Pro Wrestler Ric Flair Says He Will Run for NC Governor

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - Ric "Nature Boy'' Flair says he wants to follow in the footsteps of fellow wrestler Jesse "The Body'' Ventura, now Minnesota's governor, and run for North Carolina's top office.

Flair, 50, said on Monday on the "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" TV show that he was interested in the job, possibly as an independent candidate.

"I'm putting together a team, and I'm going to take a shot at it," Flair said after the show. "I think the political system is open to a lot of opportunities right now."

Flair, part of a wrestling circuit, has played heroes and villains in the ring, always with elaborate robes sporting rhinestones and peacock feathers. "I may have to tone down a few things, but I think charisma can go a long way," Flair said.

Flair, whose real name is Richard Morgan Fliehr, has lived in Charlotte since 1974 and has dabbled in Republican politics. He has raised funds or campaigned for Senator Jesse Helms, Representative Sue Myrick and Senator Lauch Faircloth, who lost his re-election bid in 1998.

If Flair enters the race as a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian, he must file by February 7th to be eligible for the state primary.

To run as an independent, Flair would have to obtain the signatures of 2 percent of the voters in North Carolina, or about 300,000 signatures in all, by the end of June.

For Flair to run as a Reform candidate, the party would have to get the signatures of 2 percent of the people who voted in the last governor's race, or 51,324 signatures, by the end of June.

At least seven candidates already have entered the field to succeed Democratic Governor Jim Hunt, who is ineligible to run because he has served two consecutive terms.