FLORENCE, AZ - Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu had supporters by his side when he announced he is gay and denied allegations he threatened to deport an ex-lover if he went public and disclosed his sexual orientation.
"I'm proud that this man is my sheriff and I consider him a very good friend,” said Pinal County Chief Deputy Steve Henry.
"He has done every single thing he set out to do,” said Scott Blevins, a business owner who spoke at the Saturday afternoon news conference in front of the Sheriff's Office.
In downtown Florence, Kirk Brumage said he was glad to hear Babeu came out.
Brumage thinks of Babeu as a good sheriff and doesn't see why he wouldn't vote for him again.
"I'm not so much for the lifestyle, but at least he's honest,” Brumage said.
"This is the first I've heard about it and I am surprised that he is gay,” said Mons Ellingson.
Babeu may come off a bit bruised from this fight at least in the Republican ring, Ellingson said.
Especially over pictures which have surfaced and Babeu doesn't deny are real.
But Ellingson thinks Babeu will continue to do a good job, unless the allegations about the threats turn out to be true.
“If that is proven to be the case then I think there is going to be a huge shift in support,” Ellingson said.
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