Rachel Crooks, one of at least 19 women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual assault, won an uncontested primary Tuesday for a seat in the Ohio state House of Representatives, her campaign manager confirmed.
If she wins the general election in November, Crooks, a 35-year-old Democrat, will become the first Trump accuser to hold elected office. She will face first-term Rep. Bill Reineke (R) in the 88th District southeast of Toledo.
“We’re still waiting for the final count, but it was uncontested, so we’re happy,” campaign manager Chris Liebold said Tuesday night. “We look forward to the race ahead.”
Crooks, an administrator at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, has spoken openly about her alleged assault for more than two years, ever since she described it in an email to the New York Times several months before the 2016 election. She repeated her story at the Women’s March, on the “Today” show and at a news conference organized by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred. In early February, she joined an unprecedented number of women in channeling her feelings about Trump’s election into the political sphere, and launched her campaign to become a state representative.
The district Crooks hopes to represent leans red. Three Republicans held the seat before Reineke, who began his term in 2015. The district voted for Trump in 2016 but voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Crooks’s allegation against Trump dates back to 2006, when she was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate development firm located in Trump Tower in Manhattan. She chose to introduce herself to Trump one day when she saw him standing by himself near the elevators.
According to The Washington Post’s Eli Saslow, who profiled Crooks earlier this year, Crooks held out her hand to Trump, “intent on introducing herself not as a fan or as a secretary but as a business partner.”
“Mr. Trump, I wanted to say hi, since our companies do a little work together,” she remembered telling him that day, and then, before she understood what was happening, she remembered Trump becoming the second man ever to kiss her.
Crooks said Trump kissed her on one cheek, then the other cheek, and was talking to her between kisses — asking her where she was from or if she wanted to be a model. He would not let go of her hand and then began kissing her on the lips, she said.
Trump has denied all of the women’s accusations against him.
Crooks’s account of that day in 2006, which brought her into national exposure, has translated into what Liebold says is an unprecedented number of individual campaign donors. More than 1,500 donors contributed to her campaign during the past reporting period, which ran from February through mid-April.
“That’s a record for a first-time statehouse candidate in Ohio,” said Liebold, who also heads the Sandusky County Democratic Party.