SAG-AFTRA Candidates Include Celebrities, Dark Horses

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Hundreds are running for officer, board and delegate seats.

And then there were five. SAG-AFTRA has released the lists of candidates for president and other offices, and the top of the ticket is looking crowded. Joining previously announced presidential candidates Pete Antico (independent; former MembershipFirst member), Gabrielle Carteris (incumbent; Unite for Strength and United Screen Actors Nationwide slates) and Esai Morales (MembershipFirst) are two lesser-known independents making a push, Robert B. Martin Jr. and Marilyn Monrovia.

A key point of contention is whether the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA has lived up to the promise that the unions and members would be stronger together — and in particular, whether the recently negotiated TV/theatrical contract with the studios is a good one. Carteris says it is, while Antico vehemently disagrees, as does Morales, according to reports. Martin told The Hollywood Reporter that members should judge the deal for themselves, while Monrovia's views on the matter are not known. The pact is currently out for ratification, with ballots due back Aug. 7.

Also disclosed were the candidates for secretary-treasurer: incumbent Jane Austin (MF), Jason George (UFS) and Chuck Slavin (Ind.). Another key office, executive vp, is selected at the union's upcoming convention by delegates, not by the members as a whole.

Forty national board seats are up for election this year as well. That's half of the 80-member board.

For Los Angeles Local president, the candidates are incumbent Jane Austin (MF), Clyde Kusatsu (UFS) and John Tremaine (Ind., who describes himself as supporting MF). There are six candidates for two LA Local vp slots, and a stunning 96 for 41 LA Local at-large board seats. Four members are running for an LA Local seat designated for stunt performers, and 43 for 16 seats on the national board designated for Los Angeles.

As if that's not enough choices, a mind-boggling 247 candidates are running for 132 convention delegate seats for Los Angeles.

On the East Coast, incumbent New York president Mike Hodge (USAN) faces off against independent challengers Kevin Cannon and Charles Gemmill. Six candidates are running for four NY Local vp slots, including four from USAN, one independent and one from yet another slate, NYCoalition4Unity. Fifty candidates are vying for 28 NY Local board seats, 27 for nine national board seats, and 98 for 73 delegate positions.

Elsewhere across the country, some Locals fielded unopposed candidates, while others are having elections. The entire set of candidate statements and lists is on the SAG-AFTRA website.