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Sunday, October 17, 2021

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Matthew McConaughey hints potential bid for Texas governor


The Oscar award-winning actor discussed potentially running for Texas governor in a podcast interview and an interview with Today Show's co-host, Al Roker. Since making headlines, concern has arisen about McConaughey's lack of experience and political affiliations. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The Oscar award-winning actor discussed potentially running for Texas governor in a podcast interview and an interview with Today Show’s co-host, Al Roker. Since making headlines, concern has arisen about McConaughey’s lack of experience and political affiliations. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Recently, Oscar award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey hinted at possibly running for Texas governor in 2022.

This isn’t the first time the actor revealed interest in running. McConaughey previously made headlines in 2020 by discussing his political aspirations with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt. 

However, in an episode of Crime Stoppers Houston’s “The Balanced Voice” podcast, the actor says he’s “seriously considering’”running in his home state.

He also revved up speculations after a sit-down interview with Today Show co-host Al Roker, where he reiterated his interest.

If he places his bid for governor, McConoughey will run against Gov. Greg Abbott, who is preparing to run for a third term in office.

Another potential candidate is Beto O’Rourke, former presidential candidate, El Paso congressman and 2018 U.S. Senate nominee.

O’Rourke hinted at running in recent comments, right after criticizing Abbott’s handling of the pandemic and recent winter storm, according to The Texas Tribune.

While McConaughey is only considering running, skepticism from the public has arisen about his political standings. 

Despite showing interest in Texan politics, records show otherwise. Since at least 2012, the actor hasn’t cast his vote in a primary, nor has he ever donated to a Texas or federal campaign.

Little is known about his political affiliations, and when asked about it, McConaughey says he has not “gotten that far yet.” 

As a result, the mystery behind his politics leaves voters, like psychology senior Tolulope Bada, wary.

“I am still on the fence about Matthew McConaughey running for governor of Texas in 2022,” Bada explains.

“Little is known about his politics or partisanship. Records show that he hasn’t voted in the primaries since 2012, so we don’t exactly know what party he’s voting for. Until I know more about his political agenda, I will not take him seriously yet.”

With skeptical voters like Bada, McConaughey might garner little support if he intends to run. 

Political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus explains unconventional candidates like McConaughey need to develop credibility to build their base.

“Candidates without a traditional political background need to harness their authenticity as a political outsider, but also develop credibility,” Rottinghaus said. “Rolling out some policy speeches, a team of potential political allies and a few policy position briefing papers would show he had the policy chops to compete.”

Although the actor has no intentions of revealing his political affiliations, McConaughey has expressed having a centrist approach after criticizing the excesses of both sides of the political spectrum.

While McConaughey running as an independent is an option, Rottinghaus discourages it, noting the many challenges the actor would face.

“Running officially as an independent is a logistical challenge in Texas, so he’d need to pick a party,” he explains. “In picking a party, he’d be more or less forced to take positions on key, often divisive, issues. Taking positions will by design alienate some voters, so he’d want to be a little opaque on some issues.”

Despite the suggestions Rottinghaus provides to make McConaughey a stronger candidate, Bada believes McConaughey’s lack of political experience makes him vulnerable. 

Instead of running for governor, she suggests McConaughey should start small and work his way up the political ladder.

“Unconventional candidates are not foreign to politics. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example,” Bada says.

“He was an Austrian-American actor, retired bodybuilder and businessman before serving as governor of California from 2003-2011. In my opinion, I feel like it is too early for Matthew to run for governor.” 

“If he’s serious about politics, he should start small,” she continues. “ He is going to face a seasoned politician like Greg Abbott, and even if people want a change, they are likely to pick Abbot over him. It is like the saying, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.’”

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