Matthew McConaughey says he's not running to be Texas governor

Matthew McConaughey says he's not running for Texas governor. (Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images)
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Matthew McConaughey is ruling out politics — for now.

In a video posted to social media Sunday night, the actor and native Texan revealed that the path to political office is one he's "choosing not to take at this moment." The Oscar winner had been publicly musing about running against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, when he faces reelection next year.

Though the 52-year-old had struggled to articulate his political affiliation or stance on various issues — including vaccine mandates for children, which he said he opposed before clarifying that the oldest of his three kids is vaccinated — recent polls had suggested that he'd be a popular choice. Polling from the Dallas Morning News and UT Tyler saw him edging out both Abbott and his Democrat challenger, former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, but split votes in Abbott's favor were it to be a three-way race. Earlier this month, research conducted by the Texas Tribune and McConaughey's alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, cast doubt on his perceived popularity, with 35 percent of respondents having a favorable impression of him, 29 percent remaining neutral and 24 percent deeming him unfavorable.

Calling the hope of a political career "humbling and inspiring," McConaughey — flanked by the Texas and U.S. flags, with copies of his memoir Greenlights stacked behind him — said in his video message that he will "continue to work and invest the bounty that I have in supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that I believe are leaders; establishments that I believe are creating pathways for people to succeed in life; organizations that have a mission to serve and build trust while also generating prosperity. That's the American dream."

McConaughey noted that he'd learned a lot in his study of both Texas and U.S. history over the past two years, but ultimately sounded disenchanted with politics, which he's previously called a "broken business" and compared to a "bag of rats."

Speaking of politicians, he said, "The good ones can help us to where we need to go — oh yeah — but let's be clear: They can't do anything for us unless we choose to do for ourselves."

He then urged people to celebrate their individual freedom, but also their collective responsibility.

"So to the leaders and servants out there, and the leaders and servants in each one of us, cheers to you. Here's to the freedom to be you. The freedom to be me. And to our responsibility to be us," he said.

He signed off with a nod to the Dazed and Confused line that's become his personal mantra and the name of his foundation: "Just keep livin."