “Japs,” using a derogatory term for Japanese and Japanese American people. King later denied being “anti-Japanese or anti-Asian.” But like with the rest of his racism, the proof was already in the pudding.
Gordon, perhaps sensing a swing in momentum for her campaign, also took the high road when tweeting about King’s decision on Monday.
But then, just like that, Gordon was quickly back on her campaign grind, insisting on Twitter that Long Island needed “new leadership and a representative who will do more for their constituents. Just as I served my country, I am ready to serve the people of Long Island in Washington.”