Candidates to be announced next Monday

The outlook for SAG’s presidential election remains murky.

Seymour Cassel is determined to be on the ballot in the contest along with national board member Ken Howard of Unite for Strength and First VP Anne-Marie Johnson of Membership First.

Cassel, who nearly defeated SAG president Alan Rosenberg two years ago, told Daily Variety that he plans to take the guild to federal court if SAG prevents him from running as an independent.

Cassel, a national board member, may be ineligible to run due to an internal trial board finding him guilty of “conduct unbecoming” of a member in connection with a confrontation involving staff members at the May 21 informational meeting at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel. Cassel said he’s appealed the conviction to the national executive committee, which meets next Tuesday.

SAG, which hasn’t commented on Cassel’s eligibility, is set to release its official list of candidates next Monday. Cassel, who’s advocated many of the Membership First positions while on the board, said he’s been pressured by allies of Johnson to leave the race.

“They don’t like me because I speak my mind,” he said. “But I’m not dropping out. It’s wishful thinking on their part.”

Rosenberg said conditionally in June that he was running for a third two-year term but decided two weeks to step aside because he believed Johnson had a better shot at winning as the head of the self-styled progressives of Membership First.

Howard’s heading a slate of 33 candidates as the self-styled moderates seek to increase their narrow board majority, first achieved last fall when he and four others were elected.

Ballots go out Aug. 26 to the guild’s 120,000 members and are due back Sept. 24.

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