Will Matthew McConaughey run for governor of Texas?

2021-10-17 15:30:58

Is he or isn’t he? Texans wish to know.

Since final spring, film star Matthew McConaughey has been toying with the thought of a run for governor of Texas however has refused to commit, relishing the highlight celebs are accustomed to whereas selling his new memoir, “Greenlights.”

However whereas the actor, who lives within the Lone Star State’s capital, Austin, stays on the sideline with out saying what he plans to do, some who wish to occupy the workplace have both positioned themselves in a holding sample, selecting to attend and see what McConaughey does, or are wringing their arms about his potential run. McConaughey is seen as a possible lock for Democrats, who haven’t gained statewide workplace since 1994, even when he has not publicly revealed his place on many key points dealing with Texans.

The 51-year-old actor, who describes himself as a “statesman-philosopher, folk-singing poet,” is a high-profile determine within the state, turning up at College of Texas soccer video games to gin up the group, however stays an enigma. The query is, can he win?

Matthew McConaughey performs June 19 earlier than a house sport between the Austin FC and San Jose Earthquakes at Q2 Stadium.

(Gary Miller / Getty Pictures)

In a ballot final month by the Dallas Morning Information/College of Texas at Tyler, 44% of voters favored McConaughey, 35% favored incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and the remaining would select one other candidate. But it surely’s not clear what celebration McConaughey would be part of.

“He seems to be merely having fun with the publicity. It doesn’t work that method. He wants to choose a celebration,” mentioned Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Occasion. “No person is aware of what this man stands for.”

Jim Henson, who directs the Texas Politics Undertaking on the College of Texas at Austin, has but to conduct a ballot in regards to the actor as a result of, he mentioned, “I’m deeply skeptical.”

“I’m probably not until he commits. If he’s going to do it, he would do everybody a service by not stringing us alongside,” Henson mentioned.

The submitting deadline for the March 1 major is Dec. 13. Abbott, a former Texas lawyer basic and decide, is working for reelection to a 3rd time period and already faces two far-right challengers. The progressive Democrat Robert “Beto” O’Rourke of El Paso, a former Texas congressman and candidate for president and Senate, can also be exploring a marketing campaign.

“No choice has been made,” O’Rourke spokesman David Wysong mentioned this week. “He has been making and receiving calls with individuals from all around the state.”

McConaughey’s spokeswoman declined remark this week about whether or not he plans to run.

Final week, McConaughey — who rose to fame enjoying Texans in “Dazed and Confused,“Dallas Patrons Membership” and “True Detective” — informed the New York Occasions’ Kara Swisher he was nonetheless “measuring” a potential marketing campaign, whereas dismissing politics as “a bag of rats.”

“Is that a spot to make actual change, or is it a spot the place, hey, proper now, it’s a hard and fast sport?” he mentioned throughout Swisher’s “Sway” podcast, describing himself as “aggressively centrist.”

“I don’t know if you happen to can stroll down the middle and never be in hassle,” he mentioned. “It may be very onerous down the middle.”

In the course of the podcast, he tried to keep away from delicate subjects — troublesome, provided that the present governor has embraced far-right bans on abortion and COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

When pressed, McConaughey mentioned he helps masks mandates and was troubled that the state abortion ban took impact at six weeks of gestation and made no exception for victims of rape and incest. However the actor, who has usually talked about his Christian religion, stopped wanting condemning the ban. He mentioned he didn’t know sufficient about Texas restrictions on voting rights to weigh in.

These near McConaughey in Austin — together with Richard Linklater, who directed “Dazed and Confused,” and Nic Pizzolatto, who wrote “True Detective” — have been tight-lipped about his plans.

“We wouldn’t say something previous to him saying,” Pizzolatto’s rep mentioned. “Feels untimely.”

Karl Rove, the GOP strategist who shepherded George W. Bush into the Texas governor’s mansion after which the White Home, informed Politco final spring {that a} potential McConaughey marketing campaign had his pal Lawrence Wright, the Austin-based creator and New Yorker author, “hyperventilating.”

“Karl has gotten me in numerous hassle,” Wright mentioned by way of electronic mail this week. “I’ve been coping with this time and again. I’d be completely satisfied to speak if and when Matthew really declares.”

Rove this week chafed at a possible McConaughey marketing campaign, calling it “unlikely” and the actor’s election as governor “inconceivable.”

“He hasn’t staked out positions with Texans,” Rove mentioned. “It says one thing in regards to the shallowness of our politics that we’re even speaking about any person who has no declared place or document of coverage involvement. The place does he stand on the good points? What are the priorities?”

Austin-based GOP strategist Brendan Steinhauser disagreed.

“Character trumps coverage,” he mentioned, likening McConaughey to Trump or Jesse Ventura, the previous skilled wrestler turned governor of Minnesota. “I’m unsure how essential particular stances can be to a basic election viewers when you’ve got somebody like Matt McConaughey working. These celeb candidates have a distinct enchantment.”

