Justin Kanew (Kanew for Congress)

Another reality television star enters politics, this time as a Democrat

Former "Amazing Race" star Justin Kanew has declared a run for a Tennessee congressional seat


Charlie May
July 10, 2017 5:22PM (UTC)

Reality television star Justin Kanew is has announced his bid for the congressional seat in Tennessee's 7th District, according to People Magazine.

Kanew was featured on season 15 of "The Amazing Race" in 2009 and worked in entertainment both before and afterwards in Los Angeles. After starting a family he felt it was time for a change. "We decided we didn’t want to raise our daughter in Los Angeles, so we decided to go to a place that was more community oriented. We wanted it to be more about family than Hollywood. We came to Franklin, Tennessee, and fell in love with the area," he told People.

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The original plan was for Kanew to travel back to Los Angeles when necessary, and continue his career in Tennessee as a writer/producer. The 38-year-old felt he needed to do something because he "saw things happening in the country that I thought were dangerous," he told People. "As a father, I started thinking about the world that my daughter would grow up in, and I wanted to help."

Kanew is running against Republican incumbent Marsha Blackburn who has held office since 2003, but that's not discouraging Kanew. "I want to listen to people’s concerns. I want to engage with them. Face the music if things go wrong, and really try to help. If after the campaign, people don’t agree with me, they don’t have to vote for me. But I hope they’ll listen to me, and I’ll listen to them," he said.

There's been a string of reality television stars and billionaires (sometimes one in the same) entering politics in recent years. President Donald Trump is only the most visible instance of the merger between the broadcast genre and politics. Former "Crime Stoppers" host Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana is one such politician, as is "Road Rules" star Sean Duffy, currently the congressperson for Wisconsin's 7th district. Unlike Kanew, however, all of the above are republicans.

Elsewhere in the world of celebrity politics, former "Melrose Place" star Antonio Sabato Jr. is in the midst of a congressional run in California as a republican, while liberal startup founders Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman seem to be discussing a possible political future for Third Eye Blind frontman Stephen Jenkins, according to Business Insider.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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