Beloved actor Matthew McConaughey is more than merely talking about a run for governor in Texas, he is making calls, too, despite skepticism he can unseat Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
"I find it improbable, but it's not out of the question," Republican strategist Karl Rove told Politico.
"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?"
Regardless, the celebrity cachet holds sway in modern elections, according to Austin-based GOP strategist Brendan Steinhauser.
"I'm a little more surprised that people aren’t taking him more seriously, honestly," Steinhauser told Politico. "Celebrity in this country counts for a lot.
"It's not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal."
A McConaughey spokesperson declined to comment to Politico.
Some Democrats fear McConaughey might run as an independent, ostensibly splitting votes with a Democrat opposition and hand Gov. Abbott the race, according to Politico.
"The problem with running as an independent is we have seen this movie before," Democrat strategist Paul Begala told Politico of former Gov. Rick Perry's victory in 2006.
"Texas doesn't need a third party, Matthew! We need a second party."
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, and Obama administration veteran Julián Castro – both of whom ran in the Democrat presidential primary, might be considered Democrat challengers, but neither has the populism of McConaughey.
"He's young, good-looking, smart and has a little wildness — but this is Texas: We like that stuff," Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa told Politico about how "welcome" McConaughey would be a Texas gubernatorial race. "He has not reached out to the party that I know of. It's absolutely up in the air.
"If he wants to run as an independent, he'd be a spoiler and guarantee Abbott gets elected."
But, until the actor starts fundraising or begins going public on his positions, the talk and the phone calls will just be media fodder, a Republican told Politico.
"If he starts a PAC, gets a website, that would be a real signal," the Republican concluded. "A lot of this seems like telephone chatter — one person passing it to another person."
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