Prasad Election Flier Causes Stir Among Democrats

Prasad flier

This flier, distributed by Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad, was purportedly paid for by Somerset County Democrats. In reality, it was not.

A political flier distributed by Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large) is causing consternation in Democratic Party circles here and in the county.

The flier, copied on blue paper and delivered to homes in the township, asks voters to support the Democratic slates at the township, county and state level.

Prasad is running for re-election to his council seat.

The flier also “recommends” that voters support three candidates for the Board of Education.

The latter recommendation is odd because partisan political candidates generally do not become publicly involved in non-partisan races, such as for school boards.

Perhaps most problematic about the flier is the “paid by” disclaimer. It reads, “Paid for by Somerset County Democratic Committee.”

In reality, the county Democratic Party did not pay for the flier. According to its chairwoman, the party didn’t even know it was being created.

“I didn’t see it until recently,” said Peg Schaffer, the county chairwoman. “My understanding is it resulted from somebody asking one of our elected officials in Franklin who they would vote for. He wrote the names out for them, somebody got this printed. It has since been destroyed.”

Schaffer said there’s “nothing wrong” with partisan political committees becoming involved in non-partisan elections, but, she said, “the Somerset County Democratic Organization, as a matter of policy, we have our hands full dealing with partisan elections, let alone non-partisan elections.”

Township Democratic Party chairman Joe Danielsen – also a state Assemblyman running for election and one of the candidates the flier supports – said in an email that Prasad “acted alone and without any discussion involving me or Peg Schaffer; thus without authorization to do so.”

Prasad’s intent was not malicious, Danielsen wrote, “rather his enthusiasm got the best of him in this matter. Mr. Prasad was communicated with and given an order to stop and withdraw all printed material. Why these flyers continue to be received is beyond my knowledge.”

“It is the standing policy of our organizations not to be involved with Board of Education elections,” Danielsen wrote. “Mr. Prasad’s flyer is contrary to our practice and our policy, which is to keep the BOE elections non-partisan.”

Prasad did not respond to a request to comment.

This is the second time in this political season that Prasad has caused headaches for township Democrats. Earlier this summer, Prasad caused a firestorm after he charged that opposition to Catalpa Park was race-based, and asked Police Chief Lawrence Roberts to ask the FBI to investigate the creator of a Facebook page against the park.

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