Two Indian American candidates have overcome bigoted propaganda to win local elections in New Jersey - one of them as the Mayor of Hoboken.
Ravi Bhalla was elected in Tuesday's elections as the first Sikh Mayor of the town that is a suburb of New York City.
A lawyer, who was a member of the city council, Bhalla was the target of an anti-Sikh campaign pamphlet that said "Don't let TERRORISM take over our town!" next to a picture of the turbaned candidate.
Falguni Patel was elected to the Edison Township School Board. She and a Chinese American candidate, Jerry Shi, were targeted in mailings that said that they should both be deported and that "Chinese and Indians are taking over our town".
Bhalla and Patel were born in the United States.
The candidates received wide support and their election rivals condemned bigoted pamphlets.
The pamphlets against Bhalla were sent in the name of a rival candidate, who denied any involvement in it and called for a criminal investigation.
The postcards targeting Patel and Shi were sent anonymously.
This is what political campaigning looks like in Edison, NJ— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) November 2, 2017
"The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town" pic.twitter.com/Pb4VdWzHui
"We won't let hate win," Bhalla tweeted after the pamphlets were circulated.
Many New Jersey Indian Americans are active in politics and have emerged as an influential voting bloc sought after by candidates.
The winner in the governor's race, Democrat Phil Murphy, was a favourite of Indian Americans who held a rally for him on Monday in Edison. He will succeed Chris Christie, a Republican close to President Donald Trump who could not run for re-election as governors are limited to two terms in the state.
MORE VICTORIES for Asian Americans in NEW JERSEY:— hjm (@tosomefortune) November 8, 2017
1st Sikh mayor in Hoboken and entire state (despite being targeted as "terrorist") #RaviBhalla
2 Asian Americans elected to Edison, NJ school board (despite their deportations being called for) #JerryShi #FalguniPatel pic.twitter.com/R07nBy8J8A
Nice work New Jersey. And Virginia. And Seattle. And Hoboken. And Edison. And Prince William County. And Minneapolis. Hey, nice work America— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) November 8, 2017
Every candidate targeted by Republicans in these racist mailers won their elections tonight. Jerry Shi, Falguni Patel, Laura Curran, Hala Ayala. Gives you just a glimmer of hope for America's future. https://t.co/JKlF6EeTOo— Jason Sheltzer (@JSheltzer) November 8, 2017
Several Indian American candidates ran for local offices like school board, local council and borough councils, which are the springboard for higher positions, and many of them won.
The state has only one Indian American in the State Assembly, Raj Mukherji, who was elected in 2014 from Jersey City.
Sikh American Ravi Bhalla won his race for mayor of Hoboken, NJ. Wow, this is AMAZING. Love trumps hate AGAIN. 😭❤️✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/QPzlfb00P8— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) November 8, 2017
This is great!!! CONGRATS— Peter Heacock (@PeteHeacock) November 8, 2017
This Jersey Girl wants to say Congratulations, @ravibhalla ! Hate does not win— Gabrielle Lessard 🗽 (@GabrielleLesard) November 8, 2017
fliers smeared Ravi Bhalla — a Sikh who wears a turban — as a terrorist, but he won the six-way election to be Hoboken’s next mayor anyway https://t.co/pRmOfSJAnO— Filipa Ioannou (@obioannoukenobi) November 8, 2017
Overcoming racism - A play in two acts: pic.twitter.com/LzIQ9ZAcqf— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) November 8, 2017
Thanks for running a campaign rooted in decency and dignity, Ravi. Your inclusiveness and @dawnzimmernj's backing won my vote. Now do our whole city proud. :)— Myles Helfand (@myhelfy) November 8, 2017
Tonight Karma is a transgender woman, a black female Mayor, a turbaned Sikh Mayor, an Asian American elected official, a black LT Governor, a white man who ran on gun control after losing his girlfriend to gun violence. In other words, Karma is American.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) November 8, 2017
For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of— Debbie (@Dangchick1) November 8, 2017
my country. We elected the 1st Trans woman, VA. The 1st Sikh Mayor, NJ. The 1st Lesbian Mayor, Seattle and the 2nd African American to a statewide office in VA. #PeopleAreHungryForChange
Voters today chose— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 8, 2017
-2 new Democratic governors
-2 black lieutenant governors
-2 transgender officials
-A Black Lives Matter lawyer as DA in Philly
-A Sikh mayor in Hoboken
-A socialist in Virginia
-To oust GOP mayor in Atlantic City
-And to expand Medicaid in Maine#280characters
More rejection of Trump‼️👏👏👏— Unite Alberta (@UniteAlbertans) November 8, 2017
Hoboken, New Jersey elects its first Sikh mayor in history
Ravi Bhalla, a city council member, beat five other candidates
He overcame a campaign filled with racist attacks #hobokenmayor #usa #NewJersey @realDonaldTrump #Sikh #DiversityWins pic.twitter.com/DLAbPPmucJ
The beauty of US lies in it's diversity, in it's tolerance and people's acceptance to other cultures.. First #Sikh as a Mayor, first #transgender legislative.... African-American Lt Governor.. pic.twitter.com/2SdSlwsa0E— Dr. Aliya Kareem (@DrAliya7) November 8, 2017
Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel, who were the targets of racist smear tactics, were elected to the Edison, NJ, school board. pic.twitter.com/Auo6kOJTNc— Monique Teal (@TealBomb) November 8, 2017
Really proud of what the people of Virginia, New Jersey, and New York City accomplished today. These elections show: when you mock our values, Americans react. #VoteBlue🇺🇸— Eli Beckman (@elihbeckman) November 8, 2017
Dear @GOP,— Take Ivanka to Work (@IvankaToWorkDay) November 8, 2017
You see what we did tonight? In Virginia? In New Jersey? In Maine?
If you fire or allow Mueller to be fired it will not work out well for you.
The voters control the agenda. We are your bosses.
Deal with it.