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Asian-American Candidates Targeted by Racist Flyers Win Elections

Ravi Bhalla, Jerry Shi, and Falguni Patel all won elections in New Jersey after they were targeted by racist flyers.

by Charles Lam and Associated Press /
Residents of Edison, New Jersey received a flyer targeting two Asian-American candidates for school board in the mail this week.NBC News

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Three Asian-American candidates targeted by racist campaign attacks have won New Jersey elections, including one who will become Hoboken's first Sikh mayor.

Ravi Bhalla was elected mayor on Tuesday, and Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel won seats on the school board in Edison.

Bhalla had been the subject of anonymously distributed flyers that labeled him a terrorist. The flyers featured a picture of Bhalla with the message: "Don't let TERRORISM take over our Town!" The Indian-American politician called the flyers troubling in a Twitter post but said, "we won't let hate win."

The Hoboken Police Department said Sunday it was investigating the flyers as a possible bias crime.

Shi and Patel were targeted by mailers that read "Make Edison Great Again" and "the Chinese and Indians are taking over our town." It called for the candidates to be deported.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Patel has said she was appalled by the flyer’s content. “I was born and raised in New Jersey,” she said. “To see the word ‘deport’ on my picture ... really it’s just outrageous.”

Because the flyers were sent anonymously and do not indicate who paid for them, they violate New Jersey law, according to a spokesperson for the office of the New Jersey Secretary of State.

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