Nevada voters elect dead man to state Assembly

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LAS VEGAS (CBS News) — A Nevada brothel owner and reality TV star who died last month after fashioning himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has won a heavily GOP state legislative district.

Dennis Hof defeated Democratic educator Lesia Romanov on Tuesday in the race for Nevada’s 36th Assembly District, which includes rural communities and large stretches of desert in the southern part of the state. County officials will appoint a Republican to take his place in the seat.

Hof was found dead Oct. 16 after a weekend of parties celebrating his 72nd birthday. Officials are still determining his cause of death, but they don’t suspect foul play.

Hof owned a handful of brothels in Nevada, the only state that allows them to legally operate.

He also starred in the HBO adult reality series “Cathouse” and wrote a book titled “The Art of the Pimp,” akin to Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal.”

Hof was found dead at his Love Ranch brothel about an hour outside Las Vegas. His body was discovered by porn actor Ron Jeremy and a prostitute at the brothel.

Hof had spent the four previous days partying with notables from the sex industry and political world celebrating his 72nd birthday.

The brothel where his body was found is where NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious in 2015.

About 20 brothels operate in Nevada, mostly in rural areas. They’re banned in the counties that contain Las Vegas and Reno. The state doesn’t publicize how many are open, and most owners keep a much lower profile than Hof did.

Hof ran for office in 2016 as a Libertarian but lost the race.

This year, he ran as a Republican and earned backing from Trump associate Roger Stone and tax-cut activist Grover Norquist.

He upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss.

But much of Nevada’s establishment GOP shunned him.

He said an anti-brothel push and regulatory problems he faced this year needed political retribution.

When Hof died, it was already too late to remove his name from the ballot, and ballots had already been printed and mailed.

Hof was accused of sexual assault at least four times, most recently in September.

Nevada’s 36th Assembly District has long been a Republican-held seat.

The sprawling assembly district that touches both California and Utah and includes the Nevada National Security Site where nuclear weapons were once tested.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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