Lance Gilman, the owner of infamous Nevada brothel Mustang Ranch, won an election for county commissioner despite the nature of his business.
Gilman, a 68-year-old who describes himself as a “dye-in-the-wool Republican who loves American values," was elected Storey County commissioner this month by a wide margin.
And according to CBS News, Gilman is the first brothel owner to win an election for public office in Nevada in the state's 148-year history.
"He's in rare company," Nevada historian Guy Rocha told CBS. "Of course, it's going to be rare because the business of selling sex for money is illegal in every jurisdiction in the United States except in rural Nevada."
Rocha said "his election speaks to the acceptance of prostitution in rural Nevada, where it's just understood" ever since it was legalized in 1971.
Having won with a 62 percent vote on Nov. 6, Gilman said there was little objection due to his ownership of Mustang Ranch in the county of 4,000 people.
"To 99 percent of the voters, they view it as just a business," Gilman told The Associated Press of Mustang Ranch. "It's a prosperous business that's helped the county."
According to CBS, the brothel located 10 miles east of Reno has contributed to over $5 million of the county's budget in the past decade.
"People want to focus on the brothel issue ... (but) I've had a wonderful 43-year record of business success that I bring to the commission," he said.
Mustang Ranch was Nevada's first legal brothel under former owner Joe Conforte. After being seized by the federal government in 1999, Gilman purchased buildings from the government and assumed ownership in 2003.
Lance Gilman now owns two houses of prostitution, two restaurants and a nightclub, all of which operate under the Mustang Ranch name.
There are over two dozen legal brothels in 10 of Nevada's 17 counties, none of which are Las Vegas and Reno. And Gilman plans to crack down on illegal prostitution with plans to legalize and regulate it, since brothels pay taxes and are required to care for its employees.
"I use the term caregivers for our industry," Gilman said. "The public has no idea, but so many of the men we deal with are damaged or widowed or in need of kindness. The industry is so much more about providing care and human nurturing than anything else."