INDIANAPOLIS – Rupert Boneham won over TV viewers during 2004's "Survivor: All-Stars" -- earning a nifty $1 million as the overwhelming choice for fan favorite on the reality show. Now the bushy-bearded Boneham is hoping Indiana voters will find him just as charming.
Boneham, 47, announced Saturday that he's seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for Indiana governor, saying he wants to take on the state's political establishment because he feels voters deserve better.
At a news conference in Indianapolis, Boneham said he's the best candidate to replace Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has reached his term limit and can't run next year, because he's "not beholden to any special interests."
In prepared statements circulated later by his campaign, Boneham said he wants to run as the Libertarian candidate because he thinks Indiana voters deserve an alternative to "the dysfunctional state of our current government."
"I have only one interest: Empowering Hoosiers to give back to their communities. If the government puts up roadblocks, then they should be repealed," Boneham said.
"Hoosiers have consistently voted in professional politicians and look at the results. Hoosiers should have a different choice in 2012," he said in the news release.
Boneham, who's known for wearing tie-dyed shirts, won $1 million when he was voted fan favorite in 2004's "Survivor: All-Stars." He donated a portion of his winnings to his Indianapolis-based charity, Rupert's Kids, which provides mentoring and job-training to at-risk youths.
Boneham formed an exploratory committee in August for a possible gubernatorial bid and said he wanted to gauge public support to see if people are ready to elect him.
Among the candidates who are seeking to replace Daniels, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Pence and former Democratic Indiana House Speaker John Gregg are the early favorites.
Sam Goldstein, the state chair of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, said he's "very excited" about Boneham's announcement.
"His nomination would be a great asset to the party and I look forward to working with him and his campaign team should he win the nomination at our convention next spring," Goldstein said in a statement.
The party, which will hold its convention April 14, said Boneham has been a supporter and a member of the Libertarian Party for nearly a year.