One of Mahesh Bhagia’s running mates in the contentious Edison Democratic primary has endorsed Sam Joshi for Mayor.
Sparshil Patel, who sought the Democratic nomination for township council in June, says he will vote for Joshi and for council candidates Margot Harris, John Poyner and Nishith Patel.
“Although I ran as an opponent to Sam in the June primary, I am confident that Sam Joshi is the right choice to lead our Township as Mayor over the next four years,” he said. “Joshi has the experience, vision and leadership skills necessary to manage our Township and help it navigate any challenges that may arise.”
But Patel’s endorsement raises another question: where is Bhagia, who won re-election as Democratic municipal chairman a few weeks after losing his mayoral bid?
Joshi beat Bhagia by 29 points in a primary held 113 days ago, but with 34 days remaining until Election Day, Bhagia has still not endorsed a candidate for mayor.
That leaves some Democrats wondering if Bhagia has any intention of uniting the party.
While Democrats have a 4-1 voter registration edge in Edison and Joe Biden carried the town by a 62%-37% margin, Joshi is not necessarily a lock in the general election.
The Republican candidate, Keith Hahn, is a retired police officer who served as Edison Democratic municipal chairman from 2015 to 2017. He switched parties in 2017 and ran for mayor, winning 41% of the vote against incumbent Thomas Lankey.
Hahn is running again, and is hoping for allies of Bhagia to send some votes his way.
“As we all know, decisions made now can carry consequences,” Patel stated. “I trust Sam Joshi to bring the full weight of his experience to the demands the mayor’s office requires.”
Lankey and Councilman Richard Brescher had filed as independents, but have dropped out and endorsed Joshi.