(The Hill) — House GOP Rep. Pete King (N.Y.) tells The Hill that he’s focused on getting reelected to Congress but won’t rule out a run for the White House.

King explained on Wednesday that a powerful local GOP official, Joseph Mondello, suggested that the outspoken House Homeland Security Committee chairman run for commander-in-chief at a dinner on Tuesday night.

But King believes that Mondello, whom he has known for years, was using the suggestion of a presidential bid as “bargaining leverage” for a local GOP political issue. Mondello is chairman of the Nassau County Republican Party.

According to an Associated Press report, Mondello made the remarks at a local fundraiser, saying that “King doesn’t speak from a pollster’s cue card. He says King also understands the national debt and the war on terror.”

“I assume that he’s using this for bargaining leverage for the convention, but I’m focusing entirely on getting reelected to Congress,” King said.