This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- Gov. Jerry Brown told the Times Wednesday that a decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change would be "tragic."
- Legislators at the state Capitol will winnow down the hundreds of bills pending by Friday afternoon, quietly killing some of them which have been sitting in what's called the "suspense file."
- African Americans in the California Democratic Party want an apology made to Rep. Maxine Water (D-Los Angeles) after her microphone was cut off at last weekend's convention.
Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. is running for Congress, challenging Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), who represents the southern central coast and most of Ventura County, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
Attempts to reach the Republican candidate were unsuccessful Monday, but GOP strategist Charles Moran, who will serve as Sabato’s fundraiser, confirmed the run. Strategist Jeff Corless will serve as a top adviser.
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. In an interview at the time, he said that that then-President Obama was a Muslim, which is not true. Sabato said afterward that he was blacklisted by Hollywood producers because of his visible support for Trump.
Moran said Sabato has long been interested in politics and public policy, but his experiences at the convention prompted him to consider running for office. Issues he plans to focus on are veterans’ needs and substance abuse, Moran said.
“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.
Brownley has represented the district since 2013. The 64-year-old previously served in the state Assembly for six years. Sabato is an Italian-born American citizen and Westlake Village resident.
Republicans consistently won the district from 2002 to 2012, the first election after redistricting changed the borders and population of the district. Brownley won that election by six points, but two years later she narrowly hung on to her seat, winning by two points. In 2016, she beat her GOP opponent by 20 points.