Antonio Sabato Jr., best known for his roles in “General Hospital” and “Melrose Place,” is running for Congress in the 26th District of California.
Sabato, who filed statements of candidacy and organization with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, will be running as a Republican candidate against the current Democratic representative for the district Julia Brownley, who was elected in 2012. While Sabato has not yet made any public statements, California GOP strategist and former Trump delegate Charles Moran, who will serve as Sabato’s campaign fundraiser, confirmed his bid to the Los Angeles Times.
Moran told CNN that Sabato was inspired to run for candidacy by President Donald Trump’s successful bid. He said that with Brownley now representing the minority party in Congress, Sabato has a good chance to win the seat. Sabato also has ties to the presidency that could help him gain favor in the race — according to Moran, Sabato “knows” the president and is friends with one of his sons.
Sabato has been a fan of Trump’s since at least April 2011, when Trump was a vocal proponent of the “birther” movement that asserted that Obama was not born in the U.S. Sabato was also one of the few celebrities to attend Trump’s inauguration.
The Italian-born actor inserted himself into Republican politics when he spoke at the Republican National Convention last year in Cleveland, and has been politically active on Twitter for years. However, Sabato’s political reputation got off to a rocky start when he told ABC News in July 2016 that he “absolutely” believes that then-President Barack Obama was a Muslim.
“We had a Muslim president for 7 1/2 years,” Sabato said. “I don’t believe he is” a Christian.
Sabato also modeled for Calvin Klein in the ’90s and recently competed on “Dancing with the Stars.” He also starred in VH1’s “My Antonio,” a show involving multiple women competing for his affection — a premise Donald Trump would no doubt have enjoyed as well.
Moran also said that Sabato’s platform will be based on issues that he is personally passionate about, including the opioid crisis — an issue close to the heart of many rural Trump voters — tough immigration reform, and veterans affairs. Strategist Jeff Corless will serve as a top advisor.
The 26th district, which includes most of Ventura County, has historically been a Republican district, and only went to the Democrats after a redistricting changed the borders and population of the district in 2012. Brownley beat her opponent by six points in that election, but that margin narrowed to two at the following midterm. Most recently, however, she won the seat by 20 points, and Democrats now have a sizable registration advantage.
Registration in the district is 42.6% Democratic, 30.4% Republican.