Val Kilmer, aka Batman, the next governor of New Mexico?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Ronald Reagan made it all the way to White House, Clint Eastwood managed a term as Mayor of Carmel-by-Sea, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still, just about, Governor of California. Now Val Kilmer could be the next "big-name" to jollify the colourful world of celebrity politics.

The occasionally-outspoken actor has sent a shockwave through the sleepy political establishment of his native New Mexico amid reports that he's considering a run for the Governor's job when the position becomes vacant in 2010.

Speculation about the bid was fuelled by Bill Richardson, the state's current governor, who told TV reporters last week that he thought Governor Val Kilmer would be "a fine idea."

"I like the idea," he told a press conference. "Val Kilmer is a first rate New Mexican. He was Batman. You know there have been successful actors going into politics. I haven't talked to him about it, I don't know how serious he is, but you know if he jumps in a race he's got name ID, so it can't be discounted."

In the five days since those comments were made, Kilmer's spokesman, David Unger, has declined repeated requests to confirm or deny his client's political ambitions, only adding to the air of fevered excitement in the State's legislative capital, Santa Fe.

Reporters this week also unearthed comments that the 48-year-old actor made in January, when he appeared to float the idea of a political career during an interview with a red-carpet journalist in Los Angeles.

"I did get some lobbyists once saying that I'd make a good governor," Kilmer said. "Reagan wasn't much of an actor and look how that worked out for him. And then there's Arnold... I think you should be able to pronounce the name of the state."

They note that Richardson, a prominent Democrat, who until recently was a leading contender for his party's Vice Presidential ticket, is known to be friendly with Kilmer, and say that he's unlikely to have spoken without at least some inside knowledge.

The 48-year-old actor, who apart from Batman is best known for his roles in Top Gun, The Doors and True Romance, certainly boasts a decent enough pedigree for the job. He has lived on in the mostly-rural desert state since the early 1980s, and currently owns a 6,000-acre ranch situated near Rowe, about 20 miles south east of the capital, Santa Fe, where he spends his free time raising a herd of bison.

Quite what political ticket Kilmer might stand on is anyone's guess, though. At present, he's neither a member, nor a registered voter for either political party, and state records reveal that Kilmer has never taken part in an election there, despite having registered to vote in 1992.

Kilmer's role in local politics has so far been limited to a close involvement in the Wildlife Centre of New Mexico. Although he recently cancelled an appearance at the Democratic Convention in Denver, that shouldn't be taken as a party endorsement: he was due to be speaking alongside the independent presidential candidate, Ralph Nader.

Experts believe that Kilmer's left-leaning sympathies, together with his occasionally maverick streak, indicate that he'd stand for office as an independent. However no independent has ever won the Governorship of New Mexico.

In addition, a controversy from the actor's past may return to haunt him during an election campaign. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine quoted him saying he "lived in the homicidal capital of the southwest," and that "80 percent of people in my county [San Miguel] are drunk."

Although Kilmer claimed his words had been taken "out of context," he was later forced to apologise at a public dinner at the Governor's Residence in Santa Fe.

Any future bid would also set Kilmer against the political establishment. Richardson's current deputy, Diane Denish, has until now been heavily fancied to succeed him to the role when his term runs out in 2010. This week, she seemed rattled by queries about whether Richardson was now endorsing Kilmer.

"There's a lot of speculation about 2010. But what I'm doing, and what I think everyone should be doing, is working on 2008," Denish told reporters." I'm not going to speculate on what the governor thinks."

If Kilmer is to seek office, he'll soon also have to start raising funds – a task that could prove problematic. Given Arnold Schwarzenegger's troubled reign in the nearby state of California, New Mexico's political bankrollers could be wary of another celebrity governor.

Despite being comfortably off, Kilmer is unlikely to boast the sort of wealth necessary to finance the entire bid from his own pocket. By his previously high standards, his acting career has been in the doldrums of late, and his most notable recent role was as the voice of KITT, the car in the new Knight Rider series.

Whatever happens, however, America's headline writers will be hoping a bid does materialses: it would afford them the opportunity to tip their hat to the role that made him famous in Top Gun, and announce that "the Iceman cometh."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas