Was Bruce Springsteen Born To Run?

Bruce Springsteen opens the live broadcast of "America: A Tribute to Heroes" with "My City in Ruins," Friday, Sept. 21, 2001 in New York. In an extraordinary benefit across the television dial, entertainers united Friday to raise money for victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks.
A group of New Jersey political activists fed up with the usual crop of political candidates has announced a plan to draft rock star Bruce Springsteen to run for the U.S. Senate as a true representative of the state.

With guidance from Doug Friedline, a former 1998 campaign aide to heavyweight-wrestler-turned-Minnesota-Gov. Jesse Ventura, the group called "Independence for New Jersey" launched a signature drive to put Springsteen on the general election ballot.

They need only 800 signatures. But there is a big problem: no one has talked to Springsteen about the idea.

Friedline was not discouraged. "It took us seven months to get Jesse Ventura to run," he said. "If Bruce Springsteen threw his hat in the ring and made a real serious run at this, I think you'd see thousands of volunteers coming out from all over the place."

Political analysts said the announcement was less a grass-roots groundswell of support for Springsteen as native son than an attempt by Ventura supporters to set up a third party in New Jersey.

The state Senate race currently features incumbent Democrat Robert Torricelli and three Republican candidates -- millionaire businessman Doug Forrester and state senators Diane Allen and John Matheussen -- who all face each other in the June 4 primary.

Springsteen, known as "the Boss" among rock fans, would offer a number of advantages as a political candidate, including name recognition and popularity among younger voters.

Springsteen, whose songs often celebrate the blue-collar spirit of his youth in Freehold, New Jersey, now lives in the upscale community of Rumson near the northern end of the Jersey shore. The committee tried to reach him as long ago as December but has heard nothing.

That's not stopping Friedline, who figures volunteers have spent about $300 on the campaign so far.

Not having talked with Springsteen, Friedline is uncertain of Springsteen's ideology, but knows this: "His record shows that if he believes in a cause, he'll get involved."