Antonio Sabato, Jr. —the Italian-born soap-opera and reality-TV star and former Calvin Klein underwear model who spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump—is officially running for Congress.
You may remember him from such titles as General Hospital and Melrose Place or, more recently, Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Wife Swap. He maintains a politically active Twitter account, which has included calls for sending Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to prison. In July, he told ABC News that he “absolutely” believes that Obama is a Muslim.
According to Federal Election Commission posted online on Monday showing Sabato’s filed statements of candidacy and organization, the conservative pro-Trump celeb intends to run in California’s 26th congressional district in the 2018 midterms. His campaign Go Daddy website, VoteAntonio.com, is registered to Charles Moran, a California GOP political consultant and a former Trump delegate.
“Antonio did file this morning [to run in] the 26th congressional district,” Moran confirmed to The Daily Beast over the phone on Monday afternoon. That seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley.
Moran said he met “Antonio right around the time of the RNC convention,” and that he knew Sabato’s manager since high school. “His manager…wanted him to sit with someone more knowledgeable in the field [of politics]” to discuss getting serious about his political aspirations. According to Moran, the two sat down for the first time to discuss prospects in August, and have been in communication ever since. Moran is now set to be campaign spokesman.
“This culminated this week in him filing his papers with the FEC—as my client, we’re still working on fine-tuning what our media rollout is gonna be,” Moran said. “He’s excited. This is going to be a long campaign.”
Sabato and his rep did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment. But according to Moran, Sabato’s platform will be “very much based on his personal interests,” including the opioid crisis and drug addiction, tough-on-immigration-and-the-border stances, and veterans affairs.
The 45-year-old Sabáto has been a supporter and political ally of Trump’s since at least April 2011, which was right around the time Trump started to gain currency in right-wing circles with his anti-Obama, racist birther crusade. “I am with ya pal @realDonaldTrump no matter what . #alltheway,” he tweeted five years later in April 2016.
Sabato sees eye to eye with the president on Trump’s core positions, including the war on Islamist terror and identifying with the “All Lives Matter” crowd.
“[Trump]’s an honest guy, I believe his politics, and I think that’s what we need for this country,” Sabáto said on Fox Business Network in May. “I think a lot of people [in Hollywood] are gonna come out and support [Trump] even more.”
(They did not.)
During the Fox Business interview, Sabáto said that he had personally “chatted with [Trump]” and that he was willing to do whatever the Republican presidential nominee wanted him to do for the campaign. “I could probably do executive protection,” Sabáto floated, saying he was open to joining Trump’s security detail.
Whether Sabato will end up landing an endorsement (or at least a friendly tweet) from the 45th president of the United States himself remains to be seen.