Fearing conservatives could shut down their businesses, strip club owners are asking patrons to take a moment to fill out a voter registration and then cast their presidential ballot for Sen. John Kerry.
”It’s not to say our industry loves John Kerry or anything like that,” trade publisher Dave Manack told the Associated Press. ”But George Bush, if he’s re-elected, it could be very damaging to our industry.”
Manack, associate publisher of E.D. Publications, which publishes Exotic Dancer magazine, says adult night clubs take in an estimated $15 billion annually and employ 500,000 to 750,000 people.
A trade organization for adult nightclubs, the Association of Club Executives, is leading the charge.
”We must do everything within our power to help ensure that Bush and his ultra-conservative administration are removed from the White House,” wrote the group’s president, Michael Ocello, in a letter to nearly 4,000 club owners. ”If we are to survive, we must act now.”
Heather Layman, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, told the AP she is unsure why the president would be perceived as unfriendly to the industry, but acknowledged “the strip club owners are not a group we targeted.”
The news wire said more than 200 people have registered in two night spots in southern Wisconsin, the first of 80 in the state to provide voter registration services.
In Ohio, the AP reported, members of Ocello’s group have registered about 2,000 people in just a few weeks, according to chapter president Luke Liakos, who calls Attorney General John Ashcroft “the American Taliban.”