Is Matthew McConaughey running for governor of Texas? Maybe. What we know about his interest in politics

·8 min read

Alright, alright, alright. Matthew McConaughey's potential role as Texas governor is getting quite the buzz.

Unlike fellow celebrity turned politician Caitlyn Jenner who made a run for governor of California, the "Dallas Buyers Club" actor hasn't officially announced a campaign for a Texas run. However, he faces a slim margin in gubernatorial polls against Texas' current governor Greg Abbott, has been quoted as "considering" the job and has even gotten some famous faces, like former President George Bush and Kate Hudson, talking.

Still "Dazed and Confused?" Here's everything we know about McConaughey's interest in politics.

Is McConaughey running for Texas governor?

As of right now, no. In a March interview with the Austin American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY network, he said he would "be a fool not to consider" the position.

"I am considering, as I said I’d be a fool not to, to consider the honor to go into the position of politics, as the governor of Texas," McConaughey said. "But I honestly have to ask myself, 'How can I be most useful?' And maybe that’s as a free agent."

McConaughey was clear that he is not running right now.

"I would say, as far as running, I’m not until I am. So my decision hasn’t changed because I’m still not."

The actor said he is "interested in building something that can last" during an interview on "The Carlos Watson Show" in May, but he added he doesn't know if politics would satisfy his interest.

"I'm not interested in going and putting a bunch of Band-Aids on that are going to be ripped off as soon as I'm out (of office)," McConaughey said. "How many things do actual leaders and politicians get done in their four (years) that now become realized later on after they're in office? They never get the credit for those."

More: Matthew McConaughey for Texas governor? The 'aggressively centric' actor is considering it

However, McConaughey admitted he won't likely completely pivot to politics during an appearance in a September episode of the "Set it Straight: Myths and Legends" podcast.

"I have to remain an artist. I’ve earned my right to enjoy that Saturday night part of life, that music part of life," he said. "It has to have music to it. I’m very good at being diligent, Monday morning, practical, structure, I’m all of that but I’ve got to continue to be an artist."

\Matthew McConaughey speaks onstage during HISTORYTalks Leadership & Legacy presented by HISTORY at Carnegie Hall on February 29, 2020 in New York City.
\Matthew McConaughey speaks onstage during HISTORYTalks Leadership & Legacy presented by HISTORY at Carnegie Hall on February 29, 2020 in New York City.

Is McConaughey a Republican or a Democrat?

He says he is neither. McConaughey describes his party affiliation as "aggressively centric."

"Look, I’m a 'Meet You in the Middle' man. When I say 'aggressively centric,' that sometimes gets parceled over there with 'Oh, that’s a shade of grey, a compromise,' " he told the Statesman.

In the past, McConaughey has spoken out against political extremes.

"You need liberals. What I don’t think we need is the illiberals, and what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalized by the illiberals," he said on "Good Morning Britain" in December.

“Now, you know, there are extremes on both sides that I think are unfair — that I don’t think are the right place to be," he continued. "The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize the other side … or they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state that makes no sense."

More: Matthew McConaughey talks political extremes: 'What I don’t think we need is the illiberals'

Would people vote for McConaughey?

According to a poll taken from registered voters in Texas, maybe so.

A gubernatorial poll published July 4 by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows the Oscar-winning actor trailing behind Abbott by just 1% when it comes to support from Texas constituents.

In a hypothetical contest, Abbott is garnering 39% support from Texans, while McConaughey is just behind him with 38% of support. The rest of the poll participants said they would rather vote for someone else.

McConaughey shared a quirky video message on the same day the poll was published, captioned "Happy 245th birthday America – let’s rock" to celebrate July 4.

'This is just a reality': Matthew McConaughey says America is 'going through puberty' on July 4th

“We're basically going through puberty in comparison to other countries' timelines, and we're going to go through growing pains," McConaughey said. "This is not an excuse, to say, this is just a reality. And this is good because we’ve got to keep learning, we got to keep maturing, we got to keep striving, we got to keep climbing, we got to keep building."

