By Richard Verrier
5:39 PM PDT, August 15, 2013
Veteran actor Ken Howard has won another term as president of SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood's largest entertainment union.
Howard easily defeated his challenger, "NYPD Blue" actor Esai Morales, to determine who will lead the performers union over the next two years.
Howard received 16,396 votes, with Morales receiving 9,850 votes, SAG-AFTRA said in a statement.
Formed a year ago by the merger of two rival unions, SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, recording artists, broadcasters and other performers.
Morales, a former SAG board member and a star of "La Bamba," is part of a slate of candidates known as Membership First that strongly opposed the merger, which was championed by Howard and his supporters, who won the majority of seats on the 70-member national board.
Howard was first elected as SAG's president in 2009. He and his supporters trounced Membership First in elections a year later and swept control of the national board. Howard served as co-president of SAG-AFTRA after the merger in 2012.
The veteran actor and star of the 1970s television show "The White Shadow" won a supporting actor Emmy for “Grey Gardens” in 2009.
“I'm gratified that members across the country have reelected me to lead our union and continue building on the strong foundation we created through merger," Howard said. "I look forward to joining the delegates who will assemble in Los Angeles for the first SAG-AFTRA convention in late September, and then moving forward with the new leadership team to do the important work that members have entrusted to us.”
Amy Aquino, who acted on the "ER" and "Law & Order" TV series, was re-elected as secretary-treasurer with 17,590 votes.Aquino was part of Howard's slate and handily defeated stuntwoman Jane Austin, who received 10,662 votes. Ballots for elected officers and national board positions went out July 16.
“This is an extremely exciting time for our union, and I’m deeply grateful to my fellow members for their vote of confidence in what we’ve already achieved, and for the continued opportunity to help focus SAG-AFTRA’s resources to build the effective organization that we all need and deserve,” Aquino said.
An executive vice president and vice presidents representing various locals will be elected at the first SAG-AFTRA convention in September.
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