Pimp Dennis Hof chosen by Republicans as candidate for Nevada state assembly seat

Brothel owner calls himself 'the Trump of Pahrump', where he lives, and has authored a book called The Art Of The Pimp

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 13 June 2018 12:12 BST
Dennis Hof, left, jokes with madam Sonja Bandolik in at the Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada, in April
Dennis Hof, left, jokes with madam Sonja Bandolik in at the Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada, in April (AP)

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A reality TV pimp who idolises Donald Trump has become the Republican candidate for a seat in Nevada‘s legislature.

Dennis Hof, who owns seven legal brothels, beat a three-term incumbent for the chance to face off against Democrat Lesia Romanov in November’s elections, and is likely to be the favourite.

Mr Hof’s holdings include the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, where the HBO reality programme Cathouse was filmed.

The 71-year-old calls himself “the Trump of Pahrump”, the name of the town he hopes to represent, and has written a book called The Art Of The Pimp, playing on the title of the US president’s own book The Art Of The Deal.

He even held a rally with Roger Stone, a long-time Trump adviser.

Celebrating his primary victory alongside infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, he said: “It’s all because Donald Trump was the Christopher Columbus for me. He found the way and I jumped on it.”

Nevada is the only state in the union where prostitution is legal, and brothels operate mostly in rural locations there. They are banned in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located.

Mr Hof hit the headlines in 2015 when former basketball star Lamar Odom was found unconscious at his Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada, after a four-day, $75,000 stay.

If Mr Hof wins in November, he would not be the only brothel owner in elected office – Lance Gilman, the owner of the famous Mustang Ranch in northern Nevada, is a Storey County commissioner.

It comes after a coalition of religious groups and anti-sex trafficking activists launched referendums to ban brothels in two of the seven Nevada counties where they are currently legal.

The question will be on the ballot in Lyon County, where Mr Hof owns four brothels.

Activists are also gathering signatures to try to get the measure on the ballot in Nye County, where Mr Hof owns two more brothels in the desert outside Pahrump.

He painted the anti-brothel efforts as political retribution tied to his opponent, incumbent James Oscarson whom he defeated, but the hospital executive and the referendum backers deny any connection.

Mr Hof said he planned to downsize his business by selling off some brothels, and to focus more on politics.

Mr Oscarson and Mr Hof previously faced off in 2016 when Mr Hof ran for the seat as a Libertarian. Mr Oscarson won with 60 per cent of the vote.

Additional reporting by AP

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