*Former Bogota, N.J., Mayor Steve Lonegan’s campaign team is in damage control over a racially charged tweet targeted at opponent Newark Mayor Cory Booker, reports Politico.
Lonegan, a Republican, and Booker, a Democrat, are both running to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the late Frank Lautenberg.
The tweet, which was quickly deleted from the campaign staff’s Twitter account, included an annotated map of Newark, which it joked came from Booker’s debate notes on foreign policy. On the tweeted map, parts of the city were circled and labeled “West Africa,” “Guyana,” “Portugal” and “Brazil.” The western tip of the city was labeled “Middle East,” followed by, “Afghanistan Pakistan PLUS Bangladesh AND Trinidad.”
In 2010, Newark’s population was 52.4 percent African-American, compared to 13.7 percent African-American for the entire state of New Jersey.
The tweet came during Monday night’s Democratic debate among New Jersey Senate candidates, according to Politico. Booker, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver discussed school vouchers, U.S.-China relations and national security.
The Twitter account in question is managed by Lonegan’s campaign staff and is independent of his personal Twitter account. On Monday, Lonegan had encouraged his followers to look to the campaign account for live updates on the Democratic debate.
“Steve didn’t find it funny or reflective of the way he thinks and asked that it be taken down immediately,” Rick Shaftan, a Lonegan adviser, told Politico about the anti-Booker tweet. “And as you know, it was.”