NJ senate president claims ballots have APPEARED in race with trucker who spent $153 on campaign

A Republican truck driver who spent just $153 on his campaign and ran for office after he was denied a gun permit secured a stunning victory against the longest-serving legislative leader in New Jersey history in the state’s elections – but the loser is disputing the results and claims more ballots were ‘found’ on Thursday.

The election was held on Tuesday but Associated Press only called the race today after 100 percent of precincts had reported.

Underdog GOP candidate Ed Durr delivered a humiliating defeat to Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney in South New Jersey’s 3rd Legislative District by a razor thin margin of 52 percent of the vote to 48.

It’s another embarrassing upset for the Democrats after they lost the Virginia gubernatorial election, struggled in the race for New Jersey governor and were swept by a red wave in Long Island, New York.  

But two days after voters cast their ballots, Sweeney said the race still isn’t over and he’s not conceding. That’s despite the Associated Press indicating that every precinct in the legislative district has already finished reporting.  

‘The results from Tuesday’s election continue to come in, for instance there were 12,000 ballots recently found in one county,’ the veteran lawmaker told Politico. 

‘While I am currently trailing in the race, we want to make sure every vote is counted. Our voters deserve that, and we will wait for the final results.’ 

Sweeney claimed more ballots were 'found' in the local race, despite AP reporting that all the precincts in New Jersey's Legislative District 3 had turned in their results

Sweeney claimed more ballots were 'found' in the local race, despite AP reporting that all the precincts in New Jersey's Legislative District 3 had turned in their results

Sweeney claimed more ballots were ‘found’ in the local race, despite AP reporting that all the precincts in New Jersey’s Legislative District 3 had turned in their results

Durr was seen speaking to media on Thursday near his home in Swedesboro, New Jersey

Durr was seen speaking to media on Thursday near his home in Swedesboro, New Jersey

Durr was seen speaking to media on Thursday near his home in Swedesboro, New Jersey

Nationwide, Americans are indicating that they’re unhappy with rising inflation and the state of the economy – and how Democrats are handling them.

On Fox News last night Durr said he didn’t even have any plans for when he gets to the state capital of Trenton.

‘I really don’t know,’ he said when asked about what he’ll do his first day.

‘That’s the key factor. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I will learn what I need to know, and 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.’  

Durr, 58, is employed as a truck driver for furniture store Raymour & Flanigan. He grew up in South Jersey and has three children and six grandchildren. 

Out of the $153, he spent $66.64 at Dunkin Donuts to buy food and drinks for his ‘staff’ and $86.67 for flyers and business cards.  

Durr posted a photo of himself to social media going to vote on Tuesday, before his surprise victory

Durr posted a photo of himself to social media going to vote on Tuesday, before his surprise victory

Durr posted a photo of himself to social media going to vote on Tuesday, before his surprise victory

The 58-year-old truck driver appears to have shot his campaign video with very little assistance

The 58-year-old truck driver appears to have shot his campaign video with very little assistance

The 58-year-old truck driver appears to have shot his campaign video with very little assistance

He’s never held elected office but said in a past interview that he was spurred to run in his blue collar and predominantly white area by being unable to get a concealed carry permit.

The trucker launched a failed bid for New Jersey’s lower house in 2019. 

But now for the first time since 2002, his legislative district will be represented by a pro-Second Amendment conservative Republican, rather than a Democrat who once reportedly called New Jersey’s former GOP Governor Chris Christie a ‘rotten bastard.’ 

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state

Durr’s campaign video, which he appears to have shot himself, paints Sweeney as complacent to Governor Murphy’s actions leading the state through the COVID-19 pandemic and its high property taxes.

‘In 2020, my opponent sat by and watched as Governor Murphy forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients, resulting in the death of over 8,000 of our seniors,’ Durr says while walking through a cemetery in broad daylight.

‘He remained silent as Governor Murphy, with his lockdown and mandates, forced the closing of over one third of our small businesses costing New Jersey families thousands of jobs.’ 

