In the midst of Cory Booker’s newly announced Senate campaign his sexuality has, again, become the topic of conversation. Booker has never been married, and discussed allegations he is gay in a recent interview with the Washington Post, saying:
"And 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.’?"
Booker has consistently been fecetious about his sexuality, although he’s referenced past girlfriends, saying it opens up conversation about homophobia.
His rival in the Senate race, former Bogota, NJ Mayor Steve Lonegan, criticized Booker’s "peculiar festish" of getting late-night mani-pedis in a recent interview with Newsmax TV, and went on to challenge his manhood. "It’s kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy," Lonegan says. He also accused Booker of being deliberately vague in order to get the gay vote.
In response to Lonegan’s statments, Booker said he was "disheartened" that Lonegan implies that gay men are no longer men.
This isn’t the first time Booker’s been accused of being gay. His sexuality was also a point of contention during his first failed Newark mayoral campaign in 2002 against Sharpe James. It seems likely that–until Booker comes out directly one way or another–questions around his sexuality will follow him through this Senate campaign.