New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker (D) said he thinks speculation that he might be gay is “wonderful.”

Booker, the Newark mayor who is running for Senate in an October special election, told The Washington Post that his failure to settle down with a “life partner” has lead to rumors about his sexuality. But he said he embraces the conversation.

“And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it,’” Booker, who has a huge social media presence, told the Post in an interview published Monday. “’I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”

Booker recounted a story about how, early in his tenure as mayor, he sought out a pastor friend for spiritual advice about how to handle the mounting murder rate in Newark. The pastor gave him an unexpected suggestion: “You need to get married.”

After that, Booker said, he began dating more. He did not offer more details – except to dispel speculation that he has dated Arianna Huffington – but said he wants to keep that part of his life private.

"Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven't signed up for that yet?" he said. 

Booker, who has received President Obama’s endorsement in the Senate race, is heavily favored in the general election this fall over Republican Steve Lonegan.