Booker Aide Calls Post 'Offensive'

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The campaign team for New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan found itself answering questions Friday after it sent out a racially tinged tweet during a TV debate a night earlier.

A tweet was sent from the Republican’s @LoneganforNJ handle taking a shot at Democratic competitor Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. The post, which was quickly deleted, read: ”#breaking just leaked – Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes.” It showed a map labeling parts of Newark as “West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil” and other nations including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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Newark is a largely minority city whose residents have roots in many parts of the world.

Booker’s campaign manager, Addisu Demissiehe, called the posting “offensive and fundamentally out of step with New Jersey values.”

“We need leaders who will lift up our communities, not tear them down,” Demissiehe said in a statement.

Lonegan aide Rick Shaftan said the post, which also appeared on the campaign’s Facebook page, was taken down at Lonegan’s request when he became aware of it Thursday night — before any Democrats complained about it.

Shaftan said he got a call from Lonegan, who was at a fundraiser, on Thursday night. Shaftan said the candidate told him, “This isn’t funny. When did this happen? Get this down immediately.”

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He said it was put up by another campaign staffer, who remains with the campaign.

“The person who put it up isn’t going to do it again,” Shaftan said. “They’re not going to make that mistake in their life again ever.”

Lonegan is the GOP front-runner in the Senate primary Tuesday. Booker is the Democratic front-runner in the special election to replace Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

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