So election year has finally come around and what better way to kick it off than with scantily-dressed female promoters and some classic dirty politics?

National Radical (UCR) congressman and Santa Fe gubernatorial hopeful, Mario Barletta, has accused his rivals from PRO and the Socialist Party of attempting to smear his campaign. It all begun with the circulation of a series of – supposedly promotional? – photos on social media, featuring several provocatively-clad women sporting the slogan “Barletta Gobernador” (“Barletta for governor“) on – yep, their asses.

Barletta, my ass
Barletta, my ass

Barletta was apparently outraged at this cheap denigration: “I don’t believe that this is coming from some organization, or from just one candidate. For me, this comes from the mind of some militant who wants to find a place for himself in a certain sector.”

The deputy has started pointing fingers. So far, he has accused a PRO councilwoman of an unspecified city and two Socialist functionaries from Rosario and Recreo. He has also reproached Diego Leone, sub-secretary of the Public Services of Rosario, governed by Socialist Mónica Fein: “He and many others have retweeted as favorites the photos and comments which ended up causing all this controversy.”

Well, I'd vote for him
Well, I’d vote for him

These accusations have elicited little response from either PRO or the socialismo. Socialist deputy Hermes Binner, who teamed up with UCR in 2007 to end 24 years of Peronist government in Santa Fe, has, however, refuted the allegations to Radio Rivadavia: “We have no precedent in our history for actions which confuse the people.”

Sources from the Radical Party amongst others suspect that this dirty campaigning will only become more serious in the next few months, as discussion of drug trafficking looms. In the past, Barletta has criticized the government’s lax attitude for “allowing drugs to enter and create crime,” as well as announcing, righteously, if a little vaguely, “many deficiencies” in Antonio Bonfatti’s (the province’s actual Socialist governor) policies against drug trafficking.

Although Barletta intends to lead the the June elections and head the Social and Civic Progressive Front (FPCyS), he will first have to compete in internal elections, which are due to take place on April 26th. The deputy came a sorry second to Radical Jorge Henn in the 2011 internals, and hopes this year to make the break against Socialist rival candidate Miguel Lifschitz.

Binner: "Nothing to do with it."
Binner: “Nothing to do with it.”

Barletta has bemoaned the fact that no one has come out on the media to denounce the false campaigners and assures that he has asked specialists to investigate the photos. “Slogans of ‘Barletta Gobernador‘ on women correspond to a dirty campaign. Defamation is the weapon of the cowardly and the fearful,” proclaimed the Radical deputy. So I guess I can’t get one of those t-shirts, then?

Bring on 2015!