The Conservative candidate for B.C.'s Skeena-Bulkley Valley insists naked photos taken of her in her office are not an issue for the party.

Sharon Smith, the mayor of Houston, B.C., grabbed worldwide attention five years ago when pictures of her wearing nothing more than a smile and her mayor's robes were widely circulated on the Internet.

Copies of the pictures were allegedly copied from her computer and circulated around the small mill town.

In one full-length photograph, Smith is seen seated naked with the mayor's medallion around her neck.

Speaking from Smithers, B.C., Smith told CTV the Conservative party is aware of the pictures, and they were never an issue in her bid for office.

"They've known since I put my name forward for the riding and the federal candidacy," she said.

Smith calls the photos "a personal thing" that should have no impact in her future political career.

"My community has spoken to me," she said. "They reelected me for a second term as mayor and people say they want me to represent them, so that's what I'm going on."

Appearing at a luncheon with Smith in Smithers, Conservative Gary Lunn says the photos don't matter to the party.

"This election is about leadership. Sharon has shown leadership in the riding and on council so we're very proud to have her as our candidate here," he said.

After the picture scandal emerged in late 2003 some councillors and local residents called for Smith to quit her job as mayor, but she refused stating the photos were personal and had been stolen from a house party.

In a letter to the local paper, Houston Today, Smith said she was hurt and embarrassed, and that her privacy had been violated. "These photos are private property, belonging to my husband and me."

The Conservative candidate is now running against New Democrat Party incumbent Nathan Cullen, who took the riding in 2004, and won again in 2006. Also in the race are Liberal Corrina Morhart and the Green Party's Hondo Arendt.