Surprisingly or not, politics and Hollywood sometimes cross paths. We all know the stories of celebrities turned politicians like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and, you guessed it, Donald Trump, who not only ran for office but also won.
But they are not the only ones to enter the world of politics, or at least try. With the presidential election coming up on November 3rd, let’s take a trip through the Hall of Fame and see who else dabbled with politics. From controversial talk show hosts to former child stars, here are 10 famous people you had no idea they ran for office. Read on to see if any of them won!
We’ll start our countdown with someone who stands out from the rest of the celebrities on this list by being involved in politics prior to becoming the host of the tabloid talk show, “The Jerry Springer Show”. Springer was first involved in Senator Robert Kennedy’s campaign as a political advisor and a few years later, he became an elected member of Cincinnati City Council. The television presenter also served as the mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1981. Talk about a political career!
It might have seemed like another episode of the Simpsons, but actress Roseanne Barr’s attempt at the White House presidency was very much real. The comedian ran for president in 2012 on behalf of the left-wing Peace and Freedom Party. Surprisingly enough (or not) the sitcom star snatched the sixth place in the popular vote. If you want to find out more about what went down in her dubious presidential campaign, there’s a documentary called Roseanne for President! which can give you all the inside information.
Once upon a time, the legendary shock jock Howard Stern announced his intentions to run for governor of New York in 1994 on behalf of the Libertarian Party. Stern later decided to drop out of the race because he was required to make his financial records public and refused to do so.
“I spend 25 hours a week telling you all the most intimate details of my life,” Stern said. “One fact I’ve never revealed is how much I make and how much money I have . . . it’s none of your business.”
Antonio Sabato, Jr.
Soap opera actor Antonio Sabato Jr. is no stranger to attempts to switch from movies to politics. In 2018, the Italian-American former model ran for the 26th district Congressional seat in California as a Republican. Unfortunately (or not) he lost against incumbent Democrat Julia Brownley.
In 2018, Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon (no relation to Tricky Dick) announced her candidacy in the Democratic primary for governor of New York. The longtime education activist went against two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo and eventually lost. “I ran to win. I hoped to win. I did everything I could to make that a possibility,” the actress said, adding that she had no regrets about running even if she didn’t succeed in getting the necessary votes.
Another actor and activist who tried his luck with politics is George Takei. Best known for his role as Mr. Sulu, in the television series Star Trek, Takei entered the race for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in the ’70s. He later dropped out in favor of campaigning for the California State Assembly in 1980.
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In 1967, former child star Shirley Temple tried to become the first woman in California’s congressional delegation by running for the Golden State’s 11th congressional district. “I think men are fine and here to stay but I have a hunch that it wouldn’t hurt to have a woman’s viewpoint expressed in that delegation of 38 men,” Temple said in a press conference. “One congresswoman among 38 congressmen is not unfair, fellows.”
The iconic actress lost the congressional race but remain involved in politics. She was appointed as a delegate to the 24th United Nations General Assembly by President Richard M. Nixon, United States Ambassador to Ghana by President Gerald R. Ford and first female Chief of Protocol of the United States in 1976.
In 2010, Haitian rapper and producer Wyclef Jean tried to run for president in Haiti, his home country. He was told he cannot become an official presidential candidate and he was disqualified for no apparent reason. The former Fugees member claimed he was not allowed to run because of a certain rule that required election candidates to comply with a five-year residency requirement.
Sean Duffy, a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump, is no stranger to politics, nor reality shows. The current CNN news contributor and former “The Real World: Boston” alumni occupied a congressional seat for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House, from 2011 to 2019. Duffy resigned in October 2019 to focus on his nine children with The Real World: San Francisco alum, Rachel Campos.
In 2014, American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken tried his luck as a congressional candidate on behalf of the Democratic party. He ran for a set in his home state of North Carolina and won the Democratic primary. In the end, Aiken was defeated by the incumbent Republican representative.