By Judy Kurtz
Plenty of celebrities bring in the big bucks at the box office, but the occasional few choose to swap the Hollywood circuit for the campaign trail.
In The Know has compiled a Top 10 list of the entertainers who have either indicated an interest in running for office, or gotten buzz over a possible bid for public office.
Which of these is most likely to trade Los Angeles or New York for Washington?
The “Unbroken” director, who was appointed as a United Nations special envoy for refugee issues in 2012, recently said she’s “open” to a career in politics. Jolie, a 39-year-old mom of six who’s married to Brad Pitt, told Vanity Fair in an interview published last month, “If you really want to make an extreme change, then you have a responsibility.”
The business mogul is well known for putting his toes in the “is he or is he not running?” waters — Trump began flirting with a possible political run long before he was telling NBC “Celebrity Apprentice” contestants they were fired. A GOP supporter and vocal critic of President Obama, these days, Trump, 68, has made a habit of retweeting messages from some of his nearly 3 million Twitter followers urging him to run for president.
The “Argo” director and next Batman has long been the subject of speculation about a possible political run. An outspoken Democratic donor and activist, Affleck, 42, has made frequent trips to Washington to testify on Capitol Hill. His wife, actor Jennifer Garner, said in an interview last year, “Right now [Ben] feels like he can do more good for people politically from outside the system.” But, she added, “Would I be surprised if one day he did go into politics? No.”
The comedian is one of the few celebrities on our list who actually has attempted to make the leap from the box office to the ballot box. After losing her bid to become the Green Party candidate in the 2012 election, Barr ran as the nominee for the Peace and Freedom Party. The 62-year-old former sitcom star said at the time, “Vote for me. I’m not a liar. I’m not a thief. I’m not a whore.”
The SiriusXM radio host judges acts on the NBC hit “America’s Got Talent,” where viewers choose the reality competition’s winner, but he may be looking for voters to pick him in the future. Stern, 60, ran as a Libertarian in New York’s gubernatorial race back in 1994, saying at the time, “I am dead serious about running. I’m in this to win.” While he withdrew his candidacy after refusing to submit a required financial disclosure form, rumblings of another political run have followed him. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) said he might make a 2016 presidential bid — but only if Stern agrees to be his running mate.
Talk of a future “President Clooney” started following the actor long before he played a presidential candidate in 2011’s “The Ides of March.” Clooney, a big time Democratic donor and humanitarian activist, has knocked down past reports of potential political runs. His rep told us a British tabloid’s story earlier this year that Clooney, 53, was being courted by Democrats to run in the 2018 California gubernatorial race was a “fabrication.” But that hasn’t stopped the speculation: a British gambling firm increased the odds of Clooney becoming president after the longtime bachelor tied the knot with lawyer Amal Alamuddin earlier this year.
The member of the famed country music clan weighed a possible Democratic bid this year against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule MORE (R-Ky.). Although she appeared this close to tossing her hat in the Bluegrass State match-up, the 46-year-old “Divergent” actress and 2012 Democratic National Convention delegate ultimately decided against the Senate run, telling her Twitter followers she needed to be “focused on my family.” But Judd isn’t completely shying away from politics — she appeared as a special guest at a Democratic state Senate candidate’s fundraiser in Tennessee over the summer.
“The Nanny” star has been open about what her next role might be: senator. When we asked Drescher last year if she’s considering running for public office, she replied, “Maybe.” The New York native and Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonArizona newspaper endorses Dem for president for first time Republican John Warner to endorse Clinton Trump camp touts million raised since debate MORE supporter, 57, eyed Clinton’s Senate seat back in 2008 when she made her White House run, but ultimately decided against running. But Drescher, a cancer survivor, said in late 2013 of her political plans, “I think it’s on the horizon.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
He laid the smack down on his opponents in the wrestling ring, but the WWE-star-turned-actor says he has his sights set on the political arena. When asked about his interest in politics back in 2012, the 42-year-old replied, “Right now the best way that I can impact the world is through entertainment. One day, and that day will come, I can impact the world through politics.” Plugging his new movie at the time, the American Samoa native said, “The great news is that I am American, therefore I can become president. But don’t forget: I am G.I. Joe.” He’s already gotten at least a satirical taste of the presidency: the real-life President Obama supporter played “The Rock Obama” in a 2009 “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
The country music crooner has long flirted with the idea of throwing his signature cowboy hat into a political race. In 2006, the “Shotgun Rider” singer and dad of three with wife Faith Hill told Esquire magazine he could run in a Tennessee Senate or gubernatorial race, “Maybe in 10 or 15 years when the music has died down.” The longtime Democrat, 47, already received an endorsement of sorts from one former commander in chief. “I think he’s got it,” Bill ClintonBill Clinton Trump reveals how he calmed his nerves before debate GOP lawmakers give Trump bad reviews on debate performance Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule MORE told the magazine.