EDISON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel won seats on the school board in Edison.
The two were targeted by mailers that read “Make Edison Great Again,” evoking President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, and said “the Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.” It called for the candidates to be deported.
The ads violated state election law because they do not identify who paid for them.
Patel, an immigration lawyer, said last week that she was disgusted by the pamphlets.
“I was born and raised in New Jersey,” she said. “To see the word ‘deport’ on my picture … really it’s just outrageous.”
In addition to Shi and Patel, Beth Moroney and Paul Distefano also won seats on the board.
An investigation regarding the mailers is still under way. The culprit has not yet been determined.
Both mayoral candidates also denounced the mailers.
Republican Keith Hahn vowed to find the “anonymous cowards” behind the mailer, while Democratic Mayor Tom Lankey said it is a “sad reality” that certain people feel empowered to express “these vile ideas.”
Edison Township has a large Asian American community, many of them Chinese and Indian immigrants. More than 45 percent of Edison Township was born abroad, and about a quarter of the township was born in India.
Democratic Councilwoman Sapana Shah said that community relationships have improved in recent years, but she’s often overheard racially motivated complaints around the township.