UPDATE: Now the Western Center for Journalism site has uploaded a negative ad on YouTube against Biviano.
One of the two claims the ad makes, however, is blatantly wrong. Biviano has been completely upfront with her support of gay marriage in her interviews with me and the Spokesman-Review.
UPDATE: Matt Shea, Amy Biviano's opponent, has responded by condemning the release of the information on his blog. We've included his full response below.
UPDATE: At the bottom, we've included Biviano's written response in full.
With accusations of lawbreaking, socialism, and intimidation, already in the air, it didn’t seem like the race for the 4th Legislative District could get any dirtier.
Now, it has.
A national conservative blog called the Western Center for Journalism has gone all the way back to 1995 to uncoveran old “Women of the Ivy League” spread back in December, 1995 featuring Amy Nabors, District 4 candidate Amy Biviano’s maiden name.
And if you want to get really offended, regardless of your political views or thoughts on pornography? Read the comments below the blog’s article.
Biviano, a Democrat running against Rep. Matt Shea, saw this coming a long time ago.
“Picture this ... you are applying for a job for which you know that you're perfect. It is unthinkable that your experience, your high grades, and your real interest in the company could be disregarded,” Biviano wrote in a Yale Herald article in 1995. “Yet, as the decision is made, somehow, you are looked over. Why? The answer has nothing to do with your college education and everything to do with your college behavior - you posed for Playboy, and now your job market will be forever limited… The above scenario is every Yalie's worst nightmare - being rejected just because of one stupid, rash college prank. ”
In that article, she said her decision to pose had other unforeseen consequences: strange men calling her in the middle of the night to talk to her about her breasts, judgmental looks in the grocery story, and Yale alumni quizzing her about her reason for posing. Magazines like Playboy have often been a subject of debate within the feminist movements, with some feminists arguing the magazine is degrading to women and others, like Biviano, arguing that “that the feminist sentiment "my body, my choice" should apply to all women at all times….”
But she also said it had a positive impact on her life: She became more of a risk-taker, less inhibited.
We called up Floyd Brown, the conservative blogger out of Arizona, who broke the story. He says he’s has been following the Matt Shea-Amy Biviano race for awhile.
“It’s a race that a lot of conservatives all over the country are watching. His work against gay marriage is recognized around the country is recognized as being significant,” Brown says. “You’ve got to admit this guy had courage, he stands up to everybody.”
And it didn’t take much to dig up Biviano’s past.
“All it took was some Google searching, I found it right on Google,” Brownsays. “On about page 6.”
He says he’s been doing the work that journalists at the Inlander and Spokesman-Review should have been doing all along. Brown won’t say whether voters should care about it or not. But he sees the fact that Biviano, for some reason, decision to not mention her Playboy pictures on her campaign website as hypocritical.
“I believe it’s hypocrisy when you go from going from an ardent feminist to portraying yourself as this suburban mother with two kids going to a PTA meeting,” Brown says
Whether or not it hurts Biviano’s campaign, it’s certainly been a boon for Brown’s website. “This is going national. This story has gone viral,” Brown says. “This is all over the country. I’ve had such tremendous traffic on my website today.
So is this dirty politics?
“This is journalism. This is investigative reporting,” Brown says “This is the sort of work that journalists should be doing every single day.”
UPDATE: Biviano opponent Matt Shea's response follows, in full:
I am saddened by the release by a national media outlet of my opponent’s involvement in pornography. I strongly condemn the release of this information. Our campaign was aware of this information several months ago, and made a very determined decision to not use or disperse this information in any way, shape,or form. I specifically instructed the few members of my campaign team who knew of this situation to not disseminate this information, engage in negative, personal attack campaigning, even though my opponent had already done so. This type of negative campaigning is exactly what is wrong with politics today. While these revelations are indeed alarming, my heart goes out to Amy and her family. My wife Viktoriya and I will continue to pray for her.
UPDATE: Amy Biviano's e-mailed response follows, in full:
A partisan, agenda-driven website has "broken" the story that when I was a 20 year old student at Yale University, I appeared in Playboy Magazine's "Women of the Ivy League." People have asked me how I feel about this decision now, as a 37 year old wife, mother, and political candidate.
My answer is that while I would not do the same thing now, this is not something that I made any attempt to hide. I haven't brought it up in the context of this race because it has no bearing on issues in the 4th legislative district nor the person I am today.
I also stand by my character and fitness for public office. In fact, I would be happy to make character a centerpiece of this campaign. I learned a lot from my college experiences. Since then, I have gone on to build an extremely happy marriage of fifteen years, have been blessed with amazing children, have been active in my church, and have worked and volunteered to help my community while living with a disability.
I remain the only candidate in this race able to work with people of all walks of life and on both sides of the aisle. I have shown the work ethic and determination to get things done.