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Aug 27, 2013 10:29 PM

Sunnyside board member says he faces anti-gay smear campaign

TUCSON- It is no longer just a recall campaign in the Sunnyside School District, but what some are calling an ugly smear campaign against one of the district's board members.

Four of the five board members are facing a recall, including Daniel Hernandez, the openly gay intern who helped save former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on January 8, 2011.

Last week Hernandez says he received a text message which showed an anti-gay flier that targets his sexuality. The flier reads: "Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board. Daniel Hernandez is LGBT. We need someone who will support sports and care about our kids. We don't need someone who hates our values. RECALL Daniel Hernandez TODAY."

"They're calling me out for not being a real man, whatever that means," Hernandez says. " I think this is the kind of petty politics that no one likes and we need to stop this kind of behavior."

A similar flier targets Hernandez' support for gun control measures. It reads: "We don't need a high flying school board member. Daniel Hernandez cares about only one thing, taking your guns aways."

The creator of the fliers is not known, but at the bottom of both it says "Sunnyside Recall 2013". That is the name of the community group which first started the recall efforts in July, recalling board members Louie Gonzales and Bobby Garcia. They are both supporters of embattled District Superintendent Manual Isquierdo.

Hernandez and fellow board member Buck Crouch don't wish to keep Isquierdo in the district.

Just last week supporters of Louie Gonzalez started another recall effort to recall Hernandez and Crouch.

Beki Quintero is the leader of "Sunnyside Recall 2013". She says whoever made the fliers is trying to make it seem like her group created them. "When I saw the posters I was like 'oh my gosh!' What's going on now? How can they do this?" Quintero says.

Both Quintero and Hernandez think the person behind the fliers is part of the team trying to recall Hernandez and Crouch.

But Marcos Castro, the campaign manager for Louie Gonzales says he hadn't even seen the fliers until News 4 Tucson showed them to him. "We would not go that far on issues like that," Castro says. "Those are serious issues and it's not us."

As of Tuesday night, Quintero says the effort to recall Gonzales and Garcia has half of the more than 1,300 signatures required by December 15. Castro says the effort to recall Hernandez and Crouch has 200 signatures.

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