A Sacramento television station reported that state Senator Roy Ashburn was seen at a gay nightclub before his early Wednesday morning arrest on suspicion of drunk driving in Sacramento. The television station did not name their source.
According to a KGET poll, the senator's sexual orientation is of concern to some of his constituents, since he has strongly opposed gay-rights legislation. Ashburn has repeatedly opposed legislation that would enhance gay rights, such as recognizing same sex marriage.
Mike Johnston, the chief financial officer of Faces Nightclub would not confirm if the senator was spotted there. "We had a management meeting with the management staff and none of the managers saw him and none of the staff we spoke with saw him. We can't confirm he was here, we can't confirm it," Johnston said.
Johnston also told 17 News the nightclub is very big, with five rooms and three dance floors. He said on Tuesday night, the night in question, they were holding a "Miss Gay Latina Sacramento" contest, with more than 400 people inside. But Johnston says they never disclose who their clients are, unless it's a legal matter. "This is a private business and people who come in here are entitled to enjoy their privacy," he said.
17 News spoke with people on both sides of the political spectrum about the reports. Alex Neal is openly gay, and used to own a Bakersfield gay bar. "I don't pay much attention to personality or personal life of each politician. I usually look at their views, their stances on political matters," Neal said.
Mike Ludwig, a republican from Bakersfield, doesn't give the report much credit. "It hasn't been confirmed yet, it's all speculative. It's not true until it's been proved. I really don't think it matters one way or the other," Ludwig said.
A Sacramento district attorney reports Ashburn's blood alcohol level was .14 when he was arrested. We called the senator's cell phone and left a message. He did not return our calls. Ashburn was a no-show Thursday on the senate floor.