Published On: Oct 25 2011 11:06:06 AM CDTUpdated On: Oct 31 2014 05:31:52 PM CDT
Former "American Idol" star and singer Clay Aiken (D) is running for Congress in North Carolina. While there's no specific resume a politician needs to run for office, some candidates have more unorthodox backgrounds than others. Take a look at political figures with the most unusual resumes.
New York City's Naked Cowboy threw his 10-gallon hat into the ring for the 2012 presidential race. The 2012 election wasn't the first time the cowboy, whose real name is Robert John Burck, has expressed political ambitions; he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of New York in 2009.
Kal Penn, star of "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle," has never run for office, but the actor was appointed as a liaison to Asian constituents by the Obama administration in 2010. Penn left his White House job a few months later to resume acting.
Clint Eastwood promised to tangle with City Hall like his famous character, Dirty Harry, when he was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. in 1986. He declined to seek a second term in 1988.
Fred Grandy is perhaps best known as Gopher from The Love Boat, but he also served as a Republican congressman from Iowa from 1987 to 1995. He lost a bid for Iowa governor in 1994, but took a new job as CEO of Goodwill industries the following year.
When Calif. Gov. Gray Davis was recalled in 2003, it opened the floodgates for odd candidates. While the 135 candidates on the ballot included Arianna Huffington, child actor Gary Coleman and adult magazine magnate Larry Flynt, it was bodybuilder-turned-action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger who won with 49 percent of the vote.
Former wrestler Jesse Ventura made his first foray into politics in 1990 when he successfully ran for mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn. He later ran for Minnesota governor on the Reform Party ticket, beating then St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman and state Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III in 1998.
Former Saturday Night Live cast member and liberal radio personality Al Franken ran for U.S. Senate in Minnesota in 2008. After a lengthy recount, he was declared the winner against incumbent Norm Coleman, the same man Ventura once beat out for governor.
Former mob lawyer Oscar Goodman served as Las Vegas' mayor from 1999 to 2011, frequently describing himself as the "happiest mayor in the universe." In his third and final term as mayor, Goodman considered a gubernatorial run but ultimately opted against it.
Kevin Johnson was known as the Phoenix Suns' all-star point guard in the 90s, but took on the role of mayor in his hometown of Sacramento, Calif. in 2008. KJ beat two-term incumbent Heather Fargo to win the election, becoming Sacramento's first black mayor in the process.
Former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon touted her business experience as she ran for the Connecticut Senate seat vacated by Chris Dodd. She lost to the Democrat, former state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
Country singer and humorist Kinky Friedman tried to make it into into politics twice, running for Texas governor in 2006 and Justice of the Peace in his hometown of Kerrville, Texas in 1986. He lost both times. Friedman went on to sell his own cigars, including one called "The Governor."
Singer Wyclef Jean grew up in the U.S., but was born in Haiti. He tried to mount a campaign for president of the earthquake-ravaged nation in 2010, but was disqualified from the ballot, presumably because he hadn't been a resident of the country for five consecutive years as required by Haiti's laws.
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, claims he was adopted by a German princess; he collected signatures to run for governor of California in 2010, but didn't make it onto the ballot. His campaign website offered ideas like legalizing prostitution and marijuana in order to tax them.
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel was a long shot when he ran for president in 2008 – he failed to win both the Democratic and Libertarian nominations. But what makes his candidacy odd was the bizarre string of YouTube videos he ran, including one where he stared into the camera for a few minutes, threw a rock into a pond and walked away.
Sonny Bono went from singing "I've Got You, Babe" as half of musical act Sonny and Cher to serving as mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., from 1988 to 1992. He was elected to U.S. Congress in 1994, where he served until he was killed in a skiing accident in 1998.
Ronald Reagan may be remembered as a statesman today, but back before he served as California governor and president of the United States, Reagan was a well-known actor. The first time he could be addressed as "Mr. President" wasn't when he took over the White House in 1981 – he was elected president of the Screen Actor's Guild in 1947.