Charles Barkley has the fame and the fortune. And after years of letting his fortune determine his party affiliation, he’s seeing the light.
Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has changed his political uniform from red to blue and is talking again about running for governor of Alabama, possibly in 2010.
“Alabama, that’s my home. I’m thinking about running for governor; they need the help,” Barkley said.
His decision was received warmly by Joe Turnham, Alabama’s Democratic Party chairman.
Barkley, a Leeds native, has been talking about running for governor of his home state since he was playing with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. In 1995, he said he was considering running in 1998 as a Republican but that never materialized.
After that, Barkley continued to identify himself as a Republican until recently, when he switched to the Democratic team.
“I was a Republican until they lost their minds,” he said earlier this month at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada.
“Sir Charles” reinforced that Tuesday while speaking to a convention of public school board members in Destin, Fla.
“What I’ve said is I’m rich like a Republican. But I’m not one,” Barkley said in remarks reported by The Birmingham News.
“I really believe I was put on Earth to do more than play basketball and stockpile money,” Barkley said. “I really want to help people improve their lives, and what’s left is for me to decide how best to do that.”
Alabama’s last Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, said Barkley has become a role model for many people and “would make an excellent candidate for high office.”
Siegelman noted that Barkley has the personal wealth to stage a strong campaign. “He’s definitely going to be taken seriously,” Siegelman said.
And the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party is named Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.