12 Celebrity Political Campaigns That Ultimately Failed

Will Caitlyn Jenner be the next celeb added to the list? Stay tuned.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01:  Kanye West presents the Fashion Icon Award to Pharrell Williams onstage at ...
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Cynthia Nixon

“I love New York, and today I'm announcing my candidacy for governor,” the Sex & The City star tweeted alongside an official campaign video in 2018. “Our leaders are letting us down,” she said in the clip, adding that New York struggles with extremes of wealth and poverty. Unfortunately, her words did not resonate with New Yorkers, and Andrew Cuomo won his third term instead.

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Dwayne Johnson

The Rock could’ve been The President — no, really. In 2017, the actor told People that he was thinking about running in the 2020 presidential election. “If I were a betting man, which I’m not ... I would say yes,” he said. Johnson later filed with the Federal Election Commission, proving that he was serious about joining the race. But alas, his journey to the White House ended there.

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Roseanne Barr

The Roseanne star envisioned herself as the first woman in the Oval Office. In 2012, Barr ran for president as part of the left-wing Peace and Freedom Party and earned nearly 70,000 votes. Unfortunately, her promises to legalize marijuana and preserve the environment weren’t enough to make her the leader of the free world.

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Howard Stern

Way back in 1994, the radio host ran for governor of New York. Stern didn’t see the race through until the end because he refused to file the financial disclosures required by law of anyone seeking to hold public office. He even filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that the law violated his right to privacy. However, the court denied his petition for injunction, and Stern announced his withdrawal from the race.

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Stacey Dash

The Clueless star is known for her controversial and conservative political views, which is why many people weren’t thrilled when she announced her bid to represent California’s 44th congressional district. Her campaign didn’t last very long, though. A month later, she withdrew from the race, citing the “overall bitterness” surrounding her campaign and the impact it had on her family as the reason for dropping out.

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Stephen Colbert

After several weeks of being pressured into running for president, the comedian announced his candidacy in October 2007. He originally intended on running as both a Democratic and Republican, but upon finding out that the fee to file for the Republican primary was $35,000, he decided to move forward as a Democrat. However, after being denied a place on the ballot by the South Carolina Democratic Party executive council, Colbert withdrew from the race in November.

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Diane Neal

In February 2018, the Law & Order: SVU star announced her bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district as an independent. She described her political views as “a little libertarian,” “a lot liberal,” and “mostly progressive.” However, she finished the race with only 1% of the vote, losing to Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado.

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George Takei

In 1973, the Star Trek actor ran for Los Angeles City Council. He wasn’t elected. Later, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, where he worked with a team to plan the city’s subway system. In 1980, he began a campaign for California State Assemblyman but dropped out. Despite his failed campaigns, Takei remained very involved in politics. He is a champion of LGBTQ+ rights and was vocally opposed to former President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

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Melissa Gilbert

The Little House on the Prairie actor had big dreams in politics, but the Democratic candidate — who wanted to become a representative of Michigan's 8th congressional district — dropped out of the race in 2016 due to past injuries. “While I have received the best treatment and therapy I could have asked for, those injuries have only gotten worse,” Gilbert said at the time. "As much as it breaks my heart to say this, my doctors have told me I am physically unable to continue my run for Congress.”

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Antonio Sabato Jr.

The General Hospital star filed his paperwork to run for California's 26th district congressional seat as a Republican in 2017. All things considered, his campaign wasn’t a total fail. He came in second place in the jungle primary and later ran against Democratic nominee Julia Brownley in the 2018 general election. He lost by 24% of the vote.

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Ben Higgins

In 2016, the former Bachelor revealed that he would be leaving reality TV behind to pursue a career in politics. His plans to run for a seat in Colorado’s House of Representatives fell through and he backed out of the race just one day after filing the paperwork. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be able to move forward as a candidate," Higgins said, adding that all he ever wanted was to bring “positive change” to his community.

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Kanye West

The rapper has long been vocal about his political aspirations, and on July 4, 2020, he announced his presidential campaign on Twitter. Later that month, the campaign filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. However, West missed a few deadlines, which resulted in his name being left off ballots in many states. The rapper encouraged his supporters to vote for him as a write-in instead, but he conceded his campaign on November 4, 2020, after receiving roughly 60,000 votes.

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