The U.S. Senate special election in New Jersey is exactly seven weeks from today, and by all appearances, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) remains the clear favorite. But far-right former Bogata Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) isn’t going to go away quietly.
Booker told the Washington Post this week that he’s been dating more, and doesn’t care if his bachelor status leads to speculation about his sexual orientation. “[S]ome people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to 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.’ ”
Lonegan wasn’t impressed with the comments.
Even by contemporary Republican standards, this was just ugly.
[Lonegan] was asked about Booker’s response by Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg [Tuesday] afternoon, and said he didn’t know if Booker is gay but thought it was “weird” that he was unwilling to answer the question, speculating that maybe “it helps get him the gay vote by acting ambiguous.”
But Lonegan was sure of one thing: Steve Lonegan is a real man because “as a guy, I personally like being a guy” and he is certainly not one of those sorts who goes in for things like manicures and pedicures like Cory Booker does!
“I personally like being a guy”? Does Lonegan believe gay men aren’t actually “guys”?
Paul Waldman added, “I guess for certain kinds of men, particularly from an older generation (Lonegan is 57), even a mention of homosexuality requires a vigorous assertion of one’s own heterosexuality, lest anyone start looking at you funny simply because a cloud of uncomfortable questions is now floating about the room.”
Remember, we’re not talking about some random figure who shows up in far-right media – Lonegan is his party’s U.S. Senate nominee. Just last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) praised Lonegan, saying, “I am proud to have him as our candidate for the United States Senate…. Steve and I have believed and still believe in so many of the same things.”