Cory Booker, the Newark mayor and U.S. Senate candidate with a massive Twitter following, has been engaged in a seemingly innocuous online flirtation with a Portland, Ore. stripper who once asked to be his first lady if he ever becomes president.
The exchanges, which took place in public and private messages, don't appear to be the kind of career-damaging activity that brought down former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. Booker, 44, is single. And the messages made public don't include pictures of his privates — although the stripper has shared plenty of her own. Her main Twitter page includes a photo of her topless on a couch.
Booker, who has 1.4 million Twitter followers and in turn has followed nearly 76,000 of them, said at a campaign event Thursday in Newark, that he doesn't pay attention to the occupations of the people he communicates with, and that he didn't plan to change.
"When somebody like this person extends kindness my way ... I respond in kind," Booker said.
Booker's online relationship with the woman who calls herself Lynsie Lee has been going on for months, but was only recently brought to light by the website BuzzFeed. The two apparently know each other from their participation in a documentary about Twitter called "Follow Friday the Film."
Lee is a dancer at Casa Diablo, which calls itself a vegan strip club. She told The New York Times that after the film, she developed a "slight crush" on Booker.
"will you be at the #ffthefilm premier? :)," she asked him in March.
"I have a diner but I'm going to try and go late," he responded.
"yay! :)," she wrote.
At another point, she talked a bit of politics, asking if she could be first lady if he were ever elected president.
Booker joked that he may end up the president of a New Jersey Star Trek club.
Later, when another female admirer boasted that she regularly exchanged direct messages with Booker, Lee posted a screen shot of her own prior private conversation with him.
"And the East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me," Booker wrote to Lee in February, according to her post.
"Well now I'm blushing :)," she responded.
"It's only fair," Booker wrote back.
The exchanges made national news on Thursday, and Lee found herself fielding calls from reporters all over the country.
She seemed to be basking in all the attention. But on her own terms.
On Thursday she tweeted:
"If you come to see me at @CasaDiablo tonight, bring your wallets. I'm prime meat for the next couple of days! ;)"
--Pat Battle contributed to this story