Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, has launched a PAC that takes aim at conservative movements such as the Tea Party, and the politicians they support.
King said his American Leadership Now PAC seeks to galvanize more moderate Republicans as an alternative to conservatives whom he described as being far afield of most Americans.
“I want to create a presence for those like myself who feel Rand Paul [of Kentucky] and Ted Cruz [Texas] are out of touch with the American people,” King is quoted as saying in published reports, including CNN and ABC websites.
“This is highlighted by the government shutdown, which was one of the worst political disasters we’ve ever had.”
King has said he is considering running for president in 2016. The congressman hopes his PAC - according to its website, "an enterprise devoted to providing assistance to Republican candidates for governorships, state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress" who more moderate goals and ideals - will strengthen the GOP.
King spent Monday in New Hampshire, where he announced the establishment of the PAC, speaking with conservative groups.
CNN quoted King as saying that he chose New Hampshire, a key early presidential primary, to unveil his PAC because of its national significance. "If we're talking about changing the direction of the Republican Party, New Hampshire is the place to go," King said.
Cruz's communications director, Sean Rushton, dismissed King’s comments.
"Senator Cruz remains focused on making Washington listen by protecting working people from Obamacare and getting the economy growing again. Americans don't care about bickering from D.C. politicians," Rushton said.
Paul’s office chose not to comment, according to CNN.
Tea Party Express chief strategist Sal Russo said in a statement, “It is shameful that Congressman Peter King is blatantly lying to the American people and trying to smear conservatives within his own party in the process.”
“Unfortunately for Peter King," Russo added, "slick talking will only get him so far. He should think twice before pursuing any future political ambitions.”