RACE CALL: N.J. Senate President Steve Sweeney defeated in epic LD3 upset

RACE CALL: N.J. Senate President Steve Sweeney defeated in epic LD3 upset

Remember the name Edward Durr, Save Jerseyans.

A relative political unknown, the unassuming grandfather and truck driver just defeated Senate President Steve Sweeney – one of the state’s most power politicians – after spending $153.

West Deptford’s Sweeney tailed Durr by 2,229 votes on Wednesday afternoon, 51.78% to 48.22% with 100% of precincts reporting in the deep South Jersey district. Republicans with knowledge of LD3 tell me that there aren’t likely enough remaining early vote ballots for Sweeney to make up the gap.

Durr

“Well, I’m a numbers guy and I’ve looked at the numbers over the years,” Durr told conservative interviewer Elizabeth Nader back in August. “We have a district that is 150,00 voters. Senator Sweeney has never broken 32,000 votes [….] and so I felt if he can’t even get half the district, that means there’s numbers out there to be taken, and you just have to get people to come out and vote. I believe if they come out and vote, we could win.”

Durr broke the 32,000 mark by almost 500 votes. 

A long-time chief lieutenant of the South Jersey Democrat Machine, Sweeney’s defeat comes as an epic blow to the once-mighty political organization pioneered by George Norcross III. It also shuffles the balance of power in the State Senate; the likely result – taken together by South Jersey Dem losses in LD2, LD3, LD8 and LD11 – means a North Jersey senate leader for the new legislature.

The soon-to-be-former Senate President’s district has been trending red for some time (it went for Trump twice), but the final straw for district voters appeared to be not only disatisfaction with Joe Biden but also Sweeney’s decision to rubber stamp most of Murphy’s lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sweeney’s running mates also went down in flames; Republicans Beth Sawyer and Patrick McCarthy will join a bouyed GOP Assembly caucus.