- By Maggie Astor The New York Times
The actress Stacey Dash, best known for starring in the 1995 movie “Clueless,” is now aiming for Congress.
In paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, Dash declared her candidacy for the House of Representatives in California’s 44th District, a Democratic stronghold in the southern suburbs of Los Angeles.
As a Republican, Dash is likely to face an uphill battle in the district, which is represented by Nanette Barragán, a Democrat. Hillary Clinton received 83 percent of the vote there in the 2016 presidential election, and Barack Obama won similar shares in 2008 and 2012.
Dash, 51, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening and has not announced her candidacy publicly, beyond the FEC filing. She hinted at it in a series of tweets, however, writing: “Formal statements coming. For those mocking for the district I live in ... open your minds. It’s time to for me to put up or shut up and I want to serve great people.”
“I live in the 44th unlike some who don’t live in their districts,” she added. “Thank you to those who offered their support.”
Dash came onto the political stage in earnest in 2012, when she endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. She was a Fox News contributor from 2014-16 and an early supporter of President Donald Trump. Her endorsements of Republican candidates drew significant attention, and backlash, in part because she is a black woman.
In an interview with the journalist Nicholas Ballasy in June 2016, after she released a memoir titled “There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative,” Dash said she had been ostracized in Hollywood because of her political views. Her agents had dropped her, she said, and she had not auditioned for a role in more than a year.
Asked in that interview how she would pitch Trump to African-American and Hispanic voters, she paraphrased the adage that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
“Why do you keep voting Democrat, and nothing changes?” asked Dash, who has said she voted for Obama in 2008 before switching parties. “Try something new. Especially a guy who’s not the establishment. He’s not the man, as they say it. The establishment doesn’t even like him. But he’s a Republican. He’s a conservative.”
In interviews, Dash has defended Trump against charges of racism. She has also stirred up her own controversy on issues of race. On one occasion, appearing on “Fox & Friends” in January 2016, she said she did not believe Black History Month or BET should exist.
“We have to make up our minds,” she said. “Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.”
Dash wrote in her memoir that her views were shaped by her experience growing up in the South Bronx with drug-addicted parents. People on welfare were not respected there, she said. But the “hustlers” — who made a living for themselves and would abide no attempt to take away their money or their guns — were.
“When I say things, I don’t say them from a place of judgment but from a place of experience,” she told Ballasy.
She added that she believed people could be persuaded to vote Republican “if we just say it the right way and show them what the truth is, and go into the inner cities and show them that the narrative they’re being fed by the plantation mentality of the Democrats is false.”