A conservative congressional candidate in Arizona has come out as gay and stepped down from a position on the Romney campaign amid allegations he threatened to deport an ex-boyfriend who’s an undocumented immigrant.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who’s running for the Republican nomination to represent Arizona’s fourth congressional district in the U.S. House, has come under scrutiny after the Phoenix New Times first reported the allegations against him last week.
Jose, a 34-year-old from central Mexico whose last name was not disclosed in the article, told the paper Babeu threatened him with deportation if he were to reveal their years-long relationship.
The Mexican native said he met Babeu in October 2006 on Gay.com, a dating website for gay men. The two allegedly began dating, and Jose helped Babeu with his campaigns by creating and maintaining Babeu’s campaign websites, Facebook page and Twitter account. But after the relationship ended, Jose allegedly faced threats of deportation.
On Saturday, Babeu, first elected as sheriff in 2008 and considered a rising star in the Republican Party, held a news conference and denied all the allegations save one.
“Yesterday, a tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me,” Babeu said. “Only one was true: I’m gay.”
Babeu continued that he should be judged on his service to his country as he continues to pursue election to Congress.
“I want to be judged on my service: 20 years in the military, two deployments — including one in Iraq, a police officer who has responded to thousands of calls for help, and a sheriff who has cut response times while reducing my own budget,” Babeu said. “I hope you will stand with me as we talk about the issues that matter: securing our border and ending the record debt and deficit spending that is stalling our economy and bankrupting the country we all love.” Read more at Washington Blade.com