The actor hasn’t voted in a major since a minimum of 2012 and has by no means donated to a Texas or federal marketing campaign.
The Austin-based actor Matthew McConaughey is once more making headlines for flirting with a run for Texas governor — and this time he says he is serious about the possibility.
Belying the hubbub, although, is one thing activists have more and more buzzed about: Little is understood about McConaughey’s politics, or a minimum of his partisanship.
State voting data present he hasn’t voted in a Texas major election since a minimum of 2012, which may give some inkling as to which occasion he helps. He has not made any marketing campaign contributions. And he has declined to say whether or not he would run as a Democrat, a Republican or one thing else.
There, in fact, may very well be attraction within the lack of political background, and McConaughey has spoken brazenly about being disillusioned with the present state of politics, suggesting final yr that it’s a “damaged enterprise.” He additionally has criticized the excesses of each the left and the proper, and inspired an “aggressively centric” mindset.
However for partisans seeking to suss out McConaughey’s true leanings because the 2022 election cycle will get underway, there may be not a lot to go off. That’s very true for Democrats, who’re desirous to problem GOP Gov. Greg Abbott over his dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic and winter climate disaster however lack a deep bench past Beto O’Rourke.
McConaughey has voted twice in Texas since 2012 — within the 2018 and 2020 basic elections, in keeping with his newest voter historical past file with the secretary of state’s workplace. He voted early each occasions — in individual in 2018 and by mail-in poll in 2020. His registration in Travis County goes again to Nov. 25, 2012, and doesn’t preclude the chance that he was beforehand registered in Texas and fell off the voter rolls.
With regards to marketing campaign contributions, there isn’t a file of him giving on the state or federal ranges.
He has spoken out in opposition to gun violence — and advocated for brand new legal guidelines to fight it — however in any other case doesn’t usually wade into coverage debates.
He didn’t say a lot concerning the newest election — although he made headlines afterward, when he criticized the “illiberal left” for taking an boastful view towards the “different 50%.” He urged that view led some in Hollywood — a strongly Democratic constituency — to disclaim Donald Trump’s win in 2016, and now some Republicans have been denying Trump’s reelection loss as a result of “they have been fed faux information.”
McConaughey has been fielding questions on operating for governor whereas selling his memoir, “Greenlights,” which printed in October. Within the ebook, McConaughey did embody a handful of glimpses on the politics he was round rising up. Early on within the memoir, McConaughey stated he got here “from a protracted line of rule breakers,” describing them as “outlaw libertarians who vote purple down the road as a result of they imagine it’ll preserve fewer outlaws from trespassin on their territory.”
However he steered away from discussing politics — latest presidents and elections, for instance — or together with particulars about his private political beliefs.
A publicist for McConaughey didn’t reply to requests for remark for this story.
McConaughey’s’ lately launched ebook will not be the one factor maintaining him within the public highlight nowadays. He’s organizing a virtual benefit concert for Texans affected by final month’s lethal winter storm, set to be broadcast Sunday on his YouTube channel.
McConaughey initially sparked rumors he may run for governor final yr when he left open the chance in a November interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. However a day later, after his Hewitt interview obtained extensive media protection, McConaughey appeared to dial again the hypothesis a couple of gubernatorial bid, telling late-night TV host Stephen Colbert that he has “no plans to do this proper now.”
However McConaughey ramped up hypothesis as soon as once more final week, when he said in a podcast interview that operating for governor is a “true consideration.” He adopted it up with an interview with NBC News’ Al Roker, from the garden of Texas Capitol, through which he reiterated he was fascinated about a bid.
Some interviewers have particularly requested McConaughey if he would run as a Democrat or a Republican — or one thing else — and he has not performed ball. Questioned Thursday about his partisan affiliation if he runs for governor, he told the Austin American-Statesman he has not “gotten that far but.” In an interview published the same day by the Longview Information-Journal — McConaughey partly grew up within the East Texas metropolis — he additionally shrugged off a query about partisanship.
“I believe, getting in, to suppose Democrat or Republican or one of many different, is small considering now and even changing into unconstitutional since you’re purported to serve the American folks or the folks of your state,” McConaughey stated.
Unbiased bids for governor should not unprecedented in Texas. In 2006, former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and songwriter and humorist Kinky Friedman each ran as independents. They completed third and fourth within the race behind Republican Rick Perry and Democrat Chris Bell, however mixed to herald greater than 30% of the vote.
Thus far, the largest query hanging over the 2022 gubernatorial race entails a Democrat: O’Rourke, the previous 2020 presidential candidate, El Paso congressman and 2018 U.S. Senate nominee. O’Rourke has stated he’s contemplating difficult Abbott, whereas providing harsh criticism of the governor’s responses to the pandemic and winter storm.
The McConaughey-O’Rourke relationship is one among rising fascination in political circles, if solely as a result of they’re by far the 2 most recognizable names being mentioned as potential gubernatorial candidates.
McConaughey was photographed posing with O’Rourke and two different folks whereas O’Rourke was operating for U.S. Senate. As early voting was underway in that race, he tweeted a video of himself in line at a polling place, encouraging folks to get out and vote. And a couple of yr later, McConaughey crossed paths with O’Rourke at a 2019 profit live performance for the victims of the El Paso Walmart bloodbath.
Then once more, McConaughey has additionally teamed up with Republicans, albeit on causes that equally should not overtly political. In 2018, he appeared alongside Lawyer Normal Ken Paxton in a public service announcement about ending human trafficking. Extra lately, he lent his voice to another PSA, this one launched by Abbott’s workplace, that urged Texans to remain house if they might because the pandemic escalated within the state final spring.
With regards to extra politically delicate points, McConaughey has treaded rigorously. Take, for instance, the push to “defund the police” final yr after the dying of George Floyd, the Black Minnesota man who was killed after being pinned down by an officer. Requested about Austin’s response to the “defund the police” motion, McConaughey told podcast host Joe Rogan in October that it is “virtually prefer it ought to’ve been renamed as a result of ‘defund the police’ doesn’t sound something like there’s been cash reallocated to completely different areas.” He stated the group and police “have to get again collectively” and higher perceive the distinctive challenges every face. And on police particularly, he stated there are “a couple of of those unhealthy apples [that] should be eliminated, however we want to ensure we’re coaching them higher.”
He in the end landed on a skeptical place, saying his “first intestine intuition [about defunding the police] was, I do not see how that repairs the connection between the group and the police drive.”
“We’ll see the way it works, however I am extra for saying, OK, as an alternative of taking away your cash and your funds, which you should utilize to coach higher and work on the connection of what your job is and what you anticipate and what communities anticipate from you — I might fairly have executed that than pull cash from ’em,” McConaughey stated.
In the identical interview, McConaughey supplied a extra direct place on one other hot-button concern — gun management — saying it’s “too simple to get a gun generally, that there ought to be that background test.”
McConaughey has a historical past of being extra outspoken on gun violence than different politically charged points. In 2018, he spoke on the March for Our Lives rally in Austin, calling for banning assault weapons for civilians, proscribing high-capacity magazines and strengthening background checks.
“These are the three fundamental stipulations,” McConaughey stated on the rally, “and to these three, I can say — should you can say it with me — all proper, all proper, all proper.”
Cassi Pollock contributed reporting.