Now Revealed by Stripper: Booker’s Twitter Messages

Mayor Cory A. Booker, Democrat of Newark, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. He is running for Senate.


Mayor Cory A. Booker has a high schooler’s affinity for Twitter, reveling in its ceaseless flow of affirmation and infinite space for self-promotion.

But the occasional perils of his reliance on the social media service became evident on Wednesday when a 26-year-old stripper from Oregon revealed her private online correspondence with him.

In a message to the stripper, named Lynsie Lee, Mr. Booker wrote that “the East Coast loves you, and by the East Coast, I mean me.”

Ms. Lee, whose photograph on Twitter features her splayed topless across a yellow couch, replied, “Well, now I’m blushing :)”

Mr. Booker wrote back: “It’s only fair.”

The Newark mayor, a 44-year-old Democrat now seeking to become a United States senator, has long talked about the democratizing and revolutionary power of social media, collecting 1.4 million Twitter followers in the process — about five times the number of people who live in the New Jersey city he governs.

Even as many politicians have adopted a hyper-disciplined approach to social media, or handed over their official Twitter accounts to image-conscious aides in the wake of online scandals involving the likes of Anthony D. Weiner, a former Democratic congressman, Mr. Booker’s fingers seem to rarely stray from the keyboard.

He takes an especially inclusive approach in signing on to follow those who reach out to him. There are now about 76,000 of them.

In February, Ms. Lee joined their ranks, which allowed the two of them to trade private messages.

Her correspondence with Mr. Booker, unearthed by BuzzFeed, suggests that she was exchanging casual banter with him.

Ms. Lee, offering context for Mr. Booker’s words, told BuzzFeed that she had written to the mayor that the West Coast loved him, prompting his reply. “He was just flattering me,” she said.

Ms. Lee, who works at Casa Diablo, which bills itself as the world’s first vegan strip club, said she became acquainted with Mr. Booker when both were included in a film about social media. In an interview over Twitter on Wednesday night, Ms. Lee said she developed a “slight crush on the mayor.”

Ms. Lee’s correspondence with Mr. Booker came to light after he boasted that he would someday be president — of the New Jersey Star Trek Club. Ms. Lee and another Twitter user, Calla Bonanno, playfully sparred online over who would get to be his first lady, and both eventually said that they exchanged private messages with the mayor.

Ms. Bonanno, a 24-year-old from Ohio, said on Wednesday in a telephone interview that her only private communication with Mr. Booker came when she complimented him on a television appearance, and he thanked her.

Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for Mr. Booker, declined to discuss how many private messages the mayor had exchanged with Ms. Lee. “The mayor talks with people from all walks of life on Twitter,” he said in a statement. “The most shocking part of the story was learning that there is a vegan strip club in Portland.”

A spokesman for Mr. Booker’s Republican opponent in the Senate race, Steve Lonegan, declined to comment.

As he sent out his nightly deluge of messages on Twitter on Wednesday, Mr. Booker did not directly address the topic. But he could not resist forwarding a post from a follower, @DaveTKoenig, who said, “Just to end speculation right now, Cory & I follow each other, and it’s purely platonic.”

Ms. Lee seemed to delight in the attention. “I guess I’m famous now,” she wrote. “Do I get to be on @piersmorgan’s show?”

But she did not overlook the politician who brought her sudden celebrity: “You have to go donate to @CoryBooker’s campaign,” she wrote in a Twitter message to the scores of her newfound admirers.

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