Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — the “Terminator” action hero who made “I’ll be back” one of filmdom’s most iconic phrases — may be mulling a political comeback, according to several GOP political insiders in California.
The prospect of Schwarzenegger’s return to elected politics in a 2018 U.S. Senate run — possibly as an independent — is generating increasing buzz in state Republican circles, fueled by the former governor’s seeming ability to get under the skin of President Donald Trump on social media.
The president’s caustic tweets about Schwarzenegger, the recent host of “Celebrity Apprentice,” and their running feud has sparked talk that the intensely competitive Schwarzenegger — a seven-time Mr. Olympia world bodybuilding champ — may be interested in more than merely a verbal posedown with Trump.
His entry into the 2018 Senate race — when Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein would be 85 years old and up for reelection — “would give Arnold the stage to jam Trump for the next 16 months,’’ according to one veteran GOP strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It would also enable Schwarzenegger to draw a contrast with the president on key issues, including climate change, political reform and even immigration.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Daniel Ketchell did not rule out a possible Senate run when asked to respond to the speculation.
“Right now Gov. Schwarzenegger’s focus is on using his platform to bring some sensibility and coherency to Washington by fighting for redistricting reform, like we did in California,’’ Ketchell told POLITICO via email Thursday. “We are keeping all of our options open as far as how we can accomplish that.”