Photo: AZ Sheriff Babeu Leaves Romney Campaign After Gay Ex-Lover Claims he Was Threatened w/ Deportation
“Yesterday, a tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me,” Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu wrote on his Congressional Campaign website. “Only one was true: I’m gay.”
Babeu is referring to allegations that, along with outing him as a gay man in a predominately conservative state, claim his gay ex-lover known only as Jose was threatened with deportation if the Mexican man ever spoke of the love affair.
Jose contacted an attorney after Babeu allegedly told him his visa had expired and he was up for deportation as a result. His attorney, Melissa Weiss-Riner, told the Arizona Republic, Jose “did come in and retain me late last year based on threats and intimidation, and he wanted an attorney to help protect him.”
Saturday, Babeu held a press conference to discuss the claims against him, saying, “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. 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.”
And while the Pinal County Sheriff said he will continue his Congressional campaign, maintaining he has done nothing wrong, he did step down as presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s state campaign co-chair.
In recent years, Babeu’s stance on illegal immigration made him a rising star in Arizona’s conservative party. He even appeared in the 2010 re-election campaign ad with Sen. John McCain in which McCain notably called for federal officials to “finish the damn fence” along the Arizona-Mexico border.
The search is now on to find Jose and get a public statement from the alleged former lover.
Watch Babeu’s press conference here.