In Off-the-Rails Edison, Hahn Must Defend His Chairmanship Against Ahmad

A weird, shambolic political crisis in Edison will come to a head on Monday evening when Shariq Ahmad, chief of staff to


Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18) (pictured), challenges incumbent local Democratic Committee Chairman Keith Hahn for the political leadership post.

There are 140 odd committee votes at stake.

Many minority members of the committee are irritated at Hahn, but the irony of Ahmad challenging Hahn goes back to before the the local chairman supporting Karabinchak for assembly.  When the seat became available in 2015, several insiders in Edison believed Hahn would support the insurgent candidacy of Councilman Bob Diehl, because it was the deal cut with Diehl – and minority members of the county committee – that landed Hahn the party chairmanship over the longstanding alliance of the late Doc Paterniti and Anthony Russomano.

Hahn shocked the party when he beat Paterniti’s hand-picked successor to serve as chairman, and pledged newfound relevance to those South Asian committee members at the local level who backed him.

But the cop turned local party pooh-bah later signaled his willingness to make nice with the Middlesex Democratic Committee, which in turn made overtures to empowering minorities when it reached for the county’s first Muslim to serve as freeholder – when he embraced their candidate – Karabinchak to serve as the assembly replacement of South Plainfield lawmaker Pat Diegnan.

At the time, the optics of the deal for Digenan (senate) and Karabinchak (assembly) suggested that Hahn backed Karabinchak in exchange for the county committee backing his return to the chairmanship post June 6th.

So now here we are, and whatever the intentions of the county committee that welcomed Hahn’s support of their guy for the assembly seat – it’s Karabinchak’s chief-of-staff – one of the only South Asian chiefs in the history of the New Jersey Legislature – who’s apparently gone off the reservation and challenged Hahn with an outraged minority sector of the organization behind him. Sources say Hahn foes were wounded when he dumped an African American member,and  ran against a Chinese American. There are also numerous questions concerning quashed petition signatures for insurgent county committee seats.

But numerous sources say they would be surprised if Ahmad has the votes to off Hahn.

Hahn, sources say, likes “the kid.”


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