A Republican super PAC is hitting Democratic congressional candidate Paul Davis with a new attack ad in Kansas’ 2nd congressional district that details his apparent “strong obsession” with strip clubs.
The ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund (CFL), provided first to Fox News, highlights Davis’ “history with strip clubs” – pointing to his involvement with a club that was raided in the late 1990s as well as legislation he voted on as a state lawmaker.
Davis is a former state representative who also ran unsuccessfully for governor as a Democrat in 2014. But nearly two decades earlier, in the late 1990s, Davis was caught at a strip club in Coffeyville, Kansas, during a police raid.
“When I was 26 years old, I was taken to a club by my boss – the club owner was one of our legal clients,” Davis told Politico of the incident in 2014. “While we were in the building, the police showed up. I was never accused of having done anything wrong, but rather I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
He was not charged with any crime during the raid at the club called “Secrets,” although he was found alone with a stripper who was only wearing a G-string at the time, according to police records. The club owner, however, was eventually charged with selling methamphetamine.
Additionally, the ad attacks Davis for how he voted on legislation pertaining to “sexually-oriented businesses” when he was a state representative.
For example, Davis voted against a 2011 bill that would prevent the establishment of “a sexually oriented business within 1,000 feet of any preexisting accredited public or private elementary or secondary school, house of worship, state-licensed day care facility, public library, public park, residence or other sexually oriented business.”
Then, he said he voted against the bill because it was a local issue and called it an “unnecessary intrusion by state government.”
“Paul Davis’s history with strip clubs includes voting to allow strip clubs to open near churches, schools, and daycares,” Michael Byerly, a CLF spokesman, said in a statement provided to Fox News. “Davis was even found by Kansas law enforcement in the VIP room of his client’s strip club during a drug raid. Paul Davis is not just liberal, he’s unethical and Kansas families deserve better.”
Fox News has reached out to the Davis campaign for comment on the ad.
The Davis campaign previously responded to threats by the CFL to attack the strip club incident in a statement to McClatchy.
“DC special interest groups must be desperate if they’re not even going to attempt to make this race about their own failed agenda,” Haley Pollack, a campaign spokeswoman, said in August.
“All they have to offer Kansas voters is tax cuts for millionaires, trade wars for farmers and a candidate who never voted in a statewide Kansas election before …,” Pollock said. “These lies from shadowy special interest groups are exactly why we need a change in Washington.”
Davis will face GOP nominee Steve Watkins, a first-time candidate, engineer and Army veteran in the general election to replace retiring five-term Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican.
CLF has also opened a field office in the district and previously released an ad tying him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Davis, however, is one of dozens of Democratic candidates across the U.S. who has distanced himself from the Californian congresswoman and promised not to support a return of her to House Speaker.
Democrats need to pick up at least 23 new House seats for a majority in the 435-member House. With a narrow majority, a small group of recalcitrant freshmen could leave Pelosi short of the 218 votes necessary to become speaker.
Fox News has ranked Kansas’ 2nd congressional district as a tossup.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.