The Most Incredible Election Win Didn't Happen in Virginia

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Posted: Nov 04, 2021 7:00 AM
The Most Incredible Election Win Didn't Happen in Virginia

Source: AP Photo/Mel Evans, File

A great deal of media attention on Wednesday focused on Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin’s win and the many down ballot races in both Virginia, New Jersey, and elsewhere that Republicans swept. But the best story by far is the upset that happened in New Jersey’s District 3. As Townhall reported Wednesday, Edward Durr, a GOP truck driver who had a shoestring budget, was on the verge of taking out Steve Sweeney, the longest-serving president of the state Senate in New Jersey's history.

Durr’s incredible victory was also part of an overall sweep in District 3, with Bethanne McCarthy and Beth Sawyer also flipping the district’s Assembly seats.

“If last night’s outcome in Virginia was an upset of monumental proportions, the result in New Jersey’s Legislative District 3 is a political earthquake,” RSLC Deputy Executive Director Edith Jorge-Tuñón said in a statement. “Steve Sweeney has spent the last decade leading the effort to make New Jersey the most taxed state in the nation -- his defeat displays how Garden State voters have rejected the socialist policies coming out of Democrat-controlled Trenton and are hungry for fiscal sanity once again. Congratulations to Edward Durr, Bethanne McCarthy and Beth Sawyer on this stunning sweep.” 

The Philadelphia Inquirer explained how Sweeney defeat "would have outsize ramifications.”

His loss to Edward R. Durr, 58, a truck driver who has never held office, would likely usher in major changes in the statehouse. Just about every major legislative initiative over the course of Phil Murphy’s and Chris Christie’s governorships required Sweeney’s assent. […]

Having served as Senate president since 2010, Sweeney has helped guide policy-making on everything from economic development in South Jersey to the state’s retirement plans for public workers to the appointment of scores of judges and executive-branch officials.

“There’s a delicate balance of power between North Jersey and South Jersey, and all the various political fiefdoms within,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship at Rowan University in Glassboro.

“Because it’s such a delicate balance of power, taking him out of the equation upends everything,” Dworkin said. “He effectively was the king of the Senate. When the king is gone, lots of people think they can be king. Right now there’ll be intense positioning for how the legislative leadership is going to look moving forward.”

Sweeney and his Assembly running mates had spent more than $1 million as of late October, records show.

Durr, of Logan Township, and his running mates raised just $10,460, according to an Oct. 27 campaign finance report. By contrast, when New Jersey’s largest teachers’ union sought to unseat Sweeney in 2017, it spent about $5 million, and he still won by 18 points. (The Philadelphia Inquirer

Speaking to "Fox News Primetime," Durr noted that his victory is one by the people, not him.

"I didn’t beat him. We beat him," Durr said. "The state of New Jersey, the people of New Jersey beat him. They listened to what I had to say and I listened to what they had to say, and it’s a repudiation of Governor Murphy [who] went and locked us down and ignored the people’s voice and senator Sweeney chose to do nothing for those 18 months."

He also vowed to continue being a voice for the people. 

"I’m going to guarantee one thing. I will be the voice and people will hear me because if there is one thing people will learn about me, I got a big mouth and I don’t shut up when I want to be heard. I’m going to be heard," he said.

Durr reportedly spent less than $5,000 on his campaign and said his campaign ad was filmed on an iPhone.

Update: This post has been edited to remove a paragraph about the race not being called yet, despite all expected votes in. Sweeney's defeat is now official. 

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