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Sheriff Babeu, who is not married, said he had been in a relationship with Jose that ended sometime before September. Jose also ran his campaign website and Twitter account, and Sheriff Babeu said he began posting derogatory items on the sites after their breakup.

Sheriff Babeu said he had his lawyer contact Jose and demanded that he stop and turn over passwords allowing access to the sites. Sheriff Babeu said the postings and actions amounted to identity theft but that he chose to deal with the matter privately through his lawyer.

Ms. Weiss-Riner’s statement Saturday said that as a campaign volunteer, Jose created and maintained several websites and accounts at Sheriff Babeu’s request from approximately 2008 through late 2011. She did not elaborate.

It’s wasn’t immediately clear if Sheriff Babeu’s admission would hurt him politically, but his primary opponents came out swinging.

Sheriff Babeu is taking on an incumbent tea party Republican who switched districts, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, and state Sen. Ron Gould, a conservative from northwestern Arizona, in August’s 4th District primary.

Mr. Gould said he believed Sheriff Babeu’s posting of pictures on what the lawmaker called a “homosexual hookup website” were a “Congressman Weiner type of moment.”

“The real issue here is the poor judgment of a government official, posting those kinds of photos on a public website,” Mr. Gould said. “I think that shows a lack of good judgment.”

He also said he believes Sheriff Babeu’s sexual orientation would hurt him in the district. Mr. Gould sponsored Arizona’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, an amendment he said drew extremely strong support in the rural counties he and Sheriff Babeu seek to represent.

“This is about an abuse of power, a misuse of public trust, bad judgment and the continued use of official resources for personal and political gain,” Mr. Gosar said in a statement that noted the location of the press conference and the large gathering of uniformed sheriff’s personnel at the event.

Sheriff Babeu said he has never defined himself based on his ethnicity or sexual orientation, and he would continue to focus on unemployment and the federal deficit in his campaign.

“What I’m trying to do is (be) as forthright as possible, talking about deeply personal, private matters, and trying to be upfront,” Sheriff Babeu said. “The disclosure of that information is something that I feel no American should have to do.”

Sheriff Babeu acknowledged that he has sent and posted the photos, but said they were personal. When asked if posting such pictures on a public website showed poor judgment for a public official, he reiterated that he believed they were personal.