Congressional candidate Antonio Sabato Jr. does Oxnard

By George Miller

Congressional (CD26) primary candidate and actor Antonio Sabato, Jr. visited Oxnard on Wednesday for what was billed as a “meet and greet” & Town Hall opportunity, but turned into a policy session mostly addressing guns and immigration. About 40 people came and went during a one hour+ session at downtown’s Cafe Tomas. Corner Pocket Billiards Manager and Downtown District Board Member Alex Rey Rivera EmCee’d the event and moderated with a very light hand. There were a few vocal opponents who tried to get Sabato to utter incriminating sound bites and a larger conservative group which seemed to be largely in accord with his views, which touched largely upon immigration and the Second Amendment.

He made a  speech of about ten minutes, saying he’s not doing this for himself, but for the people. Sabato described his legal immigration to the United States in 1985, “waiting in line,” and a career in acting and modelling. He offered to work together with allies and opponents to find common  ground, then shifted to an ambitious 50 minute Q&A period, taking on all-comers. He did not attempt to squeeze out opposition speakers the way so many officials and candidates do in townhalls. Sabato tried to answer the questions as well as he could and showed significantly better policy smarts than he did just a few months ago, but there is always room for improvement given the nature of the the job.

He repeatedly asked the crowd “what has the Democratic Party done for you?… maintaining that it hasn’t done much. He also attacked incumbent Brownley’s lack of accomplishments as being nearly zero in her six years in office and criticized that she claims to be a veterans advocate but has done little there either. Brownley has a very different story. He said she doesn’t even live here, but hails from Santa Monica, and forget about being represented, as she is “passing Liberal laws.” “She’s using you” he said, addressing vets and Latinos (Oxnard is about 3/4 Latino). Sabato said California has lost millions of workers and business owners in part because of the lack of attention and regard Incumbent Brownley has for Ventura County citizens and residents.

He sees California as being hit particularly hard: “taking away God, taking away the Constitution.”

Sabato then dove into a long question and answer period,  “getting into the weeds” on some items. While he did not shy away from any of  the questions, he hedged a little about NRA support when the subject of guns came up, in addition to supporting ammunition licensing, magazine restrictions and said he was open to more gun control legislation. When pressed on specifically what, he did not address the question. He then said he was a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, that people had a right to defend themselves and be armed.

In response to a question from a Dr. Martinez who kept attacking him with Democrat talking points on guns and immigration, he initially indicated that he wouldn’t take money from NRA, then modified that to wouldn’t take money from any organization trying to control him. So the question is, which organizations  could control him? He later stressed that “The NRA s not giving guns to the criminals.” He also said that guns had been in America for “200 years” and that banning guns would leave them only in the hands of criminals.

Martinez professed to be “terrified of guns… an epidemic” of gun violence (gun deaths have actually dropped about half since 1992, but there is a media epidemic). Sabato quickly jumped on that saying that there are lots of guns laws, that California’s are the strictest in the country. He added that there are (armed) guards everywhere, but not in the schools. He pointed out all the gun deaths in CA even with tough laws, said it was about people, mental illness, addiction, needing help for them, not about guns. He also pointed to Chicago, known for daily reports of gun violence ongoing for years.

Gloria Massey-Chinea got up to say that this is a public health issue, not a gun issue, that God and family were key to a solution. She also chided Martinez for using her young daughter as a prop. Ironically, as Martinez harangued Sabato about gun violence, one observer noted that Martinez’s young daughter was carrying a bear dressed in camouflage fatigues. 

The protracted guns and immigration session left little time for anything else. So he allowed the opposition to dominate the agenda (but gave mostly good responses) and didn’t get to do much of other policy items. His opponents there clearly didn’t like most of his guns and immigration answers.

The candidate was all for enforcing immigration law, the wall, etc.. He has previously called for streamlining immigration procedures. He pointed out that Trump had offered the Democrats a deal on DACA and that they had rejected it. One attendee compared the Trump wall to the Berlin Wall. Another attendee pointed out that the border wall is to keep illegal entrants OUT while the Berlin Wall was to force people to stay IN reminding the audience that East Berlin was a communist state.

He did take a question on homelessness and addressed personal responsibility for the able-bodied and mental illness and drug addiction treatment for the more unfortunate.

One guy claiming to be the La Colonia  council chair said he doesn’t see Sabato walking his neighborhood. He also pointed around the room and said that all these Republicans are “picking my pocket.” Sabato pointed out that he has been in Oxnard multiple times, was right here right now and that Brownley is rarely in sight, but the speaker was on a rant. Sabato is running for Congress for a wide area of 600,000 people, not Oxnard City Council. While  the speaker was blowing off a little steam, Sabato repeated his promise to be accessible to ALL constituents whether by phone or in person. 

Crowd size estimates ranged from 27 to “dozens.” The actual number in the room with the candidate was on the lower side. One reliable event watcher told us that about 40+ people came and went during the event. Based on applause, the majority seemed to be supporters. About 5-6 appeared to be opponents some carrying homemade signs and three of whom kept trying to trap him while their cell phones/cameras were rolling.

There was much more. A link to the video is below.

We asked attendee Elizabeth White what she thought about the Sabato Townhall:

Antonio was a breath of fresh air today. As the largest city on the County, Oxnard remains an important component of any election. Antonio Sabato Jr. resonated well with the working industrial dynamics of the community as he spoke of small business and entrepreneurs. He understood the struggles farmers endured and employment issues. He opened the dialogue to gun control and immigration. These are all important topics in Ventura County. But what about our future? He was most concerned with making decisions that would affect us all.

