There’s a new candidate in town in California’s 26th Congressional district, and he’s gambling on using his celebrity status to flip a solidly blue district to the GOP. Who is he? Soap star Antonio Sabato, Jr.
In case your memory of mildly famous actors is fuzzy:
Sabato is a longtime actor best known for roles in “General Hospital” and “Melrose Place” and as a model for Calvin Klein underwear. In recent years he has appeared in several reality television shows, including starring in “My Antonio,” a VH1 contest for which women competed for his affection, and “Dancing With the Stars.”
The 45-year-old was a vocal supporter of President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and spoke on his behalf at that year’s Republican National Convention.
Sabato wants to focus on veterans’ issues and substance abuse. Strategist and Sabato adviser Charles Moran believes that the actor’s support for Trump during the campaign and celebrity status position him uniquely to be an effective voice in Congress.
“Being a Republican and with proximity to the White House and Republican leadership, he’s going to be able to get more done — being in the majority, with his notoriety, for the residents of the 26th [Congressional] District,” Moran said.
There’s a bit of a problem, however. Sabato stepped into a mess during the GOP convention last summer when he parroted the old “Obama is a Muslim” chestnut. He claims that, as a result of his support for Trump, he has been blacklisted in Hollywood (though a quick glance at his IMDB profile shows that he hasn’t done much of substance in quite some time).
The 26th district stayed in Republican hands for decade until redistricting in 2012 changed the makeup of the district. Since then, Julia Brownley has held the seat, but Sabato believes he can take it back for the GOP.
Look, don’t get me wrong – I’m sure Sabato is a nice guy, but he needs to be able to trade on more than “I’m a celebrity who is close to the president” to convince voters. Here’s hoping he has some solid conservative ideas that can get the attention of voters.