‘He has done nothing, as seven out of every ten moves are leaving the state, placing a heavier burden on those of us who remain. The Senate president has spent 20 years in Trenton – higher taxes, increasing debt and a rising cost of living. We deserve better. New Jersey, it’s time for a change.’

Durr described himself to Politico as a ‘constitutional conservative’ who has backed cutting an array of different taxes for ‘businesses to grow’ and supports federal legislation to ban abortion. 

Sweeney, an Ironworks union official and one of the most powerful politicians in the state, has been a state senator for nearly two decades. He became Senate President in 2010.

He was also floated as a possible 2024 gubernatorial candidate, before facing a possible loss now.

But it appears now that Sweeney – who spent millions in 2017 on one of the most expensive state legislative races in US history – was bested by a trucker who only spent about $153 to try and unseat him.

Sweeney’s defeat is part of a wider rebellion of suburban and working-class Americans against Democrats. The incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy just barely crawled to victory ahead of his Republican challenger in a race that polls had indicated would be a blue landslide.

Durr barely campaigned for his stunning victory over a powerful New Jersey career politician

Durr barely campaigned for his stunning victory over a powerful New Jersey career politician

Durr barely campaigned for his stunning victory over a powerful New Jersey career politician

Durr was asked what he'd do on his first day in office and he said he doesn't know

Durr was asked what he'd do on his first day in office and he said he doesn't know

Durr was asked what he’d do on his first day in office and he said he doesn’t know

Durr's winning campaign is emblematic of Americans' nationwide dissatisfaction with Democrats

Durr's winning campaign is emblematic of Americans' nationwide dissatisfaction with Democrats

Durr’s winning campaign is emblematic of Americans’ nationwide dissatisfaction with Democrats 

Nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is fading as a top concern of voters and being replaced by the economy and rising inflation, a troubling sign for Biden and Democrats heading into the midterm elections.

Just 12 percent of adults rated health issues like the coronavirus as a top national priority, down from 20 percent in February, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found for October.

Meantime, two-thirds of the country, including the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents, say that ‘inflation is a very big concern for me.’

The job market is also being closed watched as the poll found that 73% of adults want political leaders to focus on jobs and economic growth.

Democrats, meanwhile, are showing signs of panic and asking Biden to deal with this quality of life issues affecting voters.

‘We were so willing to take seriously a global pandemic, but we’re not willing to say, ‘Yeah, inflation is a problem, and supply chain is a problem, and we don’t have enough workers in our work force,’ Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia told The New York Times. ‘We gloss over that and only like to admit to problems in spaces we dominate.’

She also said Biden needs to reminder why voters put him in the Oval Office.

‘Nobody elected him to be F.D.R., they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos,’ she said, referring to the sweeping net of social programs Biden is seeking to make into law. 

Unexpected outcomes across local and state New Jersey races have forced the state’s Senate Democrats to postpone a leadership conference – until after they can figure out who survived the competition.

‘Due to the closeness of several State Senate elections, the leadership caucus scheduled for tomorrow will be delayed,’ Sweeney had announced in a statement. ‘The caucus will be rescheduled once the result of every Senate election is determined. 

Defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli has run a surprisingly competitive race against the incumbent governor

Defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli has run a surprisingly competitive race against the incumbent governor

Democrat Governor Phil Murphy was expected to easily win re-election but only barely crawled to victory

Democrat Governor Phil Murphy was expected to easily win re-election but only barely crawled to victory

Defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli ran a surprisingly competitive race against incumbent Governor Phil Murphy

New Jersey state Senate Democrats will now be forced to pick a new leader. 

It can even be seen in Virginia, where Republican first-time candidate Glenn Youngkin won the gubernatorial race against a former governor, Democratic powerhouse Terry McAuliffe. 

Newly-minted state Senator-elect Durr’s also advocated for lowering the state’s property taxes – the highest in the nation – which is also a frequent issue brought into the race by Murphy’s challenger for governor, former state lawmaker Jack Ciattarelli.

