JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Local state representative Robert Ross is being criticized for a campaign mailer (obtained by Ozarks First) sent out to voters in south-central Missouri (district 133).

The mailer, paid for by Team Robert PAC, shows Republican opponents Van Kelly and Karla Eslinger with an X-ray of their bodies, intending to prove the two candidates have ‘no backbone’ on certain issues. However, the mailer also shows Eslinger with her hand in a position that could be confused with male genitalia.

“The number of people who just walked up and told me how disgusted they were,” said Senator Mike Cunningham (R) District 33. “It’s got to be such a money game that it’s just not fair the direction it’s headed.”

Ross, Eslinger and Kelly are running to fill Cunningham’s seat in the state senate.

“I just was outraged, and about that time, my wife walked in and she just got red in the face and it wasn’t because of the attack on Karla, it’s the fact that somebody would stoop so low to put out that kind of mailer,” said Cunningham. “That’s an insult to, not just ladies but to males, anybody to think you could put that out there and get away with it. I’m not sure what the real intentions were other than just maybe to discourage that person from running or continue to run or moral killer, I really don’t know.”

Eslinger released a statement on the mailer.

“I am saddened my opponent, Robert Ross, would attempt to diminish my accomplishments and who I am by putting a photo of my face on top of a skeleton that included a depiction of a male appendage. I am not naive that politics is combat, but that does not excuse an attack this bizarre and inappropriate. I would welcome Representative Ross refocusing his campaign on issues that matter to most voters like jobs, education, and healthcare rather than pornography.”

Karla Eslinger

KOLR 10 has reached out to Ross and his campaign several times and have not yet received a response on the mailer.

Cunningham says he would like to see Ross apologize to the district, the state and Eslinger.