Conservative truck driver Edward Durr stunned the political world by nearly defeating New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) in the state’s third Senate district on Tuesday, with votes still being counted Wednesday.
At one point, Durr — a complete unknown in politics, who became involved when he was told it was impossible to obtain a concealed carry firearms permit — appeared to overtake Sweeney, forcing a local newspaper to retract its call for Sweeney.
The GOP tide in NJ has the Dem state Senate President, Steve Sweeney (who has also been a '25 Gov prospect), in danger of losing a race that was on **no one's** radar https://t.co/OEFAmg00BO
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) November 3, 2021
Update: With 98% of the vote counted, Republican Senate candidate Edward Durr now leads New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney by roughly 2,000 votes; 32,134 to 30,125. Unclear why/how vote totals didn't change with more votes now in.
— Shlomo Schorr (@OneJerseySchorr) November 3, 2021
Shocked political observers noted that Durr had no campaign website, other than a Facebook page, and appeared to have spent next to nothing in his political race — after opponents spent millions in an attempt to unseat Sweeney in 2017.
Hello NJ, I am Edward Durr, the Republican senate candidate for legislative district 3. I'm a father of 3 & grandfather of 6. Life long resident of NJ. Not seeking power or fame, only give the people better representation. Lower taxes! Transparency! @nj1015 @1210WPHT @GlouCoGOP pic.twitter.com/YiOCzFjtSw
— Edward Durr (@edwarddurr1) July 23, 2021
NJ state senate president gonna lose to some rando who ran no campaign. He has no website, this is from Facebook. pic.twitter.com/Oq4yVlzZcq
— BrianElections (@BrianElections) November 3, 2021
He spent $153 his whole campaign. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/fftRLUbWWd
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) November 3, 2021
In a local media interview that had only 165 views as of Tuesday evening, Durr described his work as a truck driver and his door-to-door campaign, noting that he believed South Jersey voters were frustrated with Sweeney for not representing them.
Sweeney is among the most powerful political leaders in the state, and the “longest-serving state legislative leader” in its history. In July, Sweeney pulled in $750,000 for his re-election campaign in a single night; Durr spent almost nothing.
As of Wednesday morning, Sweeney appeared to have hung on, but results were unclear.
In his first interview after what may turn out to be the biggest upset ever in South Jersey political history, @GOP NJ State Senate candidate Ed Burr says he was told he beat @NJSenatePres Steve Sweeney at 2am then woke up to “well maybe not” @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/6U8UUmIhQB
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) November 3, 2021
Durr, who has run several times for public office in the state, was part of a nationwide swing toward Republicans — including in the gubernatorial race in New Jersey, which Republican Jack Ciattarelli led narrowly as of Wednesday morning after trailing in polls by double digits.
Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s race in Virginia, and voters defeated left-wing candidates and referenda.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.