I personally was impressed with his talk of our future and our children. Oxnard has a community and he knows how important education and jobs are for sustaining our future.

We also asked “Good Morning Oxnard co-host and  local businessman Peter Godinez for his impression of the event:

I have to confess that I personally don’t like attending events where I know there are apparent STRONG opposing viewpoints unless it is a “Boxing Match”. I am happy to say I survived the event and came out of it feeling I made some connections with people I did not know beforehand.
While I know I am supposed to be talking about what I thought of Antonio, what stuck out the most was the dynamics of the audience in attendance. The event represented the new method of media. While there was the main stream media in attendance, several individuals had their PDAs (iphones) recording every moment taking place. Many attending individuals where corresponding in several portals of social media.  Most of the people who asked questions had a device in hand while asking the hard questions. I have never seen so many “reporters” all in one place. Oxnard has never seen anything like it.  I think this was a very positive thing.
Several individuals did not waste anytime asking the tough questions of Antonio. While I carefully say that Antonio got a “passing grade” at answering these questions, ,the true champions were the people in opposition to one another in attendance.  Some very aggressive statements were made from both “Points of View”.  Antonio seemed to act as more of a facilitator than someone preaching his message.  It was not that he was making the attempt, the audience seemed to provide the opportunity.  The dynamics of the audience dialogue probably made Antonio shine, more so if the audience did not say anything at all.  This is just my observance and hope you will watch the entire event and come up with you own observation.
I compliment my co-host of “Good Morning Oxnard”, Alex Rey Rivera for impressively introducing the event and facilitating the heat of the dialogue.  As a team, he interviewed Antonio 180214 GMO Antonio Sabato, Jr. and I interviewed Jeffrey Burum 180207 GMO Jeff Burum who is also running for the same Congress title.  The incumbent is Julia Brownley.  Alex and I welcome an opportunity to interview her.

Sabato is a US naturalized Citizen, immigrant from Italy, longtime actor and underwear model, has acting credits such as General Hospital, but some rather controversial material and background as well.

He has not consistently voted or claimed Republican party registration until more recently. However, he did stand up for Donald Trump at the event and even spoke for him at the 2016 nominating convention.  He claims that has hurt his career. At today’s session, he said he is is own man and may or may not agree with Trump on an issue by issue basis. Sabato also repeatedly said he was working for “you”, pointing to the audience; that he was not running for money or fame, both of which he has to some degree, but that he was running to “represent every person there” but to do so effectively, he also called on everyone to do their part by voting for him and speaking out about issues they are passionate about, concerned with, or otherwise affected.

Sabato’s sole remaining Republican rival, Oxnardian Jeff Burum and his son/campaign manager Alex, were turned away at the door by one of the sponsors.


Former actor, Antonio Sabato Jr. jumping into politics and … – KEYT…into…/705481508

1 hour ago – Dozens packed the Thomas Café in Oxnard Wednesday morning to listen to actor Antonio Sabato Jr. speak.

KEYT: Home


Candidate Antonio Sabato, Jr. for US Congressional District 26 | Meet ……/candidate-antonio-sabato-jr-us-congressional-district-26-meet-gre…

4 days ago – Conejo Valley Republican Women Federated — GOP Holiday Party. Conservative humorist and best-selling author, Evan Sayet, will entertain at the Saturday, December 9th Christmas-Chanukah Party of the Conejo Valley Republican Women Federated. Antonio Sabato, Jr., candidate for Congress, will …

CA District 26 Congressional candidate’s movie career more controversial than thought

CA District 26 Congressional candidate’s movie career more controversial than thought

By George Miller Ventura County Republicans in the know are abuzz about a CA District 26 Congressional candidate’s controversial movie career. Antonio Sabato Jr. emigrated to the US when he was a boy, went to Beverly Hills HS and that’s about as far as he went academically. But he made a successful career for himself […]

Antonio Sabato Jr Defends Risque Films Playing Gay Men | Newsmax … › Home › Newsmax TV

Jan 18, 2018 – In an interview with Newsmax TV, Antonio Sabato Jr. brushed off criticism over risque films he has done, saying it is simply a part of being an actor pushing the envelope.

George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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Beverly J Donias

What has Sabato done for his community or anywhere else to improve the quality of life for others. Or is this just talk like most candidates do to get elected.

Jeff Burum

It is unfortunate that hometown conservative, Candidate Jeffrey D Burum, has not been given the same opportunities to speak. His educational credentials as a USAFA ACADEMY graduate, MA in American government, and MBA in Accounting and finance; as well as his experiences in Desert Storm and Cold War, private CPA and investment advisory, and Asst Professor of Taxation has been badly overlooked.
He knows downtown Oxnard, South Oxnard, and CI Harbor needs to be facilitated with federal Free Enterprise Zone status. He knows Ventura County must become water and energy independent. He knows Oxnard and PH schools are substandard. He attends Oxnard City Councils routinely.
There is one easy choice.

Tom Donegue

Correction to article: He did NOT take on all-comers. He was to affraid to let Jeffrey Burum in even though it was advertised as “open to everyone.” This was after he was a no-show to the Camarill Candidate Forum.