HOUSTON – Some politicians talk about cutting the fat, but this one was serious.
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.
The picture, presented as a true image of the candidate, is a computerized composite of Hrbacek's face and someone else's slimmer figure, in suit and tie, from neck to kneecaps.
Hrbacek, a tax lawyer and accountant, did not immediately return a call placed to his campaign headquarters Friday by The Associated Press. He's among 10 Republicans seeking the nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford.
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."
Republican political consultant Allen Blakemore of Houston, who has no client in the congressional race, said there's no law against the practice "other than the laws of gravity — the negative effect on your polling numbers and popularity when you do such things."