But now a campaign committee has been filed with the Federal Election Commission under the name ‘Run The Rock 2020,’ kicking up rumors of a Johnson presidency all over again.
The forms – which note that the committee is ‘NOT authorized’ – were filed by Kenton Tilford of Wheeling, West Virginia, on Sunday.
‘I’m just a private citizen unaffiliated with Mr Johnson,’ he told DailyMail.com, ‘but I’ve talked with many who believe he can deliver the leadership America needs.’
Tilford said he hopes that the project will galvanize potential Johnson supporters – and ultimately get The Rock out to lay the smackdown on the 2020 candidates.
‘While there has been significant discussion of the possibility of The Rock running for President, there is currently no avenue for supporters to channel their energies and get Mr Johnson to notice the groundswell of support he has in the grassroots,’ he said.
‘By starting Run The Rock 2020, I hope to harness that energy and help persuade Mr Johnson that America needs his leadership now.’
Tilford, a registered Democrat, said he felt Trump, Clinton and Sanders all lacked the leadership and unifying power needs in these difficult times.
‘America is badly divided and we have a President who, in my view, is sadly not interested in uniting our country,’ he said.
And Johnson, he says, could do the job, pointing to his support for the troops as an example of his unifying qualities. ‘There may not be a more broadly beloved celebrity in America today,’ he explained.
‘People from all walks of life and all political persuasions can get behind a candidate like Mr Johnson.’
He added that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump prove decades of experience as a politician aren’t necessary to do the job.
He added that Johnson’s affiliations – he was once a Republican, and is now registered independent – didn’t concern him.
‘Donald Trump was a liberal, a Democrat, and an independent at various times and now he’s governing as a reliable conservative Republican,’ he said. ‘What matters to me is Mr Johnson’s respect and advocacy for all Americans.’
The possibility of a presidential run by Johnson, 45, who made his name as WWE wrestler ‘The Rock,’ has been the subject of rumor for more than a year now.
In June last year the actor told GQ magazine that he hadn’t ‘ruled out’ politics.
‘I’m not being coy when I say that, but at the moment I am not sure,’ he said. ‘I can’t deny that the thought of being governor, the thought of being president, is alluring.’
The Washington Post picked up on that quote in an op-ed that said Johnson could be a convincing moderate conservative candidate.
But in response Johnson wrote a lengthy Facebook post in which he remarked ‘I care DEEPLY about our county… and the idea of one day becoming President to create real positive impact and global change is very alluring.
‘Buuuuut until that possible day, the most important thing right now is strong honest leadership from our current and future leaders of this country. Thanks again Washington Post.’
Since Donald Trump’s rise to power, however, Johnson has become more vocal about the possibility of becoming Commander in Chief.
In an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show in May of this year he said he was ‘blown away’ by the positive response he’d had to suggestions he run for office.
‘I think it’s because, you know, a lot of people want to see a different leadership today,’ he said.
‘I’m sorry, not different, but better leadership today, right? A better leadership.’
When prompted, he said he would bring ‘more poise, less noise’ to the role.
‘And I also think think over the years I’ve become a guy that a lot of people kind of relate to: get up early in the morning at a ridiculous hour, go to work and spend time with the troops, take care of my family.
‘I love taking care of people. And I think that kind of thing really resonates with people, especially today.’
He added: Three and a half years is a long ways away. So we’ll see.’
A couple of days later he appeared on Saturday Night Live with Tom Hanks, in which they jokingly proposed a joint run for the 2020 White House, with Hanks as VP.
Hanks claimed he would surely get the senior vote since he ‘fought in World War II’… in his movies of course.
Johnson then chimed in: ‘And I of course would get the minority vote because every one just assumes that I am, well, whatever they are.’
The wrestler spoke at the 2000 Republican National Convention, and appeared at the Democratic convention the same year, as part of the WWE’s non-partisan ‘Smackdown Your Vote’ campaign to get young people to vote..