- Associated Press - Monday, May 9, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sean Astin helped save Middle-earth in “The Lord of the Rings” series. But can the actor who played good-hearted “Sam” in the big-screen trilogy save a first-time congressional candidate in California?

Astin is serving as campaign manager for entertainment industry executive Daniel H. Adler, who is one of 16 candidates in a special election next week in the coastal 36th Congressional District along the western edge of Los Angeles County..

Adler is waging an outsider’s campaign against better-known and better-funded rivals, including Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen.

Astin says in a statement Monday that his longtime friend is the straight-talking alternative to career politicians.