Peter King Wins the Losers’ Game

From the annals of presidential candidates who shouted “First!”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is seen at a news conference about the proposed move of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Ill., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
National Journal
Lucia Graves
Sept. 11, 2013, 2 a.m.

You may have missed it in the tu­mult of Syr­ia cov­er­age, but Rep. Peter King an­nounced this week­end that he is run­ning for pres­id­ent.

In an in­ter­view this week, the Re­pub­lic­an law­maker from New York who’s per­haps best known for pro­tect­ing Amer­ica from scary ” rad­ic­al­ized Muslims,” told a New Hamp­shire ra­dio sta­tion that he was in the state “be­cause right now I’m run­ning for pres­id­ent,” ac­cord­ing to the New York Daily News.

King has been try­ing to gen­er­ate buzz around the idea since at least as early as Ju­ly, when he sent an e-mail to sup­port­ers say­ing he’d been “floated” as a pos­sible pres­id­en­tial pick by prom­in­ent mem­bers of his party.

The an­nounce­ment makes King the first Re­pub­lic­an to of­fi­cially de­clare his in­ten­tions to run for pres­id­ent in 2016. It also puts him in the du­bi­ous com­pany of a whole host of oth­er can­did­ates who, as Wonkette put it, were first to shout “First!” in the pro­ver­bi­al chat room of pres­id­en­tial elec­tions.

For your view­ing pleas­ure, Na­tion­al Journ­al has com­piled a re­cent run­down of oth­er can­did­ates to de­clare earli­est in re­cent years.

2012:

2008

2004

2012:

The first Re­pub­lic­an to an­nounce that year was long­time polit­ic­al act­iv­ist and cam­paign con­sult­ant Fred Kar­ger. Ever heard of him? Neither have we. But Tyler Kingkade wrote about him and he sounds like a nice guy.

2008

John Cox, a “Ron­ald Re­agan-style Re­pub­lic­an,” an­nounced his can­did­acy after ” get­ting a stand­ing ova­tion when he out­lined how he will solve the il­leg­al-ali­en de­bacle.” Ever heard of him? Thought not.

The first Demo­crat to an­nounce that year was then-Iowa Gov. Tom Vil­sack. We’re guess­ing you have heard of him. Gal­lup polls placed Vil­sack at 1 per­cent in Decem­ber of 2006. It fell to 0 per­cent on Jan. 7, where it re­mained un­til his he with­drew from the race. He is now the sec­ret­ary of Ag­ri­cul­ture.

2004

To re­call the 2004 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion is to re­call Howard Dean. And in­deed, he was the first to an­nounce his can­did­acy. Dean, if you re­mem­ber, polled in first place throughout much of the pres­id­en­tial primary, oc­ca­sion­ally polling second to Dick Geph­ardt. But we all know how that ended.

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