Republican New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan has said that he plans to fire a senior staffer who strongly suggested in an interview that Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Lonegan's political rival, is gay.

Rick Shaftan, a senior staffer and key strategist on Lonegan's campaign, made the comments in a telephone interview Thursday with

“It was just weird,” Shaftan said of Booker's Twitter messages with a female stripper. “I mean, to me, you know, hey, if he said, 'Hey, you got really hot breasts man, I'd love to suck on them.' Then like, yeah, cool. But like, he didn't say that. It was like kind of like, I don't know, it was like what a gay guy would say to a stripper. It's the way he was talking to her. It's just like there was no sexual interest at all. I don't know. To me, if I was single and you know like some stripper was tweeting me, I might take advantage of the perks of the office, you know?”

Booker's online flirtation with Lynsie Lee of Portland, Oregon took place in February and went public last month.

“[I]f you're ever POTUS I call dibs on First Lady,” Lee wrote.

“And The East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me,” Booker privately responded to Lee, who replied, “Well now I'm blushing. :)”

In a statement through his campaign spokesman, Lonegan said that Shaftan's “comments are not reflective of my views or that of my campaign.”

“His comments are distasteful and offensive, and his contract as a vendor for my campaign will be terminated immediately,” he added.

Lonegan made a similar, though weaker, suggestion about his rival in August.

After Booker told The Washington Post that “some part of me thinks it's wonderful” that people think he's gay, because “I want to challenge people on their homophobia,” Lonegan described the comments as “weird” for a guy.

“As a guy, I personally like being a guy,” Lonegan, the former New Jersey head for the Koch Brother's Americans for Prosperity, told Newsmax's Steve Malzberg. “I don't know if you saw the stories last year, they've been out quite a bit, about how he likes to go out at 3 o'clock in the morning for a manicure and pedicure.”

He added: “Maybe that helps him get the gay vote, by acting ambiguous. Although, I don't like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of day, for manicures and pedicures. It was described as his peculiar fetish, is how it was described. I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good Scotch and a cigar, that's my fetish. But we'll just compare the two.”