Whatever Steven Seagal is doing on January 5, 2015, it’s unlikely the actor will be standing before a crowd of thousands in Phoenix being sworn in as the 23rd governor of Arizona. The star of such early ’90s action movies as Under Siege is flirting with a gubernatorial run in the Grand Canyon State. Totally coincidentally, he also has a reality show out soon in which he helps controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio fight crime in and around metro Maricopa County, Arizona. Here are five other celebrities who have floated political bids in an attempt to get free publicity.
Charles Barkley is not a role model. Nor is he ever going to be a candidate for governor of Alabama. But the NBA Hall of Famer, nicknamed “the Round Mound of Rebound,” has spent nearly two decades fantasizing about running for governor of his home state. At first Barkley said he would run as a Republican, but as American politics have changed over time, so have the 11-time NBA All-Star’s views. He’s now an Obama endorser and vocal supporter of gay rights, but it doesn’t seem that abandoning the GOP will hurt him with voters. Despite saying in 2008 that he would mount a serious gubernatorial bid in 2014, Barkley changed his mind two years later.
The notoriously opinionated actor has often mused about running for office. Most recently, Baldwin openly weighed running for mayor of New York City in 2013. But he never followed through on his political ambitions and instead decided to finish out his time on the late, great 30 Rock. The actor did endorse in the Democratic mayoral primary, though, backing the eventual winner, liberal Bill de Blasio, over the establishment candidate, Christine Quinn, whom he described as having “sold herself in more ways than a NASCAR driver.”
If you’re going to promote a movie while plugging your charity, what better way to do so than by hinting at a political campaign? In 2012, Ben Affleck left the door open for a Massachusetts Senate bid after John Kerry’s secretary of state nomination created a vacancy. Affleck, who was raised in the Bay State, was no longer a Massachusetts resident but used the buzz to promote his work for the Eastern Congo Initiative as well as the movie Argo before taking himself out of the running.
Unlike everyone else on this list, Paulsen eventually ended up putting his name on a ballot after decades of joke presidential campaigns. The comedian launched his first bid for the White House on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968. His “campaigns” for office became a running gag, and he ran mock bids for the Oval Office every four years. In the end, though, Paulsen put his money where his mouth was and pgot his name on presidential primary ballots in 1992 and 1996. He never quite won an election but finished second to George H.W. Bush in the 1992 North Dakota Republican primary and also won the silver in the 1996 New Hampshire Democratic primary against Bill Clinton.
The real estate developer is best described as a poor man’s John Catsimatidis. Trump has flirted with bids for elected office, but unlike the New York City grocery store magnate, he’s never quite followed through on running. Most recently, the uniquely coiffured New Yorker is now flirting with a run for the 2016 Republican nomination after occupying a strangely outsize role in the 2012 presidential election. However, Iowans shouldn’t hold their breath to see The Donald stumping the state in 2015. After all, a presidential campaign would mean abandoning his career in television as well as filing all sorts of pesky disclosure forms with the Federal Election Commission.