Matthew McConaughey Will Enter Politics 'in Some Capacity' but Says He's More of a 'Poet-Statesman'

The actor says he is "measuring" a run for governor of Texas but will always remain a storyteller and an artist

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Matthew McConaughey hasn't decided to run for governor of Texas — yet — but says politics is definitely in his future in some form.

Amid the building buzz around McConaughey's possible campaign, the Oscar-winning actor says in a new interview that while a political turn is imminent, it won't define him.

"I'm measuring it," the actor told the guys of Midland for an episode of the country band's podcast Set It Straight: Myths and Legends. "Look, it's going to be in some capacity. I'm more of a folk-singing, philosopher, poet-statesman than I am per-se definitive politician, so I go, 'Well that's a reason not to,' and then I go, 'No, that's exactly why you should, because politics needs redefinition.' "

Texans haven't rejected the idea of McConaughey challenging Gov. Greg Abbott, who is up for reelection. One recent poll of 1,148 registered voters by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that McConaughey, 51, led Abbott by 9 points, with 44 percent of those polled saying they would vote for McConaughey while only 35 percent would vote for Abbott and 21 percent said they would vote for someone else.

Someone else might be Beto O'Rourke, who trailed Abbott by 5 points in that same poll (closing a previous 12-point gap), which had a margin of error of 2.9 percent.

O'Rourke, a former congressman who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate and for president, appeared at the Texas Tribune Festival on Friday and said he was "very seriously" considering challenging Abbott and will make a decision "in the near future."

Matthew Mcconaughey
University of Texas at Austin

He also spoke about a possible candidacy for McConaughey.

"He's a really popular figure whose political views have not in any way been fixed," O'Rourke said. "I don't know, for example, who he voted for in the most consequential election since 1864 in this country. I don't know how he feels about any of the issues. … So I think that might explain part of [the polling]."

O'Rourke also praised McConaughey for helping the communities of El Paso after the 2019 mass shooting there. McConaughey "brought some of his star power and celebrity to a city that is so often forgotten," he said of the actor.

In his chat with Midland, McConaughey said he won't abandon his creative pursuits if he decides to run for office. "I have to remain a storyteller," he said. "I've been given that gift. I love doing it. I have to remain an artist."

McConaughey lives in Austin with his wife, Camila Alves, and their children: Levi, Livingston and Vida Alves McConaughey.

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Apart from his family life and Hollywood career, McConaughey also juggles work with his just keep livin Foundation, part-ownership of the city's Major League soccer team Austin FC and a role as professor of practice at the University of Texas' Moody College of Communication in the Department of Radio-Television-Film. He even has his own record label, j.k. livin records.

"I'm a song and dance guy," he told Midland on the band's podcast.

Adding politician to his already long list of responsibilities would be even more of a balancing act, but McConaughey says he's up for it.

"I've earned the right to enjoy that Saturday night part of life, that music part of life. … I'm very good at being diligent — Monday morning, practical, structure — I'm all of that but I've got to continue to be an artist," he said. "If that's the category to continue to be able to do that in, which would be different than I think some people have done it up to now, maybe it's for me. But maybe it's also in a whole new category that I'm just creating."

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