Sunday, May 20, 2018

Republican Arizona sheriff drops bid for Congress after saying he's gay

PHOENIX — A conservative Arizona sheriff who announced he is gay amid allegations of abuse of power says he is no longer running for Congress.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Friday that he is dropping out of Arizona's 4th Congressional District race and will instead seek re-election as sheriff of the county in the southern part of the state.

The Republican lawman is known for his stance on illegal immigration and border security. His image took a beating in February when a former boyfriend who is a Mexican immigrant claimed the sheriff threatened him with deportation if he disclosed their relationship.

It led to Babeu disclosing he is gay and stepping down as co-chairman for Mitt Romney's Arizona campaign. His fundraising also dropped off after the disclosure.

Babeu, whose statement did not mention the February disclosure, did not return calls for comment.

Besides Babeu, three other Republicans are running for sheriff in Pinal County, an area between Phoenix and Tucson with a growing population, as well as two Democrats and an independent, the Arizona Republic reported.

Remaining candidates in the Republican-leaning race include first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar and Republican state Sen. Ron Gould.

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