Jeopardy! champ says Democratic senators asked him to run for office
"Jeopardy!" champs Ken Jennings, left, and Brad Rutter match wits with IBM's computer Watson on the popular game show.
March 7th, 2011
05:40 PM ET
12 years ago

Jeopardy! champ says Democratic senators asked him to run for office

(CNN) - "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings revealed during a online question and answer session last week that two prominent senators tried to recruit him to run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2004.

"Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Harry Reid (D-NV) both called me back personally in 2004 to try to get me to run for Orrin Hatch's Senate seat," Jennings wrote in response to a question about what types of job offers he's gotten since famously winning 74 straight games of Jeopardy!.

"I am not making this up. Win on a game show and you can apparently run for the US Senate. That was when I realized the Democratic Party was f@#$ed in '04," he added.

Jennings would have faced a tough race against Hatch, who had no primary challengers and easily won reelection with 63 percent of the vote in the 2006 race. Though Jennings still doesn't seem interested in a Senate bid, Hatch will likely have a tougher race this time around. Many political observers predict that the longtime senator could face a strong primary challenge from a conservative candidate when he is up for reelection again in 2012.

Jennings was fielding questions on the social news site Reddit under the handle "Watson's B–tch," a reference to IBM's new supercomputer, nicknamed Watson, that recently bested Jennings and fellow "Jeopardy!" champion Brad Rutter in a special two-game match-up.

But unlike Jennings, Watson has not shied from the political spotlight. The supercomputer most recently faced off against group of congressmen in Washington during an informal game of "Jeopardy!" set up by IBM to teach members of Congress about the new technology.

Watson predictably won the game, but proved no match for Democratic Rep. Rush Holt. The New Jersey congressman, an actual five-time "Jeopardy!" champion, managed to overcome the computer during his round, much to Jenning's apparent dismay.

When asked if he knew how the congressman did it, Jennings wrote "Rush Holt! I will never stop doing this now. I hope I never meet the guy..."

Filed under: Charles Schumer • Harry Reid
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Scott A

    Well Ken would've been more qualified and much more intelligent than any Republican in office – though I don't know if he's cowardly enough to be a Democrat. For political office, you have to be a bad person to be a Republican and you need the capabiliy to ignore bad people (or give in to their demands if you want to be in office for a long time) to be a Democrat.

    March 7, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. Brandon

    Why not? Palin is running for Prez. One knows nothing; the other knows everything that is trivial. No difference there.

    March 7, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Roscoe

    Jennings in Congress? Why not. If he has any kids, they're probably ready to be governor of Alaska now.

    March 7, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    Actually, WATSON should run!!!

    March 7, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |