Not only is a former reality TV star running for the Republican presidential nomination, but reality TV cast members are joining the campaign by endorsing candidates and even starring in campaign ads. Last week, two-time reality TV star Sarah Palin made news by endorsing former Apprentice star Donald Trump, but she was far from the first reality show cast member to express public support for a candidate.
They are, of course, just a fraction of the high-profile celebrities, politicians, and businesspeople who’ve declared support for candidates. But in an election that pundits with no other original ideas to offer keep saying is like a reality show, we should at least know who reality TV stars support.
This is a list of reality TV stars who have formally endorsed and/or publicly expressed support for candidates for president, in alphabetical order by candidate. (This does not include those who’ve donated to campaigns or attended fundraisers.)
Have I missed one? Please let me know!
- American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, who said in April, “I think it’s time for a woman [president].”
- RuPaul Charles, via RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s account, which tweeted, “You betta work, @HillaryClinton! ?”
- Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who tweeted in April, “Oh yes, it will finally happen.”
- Project Greenlight star Matt Damon, who said in an interview, “I’m supporting Hillary.”
- American Idol‘s first winner Kelly Clarkson, who said in an interview, “I’m a fan of Hillary. But I’m not going to vote for her because she’s a woman and she has boobs. I am going to vote for her because she is successful and she’s smart.”
- Clay Aiken, American Idol runner-up and star of The Runner-Up, who has since backed away from his endorsement somewhat, calling Clinton “a leaky boat,” though he added, “I’ll get on a leaky boat going in the right direction before I’ll get on a strong boat going in the wrong direction.” Clay also praised Trump as “a good guy” and “friend.”
- To Catch a Contractor host Adam Carolla, who said on his show, after an interview with Cruz, “I want to support Ted. I love me some Ted Cruz.”
- Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson, in this ad, which says “all of us” (the Robertsons) will vote for Cruz because “you’re one of us”:
- Wahlburgers star Donnie Wahlberg, who, in August, tweeted, “She is a strong human being and a strong candidate for President in 2016!”
- 19 Kids and Counting stars The Duggar family, who Huckabee had previously defended, but whose endorsements were later removed from Huckabee’s web site. Jim Bob wrote, “America needs Governor Huckabee for president!”, while Michelle wrote, “Governor Huckabee is a man of faith who is very wise, and will help get our nation back on track.”
- Former Real World cast member and current member of Congress Sean Duffy, who said, “There’s no other candidate running who has demonstrated a better understanding of the threats and challenges facing our country than Marco Rubio and it’s why I am proud to endorse him for President.”
- Pawn Stars star Rick Harrison, who says in this ad, “Trust me: I know a good investment when I see one”:
- Dancing with the Stars cast member Margaret Cho, who tweeted she was supporting him “Because of many reasons.”
- Project Runway All-Stars host Alyssa Milano, who tweeted, “I’m officially endorsing Bernie Sanders. I love him. #FeelTheBern.”
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a contestant on ABC’s Splash, who wrote in the Washington Post that Sanders “will be a viable candidate who, regardless of whether he wins the nomination, will elevate the political process into something our Founding Fathers would be proud of.”
- Roseanne Bar, Last Comic Standing judge and star of Roseanne’s Nuts, who tweeted, “He is th best of all candidates-let’s support!”
- RuPaul’s Drag Race and Australian Idol contestant Courtney Act, who tweeted, “I stan for @BernieSanders #FeelTheBern”
- RuPaul’s Drag U judge Lady Bunny, who wrote, “I don’t care how many of his talking points Hillary borrows, Bernie Sanders is the one promising the far-reaching change that we need.”
- Tyler Oakley, Amazing Race contestant, who shared a post supportive of Bernie Sanders.
- Two-time Survivor contestant Erik Reichenbach, who tweeted, “#NewYearsResolutionIn5Words … Bernie Sanders for President 2016”
- Survivor Cagayan contestant Jeremiah Wood, who tweeted, “He can put this GREAT nation back on the right track!!”
- Survivor contestant John Rocker, who said in an interview, “I think he has really woken America up.”
- Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars cast member Gary Busey, who told Fox 411, “I know him personally. I know him professionally. He’s a great guy. He’s sharp. He’s fast. He can change the country after the last eight years.”
- Celebrity Apprentice and VH1’s The T.O. Show star Terrell Owens, who told TMZ, “This may be what the country needs and Trump … he’s a guy who won’t put up with B.S. and has what it takes to change how government is run.”
- Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Mole, and Celebrity Rehab cast member Dennis Rodman, who tweeted that Trump “has been a great friend for many years. We don’t need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump!”
- Tila Tequila, who wrote a now-missing blog post, “I called for a movement that some would say is relatively conservative to restore America to its well designed principles and what do I manifest? Donald Trump.”
- Celebrity Apprentice cast member Stephen Baldwin, who said on CNN, “I think he’d make a great president because he’s not a politician and he doesn’t care what anybody thinks.”
- Celebrity Apprentice cast member Jesse James, who wrote on Facebook, “What I personally observed is a man that is perfect suited to run this country. […] One thing you know about me is Good or bad I will always tell it like it is. This guy is the Real Deal, and will Make America Great Again.”
- Sarah Palin, star of TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska and host of Sportsman Channel’s Amazing America with Sarah Palin, in this speech:
- The Real World San Francisco cast member Rachel Campos-Duffy, who spoke when Walker announced his campaign.