Shariq Ahmad, who was a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and a chief-of-staff to Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, has recently become chairman of the Edison Democratic Organization.
“We’d been trying to get him to come back home from DC for a while, but he seemed to enjoy being down there in the Senate. He’s a very talented guy, and now that we have him back, I’m proud that he’s on my team,” Karabinchak told the Observer.
In an agonizing duel to rule Edison, one fraught with history, fractious fighting, incredibly strange bedfellows, and ultimately revenge, Shariq Ahmad prevailed at the Pines Manor last week by turning out incumbent Keith Hahn for the chairmanship of the local Democratic Committee. Hahn lost to Ahmad by one vote.
The final was 71-70 Ahmad, as the sitting chairman failed to diffuse an insurrection by minority members of the committee, which came tinged with the byzantine bloom of establishment politics – and the fierce resurrection of a local political animal.
Ahmad serves as the chief of staff to Assemblyman Robert Karibinchak (D-18), who got to the statehouse in part politically owing to a deal Hahn cut with the Middlesex Democratic Committee, presumably to keep his chairmanship, with his further support sealed for incumbent Mayor Tom Lankey. The surfacing of a warpaint-wearing Ahmad as an 11th hour challenger infuriated Hahn fans, who feared the complicity of the Middlesex Democratic Party brain trust and a quiet tomahawking of their chief.
Phil Murphy for Governor had strong ties to Ahmad, while Hahn was an early backer of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulup for Governor. Dogged by years of headline headaches concerning ranks that often blocked out minority leadership, the establishment found itself with a unique opportunity to gong that narrative while simultaneously off-loading wild man Hahn.
“I always knew from when I first came in that I was going to be a transitional guy. I think the party will be in good hands with Shariq moving forward,” Hahn told MyCentralJersey.com. “He has a great relationship with the Mayor and Council and we are happy he came home to serve the residents of the 18th District,” Hahn said to the Observer.
“I’m excited, I want to do what I can to bring the different leaders in Edison together and I think I am uniquely positioned to do that because I have a good working relationship with people on all sides,” Ahmad told MyCentralJersey.com. “I aim to help heal some of the wounds that have opened over the last few years,” he said to nj.com.