September 28, 2005
They've been spotted on the downtown mall and now the rumors are flying.
Some reports say actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are buying a house in Charlottesville and today there's news Affleck may be trading in his acting career for a political one.
It's all speculation but the talk in political circles is that Ben Affleck has his eye on a new role -- that of U.S. Senator for the state of Virginia.
Various news reports say the Hollywood A-lister has been hand picked by democrats to run against republican Senator George Allen in 2006.
"I love political rumors and this is the best one I have heard in some time. But George Allen is a formidable candidate and the democrats have to field somebody who's strong on the issues and can raise money," said David Toscano, Candidate for the 57th District.
Raising money shouldn?t be a problem for a superstar like Affleck but getting his hands around the issues may be a bit more difficult.
"It's something that if the democrats are considering it, they'll want to make sure that [Affleck] does his homework, so to speak, and to make sure that he's got the full backing of the party," said Matt Smyth, Center For Politics at the University of Virginia.
If Affleck were to make a run in Virginia, he'd have to establish residency pretty quickly.
Real estate agents and Ben's agent say he and his pregnant wife Jennifer Garner did look at houses in Charlottesville recently, but there's no confirmation the Hollywood couple is making a move anytime soon.
"I'm just not sure how much traction a Hollywood star would get here in Virginia," said Keith Drake, head of the Albemarle County Republicans.
Selling tickets at the box office is one thing but running on the democratic ticket is another ball game.
Affleck has never held political office and the closest he's come on the big screen is playing the part of a CIA agent in the Sum of All Fears.
That may not be enough to unseat a senior statesman like George Allen.
"Affleck would get 20 [or] 30% of the vote and Allen would get 60% and they'd arm wrestle over the remaining 10%," predicted Drake.
Having Affleck in Charlottesville and his running for office would certainly bring a little excitement to our area but that probably won?t happen.
Affleck's rep Ken Sunshine told us that Affleck is "no way, absolutely not making a run for the senate in Virginia."
If you're an Affleck fan, there?s still good news. Sunshine said he wouldn't rule out Affleck making a run in Massachusetts some day.