Following his landslide win in the August primary to become the Democratic nominee for the unexpired term of the late U. S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Cory Booker looked forward to a campaign that played to his strengths, solidifying his already sizeable lead and smoothing the way for a two-month sprint to victory in the October 16 special election.
Instead, he’s spent the last two weeks attempting to clarify his comments about his sexual orientation and fending off allegations that his oft-repeated tale of meeting and befriending a drug dealer -- he identified him as "T-bone" -- while living in a public housing project in the city is a figment of his imagination.
Whispers about the mayor being gay have been around for several years without any impact on his political career. But for some reason, Booker tossed it onto the front pages when, in an interview with a Washington Post reporter, he said of the gay rumors, “Well, what if I am? What difference does it make?”
His Republican opponent, former Bogota mayor and conservative leader Steve Lonegan, dismissed Booker’s comments, saying the campaign was about who was best suited to represent New Jersey in the Senate and help steer the country in the right direction.
He should have stopped there. But Lonegan -- who conceded he could benefit from a filter before he spoke -- inflamed the issue by referring to Booker as someone who preferred manicures and pedicures, while the conservative candidate was interested in more masculine pursuits, like sipping scotch and smoking cigars. Booker’s story about his acquaintance with the dope-dealing T-bone has been around for nearly as long as the gay rumors.
Read more at NJSpotlight.com
NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded.