Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Celebrities Who've Run for Office

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Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Stars Who Took Office — Or Tried To

It’s not uncommon for celebrities to use their platforms to express their political beliefs and elevate the issues that matter to them, but there are quite a few stars who took things a step further and actually pursued a political career. From presidential campaigns (and a couple of wins, to boot) and races for governor to local government roles, celebrities have covered plenty of ground in politics — here are some of the most noteworthy. Did we leave any out? Let us know in the comments.


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Anson Williams
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Anson Williams

Although he’s best known for his role as Potsie on “Happy Days,” Anson Williams is trying to make a new name for himself in politics. The actor-turned-director is challenging incumbent Betsy Stix to potentially become the mayor of Ojai. Of his decision to run, Williams told The Hollywood Reporter, “Not only are things not being done or completed, but there’s a division in the community that won’t continue under my leadership.”


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Kanye West
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Kanye West

If you saw Kanye West’s name on your election ballot during the 2020 presidential election, you were not hallucinating — the rapper’s name appeared on ballots in 12 different states, having missed the filing deadline in the other 38. West received around 60,000 votes out of the estimated total of 160 million. West credited Wakanda, the fictional kingdom in “Black Panther,” as the inspiration behind his platform, with his sights heavily set on ending police brutality. West has not yet announced official plans to run again in 2024.


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Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Arnold Schwarzenegger

From bodybuilding to acting to politics, Arnold Schwarzenegger has walked down his fair share of career paths. In 2003, the Terminator ran for governor of California during a recall election and was elected after the existing governor, Gray Davis, was recalled. Schwarzenegger subsequently served the remainder of the term until 2007 and was then reelected, serving until 2011, although term limits kept him from being able to run again. Despite no longer holding an official government position, Schwarzenegger has remained involved in politics, promoting environmentalism. 


Caitlyn Jenner
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Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner’s conservative perspectives have been evident since her “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” days, although she didn’t officially dive into Republican politics until 2021 when she followed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s footsteps and attempted to become the governor of California during the recall election. Jenner has said that although she leans into conservative ideals in terms of economics, she still wants to push for LGBTQ rights and equality as she is more progressive socially. Although she lost the recall election leaving the position still in Gavin Newsom’s hands, she has said that she will continue working with Republican leaders

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Donald Trump moved on from “The Apprentice” and headed to the Oval Office in 2016. After a polarizing reign as president riddled with controversial policies, interviews, and Twitter rants, Trump lost his election to seek a second term in 2020 against current president Joe Biden — an election that he publicly called out as fraudulent. Still, there has been talk of Trump running again in 2024

Ronald Reagan
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Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan paved the way for other celebrities to manifest their political aspirations. In fact, Reagan made such an impact during his presidency, that he’s better known for his time in D.C. than his Hollywood days. The former actor first served as California’s governor from 1967 until 1975 before becoming the president in 1981 — a position he held until 1989. Reagan is often regarded as one of the best presidents and was known for his ability to persuade the public with his speeches.


Clint Eastwood
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Clint Eastwood

Western superstar Clint Eastwood embraced the good, bad, and ugly sides of politics when he became the mayor of Carmel, California in 1986. Eastwood served for two years and although he’s known around Hollywood as conservative, he kept things more neutral as mayor. Eastwood told the Washington State Journal, “I was a Republican, but people never thought about their parties except at the national level. I told people ‘I’ll fix this, and I’ll fix that.’” His in-office accomplishments weren’t necessarily groundbreaking, though — one of his first acts was to scale back the municipal prohibitions on the public sale of ice cream.

Howard Stern
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Howard Stern

After the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Howard Stern said that he might have to run for president on an episode of “The Howard Stern Show.” A presidential candidacy wouldn’t be Stern’s foray into politics, though — the radio show host also ran for governor of New York in 1994 under the Libertarian party, but dropped out of the race after refusing to release his personal financial information.

Shirley Temple
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Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple might have been the quintessential child star, but her political career was even more profound than her time as an actress. Setting the tone for the plethora of child stars that would follow after her own heyday, Temple’s success in Hollywood began to trail off as she got older and by the time she was 22, she left Tinseltown and headed to Washington, D.C. Temple referred to herself as a “citizen politician” and did whatever she could to stay involved in politics whether it was working with the League of Women Voters or raising money for the Republican party. In 1967, the former actress ran for Congress and although she didn’t make it to the primary election, her campaign impressed President Richard Nixon, who was the first president to appoint her a role in the United Nations. Temple went on to work under presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush. Altogether, she dedicated 20 years to her various State Department positions.

Roseanne Barr
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Roseanne Barr

Before her racist tweet caused the reboot of “Roseanne” to be canceled by ABC, comedian Roseanne Barr was a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, running under the Peace and Freedom Party. Her platform focused on issues like marijuana legalization and environmental protection, but her efforts weren’t enough — she finished sixth.

Jerry Springer
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Jerry Springer

If a campaign with the crowd chanting, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry” while a bald-headed security guard named Steve stands close by is what you picture when you think of what Jerry Springer’s political beginnings must have looked like, you’re a little ahead of the game. Springer’s bout with politics actually happened before his iconic talk show took the nation by storm. He unsuccessfully ran for Ohio Congress in 1970 before he switched to a local government position the following year, winning a seat on the Cincinnati City Council. Springer then served as the mayor of Cincinnati from 1977-1978 before turning to a career in TV journalism.

Cynthia Nixon
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Cynthia Nixon

On screen, Cynthia Nixon is best known for her role as Harvard-educated lawyer Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City,” but off camera, the actress made some even bigger moves when she ran for governor of New York, challenging Mark Cuomo — who was running for his third term — for the Democratic nomination. Nixon even used her ties to “Sex and the City” during her campaign, promoting merchandise that said, “I’m a Miranda and I’m voting for Cynthia.” The actress told Time, “People know me as Miranda, and I share a lot in common with her. I think it was kind of a shorthand for saying, ‘Women like me are stepping up and are outspoken and are warriors and crusaders in the way that Miranda was.’” Ultimately, she lost the Democratic ticket, but has remained involved in politics, devoting time to causes she is passionate about, like education advocacy.


Dr. Oz
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Dr. Oz

Worlds collided for Mehmet Oz when the doctor appeared as a health expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for five seasons — ultimately leading to subsequent TV shows and widespread notoriety. Now, Dr. Oz is diving head first into yet another world — he is the Republican candidate for the upcoming Senate election in Pennsylvania, which makes him the first Muslim candidate ever nominated by either major party for the Senate.


Al Franken
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Al Franken

Comedian Al Franken spent two decades writing for and performing on “Saturday Night Live,” before switching gears entirely, becoming Senator of Minnesota in 2009. Franken also won the re-election in 2014, although his stay in office was cut short in 2018 when he resigned after sexual misconduct allegations began making their rounds.


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