Murphy has never sought to defend himself against the accusation, instead choosing to point out the quality of education, healthcare and other civil services those taxes can afford. 

It may be why he and other Democrats were in tight spots on Tuesday.

Durr told Politico he picked up on feelings of discontent and distrust among South Jersians with the way Democrats were running the state.

‘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.’

At least one veteran Democrat operative agrees that his party appears to have gone off track with American voters.

Political strategist James Carville blamed Democrats’ losses on Tuesday on ‘stupid wokeness’ in a PBS interview.

‘What went wrong is just stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington,’ Carville said as he ticked off election results in an appearance on PBS News Hour.

Democratic strategist tore into 'stupid wokeness' and said it was causing a backlash that was suppressing the Democratic vote, after the party suffered a range of losses Tuesday

Democratic strategist tore into 'stupid wokeness' and said it was causing a backlash that was suppressing the Democratic vote, after the party suffered a range of losses Tuesday

Democratic strategist tore into ‘stupid wokeness’ and said it was causing a backlash that was suppressing the Democratic vote, after the party suffered a range of losses Tuesday

There were echoes of Carville's critique in comments by Sen. Joe Manchin Thursday, when he called the US a 'center-right' country

There were echoes of Carville's critique in comments by Sen. Joe Manchin Thursday, when he called the US a 'center-right' country

There were echoes of Carville’s critique in comments by Sen. Joe Manchin Thursday, when he called the US a ‘center-right’ country

‘I mean, this “defund the police” lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools. I mean that — people see that,’ he said.

Carville, who boosted Clinton with his ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ mantra, weighed in even as ‘squad’ member Rep. Ilhan Omar retweeted a message saying progressives would get blamed for McAuliffe’s loss, suggesting he didn’t run left enough.

There were echoes of Carville’s critique in comments by Sen. Joe Manchin Thursday, although Manchin spoke to economic issues.

Manchin claimed the US is a ‘center-right’ country and that President Biden should give up on trying to get the kind of ‘major legislation’ done that passed under Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. 

‘We can’t go too far left,’ the West Virginia Democrat told CNN from Capitol Hill on Thursday. ‘This is not a center-left or a left country. We are a center — if anything, a little center-right country, that’s being shown — and we ought to be able to recognize that.’

‘You wanna know what’s wrong with the place? I go to work in a hostile work environment every day,’ he inveighed, after becoming a center of attention as one of two Democrats in the Senate holding up Biden’s economic agenda and demanding changes.

‘If you’re a Democrat and a Republican is up for election, you’re supposed to be against that person,’ even if their opponent is ‘Donald Duck,’ he complained.

‘I just saw it to confirm that we have a divided country … I hope it’s a wake-up call for all of us,’ the West Virginia Democrat told Fox News’ Special Report’s Bret Baier about the election results on Wednesday.

But progressives have been singing the opposite tune. Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said her party’s election night upset – specifically in Virginia – is the fault of moderates who failed to get progressives to vote. 

The lawmaker took to her Instagram stories to discuss Democrats’ losing the governorship of Virginia – a state Biden won by 10 points in the 2020 election. 

She called the loss a ‘bummer’ but blamed it on moderate candidate Terry McAuliffe for failing to ‘energize’ progressives to come on Election Day.  

Progressives claim the loss is a sign they need to speed up passage of Biden’s $1.75 trillion social agenda while moderates are asking the president to focus on the econony and jobs, arguing Democrats missed the message voters were sending.

Ocasio-Cortez also brought up the race issue, saying McAuliffe didn’t handle ‘race baiting’ from Republicans well – a likely reference to Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin attack ads on the use of Critical Race Theory in schools and how he took advantage of a McAuliffe faux pas, where the Democratic candidate rejected the idea that parents should have more control in a child’s education.

‘Historically moderate Democrats have believed the best way to respond to race baiting by the right is to say little/nothing,’ Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an Instagram stories Q&A. ‘We see how that demoralizes the base you’re supposed to protect and turn out while also ceeding white swing voters to the right w/ inadequate responses or silence.’

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