Newark went bonkers last night in response to a tweet from the campaign of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate who was trying to be the best friend of Brick City’s anti-Booker crowd.
POLITICO reported that Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota and favorite to win the U.S. Senate Primary, ordered deleted a tweet from his campaign widely disparaged as racist.
Issued during the Democratic Primary debate last night, the tweet read, “#breaking just leaked – Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes,” and below it was a map of heavily African-American Newark. Scrawled over the map in different places was, “West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil.” Another annotation, pointing to Newark, read, “Middle East,” followed by “Afghanistan, Pakistan, plus Bangladesh and Trinidad.”
Lonegan adviser Rick Shaftan said, “Steve didn’t find it funny or reflective of the way he thinks and asked that it be taken down immediately. And, as you know, it was.”
All three candidates for mayor tore the tweet to pieces.
“As a native Newarker, I was deeply troubled and offended by Steve Lonegan’s erroneous statement about the hardworking men and women of our state’s largest city,” said Shavar Jeffries, former AG’s counsel. “My experiences from Newark’s city streets taught me to respect, honor and celebrate our differences, not destroy, tear down or belittle. The challenges that Newarkers face everyday should not be used to excite the conservative Republican base or as political theater. Removing remarks from his campaign Twitter feed is a poor substitute for an apology. I would hope and expect more from a former mayor, businessman and candidate for U.S. Senate. Our next United States Senator should represent the rich history of New Jerseyans and our collective cultures. I understand this firsthand. As I walk the streets of Newark, I see the promise of a city as we come together, to be greater together.”
“As a proud lifelong resident of the great city of Newark, I found the message sent from Steve Lonegan’s Twitter account completely offensive,” said North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos. “Newark’s strength is its diversity. We celebrate and welcome all cultures, races and ethnicities to our city. He really should reconsider whether he wants to represent the great state of New Jersey, with all its diversity. We really don’t need someone with his extremist views in the U.S. Senate.”
“Yes Newark is made up of Africans, African Americans, Caribbean, Puerto Ricans, Domincans, South Americans, Portuguese, East Indians, and so on,” South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka told The Star-Ledger. “This is what makes our city beautiful and alive. We see this as an asset.We represent the majority of the world and the heartbeat of this country. If they view this as embarrassing, negatively or as a deficit then it is commentary on their backward thinking.”