Five celebrities running for office

Five celebrities running for office
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President Trump's White House victory has inspired other celebrities to run for office.

Trump's rise to the presidency suggests that candidates from outside politics can have success, especially if they are a well-known name with the ability to harness the power of social media.

Here are five celebrities who have already announced their candidacies.

Antonio Sabato Jr.  

Sabato Jr. was one of the few Hollywood Republicans to back Trump over Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSchumer: Dems, not Russia, are to blame for loss to Trump Dem rep: Kushner ‘lied’, should be investigated Scaramucci deleting old tweets to avoid 'distraction' MORE during the White House race. 

Awarded a prime-time speaking slot at Trump’s convention, Sabato praised the then-GOP nominee’s Christian faith, calling it the main reason he decided to support him. 

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“In the past eight years, failed policies have caused our country to deteriorate. Our rights have been trampled and our security threatened,” he said.

“We are weaker by almost every measure. We are on the wrong path.”

Sabato found himself in hot water shortly after that speech when he told ABC that he believes then-President Obama was “absolutely” a Muslim, adding that he doesn’t follow “the God that I love.” 

Should he win the Republican primary as expected, Sabato will be running against Democratic Rep. Julia BrownleyJulia BrownleyFive celebrities running for office Time for Congress to support drone federalism to benefit the nation Antonio Sabato Jr. to run for Congress in California MORE, a three-term congresswoman in the Southern California district. 

He’ll face long odds since The Cook Political Report ranks the district as D+7, which means the district’s presidential vote leans 7 percentage points more Democratic than the national result.

Bo Dietl

A regular presence on Fox News, former New York Police Department Detective Dietl telegraphed his bid for New York City mayor all the way back in 2014, when he started calling Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio “Big Bird.”

“Hey Big Bird, I’m coming. I’m going to run against you,” Dietl said on Fox Business that year.

A longtime friend of Trump’s, Dietl told The Daily Beast in 2016 that he helped Trump “deter” his opponents during the campaign. His client list includes a number of prominent conservatives, including White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and conservative commentator Don Imus, according to The New York Times.

Dietl initially said he’d challenge de Blasio in the Democratic primary despite his Republican leanings, but a filing mistake cost him the ability to register as a member of either major party.

When he sought to file a legal challenge to fix it, Dietl made a racial remark comparing the black judge’s appearance to de Blasio’s wife, who is black. That miscue contributed to the city’s GOP refusing to allow him to run under the party’s banner, either.

Dietl’s bid had always been considered a long shot, no matter his registration. While de Blasio has faced serious criticism through his first term as mayor, he’s seen a bump at the polls since emerging as a vocal critic of the president. 

But Dietl is pushing on as an independent. His first television ad for the campaign shows an Oval Office meeting with President Reagan.

Glenn Jacobs aka “Kane” 

Trump’s victory proved to be a boon for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) — former WWE CEO Linda McMahon now serves as administrator for the Small Business Administration and Trump himself had been a regular on the WWE circuit.

Now, WWE star Jacobs, known to fans as Kane, is looking to parlay his wrestling career into a political bid for mayor of Tennessee’s Knox County as a Republican.

Jacobs evoked President Reagan in his announcement video by calling to make Knox County an example of Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill.” And he promised to “fight to keep government small and keep our taxes low.”

While he’s traded his singlet and mask for a suit and tie, Kane is still leaning into his wrestling ties with an upcoming fundraiser with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. And Jacobs would be an outsize presence in the county if he wins — he is billed at over 7 feet tall, weighing more than 300 pounds. 

Robert Booker Huffman aka “Booker T”

Huffman, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, is another example of the growing wrestler-turned-politician trend.  

The almost 30-year veteran of professional wrestling has built up a strong following over the years both for his antics in the ring and as a wrestling announcer after his retirement.

Now he’s eyeing another prize — becoming mayor of Houston.

The seat isn’t up until 2019, but Huffman jumped in early with a December announcement. In a public letter, he emphasized his own rags-to-riches story and declared that he wants to be “a positive change agent for Houston.”

He has not yet announced whether he would affiliate with a political party.

Running to serve as mayor of a major American city, Huffman will likely have a far tougher path than his fellow WWE colleague, Jacobs. Current Mayor Sylvester Turner could be term-limited, depending on the resolution of a lawsuit about a ballot proposition that could limit a mayor’s maximum term. But Huffman would likely face a serious challenge in winning the chance to lead the nation’s fourth most-populous city. 

Rosey Grier

Now that the Rams have returned to Los Angeles, a former Rams football great has signaled his intent to run for California governor. 

Grier, the 84-year-old former National Football League great, announced his bid earlier this year in what’s expected to be a crowded bid to replace retiring Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. Top Democrats like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are already in the race.  

Grier has already been a part of political history — he served as a bodyguard for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and was near the politician when he was shot and killed in 1968.

It’s unclear which party Grier is running under in the deep-blue state, but signs appear to point to him running as a Republican. While The Los Angeles Times reported that he backed Democratic President Jimmy Carter, he subsequently backed Carter’s 1984 opponent, Ronald Reagan, and spoke at the Republican National Convention that year. 

Grier also endorsed Trump ahead of the 2016 election.