He’s known as the “P.T. Barnum of Booty,” “America’s Pimpmaster General,” or simply “Daddy” to the working girls at his Nevada brothels.
Now world-famous bordello magnate and former HBO reality star Dennis Hof is gunning for a new title: state senator.
The 69-year-old proprietor of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and the Love Ranch Vegas—where former NBA player Lamar Odom nearly died of a drug overdose in October—is running as a Libertarian for the Reno seat held by outgoing Republican Greg Brower.
He’s up against former Republican Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert, who was Gov. Brian Sandoval’s chief of staff before she landed a cushy gig at the University of Nevada, Reno. No Democrats have entered the race, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
The brothel bigwig told The Daily Beast his wealth of bawdy businesses—as well as his aversion to monogamy—only make him more desirable to Nevada voters.
“You’re not going to find me in a sex scandal, like a lot of other politicians,” Hof said. “I’m not going to get caught cheating on my wife. I’ve got many girls… so that’s not going to happen.
“You’re not going to get me caught up in a scandal in a men’s bathroom with a guy, because everybody knows I’m heterosexual,” he added, “but I have no problems with gays.
“You’re not going to catch me smoking weed. I don’t drink. I have a lot of sex and I eat a lot… My life’s an open book. I don’t have anything to hide.”
Hof says Democrats and Republicans alike have been courting him since he announced his candidacy last week.
“I’ve got the welcome from each of them,” Hof told The Daily Beast. “The state needs a change.”
The brothel tycoon’s platform issues include reversing the largest tax increase in Nevada history, enacted last year; fixing Nevada’s schools (ranked last in the nation for three years in a row); and fighting sex trafficking.
In July 2015, Hof said he was considering a run for retiring U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s seat but backed out. Ironically, Hof told the Gazette-Journal he didn’t want to “whore” himself out to special interests.
“You just can’t get the $5 million to 10 million without whoring yourself out and I’m not going to do that,” Hof said. “There’s a lot of people willing to give me money, but there’s a payback. I’m not going to compromise my principles.”
Indeed, Hof is quick to offer a litany of achievements preparing him for office—including an HBO reality series, Cathouse, which documents life at the Bunny Ranch, and his 2015 memoir The Art of the Pimp.
“I’m the only person in Nevada that’s ever ran for Senate that spoke at Sorbonne [University] in Paris, Trinity College in Dublin, and Oxford University, and this year I’m speaking at Cambridge,” Hof told The Daily Beast.
As owner of seven of Nevada’s 18 legal brothels, Hof also brags about his repeated background checks and review of financial statements.
“I’m also the only person who’s ever ran for this Senate seat that’s had to complete seven background checks by the FBI,” said Hof, who has boasted that he only dates prostitutes in their early twenties.
“I’m the straightest guy ever,” he quipped, adding, “With those credentials, people should look at this and say, ‘You know what, I’m not going to the Bunny Ranch… but this is a businessman and straight shooter.’”
Hof’s memoir details his rise from small-time gas station owner to time-share community mogul to America’s favorite pimp after he purchased Nevada’s oldest brothel, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, just outside Carson City, for $1 million in 1992.
Among his confidants are porn star Ron Jeremy, onetime Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.
Hof wasted no time jumping into the spotlight after buying the Bunny Ranch, arranging a cavalcade of publicity stunts that included posting bail for Liberace’s ex-lover, offering disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich an “apprenticeship,” and trying to auction off a 22-year-old woman’s virginity.
The salacious showman hosted a “Get My Grandpa Laid” contest on the Howard Stern Show in 2013, but the elderly winner died before he could reach the Bunny Ranch for a romp with two call girls.
Last year, the Bunny Ranch ladies made headlines for launching “Hookers for Hillary”—their official endorsement of 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton.
Hof has long championed the legalization of prostitution, calling it good for women and for business, and gives his workers lessons in sales and investing by bringing financial advisers to the ranch.
“Over the years, I had created some of the best sales teams in the country. If I could teach a high school dropout how to sell a timeshare, surely I could teach a hooker how to sell herself,” Hof wrote in his memoir, according to CNN. “I wanted the girls to be independent, to set their own prices and make their own deals.”
After the book’s release, Hof told the Reno Gazette-Journal, “On my tombstone I want, ‘Best friend, fought sex trafficking and world’s greatest salesman.’”
Still, Hof hasn’t always been a working girl’s hero.
His memoir is brutally honest, filled with accounts from ex-girlfriends and former employees who’ve called him creepy and claimed he pitted the young Bunny Ranchers against one another. He reportedly favored only the women who slept with him.
For his part, Hof has admitted to jumping from one prostitute to another and often breaking their hearts.
One hooker-turned-girlfriend, Krissy Summers, contacted Hof about working off her $45,000 in student-loan debts at the Ranch. In her narrative in Hof’s book, Summers said she met him for the first time in a hotel room.
“I walked in and he said, ‘Hi, I’m Dennis Hof,’” Summers wrote, according to the New York Post. “And I remember thinking, ‘I know who you are.’ And then he said, ‘Take off your pants.’ That was it. ‘Take off your pants.’ I was absolutely terrified. Dennis was only the second man I’d ever been with.”
Another working girl, Cami Parker, called Hof a “soulless pimp” who tried to “fix” her by changing her makeup routine so she’d look like one of his ex-girlfriends. Hof also allegedly demanded she lose weight even when she was “98 pounds with DDs,” the Post reported.
Parker claims Hof left her because she was 23 and “too old for him.” He liked his bunnies to be under 21 years old, she wrote in his book.
The memoir also includes a profile from a psychotherapist, who labeled him a “narcissist” and “a terminator with no empathy” who goaded the women into fighting for his attention, CNN reported.
When asked about this apparently unvarnished testimony, Hof waved the controversy away.
“They’re brutally honest from their perspective [but] this came from girls that I ended the relationship with,” he told The Daily Beast. “I’m sure if someone asked you about your last two or three exes, you’d have some things to say.”
Hof expects that during the campaign, and afterward, if he’s elected, some of his working gals will have roles in his office. “Some [of the women] have amazing educations, master’s degrees, PhDs, some of them could be very valuable in helping me make decisions,” Hof told The Daily Beast. “They’re smart girls.”
To Hof, his chain of whorehouses is just like any other business in Nevada, where brothels are legal in smaller counties.
“People around the country might look at this and say it’s crazy… a brothel owner now wants to be a politician,” Hof told The Daily Beast. “People in Nevada don’t think that way.”