Former Saturday Night Live star Joe Piscopo is seriously considering running for governor of his home state of New Jersey, apparently another unconventional candidate inspired by what some call the Trump effect.
Incumbent Chris Christie, a Republican who was a 2016 presidential candidate and a possible Donald Trump cabinet member at one point, will leave office at the end of the year because of term limits.
Piscopo has a similar political or non-political profile to President-elect Donald Trump in that he would be a first-time candidate who has been affiliated with both major parties and no party. Currently an independent, Piscopo is a long-time Democrat who may run for governor as a Republican, or possibly as a third-party candidate, if he winds up running at all.
The actor and comedian, 65, perhaps best known for his Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis impressions as an SNL cast member from 1980 to 1985, is apparently drawing his inspiration from Trump, according to an Associated Press account published last month.
“Piscopo has never campaigned for or held office, but considered running in 2004. What’s different now? He said he feels emboldened by the against-all-odds victory of President-elect Donald Trump, whom he spoke for recently at a Florida rally. ‘When I saw Mr. Trump in Tampa and he invited me to speak, I saw it was contagious. It was the movement. It wasn’t the machine,’ he said.”
He also attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July, hanging out with the New Jersey delegation there. Joe was born in the North Jersey city of Passaic, grew up in nearby North Caldwell, and currently lives in Lebanon Township.
In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Joe Piscopo said that he is “very seriously” looking at the governor’s race — language that sounds a lot like he’s going to run — and also praised Trump as someone who has a great business mind.
He also chided those Hollywood types who were promoting the faithless elector vote switch for the Electoral College members on December 19 via a YouTube video. “No one cares what entertainers think,” he insisted about the effort that actually saw more electors defecting from Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump when they met at state houses across the country to formally confirm Trump’s victory as the 45th U.S. president.
Separately, although Trump mixed with many celebrities during his career as a high-visibility businessman and Celebrity Apprentice host, KISS frontman Gene Simmons also has remarked in connection with Hollywood’s Trump hostility that “Why does anybody give a squat what a guy in a band thinks about or anything like that?”
In a separate Fox News appearance shortly before Christmas, Piscopo dissed celebrities for refusing to participate in President-elect Trump’s inauguration festivities on January 20. “[Trump] is the main celebrity. He doesn’t need anybody,” the potential candidate for governor told Neil Cavuto, Mediaite recalled.
There are currently several announced GOP candidates and two Democrats who are seeking the governor’s mansion. Christie’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno may also enter the contest for the top job. Primaries in June will settle who will be the standard-bearers of each party.
“Experts expect Democrats to win back the governor’s office, with Christie’s approval ratings at all-time lows,” NJ.com reported. Piscopo may be taking some encouragement that the expert predictions and polling were way off in the presidential election in insisting that Hillary Clinton would win the White House, however.
Piscopo is currently the host of a morning drive radio show on a New York City area radio station.
At a recent charity event for the Boys and Girls club of New Jersey, Piscopo reaffirmed his interest in seeking the governorship, noting that “I love the people. I love the state. I know what has to be done.”
Piscopo has been honored several times for his work with other charities, such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
A “Draft Jersey Joe Piscopo for NJ Governor 2017” Facebook page has also been launched.
[Featured Image by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP Images]