The Republican who's running against Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) in New Jersey's special Senate election said Tuesday that speculation surrounding his opponent's sexual orientation is "kind of weird."
In an interview with Newsmax, businessman Steve Lonegan made a point to trumpet his masculinity when he was asked about speculation that Booker is gay. The popular mayor — an overwhelming favorite to win the special election — told The Washington Post that he has no problem if people think he's gay.
"It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy," Lonegan said. "I don't know if you saw the stories last year. They've been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o'clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure."
Lonegan then brought up nail care again.
"I don't like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure," Lonegan said. "It was described as his peculiar fetish . . .I have a more peculiar fetish. I like a good Scotch and a cigar. That's my fetish but we'll just compare the two."
Booker said that he hopes the speculation will "challenge people on their homophobia."
"I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight,'" Booker said.
Lonegan's comments weren't the first time he veered into incendiary territory during this campaign. A racially charged dig at Booker was posted and then immediately deleted earlier this month on the Lonegan campaign's Twitter account. Lonegan dismissed the flap, calling the controversy a "tempest in a tea pot."