Republican Assemblyman James Oscarson is pushing back against attacks from his brothel-owning primary opponent Dennis Hof with a new website that, among other things, criticizes Hof for helping women auction off their virginity.
Oscarson’s campaign announced Wednesday that it had launched StopHof.com, which details Hof’s statements on women, his shifting political party affiliation, the economy and health care. It’s the latest volley in the already ugly rematch between the two that has featured billboards in the Pahrump-area district highlighting an Oscarson arrest from two decades ago.
Republican Assemblyman James Oscarson of Pahrump waits on the Assembly floor on May 19, 2017. Photo by David Calvert.
“As Dennis Hof continues to represent himself under the thinly veiled guise of a businessman, the citizens of Assembly District 36, and in Nevada, deserve to know what he really is: a pimp, an opportunist, and a man who preys on young and vulnerable women for profit,” Oscarson said in a statement announcing the site. “How he makes his money is legal in some parts of Assembly District 36, but this does not make his line of work any less distasteful.”
The site points out that Hof has helped women sell their virginity to the highest bidder to pay for college, in one case, and help family members recover after a devastating house fire, in another. It quotes conservative Nevada education activist Erin Phillips, who said that if Hof wants to help people, he should be donating to the Opportunity Scholarship private school tuition assistance program rather than facilitating virginity auctions.
In an interview, Hof said he saw nothing wrong with the practice.
“It’s the girls’ choice to do it. They come to us and want to do it,” he said, adding that the auctions usually don’t work anyway because the women ask too high a price. “How is that exploiting? If anyone’s being exploited, it’s men that have to pay for something they can’t get enough of.”
Oscarson’s campaign said the site is in response to ads in the Pahrump Valley Times that highlight an arrest in the lawmaker’s past and insinuate there are other skeletons in Oscarson’s closet. The ads, and four billboards in Pahrump, refer to a case in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1997 in which Oscarson was arrested for assault and disorderly conduct but entered a guilty plea on only the latter charge.
“At an ice hockey game, over 20 years ago, I was arrested and had to plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge, an incident that I regret,” Oscarson explained when the attack line first emerged. “I find it beyond remarkable that a pimp, who makes his living by exploiting women … is trying to call me out on a disorderly conduct charge at a hockey game 20 years ago.”
Hof also said his campaign has dubbed Oscarson “The Big Selloutski” for taking lobbyist donations and voting in favor of the Gov. Brian Sandoval-backed Commerce Tax on large businesses in 2015.
“James needs to worry more about the constituents that he’s assaulted in our district by voting for all these taxes,” the brothel owner said in an interview. “That’s an assault to me.”
Hof, who owns brothels including the Moonlite BunnyRanch, ran as a Libertarian in 2016 and lost to Oscarson by more than 20 percentage points.
This cycle, Oscarson raised $58,658 in 2017. Hof, who is now running as a Republican, has not filed a campaign finance report for 2017.