Mitt Romney, the once-“inevitable” nominee for the Republican presidential nod, can’t seem to catch a break. With Rick Santorum nipping at his heels in Romney’s native state of Michigan, where the state party will conduct its presidential primary on February 28, Romney was at least looking forward to winning the other contest that will take place that day in Arizona, where Romney still enjoys an 8-point lead, according to Rasmussen Reports. Then the politics of sexual orientation and immigration intersected in a rather embarrassing way for Romney, who has drawn a hard line against undocumented immigrants, and opposes marriage for same-sex couples.
Paul Babeu, the tough-talking, anti-immigration Arizona sheriff who served as a co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, yesterday made a hasty exit from that lofty post after allegations that he threatened to use his office to deport a man who claims to have been Babeu’s lover. Although Babeu denied the claim, first published by the Phoenix New Times on Thursday, that he threatened an undocumented Mexican immigrant with deportation if the man revealed what he says was a multi-year romantic relationship with Babeu, the sheriff, in a Saturday news conference, took the occasion to come out. And then, one might say, he self-deported from the Romney campaign. Babeu, did however, vow to continue in his quest for a congressional seat from Arizona’s 4th District, continuing his primary battle with freshman Rep. Paul Gosar.
From Politico‘s David Cantanese:
Arizona GOP congressional candidate Paul Babeu acknowledged Saturday he is gay but forcefully denied charges he threatened an ex-lover with deportation after their relationship soured.
“All of the allegations are false except one, I am gay,” Babeu said.
The nationally renown Pinal County Sheriff called a news conference to address the explosive story by The Phoenix New Times that he pressured a man only identified as “Jose” into signing an agreement to conceal their relationship or face deportation. The piece, posted late Friday, also includes text messages Babeu exchanged with the man and pictures he posted on online gay websites.
Babeu repeatedly sidestepped questions about his personal life but acknowledged a relationship with the man in question.
“What I do in my personal life and private life is my business,” he said.