From Bordello to Ballot Box
A First-Hand Account of Legal Prostitution & Political Corruption

By Jessi Winchester, with W. Lane Startin
November 2000
ISBN: 1891696173
280 pages Illustrated
$24.95 Hardcover


Review from Book List (American Library Association)
"Playful, informative, and politically aware."
"Winchester 'left the monotony of Iowa' in her late teens to seek her fortune, in time-honored fashion, out West. She didn't find much fortune immediately, but she married, raised a family, ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1996 and for lieutenant governor of Nevada as a Republican in '98, and pursued a career in legal prostitution. Now a veteran advocate for sex-industry workers' rights, she quotes Bob Dole on the meaning of politics and life: 'It's not who you were, what you did or how much money you had. It's whether you touched anyone and made a difference.' Winchester has tried to make a difference in frequent tussles with political corruption as well as with her advocacy. As for touching people, she has mastered such tricks of the hooker trade as the 'Alka-Seltzer Fizz': 'When a lady inserts half a tablet before partying, the bubbles tickle.' An irritating newcomer was told to use three tablets, took them orally, and was hors de combat with flatulence for 24 hours." Mike Tribby

This is the autobiography of Jessi Winchester, who made worldwide headlines in the mid-1990s as a legal prostitute who competed in the Mrs. Nevada beauty pageant and later ran for Congress and Nevada lieutenant governor. The book brings the real world of legal bordello prostitution in Nevada to light and contains firsthand accounts of corruption and political dirty tricks in Nevada among both major parties. Her inspirational journey documents the strength of the human spirit in refusing to be held back by society's labels and limitations, and one woman's determination to help others and succeed -- against all odds. Now retired from the bordellos, Winchester is a Nevada-based businesswoman and activist.

"You may not think your blood, sweat and tears were worth it, but I do and so will the reading public. It will be a revelation to them. From Bordello to Ballot Box is jam-packed with a great deal of information I never knew before. I smiled all the way through Part 1 because I'm so familiar with the subject and was delighted to find out that your experiences at the brothels were validation of the reporting in my own book. I must admit, I was open-mouthed by the time I finished reading Part 2. As you said, Nevada's political community is very incestuous. It is shocking how willingly they cover-up for each other. I was only vaguely familiar with the shenanigans surrounding Hunt's campaign; now I see quite clearly how dishonest and corrupt it was. As was all the rest of it. I felt tears spring to my eyes on several occasions when I read how you were summarily insulted and dismissed by the (mostly male) power structure. It should be required reading in the state of Nevada and strongly recommended everywhere else. It's an eye-opener. It's also an easy, smooth read. Congratulations, Jessi, you did very good work! You have reason to be very proud."
Lora Shaner, author of Madam - Chronicles of a Nevada Cathouse

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