Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) announced Monday he would not seek reelection in 2020, joining the swelling exodus of congressional Republicans ahead of what many expect to be a difficult environment for GOP incumbents. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) quickly stepped up to praise King, writing on Twitter, “Peter King stood head & shoulders above everyone else. He’s been principled & never let others push him away from his principles,” and adding, “I will miss him in Congress & value his friendship.”
King likely would have faced a tough but winnable battle to hold on to his seat in 2020 — he’s a popular figure, the type of incumbent who has hung around long enough that many people like even when they don’t agree with them. “King was a bit of an institution on Long Island, and I think that helped him fend off the  challenge,” veteran New York political operative Neal Kwatra told me on Monday. The district contains both conservative, white, blue-collar areas — Bill O’Reilly’s hometown of Levittown is within its borders — and areas with significant minority populations. Minus King, it’s possible a Democrat could take the seat.