Time to get to the naked truth about Dr. Steve Foster, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Rep. Tom Graves’ 14th Congressional District seat: Foster owns the site of an “adults only, clothing-optional lifestyle retreat” in North Georgia.
Located east of Cleveland in White County, Mountain Creek Grove rents out tents and recreational vehicle spaces to nudists. The wooded site features a pool, a hot tub and a clubhouse.
“Some couples may only want to use the sexy atmosphere as inspiration and carry the energy back with them to their bedrooms and fantasies,” the Grove’s website says. “Others are far more gregarious and party animals are known to appear. For those seeking to connect with other like-minded and free-spirited sybarites the Grove is the ideal venue.”
Operating since 1991, the retreat sits on 33 acres Foster has owned for the past 17 years. He was listed as the retreat’s corporate CEO until March, when Lynnann Brown took over that job, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office records. Brown now operates the venue and pays rent to Foster, who has previously appeared nude there.
"Benjamin Franklin was a nudist," said Foster, whose colorful background and alleged involvement in a bizarre boat theft case were the subjects of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article last month. "I don't think I'm at all unique."
Asked how voters should consider all of this, Foster replied: “Number one, what we do is exclusively protected under the First Amendment. We are certainly not a group of pedophiles. We exclusively prohibit anyone under age 21. It is a district where you have a lot of individualists. And as individuals, they will have to make their own minds up.”
Foster is the sole Democratic candidate who has qualified to run for Graves' seat, according to the Georgia Secretary of State Office's records. The 14th District Democrats of Georgia Facebook page includes posts congratulating Foster for qualifying to run and linking to his campaign website. Meanwhile, Eric Gray, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia, said his organization does not endorse candidates, particularly ahead of primaries.
“It appears he leads a very unique life,” Gray said of Foster.
Ruth Demeter, the chairwoman of Floyd County’s Democratic Party, said her branch also won’t endorse anyone ahead of the general election for Graves’ seat.
“We are not endorsing, nor will we endorse, any candidates in the 2018 primary election,” she wrote in an email.