On Tuesday, “Who’s the Boss” and “Charmed” Actress Alyssa Milano announced that she would likely run for California’s 4th District seat in 2024 if current Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) wins again in 2022.
Milano, who began her acting career at age 12 in 1984 playing Tony Danza’s daughter in “Who’s the Boss,” has had numerous prominent roles through the years, including in other television series such as “Charmed” and “Insatiable,” as well as films such as “Commando” where she played the daughter of then-future California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
While she has not been elected to public office, held union leadership positions, or been chosen for political appointments like other California actor-politicians of the past, Milano is noted for her political activism since the late 1980’s. She was named a United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ambassador and has travelled to do work for the organization in countries such as Angola, India, and Kosovo. Stateside, she’s worked with organizations such as PETA and the drinking water for third world nations organization Charity: Water. More recently she is most well known for relaunching the #metoo movement in 2017 and for her involvement in phone banking and poll driving for the campaigns of numerous Democratic politicians.
Milano has only recently considered running for the 4th Congressional District seat. In May, Milano tweeted out a question to followers if she should run against McClintock, pointing out his recent vote against the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. While the response was mixed, with some tweeting back responses to hold another political office first, or poking funa t her acting career such as “Playing a witch on a TV show is experience enough, said no one ever,” the response was positive enough for Milano to make her announcement on Tuesday.
Congressman McClintock was one of the 63 republicans to oppose Asian Hate Crimes bill.
This is my Congressman.
Should I run against him?
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 20, 2021
“I’m looking at California’s 4th District to potentially run against [Rep. Tom] McClintock,” Milano told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “I split my time between Truckee, and Bell Canyon, and the Republicans have basically had a strong arm there in the 4th District.”
“I would love to maybe consider flipping that seat blue. It’s going to take someone with, I think, name recognition and deep pockets to be able to run against McClintock, and so I’m considering it. I’m basically gathering information right now, speaking to different consultants, speaking to the community.”
“I would hope that they would put in the work before they attempt to hold office. I’ve been an activist since I was 15 years old. The first pictures of me in the White House are with Nancy Reagan. I’ve been at this a really long time.”
However, Milano would not be running in the 2022 mid-term elections, opting instead for a possible 2024 run. This is due largely due to current acting commitments, such as a role in the “Who’s the Boss?” reboot, stretching into next year, as well as a wait-and-see on how well McClintock performs during the 2022 election and how district lines are redrawn after the 2022 election.
“Before I run, obviously I can’t do both at the same time,” added Milano. “So it’s just really going to be about timing.”
Congressman McClintock still polls strongly in 4th District
However, despite her optimism for the seat, Congressman McClintock has remained popular in the area. Except for his initial 2008 win, McClintock has routinely garnered between 55% to 60% of the vote every two years in the 4th District, which stretches from the outskirts of Sacramento and Lake Tahoe in the North to the Sequoia National Forest and the outskirts of Fresno in the South. In 2020, McClintock kept that pace despite Republicans facing strong Democratic opposition due to the 2020 Presidential race, garnering over 56% of the vote.
McClintock also has decades of elected experience over Milano, serving in the California Assembly from 1982 to 1992 and from 1996 to 2000, serving in the state Senate from 2000 to 2008, and has been a Congressman since 2009. The Congressman also has national recognition from his time as a Congressman, a well as through his performance in the 2003 California Governor recall election, coming in third with 13.5% of the vote despite a crowded field and another prominent Republican, Schwarzenegger, also appearing on the ballot.
“The district is still very red,” noted Eastern California political consultant Paul Haines to the Globe on Wednesday. “Eastern California, for that matter, is red. And McClintock is still very popular in the 4th district. I’ll give Milano this. She is playing it very smart. 2024 will bring new district lines. And if that brings in a bit more of Fresno or Sacramento suburbs where a lot of Bay Area people are moving too, it could help her odds of winning.”
“But, right now, it would be an uphill battle. A lot of these more rural districts don’t really give a damn if the person running is an actor or was an activist. They look at what they have actually done. And there’s been some Democrats who have won some offices out here too, but they always had that track record of doing something for the community or something like that that made voters feel okay for voting for them. I can give plenty of Mayoral and City Council examples from out here. But Milano hasn’t really shown that out here. To many, she’s just a rich celebrity who bought a house out here. If she wants any chance of of beating McClintock, she would need to build up that goodwill.”
“But right now, McClintock has that, as well as sharing the same stances on issues as the majority of people out here. A PETA activist like Milano is going to have a hard time convincing ranchers out here that she is on their side.”
More details about her prospective 2024 run will likely come later this year.