Ashley Judd Declines Senate Run, But Here Are 5 Celebs Who Have Run For Office

For weeks there has been speculation that Ashley Judd would take on Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the Senate seat in Kentucky. The actress quashed rumors in an announcement via Twitter on Wednesday, however, when she shared, "After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family." Judd recently announced her split from husband Dario Franchitti, and has been half-sister Wynonna Judd's main support system since Wynonna's husband suffered a near-fatal motorcycle accident this past summer.

Judd had many who endorsed her potential run for office, as well as many others who felt that, as an actress lacking a political background, she would be ill-fitted for a government position.

Nonetheless, Judd wouldn't have been the first celebrity to take a shot at playing the real-life role of politician. Plenty of stars have traded in the red carpet for the Oval Office (or something like it) to fulfill their political aspirations.

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger


Although an outspoken Republican throughout his acting career, Arnold Schwarzenegger had few political credentials to his name (although maybe being married to a Kennedy counts for something) when he was elected governor of California.

Nonetheless, in what he would claim was a spur of the moment decision, Schwarzenegger announced his bid in the 2003 recall election on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and subsequently served as governor for two terms. "I told Leno I was running. And two months later I was governor," he said, "What the fuck is that?"

Well, you left a lot of people wondering the same thing, Arnold. Though the famed bodybuilder entered office with record high ratings, ratings were at a record low when he left in 2011.

2. Clint Eastwood


Although nowadays most people associate Clint Eastwood's political career with his infamous chat with a chair, he has fortunately had some more successful (or just more lucid) political moments in the past. In the '80s, the renowned actor and director served a term as mayor for the small Californian town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Eastwood was also appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission by both Governor Davis and Governor Schwarzenegger.

3. Wyclef Jean


Hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean caused a media frenzy when he announced, via TIME Magazine no less, that he would run for president of Haiti in 2010. It made some sense, at least; Jean had long been an activist for his native country, which he left at the age of nine, and his bid came on the heels of the devastating earthquake that rocked the small Caribbean nation. "The quake drove home to me that Haiti can't wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century," Jean triumphantly proclaimed.

His bid was disqualified, however, as he was not a current resident of the country. 

4. Shirley Temple Black


This photo may be a bit outdated, but you wouldn't recognize her otherwise! One of the most famous (and recognizable) child stars ever, Shirley Temple left show business at the ripe old age of 21. Instead of acting, she explored her interest in politics and in 1967, Shirley Temple Black (her married name) ran for the House of Representatives.

She may have lost to fellow Republican Pete McCloskey, but that didn't keep her away from the political scene for long; two years later, Richard Nixon appointed Black as representative to the United Nations. Black also served as ambassador to Ghana as well as Czechoslovakia, and was the first woman to be appointed Chief of Protocol of the United States in 1976.

5. Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan serves as inspiration for all politically-inclined celebs. After all, if this Hollywood hunk could turn himself into the president of the United States then, well, any actor can do it. I wouldn't be surprised if Amanda Bynes announced her bid for the 2016 election today. (Although nothing she could do at this point would surprise me.)

Made famous by his role as a double amputee in Kings Row, Reagan served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild, which ignited his political ambitions. Shortly after his time on the SAG board, Reagan served as Governor of California for two terms (1967-1975) and then sought out the White House. Though his first campaign for presidency was unsuccessful, Reagan was elected as the 60th president of the United States in 1981 and served for two terms.

Not only was he the oldest person ever elected president, but he was also the only president to survive an assassination attempt; now that's something worth celebrating!

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Jane Reynolds

The blog editor at a travel website, Jane has a passion for all aspects of travel: visiting new places, trying new foods, and even taking long plane rides (at least they mean uninterrupted hours for reading and sleeping). Jane has been living in the West Village since graduating from Dartmouth College in 2011 with a degree in English and Art History. For better or worse, reality TV is her one true love.

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