Former Olympic great Rafer Johnson is starring in a new cable TV ad for Rep. Howard Berman as the longtime congressman battles with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Shermanfor the same San Fernando Valley seat in the House of Representatives.
“Howard is widely considered one of the most effective congressmen in the nation,” Johnson says in the ad, sounding a couple of key Berman campaign themes, “and he always comes through for the Valley.”
Johnson initially had backed Sherman but switched sides recently.
Johnson, now in his 70s, was a gold medalist in decathlon in 1960, was drafted as a running back by the Rams, helped launch the Special Olympics in 1969 and carried the torch to open the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
He’s not the only venerable superstar to make a campaign ad for Berman—TV actress and animal rights activist Betty White, 90, did so as well.