Vote For Me (Or Nah): Celebrities Who Ran For Office
It’s no secret that some celebrities secretly have dreams and aspirations to be a public servant. Ronald Reagan famously went from Hollywood to the White House and there are a number of other celebrities who had dreams of being a politician.
2 Chainz regularly shouts out his hometown of College Park, GA in his songs and now the lanky rapper has taken the first step in running for mayor of his beloved city. 2 Chainz has proven he can hold his own in a debate when he appeared on Nancy Grace’s HLN show to debate over the legalization of marijuana. “I’m supposed to be running for mayor in College Park,” the “I Luv Dem Strippers” rapper said. “I got everybody wishing. I’m really gonna do this little mayor thing in College Park. I’m just trying to make sure I have the right qualifications.”
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In 2010, the tiny island of Haiti was rocked by an earthquake that killed at least 200,000 people and left millions more homeless. Former Fugees member Wyclef Jean made his way back to his home country to literally help dig people out of the rubble. Witnessing first hand the level of destruction that was left and what it would take to rebuild, the “911” rapper was compelled to run for president of Haiti. He formally filed papers to announce his candidacy to run in August of that year. But two weeks later his bid was rejected and he was turned down because he didn’t meet the residency requirement.
Roseanne Barr became a household name thanks to her hit sitcom about a poor, white family struggling to make it in Middle America. After her show went off the air, Roseanne hosted her own talk show before landing into the world of reality television in Hawaii on a nut farm. In 2012, the comedian ran for president of the U.S. as a Green Party candidate. Her platform included a plan to abolish taxes and currency in favor of the barter system. Roseanne ended up placing fifth.
Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell
Uncle Luke may be best known for his raunchy lyrics but he is no stranger to politics or the legal world. The rapper and his 2 Live Crew went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1994 to and won a landmark case regarding copyright infringement. In 2011, Campbell decided to run for mayor of Miami-Dade County. He promised to make housing projects safer, vowed for transparency in government and proposed taxing strippers. He won 11% of the vote and came in fourth out of 11 candidates.
In 2003, porn star Mary Carey decided to run for the governor of California as a publicity stunt. Carey was one out of 135 candidates in the recall election and amazingly, she came in tenth place. Even though she lost, Carey was thrust in the national spotlight and she used the opportunity to appear on numerous political talk shows. Several years later, Carey threw her hat in the ring to run for Lieutenant Governor but was forced to drop out of the race to take care of her ailing mother. Carey retired from the porn industry in 2008 with more than 100 films under her belt.
Mary Carey wasn’t the only familiar face that decided to run in the recall election in 2003. Gary Coleman teamed up with East Bay Express, which sponsored his campaign. The “Different Strokes” star won more than 14,000 votes and came in eighth place. But Coleman didn’t vote for himself. Despite his own candidacy for governor, Coleman had previously announced that his vote would be going to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Who knew that Conan the Barbarian would eventually run one of the biggest states in the country? Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the U.S. in hopes of becoming a well-known bodybuilder and he ended up being one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood. Putting his movie career on the back burner, Schwarzenegger stepped into the world of politics and ran for governor of California. The “Total Recall” star served as governor for two full terms and soon after he left office, word about his love child with the maid was leaked to the media.
Al Franken started on “SNL” at its inception when he was hired as a writer in 1975. He worked his was up into the cast and was a familiar face on the show for more than a decade. Franken hosted his own political talk show and authored several political satire books that poked fun of right-wing conservatives so it was a natural step for the “SNL” alum to run for political office. Franken ran for senator of Minnesota and after a close race and recount he was declared winner by a mere 312 votes.
Before she was even a year old, Martha Reeves and her family relocated to Detroit, Michigan where she would grow up and eventually and help define that Motown sound. She became the lead singer of the all-girl group Martha and the Vandellas, scoring more than a dozen hit singles. In 2005, Reeves decided it was time to help the people of Detroit and she ran for city council. Reeves won and served one term but the stage was calling her and in 2009, she returned to performing around the world full time.
Stephen Colbert is no stranger to politics. He cut his teeth as a correspondent for the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” before landing his own show as a staunchly conservative caricature. In 2007, Colbert wanted to get into politics for real and decided to run for senate in his home state of South Carolina. Colbert tried to keep things under five grand and once he realized that the filing fee for the Republican Party was $35,000, he decided to run as a Democrat. But he was denied a place on the ballot and Colbert was forced to announce he was officially out of the race.
After a long career of fighting in the wrestling ring, former WWF star Jesse “The Body” Ventura decided he wanted to grapple with the politicians in Minnesota. He first ran for mayor of Brooklyn Park and severed for four years. Several years after his term ended, Ventura ran for governor as a Reform Party candidate. His grassroots campaign picked up steam and shockingly, the former wrestler won. Ventura left after one term, deciding not to run again but he has recently expressed his interest in running for president of the U.S. in the 2016 election.
Fred Thompson started out as a lawyer but he got bit by the acting bug and began starring in films in the mid 80’s. He went back to his political roots and became a U.S. senator for Tennessee in 1994. But he returned to acting and in his last year in office, Thompson became a regular on NBC’s long-running drama “Law & Order.” He stayed on the show playing Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch but his friends in the Republican Party urged him to run for president in the 2008 election. Thompson left the show to run but he pulled out of the race after attracting little support.
In 2012, Clint Eastwood’s odd appearance at the Republican National Committee stole the show. He appeared onstage talking to an invisible chair that was supposed to be President Obama but the bit was awkward at best. This wasn’t Eastwood’s first time in the political spotlight. Back in the 80’s, the “Dirty Harry” star successfully ran for mayor of Carmel, CA and served in office for two years. Eastwood returned to Hollywood and reinvented himself as an award-winning director.