Matthew McConaughey rules out running for Texas governorship in 2022

Actor's political ambitions caused excitement among Texas liberals appalled by Republican governor's restrictive abortion ban

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US actor Matthew McConaughey has officially announced he will not be running to become governor of Texas next year, ending months of speculation.

“It is a humbling and inspiring path to ponder, it is also a path that I am choosing not to take at this moment,” McConaughey said in a video posted on Twitter.

“What am I going to do? I am going to continue to work and invest the bounty I have by supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that I believe are leaders.”

McConaughey had been flirting with the idea of running over the past year and suggested in prior interviews he would only run if he is “best equipped” or could make himself “useful".

The Oscar-winning actor's political ambitions had caused excitement in liberal circles, particularly among Texans appalled by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who signed a highly restrictive law banning most abortions.

Polls had shown McConaughey would fare better against Mr Abbott than Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic former presidential candidate who formally entered the race this month.

Mr Abbott is seeking a third term in the November 2022 election, for which nominations close on December 13.

The Dazed and Confused star had never said which party — if any — he would run under after he first acknowledged that he was considering a run for governor in his home state. He had also shied away from going into policy specifics and positions on contentious issues in Texas.

McConaughey described himself as "aggressively centrist".

"I think today, it's a daring space," he said. "It's the space of outlaws."

The actor has criticised extreme positions on both ends of the political spectrum and has said his views are both left- and right-of-centre.

In interviews, McConaughey has expressed support for pandemic-era mask mandates and a distaste for Texas’s recently enacted abortion law. He and his wife are vaccinated against Covid-19 but he said does not yet support vaccine requirements for young children.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: November 29, 2021, 4:37 PM