Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2018, when incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is said to be considering retirement.
Several media outlets report that Schwarzenegger, who recently raised his profile with a series of Twitter clashes with President Donald Trump, is thinking of re-entering the political fray after several years’ absence.
Politico’s Carla Marinucci reports: “The prospect of Schwarzenegger’s return to elected politics in a 2018 U.S. Senate run — possibly as an independent — is generating increasing buzz in state Republican circles, fueled by the former governor’s seeming ability to get under the skin of President Donald Trump on social media.”
Schwarzenegger also opposed Trump in the Republican presidential primary, backing Ohio governor John Kasich instead.
If elected, Schwarzenegger could pose a significant opposition threat to the Trump administration on issues such as climate change. California’s controversial cap-and-trade system was introduced under Schwarzenegger’s administration.
However, Schwarzenegger will have to confront his own political record along the way. Though he was re-elected to a second term in 2006, Schwarzenegger is mostly remembered for leaving the state in a fiscal mess after abandoning the reform agenda that brought him to office in the first place.
The East Bay Times recalls:
The Republican governor’s approval ratings fluctuated while he was in office and were as high as 63 percent in March 2007. But five months after he left office, a Field Poll found that three of four California voters surveyed had a negative image of Schwarzenegger in the wake of revelations he had fathered a boy with a former household staff member while married to TV journalist Maria Shriver.
Whether he runs as an independent or as a Republican, Schwarzenegger would face stiff competition from a long line of California Democrats who have been waiting, patiently, to angle for Feinstein’s seat.