Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said he plans to be involved in the 2016 Republican presidential race but probably not as a presidential candidate.
"I am not an active candidate for president of the United States," King told The Des Moines Register on Thursday. "I am laying plans to try to move the country in the right direction."
King had recently visited early primary states South Carolina and New Hampshire prompting speculation that he had begun planning to run for president in 2016. King has not totally shot down the prospect but he said his goal, right now, is to serve as a "guardrail of constitutional conservatism."
The Iowa Republican also said he plans to host Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at a pheasant hunt in Iowa in October. King said he's impressed with Cruz, who has also been mentioned a possible presidential candidate in 2016.
"I think he has a very good, deep and sound constitutional understanding and he has a good feel for the direction and the culture and the character of Americans," King said. "We wanted to bring him here to Iowa and help him get introduced."
During the 2012 Iowa caucus campaign in 2012 King hosted Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) at pheasant hunts.
The Register was unable to confirm the Cruz pheasant hunt with the senator's office. A spokeswoman said Cruz's scheduling staff was not available when the Register reached out to the senator's office Thursday night.
In July, King raised eyebrows and made national headlines for saying that for every illegal immigrant "who's a valedictorian, there's another hundred out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."