This ‘Survivor 42’ Castaway Wants to Keep His Political Persuasions Secret

Daniel Strunk

CBS Daniel Strunk in "Survivor 42."

With season 42 of “Survivor” on the horizon, fans are anxiously anticipating the release of the March 9 premiere. Ever since the release of the season’s cast photos and videos, fans have been examining what each of the 18 castaways have to say about their strategy and chance in the game.

Like most contestants of the past two seasons, 30-year-old law clerk Daniel Strunk is a superfan of the show, and has been dreaming of playing for years. After finally making it, he has some secrets from his personal life that he would like to keep close to his chest while on the island.

Here’s what you need to know:


Daniel Will Keep His Past Political Campaigning a Secret

Daniel Strunk

CBSDaniel Strunk.

In his introductory video, Daniel, a Cincinnati native who now lives in Connecticut, described himself as “technically a lawyer,” though he currently works as a law clerk for a federal judge in Michigan. According to his LinkedIn profile, this judge for whom Daniel clerked from 2020-2021 was Raymond Kethledge, a George W. Bush-appointed Court of Appeals judge who began his tenure in 2008. Kethledge was widely reported by the press in 2018 to be a top contender for then-President Donald Trump‘s pick to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Trump’s pick for the role would eventually go to Brett Kavanaugh.

When asked by EW what real-life secrets he will refrain from telling his fellow castaways, Daniel responded that, though he has made a “strategic decision” to be more or less honest about everything, “the only real thing [which] I will do everything I can to hide is that I am of a classical liberal persuasion.” He added that he has worked for the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2012 and Jeb Bush in 2016, though when it came to today’s American conservative movement, Daniel said, “it’s a very different world now.”

In his pre-game Parade interview, when asked what other players may dislike about him, Daniel responded, “There’s a lot to dislike about me! I mean, if you polled my family or my prior law school enemies, they’d probably give you a long list.” He went on to say he was “unyielding” when it came to certain “political and ideological values,” and that his classical liberalism is “not very popular nowadays. We’re kind of a dying breed.”


Daniel Is Not Confident About His Chances

Daniel Strunk

CBSDaniel Strunk in his introductory video.

When it came to how he would play the game, Daniel was brutally honest in his self-assessment. “I grew up watching ‘Survivor,’ but I really don’t know if I have what it takes to be the Sole Survivor!” he said in his introductory video. He went on:

Look, Las Vegas should not be betting on me. I’m short, a little bit chunky, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do well in challenges, I don’t know if I’ll be able to provide around camp. [But] I’m gonna try!

He added that his core strategy will be to be perceived as “goofy, not sneaky,” though once again he is not entirely sure whether he’ll be able to pull it off.

As he explained in Parade, he hopes people will see him as “a Ryan Ulrich type here who’s just doing sudoku and reading books and all sorts of stuff.” He added that he doesn’t want people to catch onto his intelligence, though he isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to do so successfully: “I don’t want people to look at me and think ‘smart’,” he said. “I want them to look at me and think ‘goofy.’ But to be honest, I don’t think I’m pulling it off. I don’t think I can really hide it. So I’ll do my best, but we’ll see.”

Whether or not Daniel’s strategy will pay off, or if he will indeed be as unsuccessful as he predicts, will only be seen as the season airs.

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The two-hour premiere of season 42 will air on March 9.

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