LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Actor Sonny Landham started out in '70s porn before landing tough-guy roles in Hollywood movies including 48 Hours and Predator. Now, Landham is running for Senate as a Libertarian challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Landham needs to gather 5,000 valid petition signatures by Aug. 12 in order to qualify for the November ballot. Although State Libertarian Chairman Ken Moellman told CNN that Landham will probably make the ballot, the actor's chances of winning are slim.
"I'm not sure which is more of a hurdle for Landham, being a former porn actor or being a Libertarian Party candidate," political scientist Michael Baranowski told CNN. "But if the race between McConnell and [Democratic candidate Bruce] Lunsford is tight enough, the votes Landham pulls from McConnell might be critical."
Landham's XXX credits include Armand Weston's classic roughie Defiance, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, Shaun Costello's Love Bus and the title role in Big Abner. He was one of the few Golden Age porn actors to transition into Hollywood film and TV roles, but the stigma of his hardcore appearances reportedly damaged his career.
After his Hollywood career bottomed out, Landham served 2 1/2 years in federal prison for allegedly threatening his ex-wife with obscene phone calls. A federal appeals court overturned the conviction.
Landham considered a run for Kentucky governor in 2003, first as a Republican and later as an independent. He ultimately stayed out of the race to back the winning Republican candidate.
Asked if his porno past could hurt his chances in the current race, Landham told reporters, "What can I do? That was a part of my life you cannot call back. If I was going to do it now -- knowing that I'm going to have four children, knowing that I was going to run for office -- no, I wouldn't make that choice. But at the time I made the choice of getting a paycheck, staying alive for your big break."
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