Set for Life

These Athletes Retired as Multimillionaires, But Has Money Bought Them Happiness?

Part 1: Peter Boulware  |   Part 2: Ed O'Bannon  |   Part 3: Delino DeShields

Athletes Who Opted Out of Politics

Peter Boulware was not the only former athlete who sought public office, then soured on the process. A few who tested the waters and opted out:

Candidate Office sought Party Aftermath
Richard Petty Richard Petty, NASCAR's "King" Secretary
of State, N.C. (1996)
Rep. After an unpleasant and unsuccessful campaign, Petty said he won't seek office again and will concentrate on auto racing. "The people of North Carolina were telling me that I needed to get in the racing business instead of politics."
Lynn Swann Lynn Swann, Steelers Hall of Famer Governor, Pa. (2006) Rep. Swann was never expected to win in the heavily Democratic state, and he didn't, getting just 40 percent of votes. He was later asked to run for a U.S. House seat, according to, but he declined. There are calls for him to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter.
Jesse Ventura Jesse Ventura, Former pro wrestler Governor, Minn. (1999-2003) Reform Ventura didn't seek reelection amid investigations into his grown son's behavior in the governor's mansion. "I will rise up somewhere and cause some heartache," he said. ". . . I won't have to answer to the press anymore."
Mike Kenn Mike Kenn, Former Atlanta Falcons player Fulton County (Ga.) Commission Chairman (1999-2003) Rep. Kenn resigned early in his second term to become a transportation lobbyist, saying, "Instead of making public policy, I'm going to be influencing public policy." Despite speculation that he would pursue higher office, so far he has not.
Steve Largent Steve Largent, Seahawks Hall of Famer Governor (Okla.), after seven years in the U.S. House (2002) Rep. Largent was heavily favored at the outset, yet narrowly lost after an independent split the Republican vote. His opposition to cock fighting likely hurt him among rural voters. He now runs a non-profit firm that lobbies on telecommunications issues.

SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.), New York Times,, CNN

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