Political newcomer Edward Durr unseats longtime state Sen. Steve Sweeney
A political newcomer has defeated New Jersey’s longtime state Senate president.
Republican Edward Durr defeated Democratic state Sen. Steve Sweeney in the District 3 state Senate race.
Durr is a truck driver from Repaupo, an unincorporated community located within Logan Township. He was born and raised in Gloucester City. He agreed to speak with News 12 New Jersey only after had had a chance to take two of his dogs – Lexi and Apollo – out for a walk.
News 12 asked him how he reeled in the voters to defeat Sweeney.
“Because I listened to them, something our legislators decided not to do,” Durr says. I went and knocked on doors and listened to the people.”
Durr won with just 2,000 more votes than Sweeney – 52% to 48% of the vote.
Durr spent between $5,000 and $10,000 on the campaign. He says that it's virtually nothing compared with other campaigns.
He is a truck driver for Raymour & Flanigan. He is married with three kids and six grandchildren. He says that recently, due to financial reasons, he saw two of his brothers move out of New Jersey.
“I’ve love to see homeowners come back to New Jersey instead of leaving. Seven out of 10 moves are out of New Jersey. Why? Families getting separated. My own brother moved out of New Jersey,” says Durr.
As for Sweeney, the state Senate president says that he is not conceding.
"The results from Tuesday's election continue to come in, for instance, there were 12,000 ballots recently found in one county. While I am currently trailing in the race, we want to make sure every vote is counted. Our voters deserve that, and we will wait for the final results,” Sweeney said in a statement.
Sweeney has been the state Senate president since 2010, commanding votes for years in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.
It is a big loss for the Democratic party, according to political analysts Ashley Koening. She says that Sweeney had long been considered a candidate for governor.
“There were rumors of a 2025 run. There were rumors of a 2017 run,’ Koening says.
Koening says that District 3 wanted change and that Durr tapped into something. She says he also benefited from the party ticket. Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli took Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties as well.
"When it comes to the angst and frustration with the pandemic, economy jobs and taxes. That's what he homed in on,” she says.
Durr says that it was his neighbors who made a statement.
"They sent a message loud and clear to all of New Jersey. You get out and vote, you can make a change,” he says.
Republicans had said if they could increase voter turnout, they could win this year. As Sweeney waits on votes it's not clear how many provisional and mail in ballots need to be counted.