An Arizona sheriff building a national profile stepped down Saturday from a state leadership position with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign after a newspaper published allegations that he threatened to deport a former boyfriend.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu denied the allegations during a press conference Saturday. He was co-chair of Romney’s campaign in Arizona and is a candidate for Congress in the state’s fourth district.
“I’m here to say that all of these accusations that are in one of these newspapers are absolutely false,” Babeu said outside his office, “except to the issues that refer to me as being gay.”
Babeu’s former boyfriend alleged in a Phoenix New Times report published Thursday that Babeu and his attorney threatened him with deportation if the man revealed their relationship. Babeu said Saturday he had no reason to believe that the man, identified in the news report only as Jose, was an illegal immigrant. The New Times reported the man is originally from central Mexico.
Somehow, I don't think Babeu's going to win in AZ-4. Call it a hunch. GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of AZ-1 will be running in AZ-4 anyway, since it was redistricted to become a super-safe GOP seat. This would have been an interesting race, now Gosar will most likely win this in a cake walk. Gosar's claim to fame? Calling for Eric Holder's resignation over Fast and Furious and basically voting against everything President Obama does.
As amusing as this story is, the Dems aren't going to be able to take advantage of it in AZ-4. Not directly, anyway. Gosar's vacated AZ-1 seat however may very well go back to the Democrat he replaced: Ann Kirkpatrick.