“So, How Was YOUR Weekend?”: In Less Than A Day, Babeu Puts Controversy Behind Him, Jumps Back Into Congressional Campaign To Cheers, Laughter At Formal GOP Dinner
Feb 19, 2012 23 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
PRESCOTT VALLEY – Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu wasted little time Saturday returning to his congressional campaign after trying to end the uproar over allegations he threatened his ex-boyfriend with deportation.
Addressing the troubles that made national news Friday, Babeu opened his speech to the Yavapai County Republicans gathered for a Lincoln Day Dinner at the StoneRidge Golf Club by asking the crowd, to much laughter: “So, how is your weekend going?”
He then reiterated that the allegations about him using his authority to threaten an ex-campaign worker, outlined in a Phoenix New Times article Friday, were false. At a news conference earlier that day, he emphatically denied the allegations and also said he is gay.
He seemed to allude to that revelation, saying, “In America, we celebrate our differences. That’s what makes America exceptional.”
When Babeu assailed the Obama administration and called for increased border security, the audience responded with enthusiastic applause. The crowd of about 170 was mostly attentive through Babeu’s speech, some with hands clasped and nodding, others picking at their chocolate cake. Little conversation could be heard in the audience about the allegations against Babeu.
As Babeu returned to the campaign, his competitors were not far away.
State Sen. Ron Gould, who is also seeking the GOP nomination for the state’s northwestern congressional district, attended the dinner and told The Arizona Republic that Babeu now faced an uphill battle with voters.
“For him to take those kinds of photographs and then to have uploaded them to that kind of site is … very poor judgment from an elected official,” Gould said, referring to revealing pictures Babeu had posted online.