Porn star, BR native, plans political tour

February 10, 2009

By Michelle Millhollon
Baton Rouge Advocate

Porn star and Baton Rouge native Stormy Daniels said Monday that she wants to give voters a voice by starting a “listening tour” in Louisiana.

However, Daniels said she doubts she will actually seek public office despite an Internet drive aimed at persuading her to run against first-term Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter next year.

090210-advocate-front-page1Daniels said her work as an actress, writer, director and dancer pays the bills more than a stint as a senator would.

“I don’t think I’m willing to take the pay decrease,” Daniels said.

But an Internet-based campaign to “Draft Stormy” to challenge Vitter has attracted national attention.

CNN.com, for instance, featured an interview with Daniels on Monday. The congressional newspaper “The Hill” also noted the push to turn the porn star into a politician.

Vitter apologized in 2007 for what he called a “very serious sin” after his phone number showed up during an investigation of the escort service operated by Deborah Palfrey, the so-called “D.C. Madam” who was convicted of running a prostitution ring and later committed suicide. He was not charged in the Palfrey case.

Since his apology, Vitter has refused to answer any questions about the incident.

Aaron Baer, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Louisiana, dismissed Daniels’ possible candidacy as a publicity stunt.

“Voters in Louisiana are concerned about real issues that require serious leadership,” he said.

University of New Orleans student Zach Hudson said the “Draft Stormy” campaign is legitimate.

“It’s not a stunt,” he said. “We have every intention of successfully drafting her.”

Hudson said he hopes a groundswell of support will convince Daniels to run.

Daniels, 29, hired a publicist to respond to inquiries about her interest in the Senate race.

She said she will play along to bring attention to certain issues and to remove Vitter from office.

Daniels is critical of Vitter’s response to his phone number being found on a Washington prostitution ring’s client list.

“I might be a slut and a whore,” Daniels said. “… but I’m not a criminal, and I’ve never been a hypocrite.”

Daniels will be in Baton Rouge in early May to dance at the Gold Club and possibly film a movie in New Orleans. She said she is open to touring the state to hear what people have to say.

Vitter’s spokesperson did not respond to two requests for comment.

Daniels is a 1997 graduate of Scotlandville Magnet High School. She said she is registered to vote in California.

Her work in the adult entertainment industry includes writing and directing films as well as starring in them.

Hudson, who has volunteered for the campaigns of several Democratic candidates but said he is not affiliated with the Democratic Party or any other party, said Daniels is a leader in a multibillion-dollar industry.

Daniels said she is hesitant to enter the race because she is concerned about making a mockery of government.

She said the focus would be on the fact that she works in the sex industry.

Daniels said she wants to bring awareness to issues such as child pornography, safe sex and the need for Internet controls to limit what children see on the Web. She has her own Web site that sells pornographic images.

She made an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., last year to push a “Restricted to Adults” label for adult Internet sites.

Political commentator and former Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown said Daniels would be just one more entry in the state’s colorful political history.

He said she might attract “a pretty good protest vote” even if she isn’t destined to serve in the U.S. Senate.

“No, she can’t win,” Brown said.

Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat said the likelihood of Vitter being defeated is diminishing by the day.

The negative publicity that President Barack Obama is receiving on the economic package is giving Vitter a good platform, he said.

“I thought Vitter would have a tough time getting re-elected, but right now, Obama is sent from heaven,” he said.

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