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Actor Tosses His Beret Back Into the Political Ring

Times Staff Writer

Two weeks after testing the political waters by getting out of them, Republican congressional nominee G.C. (Brodie) Broderson announced Thursday that he was re-entering a race he acknowledges he cannot win.

The Burbank actor, a leader of the Guardian Angels--a volunteer safety patrol organization--said his dramatic Oct. 6 concession speech was intended to provoke the kind of financial and personal support he was unable to generate for months on the stump.

“I felt they’ll come and help me or they won’t,” Broderson said, moments before exchanging his red Guardian Angels sweater for a dark suit jacket. “If they don’t come and help me, I’ll stay down. If they come and help me, I’ll come back in. I was testing the waters.”

The result of the speech was an outpouring of phone calls and pledges of contributions, he said, doubling his meager campaign budget of $2,000. Broderson is opposing Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City), a powerful three-term incumbent whose campaign kitty exceeds $200,000.

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“It’s a question now of pride,” said Broderson, comparing his bid to the never-say-die baseball Dodgers. “I was a little rash. . . . I had a lot of people who were very upset with me, including my mother.”

Broderson, 58, formally announced his re-entry during a protest rally by anti-homosexual Republican activists at state GOP headquarters in Burbank. He carried a hand-lettered sign that said, “Help Eliminate Lawyers in Politics.” Berman is an attorney.

“I am now going to throw my hat back into the ring,” Broderson said, then reached into his jacket and tossed his Guardian Angels red beret into the air. It landed silently on the Magnolia Boulevard sidewalk as newspaper photographers clicked away.

He reiterated his complaint that well-financed incumbents of both parties refuse to contribute to challengers.

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Broderson said he will use his additional contributions to send a couple of low-budget campaign mailings and maybe make a cable television commercial. He is familiar with the broadcast medium: He’s been appearing in television advertisements for Kellogg’s cornflakes and C&R; Clothiers.

And what was Berman’s reaction to the return of his erstwhile opponent with the flair for the dramatic?

“Welcome back, Brodie,” he said through an aide.


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