A website stirring controversy before Nevada's state Senate District Nine primary labels Republican Mari St. Martin as a "party girl" and her opponent, Brent Jones, a "business leader."
The website, MariStMartin.net, claims the candidate's only experience is "her propensity to party hearty," and shows multiple photos of an obviously younger St. Martin socializing and drinking.
"I know that they were Photoshopped. I know that they were altered and I know that they were cropped," St. Martin told FOX5, adding that the photos were at least 5 years old and were likely taken from the Internet.
"These days you can portray anyone they way you want them to look," St. Martin said.
One of the photos on the website isn't even St. Martin, it's former District Nine Sen. Elizabeth Halseth, who resigned abruptly in February and later posed in a bikini for Maxim magazine.
In the photo, black bars over Halseth's swimsuit, making it appear she posed nude. The website tries to tie St. Martin to Halseth with claims that both are "easy to manipulate" and only under the control of "greedy power brokers."
The website is paid for by Republicans United, a group Jones said he doesn't know.
"I do know this, a number of people have been coming forward to me who want to remain anonymous that want to help, " Jones told FOX5. "I'm not sure who exactly went forward with this."
Jones said he learned about the website on Wednesday and believes it to be accurate.
"If anything on this website is improper, or illegal, or not true, if (St. Martin) lets us know, I will be the first one to defend Mari," said Jones.
Online pictures can pose a major danger to anyone, especially those running for public office.
The Onion recently posted a sarcastic spoof on the topic, with the headline, "Every potential 2040 president already unelectable due to Facebook."
"I think the pictures are pretty self-explanatory and someone can form the opinion if they think she's a partier, per se," Jones said.
St. Martin contends Jones is the man behind it.
"Mr. Jones has to hide behind illegal, fake PACs," she said, referring to Republicans United.
St. Martin is also standing behind a negative website against Jones that was paid for by "Friends of Mari St. Martin." The site claims Jones convinced a mentally disabled man to pay $30,000 for an ostrich egg business.
Jones told FOX5 he has filed a slander lawsuit against St. Martin stemming from that claim.
The District Nine primary will be held June 12.
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