Matthew McConaughey just might end up becoming the governor of Texas. At this time, the actor known for True Detective among many other acclaimed roles is not officially running for office, though he’s previously toyed with the idea in interviews. At one point, Matthew McConaughey went so far as to say that running for governor was “a true consideration,” but it was unclear if he had actually looked into the possibility, or if he’d taken any real steps toward launching a genuine campaign.
According to a new report from Politico, McConaughey has since been quietly making phone calls to influential names in the Texas political circles. This includes calls to a “deep-pocketed moderate Republican” and an “energy CEO,” reportedly to “take their temperature on the race and to talk about seriously throwing his hat in the ring.” There’s no word on how the others responded when McConaughey is said to have pitched his potential run for office.
Political strategists seem to feel that McConaughey’s run for governor of Texas, which would “sacrifice his status as a beloved cultural icon,” isn’t a probable possibility. Some also argue that the actor’s odds of succeeding are more unlikely than not, with Republican strategists arguing that Gov. Greg Abbott’s backing among the business community with millions in the bank will give him the edge over McConaughey challenging him. Still, it hasn’t been completely written off as something that can happen.
“I find it improbable, but it’s not out of the question,” said top Republican strategist Karl Rove. “The question is: Would he run as a Republican? A Democrat? Independent? And where is he on the political scale? He says he has a funny phrase about being a hardcore centrist, but what party would he run under?”
Austin-based strategist Brendan Steinhauser added: “I’m a little more surprised that people aren’t taking him more seriously, honestly. Celebrity in this country counts for a lot … it’s not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal.”
As of now, Abbott is still considered to be the favorite to win as he prepares to run for a third term as governor, even following backlash in the state over his handling of the unprecedented ice storm that hit Texas earlier this year. Sen. Don Huffines has already entered the race against Abbott and there’s rumors of Texas GOP chair Allen West and Texas agriculture commissioner Sid Miller also jumping in. It’s speculated that if McConaughey runs as an independent, he’d split the Democratic vote to further tip the scales in Abbott’s favor.
“Texas doesn’t need a third party, Matthew! We need a second party,” said Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who clearly doesn’t want to see that happen.
No Democrats have announced a campaign for governor of Texas at this time, though Beto O’Rourke’s name has come up as a rumored possibility. However, if McConaughey, who is currently working on his A Time to Kill series for HBO Max, decides to get involved in the race, Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa says they’d “welcome him” with open arms, preferring to see him run as a Democrat rather than on the independent or Republican tickets.
“He’s young, good-looking, smart and has a little wildness – but this is Texas. We like that stuff,” Hinojosa said. “He has not reached out to the party that I know of. It’s absolutely up in the air.”
Recently, a poll was conducted of registered Texas voters by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler. When asked if they’d potentially vote for McConaughey, the actor came out substantially ahead with a double-digit lead over Abbott. Of those polled, 45% said they would vote for McConaughey, while 33% chose Abbott and 22% were looking for someone else.
It remains to be seen if McConaughey ends up running for real, but the speculation alone has gotten a lot of people talking. This news comes to us from Politico.