When a notable celebrity runs for public office, it’s really not anything new. After all, the man who would become the 40th President of the United States started out playing second banana to a chimpanzee named Bonzo. Saturday Night Live alumnus Al Franken was fairly elected in 2008 and is currently serving as a U.S. senator representing the state of Minnesota. And it wasn’t so long ago that Californians elected former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead the Golden State. So, when The Hollywood Reporter said earlier today that SNL veteran Joe Piscopo is considering a run for the New Jersey governor’s seat in 2017, it wasn’t exactly groundbreaking news.
It’s still a bit weird, though. Joe’s never run for public office before, but says he feels emboldened by Donald Trump’s recent election. In fact, Piscopo made a “surprise appearance” at a Trump rally in Florida just a few days prior to the November 7 national election, according to New Jersey Online. Not only did the former funnyman speak on behalf of the man who is arguably the least qualified candidate to ever garner enough electoral college votes to win occupancy of the White House, he also tweeted tritely, saying things like “I am not drinking the Kool-Aid” to his Twitter followers. Passaic-born Piscopo, who currently resides in Lebanon Township, has not officially launched a campaign to be New Jersey governor quite yet, but he did promise to make a decision one way or the other by January.
“I’m seriously looking at it. I love the people. I love the state. I know what has to be done.”
It may be worth noting that 65-year-old Piscopo, who earned his comedic stripes spoofing fellow Garden State native, Frank Sinatra, announced his possible candidacy on the late songster’s 101th birthday. If Piscopo throws his hat into the ring to succeed sitting governor Chris Christie, as he said he might at a recent Boys and Girls Club charity event, he will likely join the electoral frenzy as a Republican running against Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Trump campaign adviser, Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers. On the Democrat side of the ballot expect to see former Goldman Sachs exec Phil Murphy and New Jersey State Assemblyman, John Wisniewski running for New Jersey governor.
Piscopo. He’s no Al Franken.
In contrast to Joe Piscopo, Al Franken’s political pedigree sports wings a mile long. By the time Franken won the senate seat eight years ago, he’d hosted The Al Franken Show on the decidedly progressive and now-defunct Air America Radio network for three years. The show aired three hours a day, three days a week. As his final on-air broadcast came to a close on Valentine’s Day 2007, Franken announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate. He won, of course, and since that time has been a tireless champion for Minnesotans. Franken’s first bill helped to provide service dogs to wounded and disabled military veterans. The Service Dogs for Veterans Act passed legislation without a single dissenting vote and is now policy at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. After that, Franked drafted a bill designed to make it impossible for companies to influence the credit agencies that rate them. Franken also sponsored legislation that protects workers from defense contractors who think they are too big to sue.
Will Joe Piscopo be elected, and will he pan out as an effective New Jersey governor? This remains to be seen. In the meantime, pop a bowl of popcorn, and try to enjoy the electoral festivities as we limp as a nation into 2017.
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