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Co-chair quits Romney campaign following gay controversy

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Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu steps down as co-chair from the Romney campaign amid accusations that he threatened to deport a former gay lover. Photo Credit: Joshua Lott, Reuters / Landov via The Daily Beast

A co-chair for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has resigned following accusations that he threatened to deport a former lover to Mexico if he talked about their gay relationship. Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu denied that he made any threats toward the mystery lover, but he formally indicated that he would step down from his post at the Romney campaign during a press conference Saturday.

At the conference, Babeu acknowledged that he is gay and confirmed his relationship with the man who made allegations against the co-chair — an individual only identified by the name “Jose.”

Sheriff Babeu has stepped down from his volunteer position with the campaign so he can focus on the allegations against him. We support his decision,” the Romney campaign said in a statement.

According to reports at The Phoenix New Times, Babeu’s lawyer had asked Jose to sign legal paperwork that would require the former gay lover to keep quiet about his relationship with the sheriff. The paper also reported that Babeu’s lawyer threatened deportation if any chatter on the sheriff’s gay relationship was disclosed publicly.

“All of these allegations that were in one of these newspapers were absolutely false, except for the issue that referred to me as being gay, and that is the truth. I am gay,” Babeu said at the press hearing.

The sheriff gained national attention in 2010 when he first appeared in ad campaigns for then-presidential hopeful John McCain. Known as a hard-hitting law-and-order advocate, Babeu was considered a “rising star in state Republican politics and a strong candidate to win the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Arizona this year,” according to reports at Reuters.

The Arizona sheriff also made headway for previously voicing criticism on immigration issues by the Obama Administration.

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Posted by on Feb 19, 2012. Filed under Breaking News, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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