Best Elected Politicians with No Government Experience?

Speaking to high-level positions, obviously somebody was best mayor of some town.

Particularly federal House/Senate positions, Governor of a state, President, perhaps Mayor of NYC, LA, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, et. al. would be on a close tier.

But I’m thinking about people with no governing qualifications elected into a major role who did well. There are just a lot of them elected recently and possibly about to happen, I’m wondering how that turns out.

Can’t fully comment who did well, but thinking of

Not including trump as I know how he did

Sonny Bono
Clint Eastwood
Jesse Ventura
Al Franken
Fred Thompson
Fred Grandy
Bloomberg (who I felt did a good job)
Mitt Romney

No comment on good or bad but

Michael McCall is a US Rep from Texas who was a lawyer prior to becoming a US Rep.

John Cornyn may not quite fit the bill because he was in a couple of elected judicial positions, then Texas AG for 4 prior to becoming a US Senator.

didn’t he just cut taxes for the rich and ignore AIDS as icky and not his problem?

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He was an experienced politician by that time. I have no idea how he was as a governor without experience.



didn’t think about lawyers, closer to politician than actor or business


Pritzker actually seems to be doing a decent job in Illinois, unless…

i thought franken was good.

jesse v was allegedly decent until it got hard (after midterm - i moved here then) and he just let the crazy out and lashed out at everyone.

Gary Johnson was a relatively popular 2 term governor before he flamed out as a presidential candidate

Because of him we only have to worry about Russia instead of the USSR.

I think he gave an across-the-board X% tax break one year when the budget had a surplus. The legislature wanted to spend the extra and he gave a public address and said he was asking the legislature to have Californians compute their taxes like normal, but then when they got to the final tax, multiply it by (1-X%) and pay or claim a refund based on that number instead. (Forms & tables had already been printed by this point, so it was too late to change that part.) This is my recollection from reading his autobiography, and I no longer remember what X is.

The legislature (begrudgingly, according to him) went along with it.

Whether that was ultimately good or bad is a matter of opinion, but it was certainly popular. No clue how the money would have been spent if Reagan wouldn’t have gotten his way.

Ivan Allen did a great job as mayor of Atlanta from 1962-1970. He went from running an office supply store to being mayor.
Ivan Allen Jr. - Wikipedia.

While being Atlanta mayor was his first run for office, he did serve on staff for a couple of governors for a few years as a younger man. Not sure if this puts him in the “no governing qualifications” or not.

I thought I was blanking on something, apparently he was elected mayor of a small town.

I was looking for major positions, but touché.

AOC and Ahnold are good examples.

Maybe Bloomberg but honestly I’d have to review him, it’s a large position and I’m a bit ignorant.

Ivan Allan is a good deep cut and appears to have been good although as @ArthurItas said he had some experience at least, just not elected.

I disagree with Romney politically but he was decent at advancing his party’s positions and wasn’t hardline. He had experience in the political system previously, but nothing elected until he became Governor IIRC.

Overall I would consider at least working in political campaigns some qualification. There are a lot of races going on with people who have only business experience, and sometimes barely even that.

I cited Gary Johnson earlier as a complete outsider as far as I know, as a business guy straight to governor.

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Wasn’t trying to discount him, just not spending a lot of time researching each unless I get bored after the workday. That is a good example, he’s the least crazy Libertarian I know and seems to have a head on his shoulders and I could see a world where I’d vote for him, if third party voting in national elections made sense.

How does Volodymyr Zelenskyy hold up

I heard he sucked before the war happened

Was thinking US, but very solid example.