Heather Pre-empts Newt

More than ever, Hollywood and Washington have much in common: dirty politics, even filthier sex scandals and the profane worship of numbers, whether they be exit polls, box office stats or the ratings Nielsen.

So entering the final lap of a tight congressional race, who did Republican candidate Randy Hoffman turn to when GOP leader Newt Gingrich couldn’t make a recent breakfast fund-raiser? None other than “Melrose Place” vixen — and family friend — Heather Locklear.

Both Hoffman and Locklear live in the same Westlake Village neighborhood, Campaign Manager Todd Slosek told Up Front. “Their kids play together. She wanted to help for a long time.”

When Gingrich got tied up in Capitol Hill business, Locklear graciously accepted the last-minute request to take the House speaker’s place for some photo ops with the 200 attendees at the Thousand Oaks country club event, which netted the campaign $50,000, said Slosek.

Although the race received a fair share of media attention before the event — “This is a top-10 targeted seat,” said Slosek of Hoffman’s challenge to first-term Democrat Brad Sherman in the 24th District encompassing the western San Fernando and Conejo valleys — Slosek was surprised that the last-minute invite garnered as much attention as it did. Media outlets from Roll Call to “Access Hollywood” all wanted to know more.

“The magnitude of stars here in Los Angeles foreshadows life in Washington D.C.,” Slosek added, noting that such luminaries as Larry Hagman and Pat Sajak also are Hoffman contributors. Locklear’s rocker hubby Richie Sambora donated a signed guitar for a door prize at a recent Hoffman-sponsored boat cruise.

Will Locklear take Gingrich’s place any more times in the future at, say, impeachment hearings? “I doubt it,” said Slosek. “She’s a very busy woman.”

But Newt has a different take. According to Slosek, Gingrich, in his remarks to the crowd via telephone, said, “With Heather there today, I get the impression that I wasn’t missed very much.” — William Yelles, Calendar Editor Former Skinhead Speaks Out