JUN 13, 2018 latimes.com Highlights

Call him a pimp. A brothel owner. A businessman. Now call him the Republican nominee for a Nevada state Assembly seat.

It was Dennis Hof’s second shot at the seat held by Republican James Oscarson. The last time he tried, he ran as a Libertarian. But when Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, Hof saw an opportunity.

Hof, who has billed himself as the “Trump from Pahrump,” nabbed the endorsement of Nye County’s Republicans. He attacked Oscarson with billboards and online ads that called him a “serial tax hiker” and portrayed him in unflattering cartoon images. One likened Oscarson to a monkey.

Oscarson didn’t take it lying down, however. His campaign noted Hof had been accused of sexual assault and tried to further impugn his moral character by pointing out that he was the author of "The Art of the Pimp."

Hof’s bid comes as a petition drive is underway in Nye and Lyon counties to eliminate their brothels. Activists in the two counties, which have 40% of the state’s brothels, have until Friday to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Some have said the petitions are aimed at Hof. In February, the Nye County sheriff shut down the Hof-owned Love Ranch near the town of Pahrump over building code violations.

(Someone) said Hof was ridiculous, noting he’d at one point endorsed Hillary Clinton with his “Hookers for Hillary” campaign. “And now he says he’s a conservative Republican? Please.”