A West Valley congressional candidate is calling reports of sexually inappropriate texts with a staffer "false tabloid trash."
Rumors of the texts between Steve Montenegro and a female Arizona Senate employee swirled in Republican circles for weeks.
ABC15 has confirmed a third party obtained the texts and at least one photo. The Senate staffer works in an entry-level position.
Montenegro is a former state legislator, minister and husband. He is one of 12 Republicans running in the special election to replace Trent Franks in Congressional District 8. The district covers Glendale, Sun City, Peoria, and other West Valley cities. The primary election is on Tuesday.
Franks resigned in December after he was accused of asking staffers to become a surrogate mother.
Montenegro is considered one of the front-runners in the race, and he has been endorsed by both Trent Franks and Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson.
"The media wants to drag is down with just a week to go, but we are not going to dignify this false tabloid trash with any further response," Montenegro said in a written statement Tuesday night.
Montenegro was a no-show at campaign events in the last week, including a candidate forum Tuesday.
No one answered the door at Montenegro's home Friday when ABC15 reached out to him for comment Friday.