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'Survivor' contestant considers run for governor

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"Survivor" all-star contestant Rupert Boneham may run for governor of Indiana.

Boneham formed an exploratory committee Monday to possibly seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for governor.

He said on his campaign website that the current field of candidates doesn't understand the problems average Hoosiers face. He cited his extensive charity work on behalf of troubled teenagers as his chief qualification.

"He sees a lot of the same status quo politicians and the same platitudes we get every election cycle and he thinks we could be on the wrong track and he wants to make a difference," said Sean Shepard, Boneham's spokesman.

The bushy-bearded Boneham, known for wearing tie-dyed shirts, competed in 2003 on "Survivor: Pearl Island" and has been on multiple "Survivor" follow-ups since then.

He was voted fan favorite in 2004's "Survivor: All-Stars" and donated a portion of the $1 million he won to his charity, Rupert's Kids. His Indianapolis-based charity provides mentoring and job-training to youths.

If he runs, Boneham will join a field dominated by Republican Congressman Mike Pence and former Democratic Indiana House Speaker John Gregg.

Boneham's national fame could pigeonhole him, but people would learn to look past his stardom if he campaigned hard enough, said Chris Spangle, executive director of the Indiana Libertarian Party

"He would be a serious candidate, he would be someone that would really insert a lot of really fresh ideas into the debate," Spangle said. "I think he would make the Republican and Democratic nominees work a little bit harder."

While Pence and Boneham would likely agree on most fiscal issues, Libertarians tend to diverge with Republicans on personal choice issues including whether government should license marriages, Spangle said.

Indiana Republican Party spokesman Pete Seat said it remains to be seen if Boneham could survive a statewide contest.

"We'll have to see if he has what it takes to survive on the island post-primary, but right now we are focused on the 2011 cycle," Seat said.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker used the possibility of a Boneham run to take a shot at Pence.

"We welcome Rupert to the race if he decides to run. It'll be nice to have someone else on the campaign trail who spends all his time in Indiana, not in Washington, D.C.," he said.

The Libertarian Party will meet in April to pick its candidates for state offices, Spangle said.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels can't run for re-election next year because of term limits.

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  • GO Rupert
    AT least we would have someone that really understands what the lower class person goes thru....The people who are in office don't have to worry as they have free insurance and receive a paycheck every week or month...this is something they don't lose once they are out of office....Does that seem fair....They should have to look for work and pay for health insurance just like the rest of us.
  • Governor Rupert
    Rupert might have been a fine TV star and he might have a worthy charity, but as governor? He could have us all living like "survivors" looking for food in the wood and fishing for dinner. The possibilities make me laugh. Thanks, I needed a good laugh today. (The "real" politicians make me cry.)
  • Qualifications??
    And exactly what is it that qualifies Rupert to be the chief executive of the State of Indiana? Competing on a faux reality show?? Come on folks, get real!
    • It's worth a shot
      Time for change. Vote Libertarian. Boneham for governor.
    • GO Rupert!
      This hits the nail on the head "doesn't understand the problems average Hoosiers face", this seems to be true of politicians at the national level as well. How can they possibly keep saying with a straight face that they understand the "people's challenges", when one compares their income with someone working 2, 3 jobs at minimum wage--and it's not necessarily the uneducated--and are having trouble making ends meet.
    • Reality Series
      I smell a reality series in the works here.
    • Sign me up
      I'll vote for him. Heck, I'll work for his campaign!

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