Senate candidate Al Gore Jr. has lots to talk about with same-named former VP

At 82, the former United Methodist minister says of both himself and the 2000 Democratic presidential candidate, “Philosophically, we speak the same language and think the same thoughts.”

While he’s never met his well-known kinsman (whom he believes is related through ancestors dating back to the 19th century), Gore says having the same famous name as former President Clinton’s running mate has come in handy during his Senate campaign. “I’m not embarrassed by it. I’m proud of it,” he says. “In public service, the Gore name is familiar to most people in the state.”

As an octogenarian, Gore explains he was inspired to make his first run for public office in the Republican-leaning state because “I’m of the opinion that the people in this state are not being represented. ... In this state, which ranks first in everything that’s bad and last in everything that’s good, I think it’s time that somebody did something to help turn it around.”

He tells ITK in his thick Mississippi drawl that he realizes he is considered a long shot to oust Wicker: “It’s been said that I don’t have a ghost of a chance, but I know a little bit differently.”

If he does win a ticket to Washington after Tuesday, he’ll have a lot to chat about with the other Gore, who served as a Tennessee senator for more than eight years before becoming vice president. “I’m just doing my thing, and he does his. And we’d just discuss things in general about where things need to go.”

He says, like Gore, he's concerned about the environment and climate change. "It is changing … I'm old enough to know about the changes that are taking place." Mentioning his 64-year-old relative, he continues with a laugh, "You see, I'm older than he is."