Sheriff Paul Babeu

The sheriff of Pinal County in Arizona has confirmed that he is gay but has denied claims that he threatened to deport an ex-boyfriend.

Sheriff Paul Babeu (43), who is running for congress, held a press conference on Saturday to respond to a number of allegations made by the Phoenix New Times.

“A tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me. Only one was true: I’m gay,” said Babeu on his website.

“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.”

He denied claims that he had threatened an ex-boyfriend, an un-identified illegal immigrant from Mexico, with deportation if the man made their relationship public.

“At no time did I or anyone who represents me ever threaten deportation, ever” he said at the press conference.”

Babeu said that he would continue his campaign for congress but stepped down as the co-chair of republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign.

The Phoenix New Times claims that it has traced text messages, in which he allegedly threatened his former lover, back to Babeu’s phone.

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