Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey has said he remains undecided on whether to run for Texas Governor just three weeks out from the deadline – but stated it’s ‘not a question of if I could win.’
McConaughey, who lives in Austin, has for months teased a run to unseat Republican Gregg Abbott – and was even tipped to beat the incumbent by pollsters this week in a head-to-head race.
However, the 52-year-old actor and philanthropist would also need to see off stiff competition from Democrat Beto O’Rourke, and has yet to say whether he would run as a red or a blue.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, the married father-of-three was asked as a ‘straight shooter’ if he would give a straight answer on whether he was going to run, with the deadline looming on December 13.
McConaughey said: ‘It’s a whole new thing. I prepare for everything. I’m a big preparer. I am not until I am — OK? Is this something I’ve been thinking about for 20 years, and I know what I want to do, but I’m just holding on to my answer? No. It’s a new embassy of leadership that I have really been doing my diligence to study, to look into, to question what it is, what would it be for me. Not the question of, “Hey, do you think I could win?” No. Let’s talk about what Texas politics is. Talk about a policy statement.
‘I’m a storyteller. I’m a CEO. But being CEO of a state? Am I best equipped for the people in the state, and for my family and myself? There’s great sacrifice that comes with a decision. That’s what I’ve been doing, and there’s no tease to it. There’s me doing my diligence, and I will let you know shortly.’
Matthew McConaughey participates in a Q&A after a special screening of his new film The Gentlemen at Hogg Memorial Auditorium at The University of Texas at Austin on January 21, 2020 in Austin, Texas
Texas Governor Greg Abbott attending a press conference at the Capitol in Austin on June 8
Democrat Beto O’Rourke attends the ‘Texans Rally For Our Voting Rights’ event at the Texas Capitol Building on May 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas
It comes after a new poll from the University of Texas and Dallas Morning News found that McConaughey could beat either Abbott or O’Rourke – albeit only in head-to-head contests.
In the new poll, respondents asked about a hypothetical matchup between Abbott and McConaughey preferred the actor, 43 percent to 35 percent, with the rest saying they were unsure.
Asked about a race between McConaughey and O’Rourke, who recently announced his intention to run next year, McConaughey prevailed 49 percent to 27 percent.
However, in a three-way race with all of the candidates running, the plurality preferred Abbott, who garnered 37 percent support to McConaughey’s 27 percent and O’Rourke’s 27 percent.
Only 40 percent said they wanted McConaughey to run for governor, with 33 percent voicing opposition and the remainder saying it didn’t matter to them.
McConaughey, hailing from a small town in deep Texas and raised in a religious family, has hinted at a possible third-party run, saying he has problems with both parties.
‘Each party is claiming to be democracy itself, and in doing so can’t much tell you what they’re about,’ he told AFP earlier this month.
He added: ‘You got to go ‘left’ sometimes, you got to go ‘right.’ There are people on the so-called right and the so-called left that are better people for the job at hand at different times.’
‘Look, it’s been discussed. It’s a possible avenue,’ McConaughey said when asked about a run for governor.
‘I would call myself aggressively centrist. Not because that’s the place of gray and compromise… I think today it’s a daring space. It’s the space of outlaws.’
If McConaughey does decide to run for the Lone Star State’s top office, he will need to file by a December 13 deadline.
Pressed on whether he has taken key early steps such as hiring campaign staff or fundraising, he responds with a stock line: ‘I’m not, until I am.’
A new poll this week showed actor Matthew McConaughey could defeat either incumbent Republican Greg Abbott or Democrat hopeful Beto O’Rourke for Texas governor
‘It’s something I’m giving great consideration… there’s some wonderful sacrifices for the awesome position,’ he added.
O’Rourke’s announcement earlier this month that he will seek the governor’s office kicks off a third run for office in as many election cycles.
He burst into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary as a party phenomenon but dropped out just eight months later as money and fanfare dried up. In 2028, his bid for US Senate was defeated by incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.
‘It’s not going to be easy. But it is possible,’ O’Rourke said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his announcement. ‘I do believe, very strongly, from listening to people in this state that they´re very unhappy with the direction that Greg Abbott has taken Texas.’
Abbott, a Republican, is seeking a third term and has emerged as a national figure by taking strong stances on lightning rod issues such as abortion and border security.
Texas has not elected a Democratic governor since Ann Richards in 1990. And fresh redistricting in October bolster Republicans’ standing in booming suburban districts that have been drifting away from the party.