PHILADELPHIA (CNN)–Jerry Springer says he is still deciding whether he will run for Ohio governor in 2018.
“I know there’s talk … I haven’t decided anything … and certainly no announcement Monday,” the TV host and former Democratic Cincinnati mayor told CNN in an email statement issued by his publicist Wednesday. “I’m in Cleveland that day giving a speech at the Labor Day rally supporting unions.”
Speculation around Springer’s potential gubernatorial bid has been growing for several months.
Springer’s friend and podcast co-host Jene Galvin told the Cincinnati Enquirer “there have been who have asked him to run for governor, and he is considering it and will decide that pretty soon.”
The Enquirer also reported Wednesday that Springer is soliciting feedback from Ohio State Sen. Sandra Williams, Democratic Reps. Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse, and political consultants.
“Glad to be in attendance @ rep’s Stephanie Howse and Janine Boyd fundraiser w/Jerry Springer, possible candidate for Gov. of Ohio,” Williams tweeted Tuesday.
“He’s very serious,” Williams said of Springer’s interest in running, in an interview with Cleveland.com.
The fundraiser was held at Nighttown, a Cleveland Heights jazz club and restaurant.
“We had a huge crowd,” Nighttown owner Brendan Ring told CNN in a phone interview. “People were actively asking Jerry Springer to consider running for governor.”
Ring said Springer gave a brief speech at the fundraiser.
“In his speech that night, while he didn’t commit to saying he would run, he definitely seems like he’s considering it based on what I heard … he seemed like he was listening to everybody. i spoke to him at length myself, a very interesting character.”
Last week, Springer reportedly asked some Cleveland Democrats: “Is it too late to enter the Ohio governor’s race?”
Springer, 73, previously considered running for US Senate in 2000 and 2004, but decided against it.
He has previously attributed the rumors around his potential bid for governor to former reality TV star Donald Trump’s successful White House bid.
“What’s probably giving it more juice this time is the Trump victory,” Springer told the Enquirer in February. “People are thinking that somebody outside the traditional political establishment can win. His constituency is basically mine. These are fans of the show. I could be Trump without the racism.”
But people continued to discuss Springer’s potential return to politics.
In late May, Business Insider, citing more than half a dozen Democrats familiar with the race, reported influential Ohio Democrats — including former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke — pushed for Springer to run.
The Facebook description for Monday’s rally — titled Labor Day Rally with Jerry Springer — reads: “Together with our allies, we will call on all elected leaders and candidates to publicly declare on Labor Day that they will stand with working people, raise wages, and support our right to join unions so everyday Americans have a fighting chance of getting ahead in our economy.”
Celebrities in politics
In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin in May of 2016, Springer — who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 — was seemingly unsurprised by Trump’s popularity. He said that since President Ronald Reagan, a generation of Americans has grown up believing government is the problem in America.
“The celebrity in politics was inevitable,” Springer said.
Since Trump’s win, a growing number of celebrities have expressed interest in running for office, or have not ruled out pursuing politics in the future.
Speculation around former pro wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a presidential nominee ticked up in May, when GQ published an article with the headline “Dwayne Johnson for President!”
“I think it’s a real possibility,” Johnson told the publication when asked if he would ever run.
In July, a West Virginia resident created a campaign committee called “Run The Rock 2020” to draft Johnson as a presidential candidate in 2020.
Musician Kid Rock teased a potential bid for US Senate, but ultimately used the social media hype around the buzz to announce his non-profit designed to promote voter registration.
More recently, in August, Caitlyn Jenner told radio host John Catsimatidi she “would look for a senatorial run.”
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