Matthew McConaughey Announces He Will Not Run for Texas Governor: 'Our Politics Needs New Purpose'

The Oscar winner shut the door on a potential bid for governor of Texas in 2022 as he acknowledged his time spent exploring a career in public office over the past two years

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Photo: Dan HImbrechts/Shutterstock

Matthew McConaughey announced that he has no immediate plans for a future in politics in a video message shared on Sunday.

The Oscar winner, 52, shut the door on a potential bid for governor of Texas in 2022 as he acknowledged his time spent exploring, learning and listening over the past two years while considering a career in public office.

"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," McConaughey said. "It's a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It's also a path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."

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The actor also noted that he's been studying both American and Texas politics. "What have I learned? A lot," he said. "That we have some problems we need to fix. That our politics needs new purpose. That we have divides that need healing. That we need more trust in our lives."

"I've learned that freedom comes with responsibility, and that great leaders serve," he continued. "Whether a politician, a CEO, star quarterback, a mother, father, husband, wife, brother, friend, mentor or teacher, we lead by serving each other. We lead through our service. What is service? Service is taking on responsibility today, so we can have more freedom tomorrow. Service is making the better choice for you and for me."

Instead of running for Texas governor, McConaughey explained that he will continue to support entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that are "creating pathways for people to succeed, organizations that have a mission to serve and build trust while also generating prosperity."

"That's the American dream," he added. "And politicians, the good ones can help us get to where we need to go, yeah. But let's be clear, they can't do anything for us unless we choose to do for ourselves."

Matthew McConaughey participates in a Q&A after a special screening of his new film "The Gentlemen" at Hogg Memorial Auditorium at The University of Texas at Austin on January 21, 2020 in Austin, Texas
Gary Miller/Getty

McConaughey previously addressed speculation about his plans to run for Texas governor during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in March. "It's something I'm giving consideration. Absolutely," he said at the time. "What an honorable thing to even be able to consider."

Several months later, he addressed the "challenging" nature of entering the world of politics on The Carlos Watson Show.

"I'm not interested in going and putting a bunch of Band-Aids on that are going to be ripped off as soon as I'm out, I'm interested in building something that can last and I'm measuring what category that is, I don't know if that's politics," he said. "That whole embassy of politics has some redefining of its purpose."

When asked how he would feel about going up against an opponent, the Dallas Buyers Club star again emphasized the need for enacting lasting change that goes beyond a politician's term limit.

"I trust my core beliefs enough, and my values enough, to feel comfortable listening to an opposing one," McConaughey said. "We try to teach our kids delayed gratification but we don't like to think about further than tomorrow, we need immediate results."

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Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will run for a third term in Texas in 2022, while Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke launched his gubernatorial campaign earlier this month.

In an earlier interview with PEOPLE, O'Rourke, 49, alluded to a potential bid, saying, "One way or the other, I'm in for the distance for Texas. That might be as a candidate. But it might also be as a volunteer."

O'Rourke — who toured in a punk band in college — served three terms in the House of Representatives before narrowly losing a high-profile Senate race in 2018 against Sen. Ted Cruz. Though he lost the race, his name recognition grew, and he launched a short-lived presidential bid in 2020.

Since his short-lived White House bid, O'Rourke has focused much of his energy on voting rights, teaching courses at the University of Texas on the subject and acting as a central figure pushing back against Republican efforts to change the state's voting laws over the summer.

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