Seeking to unify anti-tea party forces, Rep. Peter King today will form a new political action committee, “American Leadership PAC,” to promote an alternative to staunch conservative Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-K.Y., he told ABC News in an interview.
“I want to create a presence for those like myself who feel Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are out of touch with the American people,” King, R-N.Y, said. “This is highlighted by the government shutdown, which was one of the worst political disasters we’ve ever had.”
“It’s basically to meet Republicans and find others who share my views,” said King, who refers to Republicans of his ilk as “blue collar conservatives.”
King, 69, also told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the PAC is “going to be a vehicle to enable me to help build a stronger Republican Party and work with Republicans that I feel I have more in common with.”
Cruz’s communications director, Sean Rushton, told ABC News, “Senator Cruz remains focused on making Washington listen by protecting working people from Obamacare and getting the economy growing again. Americans don’t care about bickering from D.C. politicians.”
Paul’s office declined to comment.
King has said that he is looking into and considering a run for the presidency in 2016. He will travel to New Hampshire, historically the first state to hold its presidential primaries, to unveil the new PAC. The PAC will be operated out of neighboring Boston, Mass., Newsday reported Friday.
King told ABC News today that the choice of New Hampshire was no accident.
“A lot of debate will be there; much more of an audience is focused on New Hampshire because of the unique role it has,” King said. “In New Hampshire, the debate is carried nationwide.”
King, who said he will also be speaking at a fundraiser for New Hampshire state representatives and meeting with local political leaders, made clear his disdain for the tea party and its champions in the Senate.
“I believe we need candidates who are not isolationists, who believe in a strong national defense, who don’t believe in shutting down the government,” King told ABC News.
Whether King decides to make a run for the White House in 2016, he undoubtedly wants his influence to permeate throughout the Republican Party.
“We need to focus the debate on the right direction for the Republican Party,” King said. “There are Republican voices out there that are alternatives to Ted Cruz.”