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DFL: "Fake Republican Outrage" Fuels Stink Over Photoshopped Candidate Pics [IMAGES]

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A number of local Republicans got in touch with us in recent days to express dismay about photoshopped images of MNGOP candidates that the DFL has included in attack mailers put together by the party.

We were sent a DFL mailer that goes after Kirk Stensrud, a former legislator and MNGOP House candidate in an Eden Prairie-area district that should be closely contested next month.

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In one image, bags under Stensrud's eyes appear to be digitally enhanced. A horror movie poster mockup also included in the mailer features an evil-looking Stensrud wielding a crowbar in a menacing manner, while a third image makes him look like a burglar.

Check it out for yourself:

DFL Anti-Stensrud Mailer



And here's what Stensrud looks like, unedited:


The controversy was amplified on Wednesday, when Star Tribune political reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger tweeted out a DFL mailer where MNGOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt's head was blatantly cropped onto the body of Mike McFadden's son.

Here it is: Conor McFadden -- you might remember him from this ad -- had a bit of fun with it: Other local conservatives got jollies out of the whole thing too (in the tweet below, Parrish was responding to someone who said he "thought maybe [Daudt] had been working out"): But other Republicans don't think Mailer-gate is a laughing matter. We talked to Zach Rodvold, director of external affairs for the House DFL caucus, to get his take on the controversy. One of Rodvold's duties involves helping put together mailers like the aforementioned Stensrud one.

Rodvold tells us "both sides do it" and sent us this MNGOP mailer to prove it:


With regard to the Daudt mailer, Rodvold says that the female Republican House candidate in the photo, Stacey Stout, really does work for Daudt and has in fact been photographed standing next to him, "so it's not like we're making people draw conclusions that wouldn't otherwise be drawn." (Rodvold said uncropped photos of Daudt and Stout might've been too low resolution to include in a mailer, so the DFL's production team resorted to plan B.)

And as far as the Stensrud burglar mockup goes, Rodvold said, "When [Stensrud] was in the legislature he took $2.2 billion from schools."

"This is driven by fake Republican outrage, which they're very good at," he continued. "This is completely meaningless at this point in the campaign and maybe verging on desperation."

"The whole goal of negative mail is to make the other side look bad," Rodvold added. "Whether they're photoshopped or not, [the mailers] do their best to make them look their worst."

Photoshopping candidate photos may be a common political strategy, but it falls into a legal gray area.

A Minnesota statute on "false political and campaign material" makes it a gross misdemeanor to disseminate material "that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat a candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false."

But Rodvold argues that since the DFL mailers don't make any false claims, there's nothing legally unsound about them.

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.