May 6, 2014 •
Musician to Politician – A Change of Tune
A number of rock, pop, and country music stars have run for political office in the U.S. over the years. Here is a list of who they are, what office they ran for, and whether or not they won.
Sonny Bono – Mayor of Palm Springs, California, from 1988 to 1992. Then won a seat in the federal House of Representatives in 1994. He served until his tragic death in a skiing accident in 1998.
John Hall – John Hall of Orleans, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 and served New York’s 19th Congressional District until 2011.
Martha Reeves – Between 2005 and 2009 Reeves served on the Detroit City Council.
Krist Novoselic – The Nirvana bassist nearly ran for lieutenant governor of Washington in 2004, but ultimately backed out. In 2009 he ran for Wahkiakum County Clerk as a member of the fictional Grange Party. It was a protest run designed to show how ludicrous the state’s election laws were, and he dropped out before the election.
Jello Biafra – The Dead Kennedys lead singer ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979; he came in fourth out of 10 candidates. In 2000 he tried to run for President with the Green party, but Ralph Nader won the nomination.
Justin Jeffre – Justin Jeffre of 98 Degrees ran for mayor of Cincinnati in 2005. He only got 708 votes in the primary.
Luther Campbell – In 2011, 2 Live Crew front man Luther Campbell ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County. He didn’t win, but he did get 11 percent of the vote.
Clay Aiken – American Idol’s Clay Aiken is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.
Todd Phelps – Country musician is currently running for mayor of Austin Texas.
Joe Walsh – Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh has often joked about running for office, announcing a tongue-in-cheek presidential campaign in 1980 and throwing his name in the hat for vice president in 1992.
Sammy Kershaw – In 2010 Kershaw was a candidate for lieutenant governor in the state of Louisiana. It was the second time he had run for the position in his home state. He did it first in 2007, collecting 30 percent of the vote.
Kinky Friedman – In 1986, Friedman ran for Justice of the Peace in Kerrville, Texas, as a Republican but lost the election. In 2004, Friedman began a campaign to become the governor of Texas in 2006. In 2013, he announced his intention to again run for Texas agriculture commissioner as a Democrat, the same position he ran for in 2010 when he lost the Democratic primary.
Thanks to Rolling Stone and Wikipedia among several other news and fan sites for assistance with this list.
The photo of Joe Walsh is courtesy of Steve Alexander on Wikimedia Commons.
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