Marked for Governor: Steven Seagal hints at Arizona election bid

Hollywood hard man could surprise voters with environment-friendly policies

He wouldn’t be the first 1980s action star to campaign for political office, but he might just be the toughest.

Steven Seagal, who rose to fame with such films as Above the Law, Hard to Kill and Under Siege, has told a Phoenix TV news station that he would “remotely consider” a run for the role of Governor of Arizona.

The 61-year-old actor, director, writer, martial arts expert, blues musician, Buddhist and reserve deputy sheriff revealed his potential political ambitions during an interview to promote the latest series of his reality TV show, Steven Seagal – Lawman. Seagal, a Republican, said he had discussed the possibility of a run at the state’s highest office with Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County. Mr Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America”, leads a volunteer “posse” of more than 3,000 which the actor joined for the duration of the series.

In February last year, Seagal and Mr Arpaio’s posse found themselves at the centre of a controversy after filming a simulated school shooting incident and their proposed armed response. The posse had begun patrolling Maricopa’s schools following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. One Arizona politician described Seagal’s participation as a “mockery”. Seagal responded by calling his critics “an embarrassment to the human race”.

Though the actor did not disclose any significant policy details in the interview with KNXV-TV, it is possible to discern from his past utterances what a Seagal governorship might look like. For example, Governor Seagal would undoubtedly be an immigration hawk: he told his interlocutor that he believed the biggest issue facing the US today was its open borders. Mr Arpaio’s posse has enthusiastically targeted undocumented immigrants.

Mr Arpaio also launched an infamous investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate, and while Seagal may not be a birther, he is certainly no friend to Obama, whose administration he has accused of manipulating the media. By contrast, he holds great admiration for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, a personal acquaintance and fellow martial arts enthusiast, whom Seagal recently described as “one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader alive today”.

Seagal made the comments in an interview with Russia Today in November, while on a visit to Moscow to attend a gun show, where he announced he was co-designing a long-range rifle with a Russian arms manufacturer. A keen marksman, Seagal is also a staunch second-amendment supporter, saying, “Guns don’t kill people.”

Yet Seagal’s environmental views run contrary to the Republican consensus, as proved by his 1994 directorial debut On Deadly Ground, in which he foiled an oil company’s plan to ravage the Alaskan wilderness. The film concluded with Seagal’s character delivering a stirring speech about the evils of fossil fuels.

The actor has also campaigned for animal rights, though in 2011 he was criticised for his role in a police raid that resulted in the death of a puppy and at least 100 chickens. While filming Lawman, Seagal participated in the raid on the home of 43-year-old Jesus Llovera, who was suspected but later cleared of cock-fighting. The puppy was killed in the raid, for which Seagal and his colleagues used a SWAT team and an armoured tank.

Seagal boasts several alleged qualifications that would surely help him in any political campaign. He has said, for example, that he can speak at least four languages fluently. While running an aikido dojo in Japan during his 20s, he claimed to have been an adviser to CIA agents operating in the Far East. He has also suggested that he attended a police academy in Los Angeles prior to his acting career, though officials in California say they have no record of Seagal’s training or certification.

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin