- Views & Opinions
We’ve grown accustomed to celebrities successfully running for public office.
Minnesota elected wrestling star Jesse Ventura governor in 1999 and sent Saturday Night Live alumnus Al Franken to the U.S. Senate in 2009. Californians put action star and body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governor’s mansion in 2003.
And then there’s movie star Ronald Reagan, who not only served as governor of California, but also as a two-term president.
Now Joe Piscopo, another SNL alum, former body builder and stand-up comic, is considering a run for governor of New Jersey in 2018. He says that he’ll decide whether to run in January. If he decides yes, he probably would run as a Republican.
Piscopo, 65, gained fame as a member of the SNL cast, for his impersonations of Frank Sinatra. He’s also appeared in films, hosts a political talk-radio show in New York and is a spokesman for the Boys and Girls Club.
“I’m seriously looking at (running),” Piscopo told The Associated Press. “I love the people. I love the state. I know what has to be done.”
Piscopo, who has never campaigned for or held office, said he was emboldened to run by the against-all-odds victory of President-elect Donald Trump, whom he spoke for recently at a Florida rally.
“When I saw Mr. Trump in Tampa and he invited me to speak, I saw it was contagious. It was the movement. It wasn’t the machine,” he said.
If Piscopo ran, it could ratchet up the national attention on next year’s contest and could also be a significant boost to Republicans who are in rough shape, thanks to Chris Christie’s record-low approval ratings.
New Jersey political insiders are questioning whether Piscopo could raise enough money to run a winning campaign for the office.