By Christina Wilkie - 10/06/10 10:49 PM EDT
The photos, which were taken at a costume party, show Ball wearing a Santa hat and a leotard. She appears to be holding a leash attached to the neck of a man she identified this week as her ex-husband. There’s more to the photos, but ITK is refraining from providing additional details.
Ball, 29, says the photos were taken six years ago, just after she graduated from college, and she accused her opponent, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), of releasing them on the Internet as part of a smear campaign.
For her part, Ball acknowledges that the photos are damaging, but said on Wednesday that she is more angry than embarrassed.
The release of the photos is “sexist and it’s wrong, regardless of political party,” she said.
Ball also issued 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 ... Don’t let this sort of tactic deter you.”
She added, “I’m a wife, mother, a CPA and a small-business owner. When I stepped up to run for this seat, I knew that our politics had deteriorated to viciousness.”
Even before the photos surfaced, Wittman was a heavy favorite to retain his seat. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won the district by 3 points in 2008, when Wittman defeated the Democrat in the race by 15 percentage points.
Wittman, Ball and Independent-Green candidate Gail Parker are scheduled to debate on Oct. 13 in Williamsburg.