INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former reality TV star Rupert Boneham said he thinks he has a real shot at becoming Indiana’s next governor after being nominated as a third-party choice Saturday.
The fan favorite from 2004’s “Survivor: All-Stars” was unopposed for the Libertarian Party’s nomination, which came during the party’s state convention in Indianapolis.
“My aim, honestly, is to win governor,” Boneham said in a phone interview afterward. “I really feel I have a strong chance of pulling not just the Libertarian vote, but the independent vote, the undecided vote, and maybe even some votes from Democrats and Republicans.”
He will face Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg in November’s gubernatorial election. Current Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is limited to two terms and cannot run again.
“We have a governor’s candidate in Rupert Boneham that can reach out to the 70 percent of the population that does not vote, and bring them into the process,” state chairman Sam Goldstein said in a statement. “He brings a level of name ID that our previous candidates have not had, which is important in politics.”
The tie-dye wearing Boneham won $1 million on the “Survivor” series and donated some of the prize to his Rupert’s Kids charity, which provides mentoring and job training to at-risk youths.
Boneham said he’s been a Libertarian for more than 20 years, but didn’t become active in the party until this year. He said he wants less government intrusion at the state level, especially in education.
Libertarian 2008 gubernatorial nominee Andy Horning, a former Republican who also has run for Congress and mayor of Indianapolis, was unopposed for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination.
“My job is to be in place if people should ever have an epiphany,” he said. “The two-party system is just a crazy crony network.”
But despite polls showing high levels of voter dissatisfaction and a contested Republican senatorial primary, Horning saw the odds as being against an epiphany this year. “We’ve all heard this before. Every election, everybody’s fed up,” he said.
The party also is fielding candidates for five of Indiana’s nine congressional seats.
The convention also featured a debate and straw poll among the party’s four candidates for president. Former Republican New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson won the straw poll at the convention with 87 percent of the vote.