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Might Ben Affleck try leap from Hollywood to US Senate? So far, he's cagey.

The actor and director says he's 'happy being involved from outside in government.' But Ben Affleck didn't exactly put the kibosh on talk about a possible run for John Kerry's Senate seat.

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CBS Boston's Jon Keller was among the first to mention the star's name in connection with the Senate seat, saying he'd heard Affleck's name "tossed around" among the possibilities to replace Kerry.

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Staff writer

Amanda Paulson is a staff writer based in Boulder, Colo.

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Interest in the seat is high. GOP Sen. Scott Brown in November narrowly lost his reelection bid to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, and he is widely presumed to be interested in running for Kerry's vacated seat, should Kerry win Senate confirmation to be secretary of State. Affleck is just one of many Democrats whose names have come up to run against him. Others include US Reps. Edward Markey, Steven Lynch, and Michael Capuano; former Congressman Marty Meehan; state senator Ben Downing; and Victoria Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Ted Kennedy Jr., eldest son of the late senator, has decided against running for the seat, according to a Boston Globe report Monday.

Affleck, who has long campaigned for Democratic candidates and who majored in Middle Eastern studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles, would face significant challenges: a lack of any previous political experience running for office; the need to raise cash quickly (or use his own); and a crowded Democratic field. He grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and currently owns a home in the Bay State, but under state law he also wouldn't need to establish legal residency until Election Day.

And it's unclear whether Affleck, a filmmaker who seems to be reaching a new career peak behind the camera, would have an interest in trying for elected office.

But he would also not be the first actor to do so.

Surprisingly, despite the stereotype of Hollywood being full of liberals, most high-profile thespians and entertainers who have moved into politics have been Republicans.

Ronald Reagan, arguably the most successful and well-known actor-turned-politician, springs to mind. But there's also Arnold Schwarzenegger – who, now that he's finished two terms as California governor, has returned to acting.

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