Heard on the Hill

A Definitive Ranking of Midterm Celebrity Stumpers

Actors, singers and sports legends got involved in 2018. But how much did they really do?

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke joins Willie Nelson on stage during his Turn out For Texas Rally, featuring a concert by Wille Nelson, in Austin, Texas on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If an Instagram post falls in the middle of election, does it make a sound?

Celebrities got a lot of credit for their political moonlighting this campaign cycle, from Beto-mania to … well, Beto-mania. But let’s be honest: How much did they really do?

As the 2018 midterms draw to a close, HOH surveyed the field of famous campaigners. (Sorry Oprah, we looked only at congressional races, so going door-to-door in Georgia for gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams didn’t make the cut.)

Here are some of our favorites, ranked from the best celeb stumper to the laziest.

1. Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis

If you thought the “House” actress and her comedian husband seemed particularly committed to Democrat Leslie Cockburn’s campaign in Virginia’s 5th District, you’d be right. It’s not like they had much of a choice, though — Cockburn is Wilde’s mom. No wonder they spent so much time knocking on doors and rallying voters in Charlottesville.

2. Willie Nelson

The 85-year-old singer had a sweaty jam sesh with Texas Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke at a free concert and rally in Austin. Extra points go to the country music legend for keeping a straight face as Beto crooned his way through an “On the Road Again” duet. 

3. Nick Saban

While Nick Saban may not be an entertainer, he’s on our television screens every Saturday in the fall. The University of Alabama’s head football coach threw his star power behind West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III when he sat for a campaign ad. Joining him were NBA all-star Jerry West and West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins, all natives of the state. Their delivery may have been wooden, but they gave it the old college try.

4. Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Zoe Saldana, Rosario Dawson and Gina Rodriguez

This quintet of Latina actresses proved there’s strength in numbers as they got out the vote in Miami. Their T-shirt game was strong and crossed state lines; on Sunday it was “Phenomenally Latina,” and on Monday it was “Beto for Senate.” 

5. Alyssa Milano

She didn’t just phone bank; she phone banked in a Halloween costume. The actress and #MeToo activist has been so involved in politics lately that Saturday Night Live turned it into a bit. But that didn’t stop her from calling voters on behalf of Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running to unseat Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th District.

6. Jeff Bridges

“The Big Lebowski” actor was at Montana State University in October to campaign for Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. Never mind that Bridges isn’t a Montana voter. (He’s registered in California.) The Dude wanted to do his part by speaking with Montana College Democrats, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

7. Travis Scott

The rapper and member of the Kardashian posse is another Beto fan. He was the special guest at an October rally in his hometown of Houston, where he shouted into a megaphone, Rolling Stone reported. Scott now lives in Beverly Hills with his partner, Kylie Jenner.

8. Alana Stewart

It’s not all Beto, Beto, Beto. At least one actress broke the mold and tweeted her support for Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. Best known for her roles in “Delivered” and “Wasted in Babylon,” Stewart lives in California but has ties to the Lone Star State.

9. Lebron James

The Los Angeles Lakers star turned heads and made headlines when he wore a Beto hat while in San Antonio in October. Please, everyone, stay calm. Sometimes a hat is just a hat.

10. Taylor Swift

Superstar Taylor Swift got a round of glowing press for barely lifting a finger. She supposedly caused a voter registration spike when she took to Instagram to urge people to vote in her home state of Tennessee, giving a special shoutout to longtime Rep. Jim Cooper and Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is running against Rep. Marsha Blackburn for retiring Sen. Bob Corker’s open seat. While it’s true that one voter registration site saw a surge of young people after her post, let’s keep this in perspective: All she did was write an Instagram caption.

Watch: Confessions of an Elections Analyst

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