Rep. Peter King of New York, who confirmed to Newsmax on Thursday
that he is seriously considering a bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, would be a "Hail Mary candidate," debate expert and pollster Matt Towery said.
"It's one of those where you throw the ball up, you run — and if you happen to catch it, you might just be the right man at the right time," Towery, who heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview late Thursday. "And if anybody can do that, and pull that off, it would be Peter King.
"He's been around, he knows what he's doing. He's no dummy," Towery said. "I understand why he's running — and I wouldn't discount him."
King, who represents New York's Third District, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV t
hat he was weighing a White House run.
"Very honestly, I'm going to look at it. … I'm going to look at this. I'm going to take it seriously, see where it goes," King, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Malzberg.
The disclosure came after Newsmax reported on Wednesday
that King was being encouraged by friends in and outside the Empire State to seek the GOP nod and that he "acts interested."
Towery, an author and Newsmax contributor, said King's 11 terms in the House and direct style made him "more of an establishment candidate — establishment with a tinge of moderate, or to the left of moderate, on the Republican scale.
"He is very outspoken, and he is — definitely on the Republican scale — not considered a conservative on most issues," Towery said.
And, as such, King provides an alternative to such tea party-backed candidates as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
"He's one of the individuals trying to offer an alternative to what some Republicans view as the extremely conservative wing of the party," Towery said. "He’s the anti-Cruz, anti-Rand Paul candidate. He makes that clear from the get-go."
King's greatest challenge in any White House quest, however, lies in the arduous and expensive primary process, Towery said.
"He can be viable in Iowa, assuming he can raise the money. He can certainly be viable in New Hampshire, although he’s probably too left of center on the Republican scale there. He’ll get just annihilated in South Carolina, but if he can get to Florida, he certainly would be a viable candidate," he said.
And that’s despite Florida Sen. Marco Rubio being a possible 2016 GOP presidential contender.
"At this point in time, I would handicap that at 50-50 at best," Towery told Newsmax. "Rubio has enough trouble in his own state, and I think he would actually beat Rubio in a race in Florida.
"Rubio does not have the support of all of the tea party crowd in Florida right now," he added. "They are very disappointed in him. They would probably split their vote between Rand Paul and, should Rubio run, Rubio and Ted Cruz.
"And then, you have a candidate like Peter King standing out there as more moderate but yet strong, so he could easily end up shocking everyone."
He might even be a surprise candidate against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is considered the likely Democratic presidential candidate.
"He would have a better shot than some of the other conservative candidates, because he would appeal to more moderate voters," Towery said. "He certainly could appeal to some female voters. That’s a distinct possibility.
"He could be a very formidable candidate against Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic candidate."
But what perhaps would make a Peter King candidacy most refreshing, Towery said, is the congressman’s brashness.
"It’s his style that could end up making him more popular than less," he said. "He is a very blunt individual. He tells things like he sees them. He doesn’t hold his tongue. But he’s been in politics long enough, and in Congress long enough, that he knows when to talk and usually when not to.
"He’s been known to pop off and say things that became rather controversial, but I just happen to believe that the Republicans are looking for someone with a new style.
"Mitt Romney had a very well-coiffed appearance, a very smooth style," Towery noted of the former Massachusetts governor. "Peter King is the opposite of that. He doesn’t have a smooth style. He is a blunt guy. He says it like it is. It might just be what the doctor ordered."
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