First Sikh mayor New Jersey: City Councilman Ravi Bhalla has emerged victorious in the sic person mayoral race, becoming the first Sikh mayor of the Mile Square City and the state of New Jersey. Bhalla, an Indian-American born in New Jersey was endorsed by current Mayor Dawan Zimmer, who in a surprising decision announced she would not seek a third term in office.
Bhalla, who serves on the City Council claimed the victory at Morn’s Pub on Garden Street surrounded by dozens of his supporters as well as his friends and family. “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.” He bested a six-person field of challengers that included council members Michael DeFusco and Jennifer Giattino as well as Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.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 a turn this week when doctored campaign fliers 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.” The fliers appeared to have been a modified version of a mailer from DeFusco’s campaign, alleging Bhalla had a conflict of interest.The councilman condemned the fliers in a statement, saying his campaign had nothing to do with them. First Sikh mayor New Jersey, Hoboken police released video footage last week showing two unidentified “persons of interest” holding stacks of papers, presumably the fliers.
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