Two Democratic lawmakers have rescinded their support of Mahesh Bhagia for mayor of Edison, backing Sam Joshi.
Endorsements from State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak follow an announcement today that Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe was giving the organization line to Joshi.
Gov. Phil Murphy also endorsed Joshi this afternoon in his primary bid against Bhagia.
Diegnan and Karabinchak said they backed Bhagia before fully understanding that he “was working behind the scenes against us, our candidates and against the organization he claims to represent.”
“We are disheartened that the candidates who are clearly aligned with the Edison Democratic Chairman Mahesh Bhagia are running against us in a June primary – including a state Senate candidate who is implicated by a federal investigation in the dissemination of the racist flyer in the 2017 Edison school board election,” Diegnan, Karabinchak and Assemblyman Sterley Stanley (D-East Brunswick) said in a joint statement.
They are referring to Mohin Patel, an Edison school board member who is one of the Edison Eight mentioned in a report by the U.S. Postal Inspector. State Assembly and countywide candidates also filed as part of the slate.
“These legislative candidates have also decided to bracket with other candidates in Edison Chairman Bhagia’s inner circle to run a slate against our Surrogate and County Commissioners,” the three Middlesex legislators said. “It is especially appalling that Mr. Bhagia sought the support of the same organization his inner circle is determined to challenge.
Diegnan, Karabinchak and Stanley have also endorsed Margot Harris, Nishith Patel and John Poyner for township council.
After Attorney General Gurbir Grewal empaneled a grand jury that subpoenaed records related to the Edison racist flier scandal, Karabinchak told the New Jersey Globe that he might pull his endorsement of Bhagia.
Councilman Ajay Patil has fingered Bhagia as one of the masterminds behind a mailer that promised to “Make Edison Great Again,” and alleging that the “Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.”