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Matthew McConaughey says he'll make a decision on Texas governor run 'shortly'

by Tribune News Service | November 24, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Matthew McConaughey watches player warmups before the game between the Texas Longhorns and the LSU Tigers at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in September 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Tim Warner/Getty Images/TNS)

Actor Matthew McConaughey promised a decision on whether he'll run for Texas governor "shortly" in an interview with Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday.

The actor, who's been talking about making a run for the office for months, talked about his decision-making process in a wide-ranging interview with the show business publication. The deadline to file for the Republican or Democratic primary -- or to declare as an independent candidate -- is Dec. 13.

"I'm a storyteller. I'm a CEO. But being CEO of a state?" he said. "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."

McConaughey said he wasn't being coy about the race.

"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," he said.. "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."

The interview with the Hollywood Reporter came days after Democrat Beto O'Rourke entered the race for governor. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott officially filed for a third term on Tuesday. Abbott will face several primary challengers.

McConaughey, also a best-selling author, was asked his reaction about O'Rourke entering the race.

"I missed the news. I figured he would," he said.

A Dallas Morning News/University of Texas-Tyler poll released Sunday showed that in a three-way race with Abbott, O'Rourke and McConaughey, Abbott had 37% of registered voters polled with McConaughey at 27% and O'Rourke at 26%.

Those polled said they'd support McConaughey over Abbott, 43% to 35%, with 22% wanting someone else to run.

But by nearly 2-to-1, all voters would be more likely to support McConaughey than O'Rourke. Pluralities of Democrats and independents want the Oscar-winning movie star and products endorser to run.

Still, McConaughey doesn't have a clear path if he were to decide to run. By 65%-11%, Democratic voters believe O'Rourke is the best opportunity for Democrats to break a statewide losing streak dating to 1998.

The poll, conducted Nov. 9-16, surveyed 1,106 adults who are registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

McConaughey hasn't said whether he would run as a Republican or Democrat. He could run as an independent, but would face some hurdles to qualify for the ballot.

An independent candidate would have to file intent to run by Dec. 13, and then collect 500 signatures of voters who did not vote in the 2022 March primary or May primary runoff elections and turn them in to the Texas secretary of state by June 23, 2022.

The last significant Texas independent gubernatorial candidates were in 2006, when singer/humorist Kinky Friedman and former Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, lost to Rick Perry in 2006. Chris Bell was the Democratic candidate. Perry had 39% of the vote, Bell 30%, Strayhorn 18% and Friedman 13%.

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©2021 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Print Headline: Matthew McConaughey says he'll make a decision on Texas governor run 'shortly'

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