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Embattled gay, Republican sheriff drops bid for U.S. Congress

Babeu says he will seek re-election to Sheriff's office
Friday, May 11, 2012

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Paul Babeu, the embattled Arizona sheriff who came out as gay amid allegations of misconduct made by a man with whom he had a relationship, has dropped his bid for a seat in the U.S. Congress, and will instead seek another term as sheriff.

Paul Babeu

“I have decided to end our congressional campaign and seek reelection as Pinal County Sheriff,” Babeu wrote in a letter to supporters on Friday.

Babeu said he decided to withdraw from the race due to complications about the succession of his chief deputy, Steve Henry.

The federal government had ruled that Henry was unable to seek the sheriff’s office while serving as chief deputy because the office receives federal funds, according to Babeu. That ruling, he said, would have forced Henry to resign so he could run for sheriff.

Babeu was seeking a U.S. House seat in the state’s 4th Congressional District when he was “outed” by a former boyfriend who alleged that Babeu threatened to have him deported if their past relationship was made public.

Babeu, 43, confirmed that he did have a relationship with Jose Orozco, a Mexican nationalist, but denied allegations that he threatened him with deportation following their breakup.

Once a rising star in the Arizona Republican party, Babeu had been serving as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona, but but resigned as the story over the accusations went national. At the time, Babeu said he had no plans to suspend his campaign for Congress or resign his office as sheriff.

In his message, Babeu, a noted conservative who has been tough on illegal immigration and other border issues, made no mention of the controversy that led to his announcement about his sexual orientation.

Orozco has since filed a $1 million notice of claim against the sheriff and the county.

In the state of Arizona, in order to file a civil lawsuit against a public entity or employee, a “notice of claim” must first be filed, and the resulting civil action must be filed within one year.

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14 more reader comments:

  1. Ernst Rohm.

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:25pm
  2. He’s been giving me the creeps for awhile.

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:27pm
  3. That is truely sad. it would be awesome if a gay republican were elected proving that there may be a very minute part of the republicans that arent bigots. but it aint happened yet

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:29pm
  4. Ron Paul? Hes not a bigoted asshole

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:34pm
  5. The term “gay Republican” is an oxymoron and repugnant.

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:39pm
  6. Gay what?

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:43pm
  7. sorry to hear that he did…

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6:43pm
  8. Shame, shame, shame….must be hard to live that lie! People need to start being true to themselves. RuPaul: if you can’t love yourself then how and the F(^K can you love someone else? One of my favs: You live by the lie, you die by the lie!

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 7:09pm
  9. Lol, Ron Paul *not* a bigoted asshole…

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:00pm
  10. good riddance

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:10pm
  11. The Right Wing sure does a ‘number’ on people.

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:23pm
  12. another unemployed idiot :P

    Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 9:37pm
  13. I worked with Paul’s dad and I wrote to Paul after he was outed that now is the time to stand up for who he was and maybe use his post to speak and defend gay rights. I think he knew that Arizona would not elect a gay man to Congress thus now he is trying to keep his job he has. How you can belong to a Party that hates who you are is beyond me.

    Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 7:43am
  14. Can you say “conflicted?”

    Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 12:55pm