Daniel Hernandez, the intern who helped save the life of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot in 2011, is now facing anti-gay attacks as opponents try to remove him from his position on the Sunnyside Unified District school board.
Hernandez is reportedly being targeted by supporters of board members who already face their own recall campaigns for extending the contract of an unpopular superintendent.
The campaign against Hernandez features anti-gay flyers passed around to the community.
Hernandez was shocked and appalled by the flyers. "This is the worst kind of politics," he told BuzzFeed on Tuesday. "It's completely repugnant that in 2013 someone thinks its OK to put up negative flyers like this. Even worse, now they're walking it back and saying they had nothing to do with it."
Those behind the campaign are said to be supporters of board president Louie Gonzalez and board member Bobby Garcia, who are facing recall campaigns themselves.
The man reportedly behind the effort is the brother-in-law and campaign manager of Gonzalez, Marcos Castro.
Reached by the Huffington Post, Castro said he had received flyers to his home, but denied involvement. "I don't have nothing to do with it," he said.
But in a statement given to BuzzFeed by the office of the superintendent, Castro is described as the applicant for the recall:
The Office of the Pima County School Superintendent received an application for a recall serial number from Mr. Marcos Castro on August 16, 2013, against Mr. Daniel Hernandez, Jr. and Mr. Buck Crouch, both members of the Sunnyside School District Governing Board. A required 200-word statement filed with the application provides various grievances against Mr. Hernandez's role as member of the Governing Board. The statement does not provide any specific information regarding Mr. Hernandez's sexual orientation or his position on any specific social or political issues such as gun control. The Pima County School Superintendent's Office does not make statements on hearsay comments in the community regarding any public official. Mr. Castro has until December 14, 2013, to file a minimum 1,345 signatures from residents of the Sunnyside School District in order to begin the process for conducting a recall election against Mr. Hernandez. A potential recall could be held in August 2014, at the latest.
A flyer attacking Hernandez for supporting gun laws was also circulated.
Hernandez said the attacks go too far.
"It's a whole new low to send the flyers to parents," he says. "What are they attacking? My battle to make sure we have sensible gun laws? They want 'a real man that doesn't hate their values,' what does that even mean?"
While he finds the personal attacks on his sexual orientation to be out of line, Hernandez seems angrier about the attacks on his work related to gun measures.
"I don't do anything when it comes to guns in the school district," he said. "But I've been personally affected by gun violence. I've called other survivors since the flyers surfaced and they're disgusted."