“I joked with people and I said, ‘I’m going to shock the world, I’m going to beat this man,.”
In an election full of surprises, perhaps no one has a better story than New Jersey truck driver Ed Durr, an average guy who decided to run for office because he was sick of having what he felt was poor representation.
Durr ran his campaign on a shoestring budget and defeated Steve Sweeney, the sitting president of the New Jersey senate.
Sweeney has led the Senate for 12 years. There was talk he would run for governor in 2025.
The latter might be in jeopardy thanks to Durr:
Durr said Murphy’s coronavirus executive orders, vaccine and school mask mandates, unemployment benefits snafus and a general distrust of South Jersey’s Democratic machine all contributed to his strong performance.
Sweeney, Durr said, “never challenged” Murphy during the pandemic.
“You have the debacle of unemployment. The masking of the kids in school. You have Senator Sweeney trying to take away peoples’ medical freedom rights,” Durr said. “I think the perfect storm was that he stepped into a pile of you-know-what and couldn’t get out of it because he didn’t know which way to turn. I just tapped into the right focus.”
Durr, who considers himself a “constitutional conservative,” said he also sensed a backlash to the influence wielded by South Jersey Democrats, whose cohesion under power broker George Norcross had made them virtually unbeatable — until now.
“Just the constant nepotism, corruption, ‘if you take care of me, I’ll take care of you deals,’” Durr said. “You don’t have evidence, you can’t get anyone arrested or prove anything, but there’s always ‘when there’s smoke there’s fire’ kind of statements.”
! TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Top NJ lawmaker Steve Sweeney defeated by GOP newcomer Edward Durr, who spent just $153 on his campaign.
— Jill Colvin (@colvinj) November 4, 2021
Matt Friedman writes at Politico:
Meet Ed Durr, the candidate who might knock Steve Sweeney out of the Senate
Meet Edward Durr, giant slayer. Maybe.
Durr, a truck driver for the furniture store Raymour & Flanigan, held a roughly 2,000-vote advantage Wednesday morning over Senate President Steve Sweeney, an officer in the Ironworkers union who’s led the upper house for 12 years and is the second most powerful official in New Jersey government.
In a night filled with surprises beyond the razor-thin governor’s race that could remain unresolved for some time, the race in South Jersey’s 3rd Legislative District was the biggest shocker — and one with massive implications for the future of New Jersey politics. The district includes parts of Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem counties.
Even Durr harbored doubts about his chances, and wasn’t ready to declare victory just yet, telling POLITICO he’s “walking on eggshells” until the results are official. It’s not clear how many outstanding ballots remain in the race. But it was looking bleak for Sweeney, who was until recently talked up in Democratic circles as a likely 2025 candidate for governor.
Watch Durr’s campaign ad. You’ll love this guy.
This is the New Jersey truck driver who is beating the NJ Senate President after spending only $153 on his campaign – Go Ed Durr!!
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) November 3, 2021
NJ.com has some background on how Durr entered the race:
“I joked with people and I said, ‘I’m going to shock the world, I’m going to beat this man,’” Durr said Wednesday afternoon. “I was saying it, but really kind of joking. Because what chance did a person like me really stand against this man? He’s literally the second-most powerful person in the state of New Jersey.”
Durr, a lifelong New Jersey resident with three kids and six grandchildren, announced his intentions to challenge Sweeney earlier this year to little fanfare. In fact, a link to his campaign website brings up error codes. Most people outside of South Jersey had never even heard of him.
But on the campaign trail, Durr said Republican Jack Ciattarelli, who’s engaged in his own tight race for the governorship with incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, told reporters Durr was the right man to challenge Sweeney because he is “fearless.”
Ace of Spades says we need ten thousand more like this guy and I agree.
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