On December 24, actor Ben Affleck posted his intention on the social media site Facebook not to seek the seat in the United States Senate from Massachusetts if current Sen. John Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State.
The news was posted by Affleck on his Facebook account following the actor’s appearance on the CBS Sunday morning program “Face the Nation” to promote his new film “Argo,” which is a CIA thriller about an attempted rescue of American diplomatic personnel in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.
Affleck’s Facebook message dispelled speculation about a potential Senate candidacy that was fueled by his “Face the Nation” appearance when the actor seemed to leave the possibility of running open by saying, “Well, one never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture. I do have a great fondness and admiration for the political process in this country, a big deal for me to come down here and be on your show that I’ve watch so much but I’m not going to get into speculation about my political future. I like to be involved.”
Only a few hours later, Affleck posted his decision to decline an entry into the potential Massachusetts Senate race, writing on his Facebook account:
“I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office. Right now it’s a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), supporting our veterans, drawing attention to the great many who go hungry in the U.S. everyday and using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran.”
Affleck continued by praising Sen. John Kerry and the rest of the field vying to replace him in the U.S. Senate by writing, “We are about to get a great Secretary of State and there are some phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an amazing campaign. Happy Holidays to All.”
Although the actor lives in Los Angeles, Affleck is originally from Boston and has close ties to his home state. His potential Democratic primary challengers to replace Sen. John Kerry would certainly have made an issue of his life outside of Massachusetts and how well he could relate to Bay State voters after living the glamorous life of a Hollywood film star.
Other famous actors have overcome the liabilities associated with being a Hollywood entertainer in recent years. Notably, in the U.S. Senate, current Sen. Al Franken from Minnesota on the Democrat side and former Sen. Fred Thompson from Tennessee on the GOP side of the aisle.
Former GOP Rep. Fred Grandy from Iowa had a co-starring role on the long-running television show “The Love Boat” before becoming a congressman in 1994. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a successful career as an action film star before ascending to the governor’s office in a 2003 recall election of Democrat former Gov. Gray Davis.
Affleck’s decision to forgo the potential Massachusetts special election to replace Sen. John Kerry will create an opening for a large field other Democrats to face the likely Republican candidate Sen. Scott Brown, who lost his 2012 race against Elizabeth Warren.
In January, Sen. Scott Brown will leave the Senate – to be replaced by consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren – and local Massachusetts political commentators are already speculating that the potential special election to replace Kerry will be a challenging race. Sen. Scott Brown currently leads in a recent poll because of high personal likability ratings, despite losing to Elizabeth Warren in November, but the winner of the Democratic primary stands to benefit from the state’s liberal voting history.
Steven Holmes is the Los Angeles Political Buzz Examiner.
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