McConaughey’s model resonates amongst Texans, Steinhauser mentioned: “He’s from Texas Hill Nation; he’s an actual Texan. The cool issue is there, whether or not it’s the Wild Turkey advertisements or the Lincoln advertisements.”

“I positively would guess on him working,” he added.

McConaughey was born within the West Texas city of Uvalde to a kindergarten instructor and oil pipe provider who later moved the household to North Texas. He graduated from Longview Excessive College (as did Abbott) and the College of Texas at Austin (additionally Abbott’s alma mater).

In 1993, whereas a movie pupil, McConaughey landed his first function in “Dazed and Confused,” ad-libbing one in every of his signature slacker phrases: “Alright, alright, alright!” He went on to star in a string of romantic comedies and the occasional authorized drama, together with “Failure to Launch,” “Lincoln Lawyer” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Previous.” He developed a status as a playboy and pothead. In 1999, he was arrested at his Austin house, stoned and bare, for late-night bongo drumming — a “jam session” he joked about in his e-book, noting, “Two days later, BONGO NAKED T-shirts had been throughout Austin.”

McConaughey additionally detailed within the e-book how, a decade later, he rethought his picture. He returned to indie movies, enjoying Texas lawmen in Linklater’s “Bernie” and HBO’s “True Detective” and a homosexual AIDS affected person in “Dallas Patrons Membership,” for which he gained an Oscar in 2014. He married Brazilian mannequin Camila Alves in Austin and settled there to lift their three youngsters and begin a youth basis.

McConaughey has since co-taught communications programs on the college and was appointed Minister of Tradition, a star mascot liable for revving faculty spirit in garish, burnt-orange, tailor-made fits, usually flashing the “Hook ’em horns” sign. McConaughey’s Instagram is replete with posts selling Longhorns soccer and Austin FC soccer membership, which he additionally represents (in inexperienced fits, typically paired with bongos).

He filmed public service bulletins in the course of the pandemic and handed out masks at native hospitals. His “We’re Texas” digital live performance raised greater than $7 million in a matter of hours after the lethal freeze in February, prompting the Texas Month-to-month headline “Matthew McConaughey and Beyoncé Did Extra for Texas Than Ted Cruz.” Austinites have noticed him together with his children at an area skate park or strolling the streets, normally low-profile, blond mane tucked beneath a cap and sun shades.

“He’s a hero in Austin and all through a lot of the state,” mentioned David Schneider, a lecturer on the College of Texas at Austin’s communications faculty. “He’s very a lot a Texan.”

Sitting exterior the college this week, Schneider, 64, mentioned he’d met the actor there, and he appeared like, “a pleasant man, a reasonably regular individual.”

He mentioned he didn’t assume the actor would problem Abbott.

“His life is just too good to mess it up by working for governor,” Schneider mentioned. “There are some points you may’t be impartial on. I feel he would damage his model.”

Each Abbott and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz mentioned in interviews earlier this yr that they take McConaughey severely as a candidate. McConaughey would appeal to extra moderates than O’Rourke would progressives, in keeping with the ballot final month by the Dallas Morning Information/College of Texas at Tyler. Even 22% of Trump voters mentioned they’d again McConaughey, in keeping with College of Texas at Tyler political scientist Mark Owens, who directed the ballot.

“McConaughey is simply likable. When Texas is in want of assist, he exhibits up,” Owens mentioned.

Owens mentioned the ballot confirmed that McConaughey’s reputation amongst average Texans might undergo if he takes public stances on controversial points just like the abortion ban, voting rights, immigration and gun management.

Sitting this week at a bus cease on Guadalupe Avenue, the Austin college’s major drag, Antoine Fuller mentioned he hopes McConaughey runs.

“I like his films. He appears right down to earth,” mentioned Fuller, 36, a chef on the college who mentioned he’s seen the actor strolling round city in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts.

Strolling close by, Nicci Haynie additionally mentioned she hopes McConaughey runs. Haynie, 50, is learning communications after serving within the Military. She’s a Democrat and a supporter of gun rights who has voted for O’Rourke however mentioned she admires McConaughey as a result of he embodies what drew her to Austin from Dallas 20 years in the past.

“It’s a measure of chill, simply carefree pleasure — he simply exudes that,” she mentioned. “He’s very a lot an Austinite. What we are saying is ‘Preserve Austin bizarre,’ and that’s him. Particularly as a soccer ambassador, he’s so easy and savvy.”

Some listening to bands play final week on Austin’s Sixth Avenue had equally glowing opinions of McConaughey. Danielle Crovo practically swooned on the risk that the person within the Wild Turkey advert on show throughout the road would possibly enter the race.

“After all we would like him to run — he’s stunning! Who wouldn’t need him representing us?” mentioned Crovo, 34, who works at a resort.

A male colleague standing subsequent to her rolled his eyes.

“After all,” she added, “he’s sensible, too.”

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Supply by [tellusdaily.com]