NEWARK, N.J. -- U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker's campaign is downplaying the disclosure of Twitter exchanges he had with a stripper.
Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark and a prolific Twitter user, is running in a special Senate election that is less than three weeks away.
Booker, 44, exchanged direct messages earlier this year with Lynsie Lee, who works at a vegan strip club called Casa Diablo in Portland, Ore.
Lee provided a screenshot of the exchange Wednesday to the website BuzzFeed.
In the messages, Lee told Booker the West Coast loved him. Booker, who is single, said the East Coast loves her, "and by the East Coast, I mean me." Lee responded she was blushing. Booker replied "it's only fair."
Booker, an early Twitter adopter, has 1.4 million followers and uses the social media site constantly.
He received two degrees from Stanford, where he also played varsity football, then studied at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and received a law degree from Yale.
His campaign issued a statement noting that the two-term mayor has long used Twitter to direct city resources and communicate with supporters across the country.
"In an era when nearly every moment in most public officials' lives is scripted and controlled, the mayor remains accessible to regular people," the statement said. "The most shocking thing about this story is the news that there's a vegan strip club in Portland."
Lee did not return an email seeking comment.
She told Portland television station KPTV that she had never met Booker. She and the mayor both appeared in a documentary about Twitter.
She told the TV station her message to Booker was: "I just hope this doesn't hurt your political career, because I'm rooting for you. And, you can take me out to dinner any time."
Associated Press writer Angela Delli Santi in Trenton contributed to this report.