A political mailer attacking a Chinese-American and an Indian-American, both running for the school board in Edison, New Jersey, is being met with outrage — and with suspicion.
What does the mailer say?
- One side of the mailer shows photos of incumbent Jingwei “Jerry” Shi and at-large candidate Falguni Patel with red “DEPORT” stamps under their faces.
- In between their faces is the phrase, "Make Edison Great Again" — a take on Republican President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
- The mailer also asks recipients to stop Shi and Patel from "taking over our school board" and adds, “The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town! Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough!”
- The reverse side shows a red stop sign along with exclamations such as, "Stop taking over our sports fields!" "Stop the multiple families living in the same house!" and "Stop the outsiders!"
Who's behind the mailer?
- That's not yet known. The campaign flier — which arrived in mailboxes Wednesday — doesn't indicate who paid for it, WKXW-FM reported, which is a violation of state election law.
How are people reacting?
- Police in Middlesex County are investigating the incident, News 12 New Jersey said in its video report.
- “I was born and raised in New Jersey," Patel told WKXW. "To see the word ‘deport’ on my picture — where are you going to deport me to? Really, it’s just outrageous.”
- Patel — a Democrat and an immigration lawyer — added to the station: "I’m obviously disgusted by it, to say the least. I didn’t expect anything like that. We live in a such diverse town, it’s very shocking somebody would put that in writing.”
- Over 45 percent of Edison's 100,000 residents were born overseas, the WXKW added. The township is about 36 miles south of New York City.
- Democratic Mayor Tom Lankey, who's also running in the Nov. 7 general election, called the mailer "despicable" and "racist."
- "It has become a sad reality that in our polarized political atmosphere, some people suddenly feel empowered to publicly express these vile nativist ideas," he added in his statement to TheBlaze. "Make no mistake, we will do everything we can to expose the shameful people behind this."
What are the suspicions about the campaign mailer?
- Republican mayoral candidate Keith Hahn — who called the mailer "disgraceful and offensive" and promised to "track down the anonymous cowards" behind it — on Thursday told TheBlaze that no white Edison residents he's spoken to about the mailer have received it.
- He added to TheBlaze that of the roughly 100 people he's spoken to about the mailer, about 15 are of Indian or Chinese descent — and they all received it.
- Hahn also said the mailer seems "definitely targeted to the minority community" and is meant to "cause racial divide before the election."
- A Lankey spokeswoman on Thursday didn't immediately reply to TheBlaze regarding if the mayor knows of any white Edison residents who received the mailer.