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It's surprisingly tough to be a Republican candidate in TX-22 for the time being. With no fewer than 10 declared candidates in the race to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, and among those the district's former Rep (if you can really call Shelley Sekula-Gibbs that), as well as Pete Olson, a powerful lieutenant to Sen. John Cornyn.

In such a crowded field, I suppose you have to pursue every possible edge in order to stick out...so the Republican former mayor of Sugar Land, Dean Hrbacek, has come up with a novel idea.

He's sent out a flyer designed to make him look svelte and stylish...by putting his own head on someone else's body:

Congressional candidate Dean Hrbacek appears slimmer than usual in a new campaign brochure because a photo of his head was affixed to the image of a different body.

While the mailer sent to voters this week by the former Sugar Land mayor says "Dean's record speaks for itself," his physique clearly does not.

Now, I know you're dying to see some photographic evidence, so here is a photo of our friend Hrbacek in real life-he's the second from the right:

Meanwhile, here's the one he sent out in his flyer:

Whoo, lookin' good, Dean!

The campaign responded, of course, that the poor ex-mayor is simply too busy campaigning to get a good shot taken:

Campaign manager Scott Broschart acknowledged the image is a fake. Hrbacek has been so busy meeting voters that he had no time to take a full-length, genuine photo for the political mailing, Broschart said.

So Hrbacek's campaign put the headless body with the candidate's head.

"He may appreciate that we took a few pounds off him," Broschart said. "I think the voters ... are more concerned with the issues as opposed to pretty photo shoots."

Riiiiiight.

Now, Hrbacek is one of the leading candidates to take the nomination after Sekula-Gibbs and Olson. It's fortunate that the Republicans have such a divided primary; it should significantly enhance Lampson's chances of being reelected in this very red district.

Lampson was, at least as of Q3 filings, kicking ass in the fundraising race, with over $830,000 raised and nearly $680,000 on hand. He is a conservative Democrat, but has consistently voted for timelines for withdrawal from Iraq, as well as for SCHIP expansion. The crowded GOP primary should drain a good bit of money from all the Republicans, not to mention that it should draw some blood from his eventual opponent.

Hrbacek and the rest of their Republicans have their hands full just earning the right to face him. And getting busted on ridiculous and unnecessary nonsense like this surely can't help the man who would be Congressman.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 07:53 AM PST.

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