Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is clinging to his Congressional campaign, despite being embroiled in what he has described as a "very messy situation."
Since New Times broke the story on February 17, Babeu has continued to deny allegations that he and his attorney threatened Jose Orozco, Babeu's ex-boyfriend and a Mexican national, with deportation over an allegedly expired visa.
But it's becoming increasingly difficult for Babeu to explain his lack of judgment in the matter: allowing half-naked photos of himself to float round the Internet, his sophomoric sexting with someone he hadn't even met, a profile on a salacious hook-up site for gay men -- and perhaps most damning for a conservative, illegal-immigrant-bashing politician -- revelations that his Mexican boyfriend may not have been authorized to volunteer for or donate money to the sheriff's political campaigns.
Indeed, Babeu's chances of winning a a seat in Arizona's conservative 4th Congressional District are diminishing.
According to the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet, Babeu's most recent poll numbers have dropped significantly compared to an earlier poll conducted on February 18:
On February 23, the Yellow Sheet reported:
Overall, the Feb. 18 poll showed Babeu leading the field with 30 percent, compared to 26 percent for Gosar and 17 percent for Gould. But by yesterday, with the story appearing in the national media cycle, the tides began to shift: Gosar led the way with 30 percent, Babeu dropped to 25 percent and Gould had risen to 20 percent. Last month, a survey conducted by the same pollster found Babeu with an early lead at 29 percent, with Gosar at 19 percent and Gould at 17 percent. Support for Babeu dropped in Mohave, Pinal and Yavapai counties between Saturday and Tuesday. Of note is that Babeu's support in Pinal County had dropped steeply since last month: The Jan. 18 poll showed him with 64 percent support in his home county, but that had dropped to 54 percent on Saturday and 50 percent yesterday.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.