Like baby kissing, attack ads and lofty promises, embarrassing sexual indiscretions never seem far from a political campaign — and for one political candidate in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, an X-rated gaffe has hit home.
On Wednesday, village president candidate John Heidelmeier was fully exposed when photos of him, including one where he's holding his bare penis, surfaced on a paid sex website, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The pictures reportedly spread around the village "like wildfire" and a printout from the sex website landed in the mailbox of John Davis, a Villa Park board member on Tuesday, the Daily Mail, which published a blocked-out version of one of the images on its website, reports.
A surprising departure from the typical way such indiscretions play out in a political race, Heidelmeier made no attempt to deny his actions and even his harshest opponents have not used the scandal as an opportunity to pounce.
Davis told the Tribune he went to Heidelmeier's house and gave him the printouts saying, "I run an honest campaign, and I want nothing to do with this" before handing the images over.
Heidelmeier assumed responsibility for the photos, acknowledging in a statement to Fox Chicago the private pictures were "personally embarrassing." His statement to Fox reads in part:
"I regret that this private situation became public and I apologize to my supporters, but more importantly to my wife and family. This is unquestionably not fair to them."
Heidelmeier also said that while the images were embarrassing, he hasn't done anything illegal and remains in a race the Tribune reports is one deeply dividing the small town.
Heidelmeier, a former Villa Park police chief, is running for village president in the April 9 election against sitting trustee Deborah Bullwinkel, reports the Daily Herald. Several of Heidelmeier's supporters have not commented since the photo news, though the Herald speculates his hopes of winning are still very much alive.
According to the Associated Press, on the phone sex website — which promises "your most diverse phone sex experience" — Heidelmeier's name and a link to his campaign's Facebook page appear right alongside his photos.