Undeterred by ‘Racist’ Fliers, Ravi Bhalla Becomes New Jersey’s First Sikh Mayor

Ravi Bhalla, an Indian- American born succeeds Dawn Zimmer to become first Sikh Mayor of New Jersey. He will serve on the City Council. He defeated six challengers that had council members Michael DeFuso, Jennifer Giattino and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

While expressing his gratitude to the dozens of supporters, friends and family at Moran’s Pub, Bhalla  cited,

“Thank you for having faith in me, for having faith in our community, faith in our state, and faith in our country; this is what America is all about,” he told the packed bar. “We’ve been through a bruising campaign… but now is the time we come together and see who we can work with to bring this city forward.”

In the race for three at-large seats on the City Council, two members of Bhalla’s slate -James Doyle and Emily Jabbour were victorious, while DeFusco team member Vanessa Falco was also elected, according to the unofficial election results.

The race for City Hall took an ugly turn this week when a doctored campaign began circulating attacking Bhalla with the message “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town!” above a picture of the Sikh mayoral candidate wearing a turban.

The wide-open campaign that kicked off in June with Zimmer’s announcement quickly turned into heated race, with Romano’s campaign manager, Pablo Fonseca, calling the race “Ugly” and “Divisive”

Hoboken police released video footage last week showing two unidentified “persons of interest” holding stacks of papers, presumably the fliers.

Phil Swibinski, a campaign spokesman for DeFusco, said DeFusco conceded defeat in a speech to supporters at his campaign headquarters at around 10 p.m. and offered his congratulations to Bhalla.

In a brief interview Tuesday evening, DeFusco said he fell just short of being elected Hoboken’s first openly gay mayor, despite the only candidate to be attacked by everyone else in the race.

“And yet we still challenged a 9-year administration and lost by a couple hundred votes,” DeFusco said, insisting that Bhalla’s narrow margin of victory means he would have to govern by consensus. “I look forward to working with Mayor-elect Bhalla, but he by no means has a mandate.”

News Source : New Jersey.com