Speculation builds over Matthew McConaughey's political future as he mulls bid for governor of Texas
He would need to file a candidate declaration of intent by Dec. 13.
While the focus in Texas politics is on state legislators and a stalled special session, the speculation over Matthew McConaughey’s possible run for governor of Texas continues to garner steady interest.
The Academy Award-winning actor has teased the idea of a potential 2022 gubernatorial run for months but more recently called it "an honest consideration."
"What an awesome privilege, an awesome responsibility, awesome position of sacrifice and service," McConaughey said about the potential run while featured on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in May. "It's something I'm trying to look in the eye and give honest consideration."
In March, he told GMA3's T.J. Holmes simply that it's a "consideration."
"It’s consideration until it’s anything else. I’m weighing my options again about what is my role going forward," he said.
The buzz around McConaughey's entrance into politics comes as his state of Texas was thrust into the spotlight this week over Republican-backed efforts to revise the state’s election and voting laws, causing a large group of state Democratic Representatives to flee the state in an effort to block the bill by breaking quorum.
But even if McConaughey were to run, questions remain about the type of politician he might be. According to reporting by ABC Austin affiliate KVUE, the actor has only voted twice in Texas since 2012 -- in the 2018 and 2020 general elections, as indictated by state voting records -- and there is no record of him making campaign donations at the state or national level. He has also declined to say whether he would run as a Democrat or a Republican, the affiliate reported.
Although he lacks political experience, McConaughey has taught film production at his alma mater, the University of Texas, Austin, since 2015. During the pandemic, he created a tutorial on how to make a DIY face-mask. And when a deadly ice storm tore through Texas, McConaughey hosted a virtual benefit, enlisting help from his Hollywood friends to raise millions through his Just Keep Livin' Foundation.
McConaughey wouldn't be the first person to make the transition from the world of entertainment to politics. Former President Donald Trump and Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ran successful bids, but star status, while helpful, doesn't ensure victory. Olympic Gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner is seeking to use her celebrity status to oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election but has failed to gain momentum. In 2018, Soap opera star Antonio Sabato Jr. was unsuccessful in his bid for a California congressional seat as was Cynthia Nixon when she tried to unseat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Still, politicians have been closely looking out for McConaughey's next move. The incumbent, Gov. Greg Abbott, said during an appearance on Fox News last week that he's not dismissing McConaughey as a competitor. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is also taking McConaughey’s potential bid seriously, saying on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last month that "a good-looking, charming, affable movie star can be a really formidable candidate on the ballot."
"And I hope that doesn't happen, but you know what? He's going to have to make his own decision whether he's going to run or not," Cruz said.
The 2022 Texas gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 8, 2022, with Abbott seeking reelection for a third term. He’s expected to face primary challenges from state Sen. Don Huffines and former GOP Chairman Allen West. On the Democratic side, all eyes are on Beto O’Rourke to see if he’ll throw his hat in. An aide told the Associated Press that the former congressman isn’t ruling out challenging Abbott, although he hasn’t made any formal steps toward running.
While it is unclear whether McConaughey will jump into the race, he would need to file a candidate declaration of intent by Dec. 13.
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