May 21, 2004
I'll take 'em where I can get 'em

What are unusual places to hold voter-registration drives, Alex?

Strip club owners are putting a little bada-bing in the presidential campaign by asking patrons to turn their eyes away from the stage for a moment to fill out a voter registration form -- and then vote against President Bush.

"It's not to say our industry loves John Kerry or anything like that," said Dave Manack, associate publisher of E.D. Publications, which publishes Exotic Dancer magazine. "But George Bush, if he's re-elected, it could be very damaging to our industry."

Fearful that conservatives might turn off the colored lights for good, a trade organization for adult night clubs is asking owners to register customers and employees and then encourage them to cast their ballots against the president. Micheal Ocello, president of the Association of Club Executives, said the group believes Bush's brand of conservatism is bad for business.

"We must do everything within our power to help ensure that Bush and his ultra-conservative administration are removed from the White House," Ocello wrote in a letter to nearly 4,000 club owners.

Has anyone notified Howard Stern about this? He'd be all over it.

Heather Layman, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said she doesn't know why the businesses would consider the president unfriendly to their industry. But, speaking of the GOP's own voter-registration drive this year, she said: "I have to admit that the strip club owners are not a group we targeted."

Adult night clubs rake in an estimated $15 billion annually and employ 500,000 to 750,000 people, Manack said.

We're glad that you've chosen to overlook this demographic, Heather. But if it makes you feel better, it's not all bad news for you.

In southern Wisconsin, more than 200 people have registered in the past month at the bar Diamond Jim's and the strip club Isabella Queen, both located between Janesville and Beloit. They are the first of Wisconsin's 80 strip clubs to provide voter registration services. "I'm actually fighting for my survival," said owner Jim Halbach.

ACE members in Ohio have registered about 2,000 people in just a few weeks, said chapter president Luke Liakos.

In North Carolina, ACE chapter president David Baucom said he plans to distribute registration forms in his 16 clubs to encourage voting but won't be putting down the president -- his business hasn't had any problems since Bush took office. "We just want people to vote," Baucom said.

Well, OK, maybe the fact that most of the action seems to have taken place in swing states like Wisconsin and Ohio isn't so good for you, Heather. But at least they still sorta like you in North Carolina!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 21, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack

In light of what I mentioned earlier today about the businessman (the CFO of the American division of Swiss Reassurance) running up a $28,000 tab at Scores (NYC strip club) in one night, this is just too ironic for words.

Posted by: William Hughes on May 21, 2004 12:44 PM

Wait, where is the thing about the SwissRE exec at the strip club? I used to work that. I'd love to see if it was someone I knew...

Posted by: Amy on May 21, 2004 4:25 PM

Here you go, Amy.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on May 21, 2004 7:18 PM

Here's the New York Post's take on the situation:

Posted by: William Hughes on May 21, 2004 9:10 PM