Democratic Edison Councilman Sam Joshi is currently leading Republican Keith Hahn, a former Democratic municipal chairman, by 1,471 votes in the competitive contest for Edison mayor.
Back in June, Joshi defeated Edison Democratic municipal chairman Mahesh Bhagia 63-34% after a long and contentious primary. But rather than rally the Democratic troops behind Joshi, Bhagia instead has sat on the sidelines in the months since.
Bhagia is perhaps best known for his alleged role in a bizarre 2017 scandal that involved racist anti-Asian mailers being sent out to Edison voters before that year’s elections.
The lack of Democratic unity this year left an opening for Hahn, a retired police officer, to gain steam in the otherwise heavily Democratic township. No Republican has won the Edison mayoralty since the 1950s.
Also campaigning for a time was incumbent mayor Thomas Lankey, who was running a quixotic bid as an independent to retain his office; he dropped out in August and endorsed Joshi.