Just hours after her father said he would retire from Congress, Erin King Sweeney found herself in Raleigh, North Carolina, for a meeting with key political players in the state’s Republican party.
King Sweeney moved to Waxhaw, North Carolina, just south of Charlotte, with her family earlier this fall. She relinquished her Hempstead Town board seat, and any opportunity to run for her dad’s seat, or any elected office in New York.
In an interview Tuesday, King Sweeney said she’s not eyeing a particular run for office now. But her meeting with the GOP, which was planned before her father’s announcement, may mark an early step back into politics.
“At some point, I’d love to get back into politics,” said King Sweeney, who was 18 when her dad was elected to Congress. “My main focus right now is my family. And I’m a carpetbagger so I have to pay my dues, and get to know the local people and the issues.”
King Sweeney also plans to host an event for New York State Republicans at next year's Republican National Convention, which is in Charlotte.
King Sweeney said there was “absolutely no question” that her move south changed the decision-making for her father, Rep. Peter King, who announced Monday that he would not seek re-election next November.
“It was totally a family decision,” King Sweeney said. “Everyone gave their opinion and their input.”
While King has no plans to move to North Carolina, he’ll likely spend more time there once he leaves Congress, particularly to see his granddaughter, and watch her horse competitions there. But could that time include helping daughter Erin with whatever run might come next? After all, King has $1 million in his campaign account, some of which he said Monday that he’d use to support causes and Republican candidates.
Said King Sweeney: “My dad referred in his statement that there’s a season for everything. Likewise, it’s the same in North Carolina, and at some point, it will be my season.”
Randi F. Marshall is a member of Newsday's editorial board.