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Matthew McConaughey says he won't run for Texas governor in 2022

Matthew McConaughey speaks onstage at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 29, 2020 in New York City.
Noam Galai
/
Matthew McConaughey speaks onstage at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 29, 2020 in New York City.

After months of dropping hints and dodging specifics, Matthew McConaughey has finally announced his much-speculated-about plans for the Texas governor race: He won't be running in it.

The Oscar-winning actor and best-selling author broke the news in a three-minute video posted to Twitter on Sunday night. He mused about what he learned from studying Texas and American politics over the last several years, before pledging to be of service in other ways.

"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 is also a path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."

The announcement comes just over two weeks before the candidate filing deadline for the Texas primary.

McConaughey said he's spent the last two years exploring the question of how he can be most useful to himself, his family and the greatest amount of people, and considered running for Texas governor as one means of service.

That fact-finding mission was a very public one. As recently as early October, McConaughey spoke of keeping his options open, telling NPR in a Twitter Spaces conversation that "I am not — until I am."

He also didn't specify which political party he would align with, nor did he answer listener questions about his stance on hot-button issues like the state's restrictive abortion law and Amazon workers' unionization efforts. He did offer some of his signature "bumper sticker" philosophies on life, as NPR reported at the time.

McConaughey's announcement video was punctuated with similar platitudes, as he offered his insights into the current political landscape. Those include:

  • "We have some problems we need to fix."
  • "Our politics need more purpose."
  • "We need more trust in our lives."
  • "Our children are our greatest asset."
  • "Freedom comes with responsibility."
  • "Great leaders serve."
  • He added that people lead by serving each other, whether they are politicians, CEOs, star athletes, teachers or family members. "Service is taking on responsibility today so we can have more freedom tomorrow," he said. "Service is making the better choice for you and for me. Service is the investment we make in ourselves."

    McConaughey said he would continue this work by investing in entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that he sees as leaders. He didn't name any particular organizations, but said he would focus on establishments that "are creating pathways to help people succeed in life" and "have a mission to serve and build trust while also generating prosperity."

    He concluded by saying that good politicians can be a part of this effort, but "they can't do anything for us unless we chose to do for ourselves."

    McConaughey's potential entry into the governor's race had attracted national attention and considerable local support, with some earlier fall polling showing him leading Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for a third term.

    McConaughey has faced criticism for recent comments he made about COVID-19 vaccine requirements for children, saying earlier this month that he "couldn't mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids." He later clarified in an Instagram story that he had been referring to 5 to 11-year-olds and said that his 13-year-old son was fully vaccinated.

    Abbott will face several challengers in the Republican primary. And earlier this month, former Texas congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke became the first Democrat to join the contest.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.