It seems that six years ago, candidate for Congress Krystal Ball failed to see how her reindeer games would affect her future.
Risque pictures of the 29-year-old business owner, CPA, mother and Democratic nominee for Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman's seat in Virginia's 1st District have been published on several blogs. The pics show Ball, in a Santa hat and otherwise dressed provocatively, leading her ex-husband, dressed as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (but with a sex toy for a nose), on a leash and in lewd poses.
"I think we all have been to parties in our life," she said. "I think we've all had private photos taken that we wouldn't want to be in the public eye."
Ball admitted being embarrassed by the pictures. She said they were taken at a holiday costume party about six years ago shortly after she had graduated from college.
"This is not, certainly, the way that I would want to be portrayed," she said.
She insists the costumes were a gag, not a secret side of her.
The pictures were first posted on two conservative blogs Tuesday before going viral. Ball called the posts sexist, Fredericksburg.com reported.
In a phone interview, Ball said she thinks that female candidates are unfairly held to a different standard.
She noted that recently elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown had once posed nude in a magazine centerfold, yet it wasn't a big deal in his campaign.
Ball said she disagrees politically with women like Sarah Palin and Delaware candidate Christine O'Donnell, but thinks "they also have been subjected to very unfair, sexist attacks" because of their gender.
"It's sexist and it's wrong, regardless of political party," Ball said in a statement posted on her campaign's Facebook page Wednesday. "And I have a message for any young woman who is thinking about running for office and has ever attended a costume party with her husband or done anything stupid on camera. Run for office. Fight for this country. Don't let this sort of tactic deter you."
Wittman did not approve of the posts and wants bloggers to take the pictures down, according to a spokesman.
"Yesterday, we started our first radio ads calling my opponent out for not debating the issues," Ball's Facebook statement said. "His campaign called our local radio stations and tried to find out the size of our ad buy. A few hours later, this smear campaign started against me, posted by blogger with close ties to my opponent's campaign and the local Republican party. Hours after the damage had been done and these private photos leaked to the world, my opponent issued a press release denying he had anything to do with this."
While admitting this scandal hurts her, Ball remained confident of a Nov. 2 victory.
"I'm pretty angry about it," Ball said. "I think this is incredibly sexist. I think it's outrageous. I think it's exactly the sort of thing voters are frustrated with."
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