A Hamilton school board candidate has dropped from the race after antisemitic comments he made on social media surfaced over the weekend and current board members are calling for his running mates to do the same.
Candidates Monica Quaste and Stacy Byrne are running on a ticket in the Mercer County township titled, “Traditional Education Advocates.”
They had been running with Nicholas Ferrara until he dropped out of the race Saturday, a day after antisemitic comments came to light in several media reports. In a post on Gab from January, he said he was “FOR execution of the marxist/communists jews.”
The watchdog group StopAntisemitism referred to Ferrara as a lunatic whose comments were horrifying on Twitter.
Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin called Ferrara’s comments “vile and disgusting.”
“Hate has no home anywhere but especially not here in Hamilton – home to so many people from different religions, living in harmony with their neighbors,” Martin said. “No one with such hate should serve in any elected capacity.”
Current board members Susan Ferrara (no relation to Nicholas Ferrara) and Susan Lombardo issued a public statement late Monday calling for Quaste and Byrne to also quit the race.
Quaste and Byrne reiterated Tuesday their rebukes of Nicholas Ferrara’s words, and said they are staying in the race.
“Our crime was out of ignorance not malice,” Quaste said in an email to NJ Advance Media, for both candidates. “We are parents not politicians and we learned an important lesson via this process. We rebuked Nick’s ideology and asked him to remove himself and he did.”
“Stacy and I are passionate about education school safety and ensuring the school board is transparent and accountable We will set forth our platform meet with our constituents and allow them the freedom to vote
Susan Ferrara and Lombardo argue that Nicholas Ferrara’s extremism was on full display in 2022 at Hamilton board meetings. He said that sitting board members and teachers were “Marxists, pedophiles and groomers,” and made disparaging remarks about the LGBTQ+ community, the board members said.
All three candidates regularly attend the meetings, and Quaste’s and Byrne’s published comments that they were unaware of Nicholas Farrera’s views are “hollow,” according to Susan Ferrara and Lombardo.
“As board members, we are continually called upon to analyze and consider issues in the interest of others. Mrs. Burns and Mrs. Quaste, take your hollow words and turn them into deeds. Step down with Ferrara. All three of you need to leave the race,” Susan Ferrara and Lombardo said in the letter.
In a Facebook post Friday, Quaste wrote: “I apologize for not vetting my running mate I chose to run on a slate for school board, I trusted we all shared the same values. Sadly this was not the case. I am so sorry for his offensive and repulsive statements they do not reflect my beliefs.”