So it appears that Ben Affleck is considering a Senate run in Virginia. Affleck spent a good amount of time on the trail with John Kerry during last year’s close presidential contest (please, I don’t want to talk about it; it still hurts,) which is when the rumors of a possible Affleck candidacy started. Affleck and his pregnant wife Jennifer Garner were recently spotted around Charlottesville, apparently house shopping. Affleck’s manager, Ken Sunshine (if you can believe that name) has denied that the star is mulling a run, but said that if he did, he’d be a great Senator.
What’s on Affleck’s mind? Or on the mind of the Virginia Democrats, for that matter? Well, the 2006 Senate race is going to be a tough one, suffice it to say. The incumbent is the popular Senator George Allen, who’s said to be eyeing a presidential run in 2008. The Democrats would need a real star to pull this off, and since outgoing Governor Mark Warner (also said to be eyeing a 2008 run) has decided to sit this one out, there’s no other Virginian with sufficient caliber to do the job.
I couldn’t see Affleck beating Allen next year, but I doubt that’s really what the Democrats are looking to do. It would be enough to slow Senator Allen down, to exhaust him for the 2008 race. If Allen has no competition, he can save money and start an earlier focus on a presidential run. Getting his nose bloodied in the Senate race, win or lose, would make the primaries harder for him and would help the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, should Allen be the Republican nominee.
If Affleck does run, it could wind up as a stone in the shoe of California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s up for reëlection next year, himself. With Affleck in the running, how reliable would the predictable anti-Hollywood yammering that we so often hear from the Republicans? Affleck would be an obvious target for this, but such attacks would lose a lot of effectiveness with an incumbent Republican movie star running the very same year.