Would Dennis Hof be first brothel owner elected to Legislature?

If Dennis Hof should win the Assembly seat now held by Republican James Oscarson, he would be the first brothel operator to serve in the Nevada Legislature.

He filed for the District 36 seat Friday as a Libertarian.

He would not be the first brothel operator to hold public office. That distinction belongs to Lance Gillman, owner of Mustang Ranch Brothel, who won a seat on the Storey County Commission four years ago.

Longtime political observers, however, would argue Hof might not even be the first brothel operator to win election to a seat in the Legislature.

There’s a difference between winning an election and getting to serve.

In 1974, Beverly Harrell, owner and madam of the Cottontail Ranch in Nye County ran against Don Moody for the Assembly seat representing Nye, Esmeralda and Mineral counties. Campaigning hard, she won the primary race against two others.

In the general election in November, she led Moody most of the evening.

But Nye County officials got involved and Harrell said at the time all of the sudden, “something funny was happening.”

“In the early evening, I was leading and the margin widened,” she told United Press International the day after the election for a story that appeared in the Nevada Appeal. “Then all of a sudden, nobody seemed to know anything about totals for many hours and now, today, the unofficial count shows I have lost.”

According to Nye County, the final tally was 1,103 Moody and 1,074 Harrell.

She filed for a recount Nov. 20, 1974, but canceled that request the day before it was to begin, complaining Nye County officials had failed to turn in the election results so they could be tallied.

Harrell maintained until her death in 1995 she won the race but was cheated out of the seat.


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