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

Two more local SAG-AFTRA presidencies have been decided: Jim Gleason won a squeaker in New Orleans, and Rik Deskin won handily in Seattle. Both elections are setbacks for Matthew Modine, who’s running against Fran Drescher for national president.

Modine supported Olga Wilhelmine in New Orleans, where she lost to Gleason by only eight votes, 120-112. Deskin, who defeated Peter M. Wallack by a vote of 158-62, is a prominent Drescher supporter.

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-supported candidates have only picked up one local presidency – in Nevada.

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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.

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.

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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