It’s the question looming over the 2022 election in Texas: will he or won’t he? The answer: we don’t know. But for now, Matthew McConaughey, the actor turned memoirist turned possible politician, is keeping pundits busy with the speculation that he is mulling a run for governor.
The latest rumors stem from an article in Politico, which alleges McConaughey has been making phone calls to a number of people connected to Texas politics including “a deep-pocketed moderate Republican and energy CEO.” The article also quotes Karl Rove as calling a potential McConaughey run “improbable” but “not out of the question.”
Stories about the Politico article and a potential run for McConaughey also appeared on MSNBC and HLN. CNN Political commentator David Swerdlick said McConaughey could step into the race if no other “marquee” democrats opt for a run.
At Texas Signal, we’ve long wondered about a potential political career for McConaughey, who is currently the Minister of Culture at the University of Texas and a co-owner of soccer team Austin FC. A recent poll from the Dallas Morning News also showed current Gov. Greg Abbott down 12 points to McConaughey in a potential matchup.
The whispers about a potential run started just as McConaughey was promoting his unorthodox memoir Greenlights. “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 said to conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt on his show.
McConaughey confirmed that he was thinking about running for an office on the Balanced Voice podcast from Crime Stoppers of Houston in March, telling host Rania Mankarious it was a “consideration.” The conversation occurred after the winter storm in February that left millions in Texas without water or power.
McConaughey and his wife Camilla Alves convened a star-studded event to raise funds after the winter storm. The “We’re Texas” virtual event on McConaughey’s YouTube page included Kelly Clarkson, Leon Bridges, Willie Nelson, and nearly a dozen other musicians. According to his IMDB page, McConaughey has no major projects filming or in development.
If McConaughey is truly serious about running for governor, he would have a stark choice about what party to run in. And for now, McConaughey is exceptionally cagey about wading into partisan territory.
Gilberto Hinojosa, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, told Politico that if McConaughey does run as a Democrat, the party would “welcome him.” Hinojosa did, though, provide one clear warning: “If he wants to run as an independent, he’d be a spoiler and guarantee Abbott gets elected.”