Mike Siegel: Potential McConaughey candidacy a 'sideshow' in Texas governor race

Mike Siegel, political director of progressive organizing group Ground Game Texas, called actor Matthew McConaughey’s potential Texas gubernatorial bid a “sideshow.”

“He’s treading extremely carefully right now to prolong this moment of fame and attention to make it seem like he’s a serious candidate for governor. But he hasn’t said a single thing on policy or what he’d do differently from the current governor,” Siegel, a former congressional candidate, told Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

McConaughey, who hasn’t entered the race or announced a party affiliation, polled ahead of Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottSunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant Hillicon Valley —TSA to strengthen rail sector cybersecurity When politics trump workers' health, we know who gets burned MORE (R) in a September survey conducted by The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler.

But Siegel argued that it’s unlikely the actor would make it through either party’s primary.

“He doesn’t have a base among Democratic primary voters or Republican primary voters,” Siegel said. “What we seem to be talking about is a spoiler campaign that would likely cinch it for Greg Abbot in the general election.”

Siegel was the Democratic nominee last year in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulWTA suspends tournaments in China pending investigation into star Peng Shuai's allegations Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai MORE (R-Texas).

Siegel told Hill.TV that Texas Democrats expect former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) to announce his candidacy soon, and called McConaughey a “shiny object” for the media in the meantime.

“Swing voters are not moderate voters,” he said. “These are people who are generally not paying attention who often don’t vote in elections and they’re waiting to hear someone articulate a vision of how government will improve their lives.”

Candidates need to file by Dec. 13 ahead of the March 2022 primary. Siegel said a Democrat with a message that appeals to swing voters could unseat Abbott in the historically red state.