In a first, New Jersey town elects Sikh as Mayor

Cheryl Sanders
November 8, 2017

"Just two short years after winning the First Ward council seat as a first time candidate, we defeated a longtime Freeholder and a Council president and very almost won it all", DeFusco said. He will succeed Dawn Zimmer, who decided not to seek a third term in office.

"That said it's obviously disturbing", he added.

Bhalla's election victory was hailed on social media.


"A disgusting, racist flyer was found on vehicle windshields tonight that altered one of my campaign's mailers and added a racial epithet aimed at Ravi Bhalla", DeFusco said in a press release.

Police released surveillance footage on Monday and said they are looking for two persons of interest in connection to the incident.

He and Bhalla are among six candidates running on Tuesday's ballot for mayor. He is wearing a turban in the photo in the flyer, which the DeFusco campaign had produced a few weeks earlier.


"We must all condemn bigotry and hate", he wrote. Hoboken Councilmembers DeFusco and Jen Giattino, restauranteur Karen Nason and activist Ronald Bautista are also vying for the seat.

Erica Commisso, a new Hoboken resident, said she was surprised by the amount of negative campaigning in the local election.

The Indian-American politician called the flyers troubling in a Twitter post but said "we won't let hate win". "A lot of people don't know me in this city and don't know about the core progressive Democratic values that I stand up for of inclusion, of diversity, have told me they believe me to be a racist. As mayor I will work hard to keep it that way". The modified version added the racist remarks linking the candidate to terrorists over the flier from the DeFusco camp which originally accused Bhalla of having a conflict of interest involving his law firm and the city's water utility. "Of course this is troubling, but we won't let hate win", tweeted Bhalla, an attorney-at-law who practices in federal and state courts of New Jersey and NY.


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