AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey put an end to questions about his potential run for Texas governor on Sunday night, announcing he will not be mounting a bid to deny incumbent GOP Governor Greg Abbott a third term.
In a video posted to Twitter, McConaughey said that he has been exploring a run for public office over the past two years.
“As a simple kid born in the little town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me that I would one day be considered for political leadership,” he said. “It is also a path I am choosing not to take at this moment.”
The Academy Award-winning actor’s announcement comes two weeks after former El Paso congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke announced his campaign for governor.
Through the months of questions and speculation, McConaughey never hinted at his political affiliation or policies he would enact if elected into office. Still, polling suggested he would have been a formidable opponent to Abbott or O’Rourke.
In a September poll conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, 44% of respondents said they would vote for McConaughey if he ran for governor. By comparison, 35% said they would vote to reelect Abbott in a hypothetical match-up against the actor and 21% that said they would vote for someone else.
While McConaughey will not be running for governor of Texas in 2022, he said in his announcement that he will continue working with private entities to create change.
“I am going to continue to invest the bounty I have in supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that I believe are leaders...establishments that I believe are creating pathways for people to succeed in life,” he said.
Aside from his career as an actor, McConaughey is also an author and professor at the University of Texas in Austin, where has taught acting since 2015. He won an Oscar for his leading role as a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in the 2013 film “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Abbott, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, faces three challengers in the GOP primary. As of now, O’Rourke is the only Democrat to announce his candidacy for governor, with no other possible challengers rumored to run after the speculation over McConaughey was put to rest.
A poll released earlier this month from the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas found that if the election were held today, 46% of registered Texas voters would vote for Abbott, with 37% voting for O’Rourke. Seven percent of respondents said they would vote for someone else and 10% had no opinion.
The filing deadline for candidates to compete in the 2022 primary election is Dec. 13.
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