Rupert Boneham, best known nationally as a fan favorite on the CBS reality show "Survivor," told reporters Wednesday he wants to know if voters are ready to elect an average Hoosier as governor.
Boneham, 47, has formed an exploratory committee to possibly seek the Libertarian Party's nomination, noting that he is not the average politician.
"I want to see if the normal, the typical, the average Hoosier out there is ready to even see me as their governor," he said. "I know I am ready. I want to see if Hoosiers are ready for me."
Boneham said on his campaign website
that the traditional candidates aren't in sync with typical Hoosiers, and that's why he's thinking about jumping into the race.
He touted his years of work on behalf of troubled teenagers with his charity, Rupert's Kids, as his primary qualification.
"I have lived with the average Hoosier all of my adult life here in Indianapolis. I deal with those families that are struggling," he said. "I know what day-to-day life is for our Hoosiers. I want to hear what their struggles are."
But Boneham shied away from answering questions about his positions on key policy issues, including the economy, jobs, education and infrastructure, saying he wants to gather more information first.
Boneham, known perhaps equally for his full beard and for wearing tie-dyed shirts, wore a suit and tie during Wednesday's news conference, though his muted orange tie did feature some tie-dyed swirls.
He said he plans to adjust his image in small ways to convey how serious he is about a potential gubernatorial run.
"I'm not just the hairy, scary guy running around in a tank top tie dye," he said. "I want people to see how serious I am about making a difference."
Boneham admitted that he's not a politician, but that he is committed to making a difference.
Mark Rutherford, vice chair of the Libertarian party, said Boneham's exactly the kind of candidate Indiana needs.
"He'll win. I'm very serious when I say that," Rutherford said.
Boneham was a contestant on "Survivor: Pearl Islands" in 2003 and has appeared on the series numerous times since then. He won $1 million in a vote of fan favorites of "Survivor" after an all-star series in 2004.
However, not all Hoosiers believed Boneham could survive politics.
"I don't think he would make a good governor. He's not a politician. He doesn't know how to play," Steve Kennedy said.
But Boneham said he did not intend to turn a possible run for governor into a reality show.
If he decides to enter the race and wins the Libertarian nomination, Boneham would likely face Republican Rep. Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg, the former Indiana House Speaker. Republican Jim Wallace and Democrat Thomas Lenfert are also in the race.
Boneham said he expects to make a decision within the next few weeks.
Outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels is not permitted to run for re-election because of term limits.
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