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Babeu wins sheriff nomination

Timothy Kincaid

August 29th, 2012

Three months ago Paul Babeu dropped out of the race for Congress amidst a bit of a media circus. It went something like this:

The Phoenix New Times ran a story claiming that Babeu, as Sheriff of Pinal County, threatened to have a former boyfriend deported to Mexico if he disclosed their relationship. The paper demanding an investigation. Babeu responded by announcing that he is indeed gay but that the rest of their charges were false.

After a few more stories it became clear that the New Times was under the impression that by outing Babeu they could end his political career and that the boyfriend story was a vehicle to that end.

Especially disconcerting was an article ran by the New Times which consisted, frankly, of homophobic gay baiting. They ran a shirtless picture of Babeu from a dating website (calling it “sexually explicit”) and posted a picture of him in his underwear which was not on the site (provided by his former boyfriend – a man whose identity they and other media sought to shield). They insinuated that membership in a gay dating site should result in his being fired, equating it to porn production.

The New Times also sought quotes from his primary opponents, particularly State Senator Ron Gould, who ran an ad saying that Washington needs “a straight shooter”. They finally lost all credibility (with me, anyway) when they started running “caption that photo” contests with the pictures given to them by Babeu’s ex-beau.

Additional allegations arose about him dating a former student in Massachusetts. And a panel was assigned the task of looking at the whole mess. On May 11, he dropped out of the congressional race. I pretty much thought at that point that the Phoenix New Times had accomplished their goal and that Paul Babeu’s life in politics was over.

But to their surprise – and mine – his very conservative constituents did not denounce him. Instead, many seemed to rally around him and offer support. Rather than give up on public life, Babeu seems to have decided to broker for even stronger power in Pinal County. Choosing to run again for the office of Sheriff, he formed an alliance with a fellow Republican running for county attorney and a few county supervisor candidates.

And it seems that the Republican voters of Pinal County didn’t much care that Babeu is gay, supports marriage equality, and has a hook-up site membership. They overwhelmingly nominated him for reelection, giving him over 60% of the vote against three opponents. His political allies had mixed results, and “straight shooter” Gould lost the primary, so – depending on how the vote goes in November – it appears that Babeu has come out of the situation with increased influence.

The New Times is plenty bitter about Babeu’s win.

Comments

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TampaZeke
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

Who could have possibly been behind and orchestrated an anti-gay/anti-immigrant twofer smear?

WHO, I wonder?

Ben Mathis
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

Has any legal matters surrounding the alleged deportation and blackmailing aspect been solved? Because there seemed to be some deep seated hypocrisy involved (unsurprising from a republican) surrounding being “tough on immigration” while bending favors for his lover.

I noticed that not only did you gloss over that aspect in your rush to fellate this gay conservative, but managed to get in a dig at the former boyfriend whose identity should rightly have been shielded while the case was on going.

Priya Lynn
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “The New Times is plenty bitter about Babeu’s win.”.

I didn’t detect any bitterness in the link you gave.

Jim Burroway
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

It just goes to prove what I’ve often said about Arizona. They may hate teh gays a whole lot here, but they hate teh Meskins’ a whole lot worse.

Mark F.
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

I favor a much more liberal immigration policy, maybe even something close to open borders, but how exactly does wanting the current immigration laws enforced mean that you hate Mexicans? Does Obama hate Mexicans since he has already deported more than George Bush? I’m thinking that this issue is not going to stop Jim from voting for Obama.

Dave H
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

I’m happy to see that the fact that he is now openly gay did not deter people from voting for him. Actually, Arizona has a pretty good record for re-electing openly gay candidates (Jim Kolbe, Neil Giuliano, Ken Cheuvront, to name three).

However, during the course of all this mess, a lot of cases of abuse of power and taxpayer money came to light, and for these reasons, I would think that the citizens of Pinal County might be less inclined to re-elect him.

Maybe the other candidates were worse. Maybe those shirtless pics won him a whole new legion of fans. Who knows?

David Waite
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

“Maybe the other candidates were worse. Maybe those shirtless pics won him a whole new legion of fans. Who knows?”

Maybe the overreach by The New Times, with its drumbeat of unproven accusations of abuse of power and threats against a lover, its calling shirtlessness pornographic and its success in forcing Babeu out of the congressional race was so resented by his Arizona constituents that they voted for Babeu as a backlash against the trashing he (and they) received.

I’m a liberal who has always voted for the more liberal candidate in a race, which means that I nearly always voted for the Democrat, and I’ve been doing so for 49 years. I was so irritated by the piling on, and by the reporting of an ex-lover’s charges as if they were proven facts, I came very close to calling relatives there to recommend they vote for him.

pax58
August 29th, 2012 | LINK

I love how this article left out some veoy important parts of this man’s history: known associations with extreme right wing Nazy oriented groups; etc. The so called hit piece by the New Times pointed out the hyprocracy of politician putting alot of Mexican hate out there when he was dating a man who was in violation of his immigration status and possiablity used that problem to black male said boyfriend when he started to expose him. I for one will not support someone just because they are gay who promotes hate in order to get ahead. I saw the profile before it was taken down, like most on that site, it listed is dick size as well as his preference as a top. One might say he has a right to be on that sight, one might also think it less than smart to be on that sight with that information when you are a public figure. A hook up sight is a hook up sight, gay or straight, if you are a politician, you might want to find your physical intimacy in another way. Mr. Heinz I think lost his bid to a congressional seat in large part because of his social association with this right wing bigot and his helping him get “border” money when his county is no where near the border.

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