Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose messy split from an ex-boyfriend ended his campaign for US Congress, has easily fended off three challengers in the Republican primary in his bid to retain his current job.
Babeu received 61 percent of the 11,208 votes cast. He will next face Democrat Kevin Taylor of Maricopa and independent Ty Morgan of Florence in the November 6 general election.
Babeu was first elected sheriff in 2008 and was a rising Republican star on a national level and was even chairman the Mitt Romney’s presidential effort in Arizona.
Then in February, Phoenix New Times ran a story in which Babeau’s ex-boyfriend, Jose Orozco, accused the lawman of asking him to sign an agreement not to publicly discuss their relationship. When the offer was refused, he said Babeu, and his lawyer, allegedly threatened him with deportation.
Babeu denied the allegation.
Babeu was propelled into the national spotlight after the accusations from Orozco surfaced. He said an interview with CNN in February: ‘Political consultants told me ‘Paul, this could come out.’ I said, ‘You know what? People have threatened me my whole life. I’m not motivated by negativity and threats. I’m motivated by the positive.’
In March, Orozco filed a legal claim against Babeu and the Pinal County Board of Supervisors indicating that he intends to seek $1 million in damages alleging abuse of power, malicious prosecution, conspiracy, defamation and other civil-rights violations.
Orozco has said he is in the US on a 10-year tourist visa and that Babeu never asked him his legal status despite the lawman’s strong political stance against illegal immigration.