Meet the stars who were ready to trade in the red carpet for politics!
Who says politics is just for politicians? From Ronald Regan and Clint Eastwood to even The Terminator himself, there have been numerous actors, athletes and other public figures who have all won their way to higher office after a successful career in the Hollywood spotlight. However, celebrity fame doesn’t always guarantee you an automatic win as the following stars discovered after voicing their own political aspirations.
In 2018, Cynthia Nixon announced she would be running for Governor of New York. The Sex and the City actress knew her chances of becoming Governor were slim and she was right. Nixon ultimately lost to Andrew Cuomo in spite of a hard fought campaign, but she has no regrets about running. She spoke candidly of her political aspirations in an interview saying, “Still every day multiple people come up to me and say, ‘I voted for you…thank you for running.’”
Nixon wasn’t the only celebrity to miss out on a chance to govern the Big Apple! Famed radio show host Howard Stern also gave politics a try all the way back in 1994 when he announced that he’d be running for Governor of New York. Stern was up against Mario Cuomo and George Pataki at the time, but he eventually withdrew from the race after refusing to submit the customary personal finance disclosure.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I for one definitely forgot that Roseanne Barr ran for President! In 2012, the comedian launched a campaign of promises that were centered around “marijuana legalization, environmental preservation, ending the wars overseas and equal rights.” Though Barr won nearly 70,000 votes, she ended up placing sixth in the famous election that saw the induction of America’s first black President.
Perhaps the most recent failed run on our list belongs to Kanye West. The rapper and ex-husband of Kim Kardashian announced his 2020 presidential election campaign through Twitter on Independence Day and conceded his campaign four months later on November 4, 2020, the morning after Election Day. Though he missed at least six states’ deadlines to appear on the ballot as a third-party candidate, West still received over 60,000 votes in the 12 states where he had ballot access and received the 5th highest national vote count for a non-perennial presidential ticket.
After rising to global fame on season 2 of American Idol, Clay Aiken enjoyed a decade of singing and song-writing before deciding to add politics to his resume. In 2014, Aiken ran for Congress as a Democratic representative in the 2nd Congressional District of North Carolina. Although he did not win the election, the singer has continued his political activism and is running again this year to represent North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District.
Clueless star Stacey Dash was no stranger to politics when she worked as a political analyst and contributor for Fox News from 2014 to 2016. The actress and outspoken Republican announced her candidacy to represent California’s 44th Congressional District in 2018, but withdrew only a month later. She spoke of her decision saying, “At this point, I believe that the overall bitterness surrounding our political process, participating in the rigors of campaigning, and holding elected office would be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of my family.”
After the 2010 earthquake devastated the country of Haiti, Wyclef Jean announced that he would be running for the Haitian presidency. Sadly, the Haitian-American rapper’s political run was cut short after Haiti’s electoral council denied his bid. Though no official reason was given, Jean believes it was because he didn’t meet the five-year residency requirement. He accepted the disqualification with grace in a public statement saying, “We must all honor the memories of those we’ve lost—whether in the earthquake, or at any time—by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment.”
When you hear the name Jerry Springer, the thought of politics probably doesn’t come to mind, but think again! The controversial daytime talk show host actually has an established background in politics and it began long before he became famous for meditating outrageous domestic disputes. In 1970, Springer even ran for Congress, and although he lost the election, he did serve 10 years as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio from 1971 to 1981.