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Alright Alright Alright: A Dark-Horse For Statewide Office

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(Matthew McConaughey, the actor, at this year’s Academy Awards. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Update: Yes. April Fool’s! (Really, we thought the second to last sentence made it obvious.)

The most intriguing statewide race this side of Dan Patrick versus David Dewhurst just might get more interesting. Matthew McConaughey tells TEXAS MONTHLY that he’s considering a write-in candidacy for state Agriculture Commissioner, which would put him in November’s general election as a third option along with the winners of May’s Democratic and Republican Party primary run-offs.

“Electoral politics in Texas needs more heroes,” said McConaughey. “The established political parties and career politicians aren’t providing them. My hero is me, in seven months, when the people of Texas choose me to represent the state’s most crucial interests: our farmers, and our agricultural economy.

“They, like all Texans, deserve a government that lets them just keep livin’,” he added. 

To become eligible as a write-in candidate, McConaughey would have to collect 5,000 signatures by August 18. He said that’s plenty of time to get his organization in place.

“That’s a lot more than ten days,” he said. “And I’m a proven planner.” 

Should he run, McConaughey, who said he’s previously been registered as a Democrat, would face either Sid Miller or Tommy Merritt, both former members of the Texas House, on the Republican side, and Kinky Friedman or Jim Hogan on the Democratic ticket.

Friedman, the author, humorist and songwriter, who ran for Governor as an independent in 2006, and Hogan, an unknown farmer and insurance agent, finished ahead of Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III, ostensibly the Dems’ preferred candidate, in March’s primary.

“When I saw that Kinky, who’s basically in the same world that I am, wants to legalize pot farming, that’s when I told my amigo Woody, ‘I could do this job,'” McConaughey said.

“And then the other dude [Hogan], he doesn’t even have an official campaign website. Me neither!”

As everyone in Texas knows, a Democrat has not won statewide office here since 1994, prompting speculation that McConaughey is running at the behest of influential Republicans, to counter Friedman’s celebrity and draw votes away from the former TEXAS MONTHLY contributor.

As Neena Satija and Jim Malewitz of the Texas Tribune wrote in March, name recognition, or even mere familiarity, can go a long way in any race, including Friedman and Hogan’s upset of Fitzsimons.

That would no doubt be a factor for McConaughey as well. Like 10-time candidate Gene Kelly or current Democratic Attorney General nominee Sam Houston, he is not to be confused with his more famous namesake. Rather, he is a Uvalde hemp farmer who also plays bongos in a Radiohead cover band. 

I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that,” McConaughey said. 

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