Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a candidate for Congress in the new fourth congressional district, denied Saturday a published allegation that he threatened an ex-lover with deportation.

"All of the allegations are false except one — I am gay," Babeu said at a Saturday afternoon press conference.

Babeu also quit Saturday as state co-chair for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

A story published online late Friday by the Phoenix New Times alleged that Babeu had used his attorney, who is also his campaign manager, to threaten Babeu's ex-lover with deportation.

The ex-lover, whom the story refers to only by the first name Jose, had worked on Babeu's campaign websites and done other Internet work for him, but ended up sabotaging some sites in September last year. That prompted an exchange of letters between attorneys for Babeu and the ex-lover, as well as conversations in which the ex-lover alleges the threat was made. (See attached documents)

Babeu has made a national name for himself by making numerous nationwide appearances, speaking about border insecurity and criticizing the Obama administration.

Babeu is embroiled in a tough race for the Republican nomination for a seat in the U.S. House. He's running against current U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar and state Senator Ron Gould in a new district that encompasses an area that sweeps from northern Pinal County, around the east side of metro Phoenix, northwest across Prescott to Lake Havasu City and much of western Arizona.