Will recent allegations damage Babeu's political future?
By Catherine Holland
Paul Babeu speaking at a supporters rally for Mitt Romney in Paradise Valley, Arizona on December 6, 2011. By Belo Content KTVK
PHOENIX -- A day after Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu admitted he is gay and denied allegations that he threatened his ex-lover with deportation, some questions still remain.
Babeu says he won't resign as Sheriff, but he did step down as co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in Arizona.
"I called the Romney campaign, and I told him I'm going to step away from the campaign," Babeu told reporters Saturday.
The first-term Republican Sheriff is also seeking a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona's new 4th Congressional District.
"It's going to be very difficult for him to win the district." said Marcus Dell'Artino from First Strategic, a public relations, government and community affairs firm. "He's running in one of the most republican districts in the state, with some of the most conservative republicans in that district. It's going to be an uphill battle."
In Saturday's news conference, Babeu called the story a "personal and private" matter; however Dell'Artino questions the way it was addressed.
"He talks about his private life and this is a private moment in his life but yesterday he was in a sheriff's outfit with other sheriff personnel at a government building" Dell'Artino said.
U.S. Sen. John McCain came out in defense of Babeu on Sunday, calling the Sheriff his friend.
"All I can say is that he also deserves the benefit, as every citizen does, of innocence until proven guilty" McCain said. "But I appreciate the support he gave me in my campaign and always will."
Some pundits believe the greatest damage to Babeu's political career will come from the personal photographs that have surfaced of Babeu, some of them of a provocative nature.