Diane Neal, best known for her starring role as Casey Novak on Law & Order: SVU has thrown her hat into the ring of politics, with a bid for Congress in her home district in New York.
Neal is a native of Hurley, New York, and is looking to run as an independent for the 19th Congressional district seat. The actress made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday, explaining that she would be running a very minimalist campaign and looking to do so with “no negativity.”
“MORNING!” she wrote. “Ok, so it’s ON!!! But I’m doing with nearly no staff, no donations (yet), with no party. Website will be up later today (fingers crossed) and all ready to go. But goal is bigger than parties. Goal is no negativity. Goal is HIGH ROAD all the way.”
MORNING!— Diane Neal (@DianeNeal) February 6, 2018
Ok, so it’s ON!!! But I’m doing with nearly no staff, no donations (yet), with no party. Website will be up later today (fingers crossed) and all ready to go. But goal is bigger than parties. Goal is no negativity. Goal is HIGH ROAD all the way.
Many fans and neighbors were excited over the news, as politics have taken on a feverish energy since the contentious 2016 presidential election.
While Neal is running as an Independent, the Daily Freeman reports that she’s registered locally as a Democrat. The outlet also points out that she’ll need at least 3,500 signatures on a petition to secure her place on the ballot in November — a tall order, with only nine months between now and the elections.
Neal reportedly sought the Democratic nomination first, appearing at a debate in Woodstock, New York on Sunday. When asked about her qualifications for politics, Neal pointed out that she has experience dealing with Donald Trump from her time as a judge on The Apprentice 15 years ago.
“Donald and I are roughly the same height,” she said. “After talking with him for a while, he stood in front of me [with his back turned], and I slipped a chopstick right in that thing because I wanted to see what it was made out of, how it was attached."
“I started getting a nice amount of loft,” she said. “I’m sure that someone has a tape of this somewhere ... and I swear to God it was like I was about to see the singularity. It was like all time and space was ending. Then he walked away and he took the chopstick with him, and for the last 15 years, I’ve wondered, where did it fall out?”
Neal also said that she had not experienced any inappropriate advances from the now-president, but gave herself more credit for that than him.
“Keep in mind I play the meanest people on TV, and usually I play people with guns,” she said. “People tend not to mess with me.”
While many were excited about Neal’s prospects in politics, some were unsure. Many potential constituents responded to her tweet with concerns that her run as an Independent would split the vote and keep a Republican in office.
Hi Diane, why are you opting to run as an independent opposed to entering the Democratic Primary? I do not think someone has won a House seat that way in NY since 1949. I’m concerned that if you opt to run this way it will guarantee that the seat stays with the Republicans.— Daniel Torres (@DanTorresNPZ) February 6, 2018
Further, why give Faso, in a district that has seen recently relocated candidates get demolished in the general election, the upper hand? #NY19 is more sensitive than most districts re: carpetbagging. How are you any different? (And eating sweet venison doesn’t count.)— Melissa Weiss (@melissaeweiss) February 6, 2018