Diane Neal, who played Casey Novak for six seasons on Law & Order: SVU, has decided to run for Congress in New York state.


Neal, 42, will run as an independent for the 19th Congressional District seat, which is currently held by Republican John Faso. She announced her candidacy on Twitter with a graphic of her campaign slogan, “Empathy & Reason.”

“And that’s why I dropped off social- to think, read, write, ponder. Reacquaint with every bit of Political Phil., History and Ethics from The Republic to Rackove. To make a plan for us worthy of American Ideals. So…” Neal posted early Tuesday morning. “Off to finish web stuff. I’ll be back. SOON. THANK YOU for all love and support. It going to be a wild ride. I’ll be beholden to no one but US and to integrity & to the best version envisioned by imperfect, but wise, men centuries ago. Let the Grand Experiment live on!!! There are literally only three of us that have been working around the clock for weeks and weeks to get all campaign infrastructure up and running. I’m looking at screens so much my eyes might explode. (It’s not really a thing, but it feels like it could be!)”

Later in the day, she posted two more messages about her campaign and campaign promises. “For peeps I live with in #NY19, I have been active and all your questions are totally valid and worth answering/discussion. I’m setting up @NealforNY19 for policy, etc. Website up shortly. But I will not go back and delete things just to appeal to people here. It is disingenuous,” she said, before adding a tie for a meet and greet. “How about Starbucks at 7? Anyone in #NY19 that wants to come, ask questions, talk policy/ideas are welcome. We get too many, we’ll move to Home Depot. Just a few of us? Still worth it.”

When speaking with the Daily Freeman, Neal gave a little more insight into her party alignments. “I’m a little Libertarian, I’m a lot liberal, mostly progressive, but I have this amazing ability to be able to take complicated policy and break it down into edible sound bites, which is something most progressive liberals cannot do,” she explained.

The actress-turned-politician will need 3,500 signatures from within her district to guarantee herself a spot on the November ballot as an independent candidate.

Prior to the switch, Neal starred on SVU from 2003 to 2008, and was the only female Assistant District Attorney to be a regular on the show for five complete seasons. Her character, Novak, made a return to the show for the 2011-2012 season. Aside from acting on SVU, Neal also has credits in NCISSuits and Blue Bloods.

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