Organizers have been working behind the scenes to create a new political force in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Celebrity Party aims to capitalize on name recognition to influence dozens of political races around the state, from school board to governor to Congressional seats--but will start with the mayoral election in Minneapolis. Many names familiar to voters are set to appear on ballots in virtually ever major election in what has, so far, been a state dominated by progressive ideals.
"We've traditionally been a blue state," says party spokesman Louie Anderson, a comedian and Minnesota native now appearing the reality diving competition show 'Splash'. "We hope to give it more of a yellow hue, or maybe fuchsia," he said. Anderson said he's long been interested in politics and the increasing number of movie and TV stars taking office spurred him into action.
"We brought Arnold Schwarzenegger in very early to get his views on how to handle the campaign," Anderson said. "He was the inspiration to create a political movement around people's willingness to elect a familiar face even if there's no proven record of public service."
The open Minneapolis mayor's seat will provide a good test for the new party. BringMeTheNews' own anchor Don Shelby is close to throwing his hat in the ring. A source says he plans to formally announce his candidacy as soon as he can find a suitable LEED certified house in the city to move into. "I can't say anything about that now," Shelby said in an interview. "Unaccustomed as I am to bragging, I would submit that I'd make a great mayor."
Party organizers said they have their eyes set on the 2014 race for governor. The list of names is long enough to warrant a possible primary for the fledgeling political effort.
"Our dream team would be an all-female Jessica Biel-Lindsey Vonn ticket," one source said. "If we do this we want to go big---make history." Other names floated for the state's top executive seat include Garrison Keillor, Jessica Lange, Kevin Sorbo, Prince, Paul Magers, and even former governor Jesse Ventura.
"I mean, can you imagine the inauguration if Prince got elected?" the source wondered. "We could fill the Metrodome."
The list of hopefuls extends beyond just those who call Minnesota home.
"We talked to Mary Tyler Moore," Anderson said. "She's not from Minnesota but we kind of claim her. She said she'd get back to us."
One person not on the list of potential party members is current U.S. Senator Al Franken, a former comedy writer and performer on "Saturday Night Live."
"You know, he was barely a celebrity anyway," said one party operative who asked not to be identified. "Now, he's squandered any big screen credibility he ever had by championing veterans issues and working to streamline Medicare. At this point (fellow Senator Amy) Klobuchar would be a better fit."
"The main thing will be to get people in office," an organizer said. "We'll sort out the politics later."