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Lonegan Stands His Ground Following Controversial Tweet

NEWARK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) -- Steve Lonegan has been catching heat for a so-called racist tweet sent out by a campaign staffer on Thursday.

A tweet was sent from the Republican's @LoneganforNJ handle taking a shot at Democratic competitor Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark.

Lonegan and Booker are both running in the special election to replace Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

Lonegan: 'I'm Not Going To Be Intimidated'

The post, which was quickly deleted, read: "#breaking just leaked - Cory Booker's foreign policy debate prep notes."

It showed a map labeling parts of Newark as "West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil" and other nations including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Newark is a largely minority city whose residents have roots in many parts of the world.

Booker's campaign manager, Addisu Demissiehe, called the posting "offensive and fundamentally out of step with New Jersey values."

"We need leaders who will lift up our communities, not tear them down," Demissiehe said in a statement.

As WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported Lonegan called the tweet a mistake and he refused to back down.

"I'm not apologizing, I'm not backing off, I'm not making excuses, and I'm not going to be intimidated by these people," Lonegan said.

The tweet and a matching facebook post were taken down at Lonegan's request and the GOP front runner said that there was no racist intent.

"I think Americans are sick and tired of the race card being used everyday and every time there's an argument you're a racist. That's not the case. There was no such intent," he said.

Lonegan said that he has no plans to fire the staffer who made the posting.

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