McConaughey May Have Governor Bid
in Cards with Party Choice as Mystery
November 18, 2020
Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey revealed his potential interest in a race for governor on Tuesday in a move that sparked flurries of speculation on whether he would run as a Democrat or Republican.
A Longview native who attended the University of Texas in Austin where he and his family still live today, McConaughey suggested that he'd seriously consider a debut political campaign if he sensed a groundswell of support for his candidacy.
McConaughey didn't indicate whether Governor Greg Abbott's eventual decision on a re-election race in 2022 would affect the possibility of a mid-life shift to politics as a gubernatorial contender. Abbott has shown no signs of slowing down despite a brutal experience with the coronavirus that's surging at record levels in Texas as the crisis enters its 10th month with no end in sight.
"I don’t know. I mean, that wouldn’t be up to me. It would be up to the people more than it would me," McConaughey said. "I would say this: Look, politics seems to be a broken business to me right now. And when politics redefines its purpose, I could be a hell of a lot more interested."
McConaughey raised the specter of a gubernatorial bid while promoting the new best-selling book Greenlights in the discussion on air with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt.
But McConaughey has been as enigmatic in terms of political views - having never been associated publicly with politicians for either major party or tied to them through campaign contributions that he hasn't made at the state or federal levels up to now.
McConaughey has never appeared to be a standard Hollywood liberal by any stretch. But McConaughey has always been off-the-charts unconventional and could go either way with a run as an independent for the top job in a state where he might have the name identification at the start to pull it off.
McConaughey might be in the same league with Abbott in terms of how well they're known among fellow Texans. Abbott and the actor share a major passion as diehard Texas Longhorns fans who both are former UT students.
McConaughey envisions himself as a bridge builder for a nation that's still reeling from the 2020 election in the ninth month of a pandemic that's killed more than 250,000 Americans. McConaughey appears to see himself as a healer who'd do his best to make the nation chill.
The thoughts that he shared during the pitch for the autobiography - while deeply vague - sounded like a politician in the making.
"I want to get behind personal values to rebind our social contracts with each other as Americans, as people again," McConaughey said ""Coming out of the election right now, we’ve got to stabilize. This country’s got to stabilize first before we start to say, 'OK, here’s how we’re marching out of this together forward.'"
More than two dozen years have passed since McConaughey made his first significant mark on American culture as the older streetwise stoner Wooderson in the classic Richard Linklater film Dazed and Confused. McConaughey was an instant superstar who's had lead roles in dozens of movies as a smooth-talking shirtless stud in his younger years before taking on more challenging parts like he found in the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club that culminated in an Academy Award for his performance.
McConaughey had been an instant A-list movie star for several years when he arrested 20 years ago at his home west of the Capitol where he'd been inside playing the bongos naked with a bong on the coffee table. Austin police had thought about charging the actor with marijuana possession but had nothing more than residual in the pipe's bowl as evidence. They ended up apologizing to McConaughey instead.
But McConaughey has never appeared to be a standard Hollywood liberal. He faced a backlash from Democrats when he called on Americans "to embrace" after President Donald Trump's victory in 2016. McConaughey seemed to be saying that it would be fair to give the new leader a chance.
“No matter how much you disagreed along the way, it’s time to think how constructive can you be,” McConaughey said. “Because he’s our president for the next four years, at least.”