Matthew McConaughey celebrates on the Texas Longhorns sideline in the second half against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 29, 2019 in Austin, Texas.
Matthew McConaughey celebrates on the Texas Longhorns sideline in the second half against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 29, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

What are other famous faces saying about it?

Rob Lowe and McConaughey's co-star in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" Kate Hudson talked about the actor's possible run in a May 27 episode of Lowe's "Literally!" podcast, which published May 27.

"I hope he runs. I think he’d be great," Lowe said and asked Hudson if she would support him.

The "Almost Famous" star was "shocked" and said it was the "first time" she was hearing the news, but added she feels like "he'd have a real chance."

"You probably wouldn’t get a politician who would care as much as he does," she said. "I think he’s very authentic … but the governor of Texas is a big job."

She noted she would need to better understand his platforms and initiatives before choosing to support him.

On the "Today" show on April 20, former President George Bush also addressed McConaughey's potential run. "I’ll just tell you this, it’s tough business," Bush said.

What is McConaughey's connection to Texas?

McConaughey is a born and bred Texan. He was born in Uvalde, Texas, which is a little more 100 miles outside of Austin, where he attended college at the University of Texas. He didn't just attend: In 2018, he became the "Minister of Culture" for the university's basketball team.

“It’s time to raise the bar. It’s time to excel, on the court and in the stands. It’s time for an authentic home court advantage for our Longhorn basketball teams," McConaughey said in a news release.

In addition to Longhorn basketball, he is also the "Minister of Culture" for Austin's Football Club. A position he takes "at the ground level."

"(Soccer) is just a great uniter," he said. "Austin is a diverse city that already is a soccer town. We're relentlessly optimistic. They've never had a team to root for. It's the world's game."

More: Texas alum Matthew McConaughey to be 'Minister of Culture' for Longhorns' basketball arena

What else is McConaughey up to?

He has taken an interest in public service. After Texas was hit by a severe winter storm in February, the "Interstellar" actor and his wife Camila teamed up with a Texas relief fund for a virtual benefit concert "We're Texas" to help Texans recover.

The two-hour event included testimonies and musical performances from Texans and Texas transplants alike. The event raised more than $132,000 by the end of the night from viewer donations and even more from sponsors and special guests.

McConaughey looked presidential when he announced the virtual benefit in an Instagram post while sitting in front of an American flag saying, "I'm going to be making daily posts letting people know how to keep safe during this time, find resources, help volunteer and support others."

Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof and Jennifer Garner as Dr. Eve Saks in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club."
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof and Jennifer Garner as Dr. Eve Saks in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club."

Does McConaughey have any upcoming movies?

The actor is returning as Buster Moon in the animated sequel "Sing 2," arriving Dec. 22. McConaughey voices the gung-ho koala, who hosts an "American Idol" type show where animated animals show off their best singing voices.

McConaughey may also be tapped to star as lawyer Jake Brigance (again) in a film adaptation to the "sort of" sequel to the 1996 adaptation of John Grisham's "A Time to Kill." According to reports from Variety and Deadline in March, McConaughey is slated for the HBO adaptation of the book.

In the meantime, fans can revisit some of the actor's best movies: "Dazed and Confused" (Amazon Prime), "Dallas Buyers Club" (Hulu and Amazon Prime), "The Wolf of Wall Street" (Amazon Prime), "Interstellar" (Hulu) and "Kubo and the Two Strings" (Amazon Prime and Apple TV).

'Greenlights' by Matthew McConaughey
'Greenlights' by Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey has also written a book

McConaughey in October released his book "Greenlights," an unconventional and candid memoir filled with raucous stories and hard-won wisdom about living life to its fullest.

"I did a huge amount of laughing with myself when writing, I did a huge amount of crying – most of my tears came from being able to go back and feel the love that my family had that my mom and dad had for each other, that they had for us," he said.

5 books not to miss: Matthew McConaughey’s memoir ‘Greenlights,’ epic Sylvia Plath bio

Contributing: Barbara VanDenburgh, Morgan Hines, Matthew Odam and Bryan Alexander

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Matthew McConaughey, governor? Political interests and more we know

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