12 celebrities who have run for political office

Stars from the music industry to movies and beyond have set their sights on politics

The 2020 presidential race was rocked on July 4 when rapper Kanye West announced his plans to run for the highest office in the nation.

While West, 43, has created quite a stir in the weeks since his announcement, he's hardly the first star to set his sight on politics.

A handful of stars have tried to make a play at the White House, but many others have aimed to take office in a more local capacity.

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Here's a look at some celebrities who have stepped outside of the glitz and glam of Hollywood and made their mark -- or at least tried -- by running for political office.

Kanye West

Rapper Kanye West gets emotional as he holds his first rally in support of his presidential bid in North Charleston, South Carolina on July 19, 2020. (REUTERS/Randall Hill - RC2OWH9PHLNF)

Rapper Kanye West gets emotional as he holds his first rally in support of his presidential bid in North Charleston, South Carolina on July 19, 2020. (REUTERS/Randall Hill - RC2OWH9PHLNF)

Kanye West was a proud supporter of President Trump before choosing to blaze his own path. He has been flirting with a presidential run as an independent in the 2020 election.

In an interview with Forbes earlier this month, the "Gold Digger" rapper admitted that he'd run as a Republican if Trump weren't running, but since the slot is occupied, he's running under a new party called "The Birthday Party."

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The musician held his first campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., on Sunday, although he won't appear on the state's ballot and potentially many other states if he doesn't submit signatures on time.

West’s home state of Illinois could see him on the presidential ballot in November however. Four minutes before the deadline, two representatives filed 412 petition sheets with election officials, a spokesperson previously confirmed to Fox News.

Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon previously ran for governor of New York. 

Cynthia Nixon previously ran for governor of New York.  (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

In 2018, Cynthia Nixon, a former "Sex and the City" star, announced that she would run for governor of New York against Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon, now 54, ran as a staunch progressive and became known for embracing the term "unqualified lesbian," which is what Christine Quinn, the former speaker of the New York City Council, called the actress during the race.

Cuomo defeated Nixon by a wide margin.

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Clay Aiken

'American Idol' alum ran for congress in North Carolina.

'American Idol' alum ran for congress in North Carolina. (Getty)

"American Idol" season two runner-up Clay Aiken took a stab at politics in 2014 when he announced his run for congress in North Carolina.

Aiken's Democratic opponent, Keith Crisco, died just a day before Aiken, now 41, was declared the primary winner by a narrow margin.

"I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death. Keith came from humble beginnings," Aiken said at the time. "No matter how high he rose -- to Harvard, to the White House and to the governor's cabinet -- he never forgot where he came from."

Despite his win in the primary, Aiken lost the general election to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor of California. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor of California.  (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)

Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance in American politics began when George H. W. Bush nominated him to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

The actor, now 72, ran for governor of California in 2003 when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled. He became known as the "Governator" and won the election with relative ease.

Schwarzenegger was re-elected in 2006 and served until the end of his term, and is the most recent Republican governor of the state.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood was once elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.

Clint Eastwood was once elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. (REUTERS)

Known widely as an expert actor, director and producer, winning a mayoral race is also on Clint Eastwood's list of accolades.

The star was elected to the office of mayor in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., in 1986 by a landslide with over 72 percent of the votes.

He served for two years and did not seek re-election. The actor's political alignments have been all over the map, as he's previously endorsed both Mitt Romney and Mike Bloomberg in their respective presidential bids.

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Howard Stern

Radio and television personality Howard Stern previously ran for Governor of New York.

Radio and television personality Howard Stern previously ran for Governor of New York. (Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

In 1994, Howard Stern announced that he'd be running for the office of Governor in the state of New York.

The iconic radio personality, now 66, ran as a libertarian and had three major goals, per Reason Magazine: Reinstate the death penalty, stagger tolls to reduce traffic, and carry out roadwork through the night.

The most peculiar part of his political promise, however, was his intention to step down upon completing his three goals.

Stern dropped his bid after refusing to provide financial documents that disclosed his income.

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Jesse "The Body" Ventura

Professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is a former Minnesota governor. He also once hinted at a possible 2020 presidential run. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

Professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is a former Minnesota governor. He also once hinted at a possible 2020 presidential run. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

WWE Hall of Famer Jesse "The Body" Ventura -- who also appeared in a handful of movies -- began his political career when he was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn., in 1991.

After that, Ventura, now 69, was elected governor of the state in 1998 as a member of the Reform Party. He broke with the Reform Party a year later and did not run for re-election.

In April, he said he's now considering a potential presidential run.

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Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple (circa 1934), an American child star who started performing in films at three years of age. She entered politics in the 1960s and took on several ambassador positions representing her country. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Shirley Temple (circa 1934), an American child star who started performing in films at three years of age. She entered politics in the 1960s and took on several ambassador positions representing her country. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A hugely popular child star in her day, Shirley Temple also had aspirations outside of Hollywood.

Temple wrapped up her showbiz career with a 1963 episode of "The Red Skelton Hour" before diving into politics in 1967 with a run at a congressional seat in Calif.

Despite losing the election, Temple would go on to serve as the US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also became the first woman to serve as Chief of Protocol, which she did alongside Gerald Ford.

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Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr once ran for president of the United States.

Roseanne Barr once ran for president of the United States. (Getty)

Now known as one of Hollywood's most conservative voices, Roseanne Barr once tried to take the White House, albeit from a much different stance than she takes today.

In the 2012 election, Barr ran as a candidate for the left-wing Peace and Freedom Party.

The FEC reported that Barr, now 67, came in 7th place in the election, amassing over 67,000 votes.

Barr's campaign was chronicled in the documentary "Roseanne for President!" and she is now known as one of Trump's biggest celebrity supporters.

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Sonny Bono

The late Sonny Bono gained fame in the 1960s singing with Cher, and then went on to serve California's 44th district as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998. Bono was also mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., for four years.

The late Sonny Bono gained fame in the 1960s singing with Cher, and then went on to serve California's 44th district as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998. Bono was also mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., for four years. (AP)

Although he's best known for his partnership with Cher, singer and actor Sonny Bono turned to politics later in his career.

According to Time, Bono encountered "local government red tape over his home and an Italian restaurant he owned," which prompted him to run for office.

The star snagged the mayoral office of Palm Springs, Calif., serving from 1988 to 1992. He'd go on to earn a seat in the House of Representatives, where he served until 1998.

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Al Franken

U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) arrives at the U.S. Senate to announce his resignation over allegations of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein 

U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) arrives at the U.S. Senate to announce his resignation over allegations of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein 

"Saturday Night Live" alum Al Franken set his sight on politics after finding success in Hollywood.

Before running for Senate, Franken, now 69, was a comedy writer, actor, author and radio talk show host for 37 years when he was elected in a nail-biting Senate election against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Franken’s comedy career included time as a writer and performer for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Franken would hold his senate seat from 2009 until his 2018 resignation in light of sexual misconduct allegations.

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Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan in July 1980. (Photo by Joe McNally /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Ronald Reagan in July 1980. (Photo by Joe McNally /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

It's easy to forget that President Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood star before making a run at the presidency.

Reagan had forged a successful career in both film and television with 82 acting credits to his name. His wife, Nancy, was also an actress.

Reagan would first serve as Governor of Calif. from 1967-1975 before serving as president from 1981-1989.