Fox News host Geraldo Rivera is poised to become the latest Republican to leverage their Fox News platform into a possible run at political office. During an appearance this morning on Fox & Friends, Rivera suggested that he will continue to appear on the network while he "hone[s] a message," and do so until "it's no longer legal."
On the January 31 edition of his Cumulus radio show, Rivera told listeners that he is "truly contemplating" running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey. Following a discussion this morning of various news events, including the suicide attack in Turkey, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Rivera about the "firestorm" he had created by announcing a possible run. In response, Rivera launched into what co-host Steve Doocy appropriately labeled a "stump speech."
Joined by onscreen text featuring phrases like "Senator Rivera?," Rivera touted himself as a "modern Republican" that could appeal to "a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey." Calling for a "new vitalization of the Republican Party," Rivera explained his desire to cut the deficit and rein in entitlements while also indicating his support of gay marriage, Roe v. Wade, and immigration reform.
When Doocy asked Rivera if he's aware that he "can't be on TV or radio" if he officially declares his candidacy, Rivera explained that the race is "still a good year away," so he has "some time to hone a message," presumably using his Fox and WABC platforms. Later in the conversation, after Doocy encouraged him to make any official announcement on Fox & Friends, a laughing Rivera responded, "Well, I'll be here every Friday, until as such time as it's no longer legal."
Rivera is the latest in an increasingly long line of Fox News personalities who have attempted to use the network as a springboard into political office.
As we explained earlier this month after Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow announced his intention to explore a run for John Kerry's Senate seat, several Fox News contributors have followed the same path:
- Before the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, Fox News employed Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as contributors, giving both a megaphone to reach a conservative audience. (Following criticism that Fox paychecks to political candidates could be considered in-kind contributions, the network eventually suspended both in March of 2011.)
- Current Ohio Governor John Kasich spent nine years at the network and was subsequently elected with the help of his former colleagues, who fundraised for him, offered him regular softball interviews, and repeatedly praised him on-air. Even though Kasich had made noise about a potential run long before officially declaring, the network still allowed him to appear on-air, during which he touted his own background and accomplishments.
- Fox News political analyst Angela McGlowan ran for Congress in Mississippi in 2010. Though she eventually lost her race, the network still offered her a helping hand, allowing her to appear on-air and discuss her potential candidacy while she was still employed at the network. She "officially" declared her candidacy after her contract expired. (She has since been re-hired by the network.)
- More recently, last November then-Fox News contributor Pete Snyder announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Virginia lieutenant governor. Snyder's campaign website and the press release announcing his intention to run for office both tout his role at Fox News.
In the early stages of the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Santorum indicated that his Fox employment had "been big" and "helped folks remember who I am ... It's a great platform, being able to talk about the current issues of the day."
In a column posted this morning at Fox News Latino, Rivera previews how he will use his media platform to benefit his possible run. The piece, titled "If I Were Senator Rivera from New Jersey," begins with him stating he may run for New Jersey's U.S. Senate seat if "the stars align and my colleagues at Fox News and Cumulus Media let me run." Rivera then runs through his personal political history, explaining why he considers himself a Republican, and clarifying his stance on a variety of current political issues. At the end of the piece, Rivera promises that "There are many other ideas to share along the way if this idea of running for the U.S. Senate has legs."
Transcript of Rivera's Fox & Friends appearance is below:
CARLSON: You spoke about being the Senate -- in the Senate -- and you created quite a firestorm yesterday on your radio show when you said 'you know what, I am seriously giving thought to running as a Republican in my home state of New Jersey' against Mayor Cory Booker potentially.
RIVERA: Well, it will either be 43 year old mayor Cory Booker, the charismatic mayor of Newark, the largest city in the state. Or five-term 89 year old formidable Senator Frank Lautenberg. Democrats have a huge registration advantage in New Jersey. Menendez just trounced my friend Joe Kyrillos in the Senate race back in November where the president -- President Obama -- carried the state in a tidal wave.
But I really do believe as a modern Republican that there is a point of view that is unrepresented in states like New Jersey.
DOOCY: You're right.
Rivera: There can be a new vitalization of the Republican Party -- a concept where we extoll the virtues of good business and fiscal policy. And we fight the deficit and we don't advocate the printing of money in obscene amounts just to cover our debts. We have to reign in entitlements -- those are all important things.
DOOCY: Look at you, you've already got your stump speech down. I've got a question for you: If you do run for Senate, though, you can't be on TV or the radio?
RIVERA: Well, you know, the Senate race is still a good year away, Steve. So I've got some time to hone a message, get around -- you know, ride my Harley to all parts of the Garden State.
CARLSON: So are you going to do it, seriously.
RIVERA: Well, I very well me. Erica and I are certainly talking about it. This is the one thing I -- remember, I believe in immigration reform. I believe in gay rights and gay marriage. I believe in choice -- not obscenely, but I believe in Roe v. Wade. So you have to take my fiscal positions on being a Republican who believes that we have to bail out future generations rather than indebt future generations with some of these social policies that aren't in sync with much of traditional GOP politics, at least not in recent years.
DOOCY: If you do run, you have to come back to the couch here to make your official announcement.
RIVERA: Well, I'll be here every Friday, until as such time as it's no longer legal.