8 Famous Names Who Might Run For Senate In California

Barbara Boxer leaves an open Senate seat in 2016.

ByABC News
January 10, 2015, 4:00 AM
George Clooney is pictured on May 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China.
George Clooney is pictured on May 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China.
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

— -- intro: Veteran Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer announced her retirement this week, leaving California with an open Senate seat in 2016 – the first time in more than two decades.

Not surprisingly, rumors are already starting to circulate about Golden State political figures who are likely to make a run for it: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer to name just a few.

But in a state that's home to both Hollywood and Silicon Valley, there are at least a few other famous Californians who might be interested in filling Boxer’s seat:

quicklist:1 title: George Clooneymedia: 24646541text: He’s one of Hollywood’s leading men, but it politics runs in his blood. Clooney’s father ran for Congress in 2004 and he’s distantly related to Abraham Lincoln. Clooney is also a noted Obama-friend and Democrat. According to the actor’s aunt, Clooney plans to enter politics with the help of his new wife, lawyer Amal Alamuddin. “George will run for office now, especially after his marriage to Amal, as that will open so many doors for him,” Starla Clooney recently told the Daily Mail. Whether that office is Boxer's Senate seat, California's governorship or a higher office remains to be seen.

quicklist:2 title: Mark Zuckerbergmedia: 20980805text: The 30-year-old Facebook founder has more than a few political connections. He formed a political campaign group focused on immigration reform. But his political status has been foggy: He once threw a fundraiser for Republican Gov. Chris Christie but has also dined with and hosted a town hall meeting with President Obama.

quicklist:3 title: Eva Longoria media:28124249text: This “Desperate Housewives” actress has been a big contributor to the Democratic Party and a huge supporter of President Obama. She spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and co-chaired Obama’s inauguration committee. Last year, she helped launch the Latino Victory Project – a group that wants to inspire more political engagement among Latinos – and the Latino Victory PAC.

quicklist:4 title: Kevin Johnsonmedia: 28124150text:Thirteen-thousand points, three All Star Game appearances and an Olympic gold medal aren’t the only accomplishments former NBA player, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson would bring to the Senate. As a player, Johnson founded the nonprofit St. HOPE, an after school program in his hometown that now manages charter schools. Johnson, 48, is one-half of a California power couple: He’s married to Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public school system and an influential charter school advocate.

quicklist:5 title: Ben Affleckmedia: 22739572text:The Oscar-winning actor is no stranger to the Senate. He has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the conditions in the Congo – a cause he has worked on for years. So will the next Batman hang up his cape, quit his day job and join the politicians of Capitol Hill? His wife Jennifer Garner thinks so. "Would I be surprised if one day he did go into politics? No." Garner said in 2013.

quicklist:6 title: Maria Shrivermedia: 24034944text:The former first lady of California is the daughter of a vice presidential candidate, ex-wife of a California governor, and a relative of the Kennedy family. Besides her well-known political ties, Shriver is an award-winning journalist and advocate who still resides in the Golden State.

quicklist:7 title: Sheryl Sandbergmedia: 24416791text:One of Time’s most influential people, Facebook’s COO, and best-selling author, Sandberg has been an advocate for more women in politics and a Democratic donor. The Los Angeles Times quoted sources close to her who said she is not interested in a Senate run, but could the support of some of Silicon Valley’s political influencers and her own push for more women leaders make her reconsider?

quicklist:8 title: Clint Eastwoodmedia: 17121880text: Any Republican who runs will face an uphill battle in deep blue California, but this cowboy already has a political resume: He was once mayor of the small town of Carmel, California back in the 1980’s. More recently, he spoke (infamously) at the 2012 Republican National Convention. George H. W. Bush even seriously considered Eastwood as a running mate.