Bad News for Peter King: The First Presidential Candidate in Never Wins

The U.S. representative from New York beat everyone else in declaring his 2016 candidacy. That's probably the only White House race he'll win.
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Reuters

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 email 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 reading pleasure, here's a recent rundown of other candidates to declare earliest in recent years.

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 January 7, where it remained until 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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Lucia Graves is a reporter at National Journal.

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