New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney conceded his race on Wednesday, acknowledging GOP challenger Edward Durr as one of New Jersey’s newest state senators.
Sweeney’s loss is a major upset for New Jersey Democrats and came amid a groundswell of outrage from parents and others over the inclusion of Critical Race Theory and other progressive ideas and policies in public schools. The swell in GOP support nearly cost the election for Democratic Governor Phil Murphy as well.
“It was a red wave,” Sweeney said at a Wednesday press conference when asked how Durr, a truck driver and political newcomer, beat the second most powerful politician in the state, according to the Associated Press.
“The results of Tuesday’s elections are in. All votes have been fairly counted and I, of course, accept the results. I want to congratulate Mr. Durr and wish him the best of luck,” Sweeney said while delivering prepared remarks. “The people of the third legislative district are the best of New Jersey. It has been an honor and privilege to represent them in the state Senate and to serve as the president of the state Senate.”
“What voters said in this election, New Jersey is a state filled with hard-working people who want to be able to provide for their families. As leaders, we need to speak directly to the concerns of all voters. I plan to keep speaking to those concerns. I plan to remain fully involved in public affairs in New Jersey,” he added.
Durr spent relatively little on his campaign, just $2,300, according to an election document cited by the Associated Press. Sweeney spent roughly $305,000 in his loss to the Republican trucker.
At a press conference, Durr said that he’d had little contact with Sweeney, but had spoken to the Democratic leader on the phone since his concession. As New Jersey’s The Record reported:
Durr, at a news conference in Washington Township, Gloucester County, later Wednesday afternoon, said he and Sweeney had spoken on the phone but didn’t share the details of that conversation.
The senator-elect was complimentary toward the outgoing Senate president, saying Sweeney had earned the right to take his time in conceding. Their political differences, Durr said, do not extend to personal differences.
He said voters clearly responded to him and his positions, but he also saw it as a commentary on how South Jersey feels about the state of the state.
Durr’s win came off a swell of GOP support in New Jersey and Virginia. While the GOP picked up seats in New Jersey’s legislature, Republicans routed Democrats in Virginia, winning all three statewide elections and flipping the state House of Delegates. As The Daily Wire reported:
The Republican Party dominated the blue state of Virginia, where Democrat President Joe Biden won by 10 points just last year, as backlash builds to Biden’s numerous crises and far-left Democrat policies.
The biggest news of the night was that Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who previously served as the state’s governor, with numerous publications calling the race during the early morning hours on Wednesday. Youngkin focused heavily on education and problems with local school boards during his campaign.