North Country Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny is the top story on a gossip blog in what the website calls a "Makeout Mystery."
The website Gawker includes a headline that reads: 'Strongest GOP Challenger in Country,' Sucks Face with Campaign Consultant Who Is Not His FiancÃ©e.
The website claims the photograph was taken last week, when Doheny visited the National Republican Congressional Committee's Washington "candidate school" to prepare for the campaign. The website claims Doheny wound up in the arms of campaign consultant Monica Notzon. He is running against Democrat incumbent Bill Owens in the 23rd Congressional district. The district spans more than 14,739 square miles and includes all or part of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Oneida, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Madison and St. Lawrence counties.
The Doheny campaign told CNYCentral in a statement:
Tonight, Gawker's Maureen O'Connor played right into the hands of Democratic operatives by manufacturing a story about two photographs that only she believes suggests impropriety between Matt Doheny and a female friend.
Two on-record sources told the blogger that nothing inappropriate took place. But that didn't stop her from spreading lies in a desperate attempt to score page views and generate controversy.
"These pictures demonstrate nothing more than two old friends joking around as they sat with other friends," said Doheny campaign spokesman Jude Seymour. "It's sad that Democratic operatives would lay in wait as a group of friends enjoyed a nice evening, but then the Washington special interests will stop at nothing to keep Bill Owens in Congress."
Seymour said the photos were taken on the patio at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. when Doheny was in town for meetings and a major party fundraiser. He said that Doheny was out with a bunch of friends when Doheny and a friend embraced and a picture was taken.
Doheny's fiancÃ© also weighed in on the alleged encounter.
"Matt and I are looking forward to being married this summer," said Mary Reidy, who will marry Doheny in June. "This is a very special time in our lives. I am deeply saddened at the state of journalism and politics that a so-called 'news' source would run a picture so out of context."