Jerry Springer will file papers for Senate run. The talk show host inches closer to a re-entry into politics

By Gary Susman
Updated July 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Daytime talk ringmaster Jerry Springer may be on his way to an even wackier circus in Washington. He’s expected to file papers on Friday preparing a candidacy to be the next U.S. Senator from Ohio, the Associated Press reports. Springer hasn’t decided whether to run, his political adviser, Mike Ford, tells AP — he’s expected to decide by the end of the month — but he had to file now for legal reasons, since he’s already starting to raise money via 30-minute infomercials.

The 59-year-old former Cincinnati mayor doesn’t seem to see his long-running talk show, widely derided as a forum for exhibitionism and freakish behavior, as a liability. In the infomercials (which are airing outside Ohio in order not to violate equal-time rules), Springer notes that his show is not responsible for Ohio’s economic and education problems. At the same time, the infomercial’s suggest, the talk show makes him a populist who embraces a constituency of ”slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs and whatnots.” (That remark, which his how National Review writer Jonah Goldberg described the voters Springer would bring to the polls, is emblazoned on a T-shirt that’s one of the products sold on the infomercials.)

Springer’s competition for the Democratic Senate primary, Ohio State Senator Eric Fingerhut, said Thursday he didn’t think much of Springer’s televised campaign ads. ”A half-hour infomercial doesn’t wipe out what he’s been doing for a decade,” Fingerhut said. ”All it does tragically is identify Ohio with his level of entertainment.”