NJ candidates targeted by hate flyers prevail in local elections
EDISON — Just as Phil Murphy was elected the next governor of New Jersey on Tuesday night, several candidates who had been targeted by bigoted campaign ads prevailed in their local elections.
The race in this Middlesex County municipality was marked by an attack ad that nobody in the town wanted to claim responsibility for. The flyer was headlined with “Make Edison Great Again” — evoking President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan — and included pictures of two school board candidates, one Chinese-American the other Indian-American, with a red “DEPORT” stamp under their faces.
The two candidates were the top vote-getters.
Jingwei "Jerry" Shi got 5,173 votes, according to the unofficial results. Falguni Patel finished with 4,979 votes, while Beth Moroney kept her seat on the board with 4,807 votes.
In the mayoral race, the incumbent Democratic, Thomas Lankey, prevailed over former town Democratic Chairman Keith Hahn, who was a late replacement after original Republican candidate Gaetano Gaspari took himself off the ballot. Lankey received 57 percent of the vote according to unofficial results, while Hahn received 43 percent.
Bhalla prevails in Hoboken
Just as Edison dealt with racist flyers this election season, Hoboken also experienced similar issues as a diverse field of nonpartisan candidates campaigned to succeed Mayor Dawn Zimmer in the non-partisan race.
Just a few days before the election, a flyer was posted on windshields across the city. It included a picture of a turban-wearing Sikh councilman with the large, red words “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town!” The flyer says it was paid for by Councilman Mike DeFusco, another contender in the race, but DeFusco said his campaign was not involved.
Much like Edison, it was the target of this flyer that emerged victorious according to unofficial results. Councilman Ravi Bhalla received 4,781 votes, which put him ahead of DeFusco's 4,116 votes.
Fulop holds seat in Jersey City
In the race to lead the second largest municipality in the state, incumbent Steven Fulop picked up a decisive win over attorney Bill Matsikoudis to win another term in office. Fulop has been considered as a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
There was at least one polling location in the city that reported having trouble locating its voter registration books, according to NJ.com, but those issues were resolved.
Guardian falls in Atlantic City
In a very close race that could extend beyond Election Day, Democratic challenger Frank Gilliam Jr. picked up a narrow win for Atlantic City mayor, according to unofficial results.
Running in a traditionally Democratic town against a Republican incumbent where the state has final say over its governance, Gilliam received 2,486 votes while Mayor Don Guardian received 2,407 votes.
Before Election Day, Guardian went to court in an attempt to have people from his campaign present when the county's 6,100 vote-by-mail ballots are reviewed. The motion was denied, according to Philly.com, with Guardian raising concerns about potential ballot fraud and dead people voting.
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com