Women across the country have been motivated to run for office since President Donald Trump’s election — and one of them, Rachel Crooks, is also one of the many women who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct.
On Tuesday, Crooks, a Democrat, won an uncontested primary in Ohio for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives. She’ll face second-term Republican Rep. Bill Reineke in November, and if she wins, she’ll be the first Trump accuser to hold elected office.
Crooks, 35, alleges Trump kissed her without her consent in 2006 when she was a 22-year-old receptionist at a real estate investment company in Trump Tower. She told her story to the New York Times during the 2016 campaign and has told it multiple times since. “You feel like you have to say yes; you don’t want to be the nasty girl, the mean girl who doesn’t comply and who picks a fight,” Crooks told NBC’s Megyn Kelly of her experience with Trump in an interview on Today in December.
In February, Crooks announced plans to run to represent Ohio’s 88th State House District southeast of Toledo. She touted her “deep roots” in the district and said her priorities were “creating good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, ensuring access to affordable health care, making sure our kids have great schools no matter where they live, and investing in higher education and career training.”
Ohio’s 88th District is in north-central Ohio and includes Sandusky and much of Seneca counties. It has traditionally been largely represented by Republicans. Sandusky County went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and for Trump in 2016. Seneca went for John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Trump in 2016. Currently, Republicans control both houses of the Ohio legislature.
During Tuesday’s Ohio primaries, Crooks marveled on Twitter at the excitement of voting for herself.
Voting is cool enough, but try getting to fill in the circle next to your OWN NAME! It’s #ElectionDay in Ohio, so we need everyone casting their votes. How we are governed is too important to stand on the sidelines. #BlueWave #OHDems #VoteThemOut #ElectWomen #GetRachelElected— Rachel Crooks for Ohio (@RachelforOhio) May 8, 2018
Trump said he wouldn’t have made an advance to Crooks because there were security cameras. Crooks said let’s see the tapes.
Crooks moved to New York City from Ohio in 2005 and took a job as a receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company with offices in Trump Tower. One day, she approached Trump to introduce herself. She described what happened next at a small Ohio dinner party, detailed in a February profile of her in the Washington Post:
“He took hold of my hand and held me in place like this,” she said, squeezing the sides of the water glass, shaking it gently from side to side. “He started kissing me on one cheek, then the other cheek. He was talking to me in between kisses, asking where I was from, or if I wanted to be a model. He wouldn’t let go of my hand, and then he went right in and started kissing me on the lips.”
She provided the Post with contemporaneous emails she sent at the time of the incident, in which she told her mother about a “weird incident with Mr. Trump” and lamented to her sister she “must just appear to be some dumb girl that he can take advantage of.” She was 22; he was 59.
The incident took place not long after the now-infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape on which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. “They let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy,” he said.
Trump has consistently denied the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by Crooks and more than a dozen women. When the Post’s profile of Crooks came out in February, Trump tweeted that he had never met her and that he would never have done the things she described “in a public space and with live security cameras.”
A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
....cameras running. Another False Accusation. Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me? One had her home mortgage paid off. Only @FoxNews so reported...doesn’t fit the Mainstream Media narrative.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
Crooks responded with a tweet of her own, telling Trump to “by all means” release the footage. “It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself,” she wrote.
Please, by all means, share the footage from the hallway outside the 24th floor residential elevator bank on the morning of January 11, 2006. Let’s clear this up for everyone. It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself. https://t.co/ir7EEKoXRU https://t.co/GmkkZ5jUc7— Rachel Crooks for Ohio (@RachelforOhio) February 20, 2018