LAS VEGAS — Even in death, Dennis Hof remains larger than life.
The pimp and reality television star easily cruised to victory Tuesday in his race for a seat in the Nevada State Assembly - 21 days after his death.
Hof died Oct. 16 at the Love Ranch, his brothel just outside the city of Pahrump, after being found unresponsive by male porn star Ron Jeremy following a campaign event. The Clark County coroner’s office has not released a cause of death.
His win wasn’t a huge surprise in his heavily Republican district that stretches over three counties - the largest of which is Nye County - and went for President Donald Trump in 2016 by a wide margin.
According to the Nevada secretary of state, a Hof victory would ensure the state Assembly seat would remain in Republican hands as the three county commissioners would convene and select a replacement from the GOP.
Chuck Muth, Hof’s campaign chairman, told a crowd of about 500 at a memorial service for Hof over the weekend that he expected a big win over Democrat Lesia Romanov. When he saw the Nye County unofficial numbers - which showed Hof with 11,116 votes and Romanov with 5,012 - he was happy but cautious.
“I feel pretty good, but I won’t be completely satisfied until it’s official,” he said.
Muth was joined by friends of Hof at one of the brothel owner’s restaurants in northern Nevada. He said some of the sex workers at the brothel took some time off to join the victory party - along with comedy writer Bob Zmuda. But as results were slow in coming because of long lines at polling places in Washoe and Clark counties, Muth said the crowd of 100 had thinned considerably.
Hof’s win capped an improbable rise for the candidate who first made a run for office two years ago as a Libertarian candidate for the state Assembly. He was able to trade in on his celebrity from writing a book titled “The Art of the Pimp” and starring in the reality television show “Cathouse” on HBO.
But he still lost to the Republican, James Oscarson.
Hof switched to the Republican Party after Trump’s win and used the president’s tone and style to defeat Oscarson in the primary. He dubbed himself the “Trump of Pahrump” and won the backing of Nye County Republican leaders.
Top Republicans in the state, however, avoided Hof, refusing to endorse him or campaign with him.
The 72-year-old didn’t let that bother him. He paid for roving billboards that touted his name alongside the Republicans running for governor and senator. He campaigned on eliminating the state commerce tax while touting gun rights. Several billboards around Pahrump featured Hof pictured holding firearms.
He was dogged by controversy, however - including several claims of sexual assault that were leveled against him. The most recent came over Labor Day weekend, when a woman reported to Carson City sheriff’s deputies that she had been sexually assaulted.
The Nevada Department of Public Safety took over the investigation, which officials from the Nevada Department of Corrections said Tuesday is ongoing despite Hof’s death.
Hof had said at the time the allegations were “groundless and politically motivated.”