The power of a single vote was on full display yesterday in Nashville, where actor and stuntman Bill “Bilbro” Yarbrough defeated his nearest rival by a single vote to win a seat on the guild’s national board of directors.
The voting there also shows the power of apathy, with only 213 (15%) of the Nashville local’s 1,422 eligible members casting ballots. Yarbrough defeated Bob Bailey, his nearest rival, by a vote of 78 to 77. A third candidate, Evans Donnell, received 56 votes.
Yarbrough is now the first candidate elected to the national board as part of the dissident faction led by Maya Gilbert-Dunbar, who’s running against incumbent president Fran Drescher. Peter Antico, Gilbert-Dunbar’s running mate, is squaring off against incumbent secretary-treasurer Joely Fisher.
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Drescher and Fisher are part of a Unity slate that was formed earlier this year when the guild’s ruling Unite for Strength faction and the opposition’s MembershipFirst faction decided to put aside their differences and join forces in the lead up to the guild’s ongoing strike, which started on July 14. Two years ago, Drescher was elected president at the top of the Unite for Strength ticket, while Fisher was elected as part of the MembershipFirst slate.
But unity only goes so far in SAG-AFTRA’s often bitter politics. MembershipFirst candidates who ran for national president in the last three elections – Matthew Modine and Esai Morales – aren’t part of the Unity ticket, but are seeking reelection as independent candidates for seats on the board of the Los Angeles local. Modine lost to Drescher two years ago and to Gabrielle Carteris four years ago, and Morales lost to Carteris in 2017.
Elliott Gould, Diane Ladd and Rob Schneider are three other former MembershipFirst stalwarts who are now running as independent candidates for reelection to seats on the L.A. local and national boards. And former Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg, another former leader of MembershipFirst, is running as an independent for a seat on the L.A. local board.
And while Modine, Morales, Gould, Ladd, Schneider and Rosenberg are not directly affiliated with Gilbert-Dunbar’s opposition team, they have been endorsed by it.
You can see the Gilbert-Dunbar team’s voter guide here:
And here are all the candidates running on the Unity slate’s ticket:
The guild’s national elections won’t be decided until September 8, when ballots will also be counted for the Los Angeles and New York local races. But many other local races have already been decided.
Running unopposed, Amanda Melby has been elected president of the Arizona-Utah local; Shelley Waggener has been elected president of the Missouri Valley local; Casey E Lewis has been elected president of the Twin City local; Carla Christina Contreras has been elected president of the Nashville local, and Deborah Horne has been elected president, and Rik Deskin has been elected to the national board, representing the Seattle local.
In contested races that have already been decided, Andrea Lyman has been elected president of the New England local, and Talia Pura has been elected president of the New Mexico local.
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