State Watch

Longtime NJ Senate president defeated by political rookie

The longtime, powerful state Senate president in New Jersey was defeated in his re-election campaign by a little-known GOP candidate whose campaign finance reports indicate he spent just $153 as of the last 11 days of the election.

Steve Sweeney, who has held his South Jersey state Senate seat for nearly two decades, was beaten by Edward Durr, a 58-year old political newcomer by 2,200 votes out of approximately 62,000 ballots cast in the state’s third legislative district, the Associated Press projected Thursday morning, according to

The defeat marks one of the most shocking Election Day upsets. It also comes on the heels of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) re-election which saw a much closer-than-expected margin in the reliably blue state that President Biden won by double-digits.

Durr’s campaign finance reports indicate he spent just $153 in the 11 days before Election Day. A report posted on the state election’s website Thursday shows he spent more than $2,000 in the week before Election Day mostly on handouts, flyers and yard signs.


Sweeney, the second most powerful state lawmaker after the governor, has yet to address the public since Election Day.

Durr has never held a public office but he previously ran and lost a race for the state assembly in 2019, according to He has lived in New Jersey all his life and worked as a truck driver for the past 25 years. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the races involving Sweeney’s assembly running mates were too close to call as of early Thursday, showing even more the neck-and-neck nature of the supposedly-surefire win Democrats expected in the Garden State.

Durr told on Wednesday that running against Sweeney was a bit of a “joke” to him, reiterating that Sweeney is the second-most powerful lawmaker in New Jersey. 

Durr added that Sweeney’s “power” and “clout” didn’t scare him. 

Durr had gone door-to-door during his campaign in South Jersey, introducing himself to neighbors and has said that he thinks of himself as a “simple man” who rides a Harley, walks his dogs, loves the Philadelphia Eagles, and wants to bring everyday people back to state politics.

Tags Chris Christie Edward Durr Gov Phil Murphy Gov. Phil Murphy Joe Biden New Jersey election New Jersey politics Philadelphia South Jersey Steve Sweeney Steve Sweeney Trenton Trenton Trenton, New Jersey

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