Edison Council Vice President Sam Joshi is considering the race for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Edison, setting up a possible three-way primary with incumbent Thomas Lankey and Democratic Municipal Chairman Mahesh Bhagia.
“We need a Mayor who has a vision for our community’s future — who will work tirelessly to address our mounting challenges, who will embrace innovative solutions, out of the box thinking, and create a new Master Plan to bring Edison the progress we all deserve,” Joshi said.
Bhagia, the clear front runner to win the local party endorsement, has close ties to the Edison Eight, a group implicated last year in a conspiracy scandal involving an allegedly fake racist flyer aimed at inciting the township’s Asian American community in a 2017 school board race. His brother, Raj Bhagia, is one of the Edison Eight.
Joshi, who is part of a different Edison faction, announced the creation of an exploratory committee, a largely symbolic move since New Jersey election law has no provisions for candidates to raise money into such efforts.
“I was born and raised in Edison and I have dedicated my life to serving our community. It’s been the greatest honor to serve as one of seven Council members, especially throughout the pandemic,” Joshi said. “My impeccable outreach, constituent advocacy, history of consistently voting against property tax increases, and bringing innovative ideas to the Council is a record that I am proud of.”
The Edison Eight: Councilman Ayjay Patil; Board of Education member Jerry Shi; Wilentz law firm partner and Biden delegate Satish Poondi; former Democratic Municipal Chairman Shariq Ahmad; apparent school board member-elect Mohin Patel; Aloysius Dsouza; Joseph Dsouza; Bhagia and Shi – face a possible criminal investigation after they allegedly circulated a racist mailer.
The mailer – “Make Edison Great Again” – urged voters to “Stop Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel from taking over our school board.”
“The Chinese and Indians are taking over our Town! Chinese School! Indian School! Cricket Fields,” the flyer said. “Enough is Enough.”
Lankey, 59, was elected in 2013 after defeating incumbent Antonia Ricigliano in the general election. Ricigliano ran as a Republican after losing party support for reelection.