So that’s the reason Ned Vaughn opted out of the recent SAG-AFTRA elections – he’s aiming for Sacramento. The union executive VP resigned Tuesday in anticipation of an announcement today to seek the Republican nomination for the California State Assembly’s 66th District. In fact, the actor has already added a “Ned Vaughn for California Assembly” badge to his Twitter page and has a campaign website. And the rare Republican in a heavily Democratic town has got the lingo down too. “I refuse to sit back while a complacent majority sends California down the path to mediocrity,” Vaughn says on the site about his Democratic Party rivals who hold power in the state capitol.
Before dropping out of this year’s election in the late spring, Vaughn, who joined the Hollywood board in 2008 and was elected 1stVP of SAG in 2010, was a big booster of the 2012 merger of the two unions and had been widely expected to seek the powerful EVP job at the September 26 to 29 national convention. “Ned has been a driving force behind many of our greatest successes, in particular the years-long effort to merge our two unions. There would not be a united SAG-AFTRA without his dedication and commitment. He’s a tremendous leader and I’m sorry to see him go, but wish him all the best in his new endeavor,” said newly elected solo SAG-AFTRA National President Ken Howard in a statement today. Vaughn’s duties will be taken over by the current Secretary-Treasurer until a new EVP is elected in late September, said the union today. Up until Tuesday’s announcement to SAG-AFTRA officials and staff that he was resigning, many had assumed Vaughn would eventually relent and let his name be put forth for a draft during the convention. His current term as EVP expires at the end of the September, right around the time of the convention here in LA. Despite his resignation from the executive ranks, Vaughn remains a delegate to the national convention.
Despite the easy Ronald Reagan comparisons, another faded actor who went from union leadership to the California state politics and then beyond, Vaughn won’t be walking into a sure thing in the 66th. The newly created South Bay located district, which includes parts of Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, already has two other contenders for the GOP nomination, businessman Craig Huey and Nathan Mintz. Besides his union work, Vaughn has some onscreen political experience from roles in the likes of 24, Commander-In-Chief, The Newsroom and Frost/Nixon where he played a Secret Service agent assigned to another California politician.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.