Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Steve Lonegan on Sunday dismissed controversy stemming from a racially charged tweet directed at the leading Democrat in the New Jersey race, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, that surfaced from his campaign account last week.
“I think it’s time to move on,” Lonegan told the Newark Star-Ledger in an interview during a campaign stop, calling the incident “a tempest in a tea pot.”
The tweet, which was quickly removed at Lonegan’s request, read “#breaking just leaked – Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes,” accompanied by a map of Newark’s neighborhoods marked with locations like West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil, Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Trinidad.
Lonegan told the Star-Ledger that the tweet was not racist and argued Democrats would “use every excuse to pull the race card.” He told the newspaper that the 21-year-old campaign staffer who drafted the tweet made a “mistake” and would not be fired.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.