Jim Gleason Elected President Of SAG-AFTRA’s New Orleans Local In A Squeaker; Rik Deskin Handily Reelected President Of Seattle Local – Update

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UPDATED with clarification: Two more local SAG-AFTRA presidencies have been decided: Jim Gleason won a squeaker in New Orleans, and Rik Deskin won handily in Seattle. Deskin, who defeated Peter M. Wallack by a vote of 158-62, is a prominent supporter of Fran Drescher, who’s running for SAG-AFTRA national president.

Gleason, who defeated Olga Wilhelmine in New Orleans by only eight votes – 120-112 – is a supporter of national presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s MembershipFirst slate. An earlier version of this story noted that Gleason, who won in New Orleans without even posting a candidate’s statement on the ballot, does not appear to be aligned with either faction. Gleason, however, does support Modine for national president, and his running mate, Joely Fisher for national secretary-treasurer.

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“I don’t belong to any SAG-AFTRA political faction,” Gleason said last month in an email to his supporters. “I’m not running on a slate of candidates or anyone else’s ticket. Although I support the Modine/Fisher ticket for National President, that’s not my focus.”

An earlier version of this story said that the New Orleans election was a setback for Modine, but in fact, both presidential candidates there support his candidacy.

Only 18.4% of the 1,233 eligible members voted in Seattle, while 32% of the 734 eligible members voted in New Orleans – the highest percentage of any of the 13 locals to have concluded balloting so far, with 12 more still to come. Of the 13 locals that have already voted, only 22.2% of their eligible members – 4,467 out of 20,112 – cast ballots in their local elections.

So, far, Modine supporters have picked up two local presidencies – in New Orleans and Nevada.

Local candidates supported by Drescher’s Unite for Strength ruling party have now picked up 12 presidencies – four in contested races in Seattle, Chicago, Hawaii and San Francisco; and eight more in uncontested elections in Arizona-Utah, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston-Austin, Miami, Portland, Nashville, New Mexico and Washington, D.C.

New Orleans had been a bright spot for Modine and his MembershipFirst slate two years ago when he lost to Gabrielle Carteris in the race for national president. He’d supported Wilhelmine in her race for a seat on the national board, which she won handily. She won again in a re-run after the local’s election committee found that her NOLA Slate for Change candidates had accepted “unlawful contributions” from employers at a campaign event – a charge they hotly disputed.

Wilhelmine, who still has two years remaining of her four-year national board term, also lost a close race for the local’s presidency in 2019, when she was defeated by only 13 votes.

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