News & Politics

Once Upon a Time in New Jersey: Unknown GOP Candidate Unseats Powerful Democratic State Senate President

Once Upon a Time in New Jersey: Unknown GOP Candidate Unseats Powerful Democratic State Senate President
(YouTube screenshot)

Once upon a time, in a far-off country called “New Jersey,” there lived a quiet, unassuming truck driver named Ed Durr. He drove a rig for a local furniture chain, lived in the sleepy town of Swedesboro, and had an interest in politics.

The 58-year-old Durr had a wife, three kids, and by all reports was a Christian and a gentleman.

He had never held elective office before, unsuccessfully running for the New Jersey General Assembly in 2017 and 2019. He ran in the 3rd district against the long-time state Senate President Stephen Sweeney — one of the most powerful politicians in the state.

Ed didn’t have much money to spend. Actually, he didn’t have any money to spend. Some reports said that Ed Durr spent a grand total of $153 dollars on his state Senate campaign — or so the legend goes. As with most fairy tales, the truth was far less colorful but hardly less amazing.


That may be one reason why the headline of Durr apparently spending just $153 on his campaign, according to the Election Law Enforcement Commission, has gotten so much play in the days following the election.

Late Thursday afternoon, an Associated Press report revised that figure to about $2,300, citing ELEC filings.

In Thursday’s on-air interview, Durr said he wanted to “squash” the $153 story, explaining that that was for the primary phase, and in the general election fight against Sweeney, he built up a war chest of donations and personal funds approaching $10,000, spending between $6,000 and $7,000.

Durr says he’s been “blue-collar all my life” and didn’t go to college. “I’ve got a big mouth and I don’t shut up, so let me be that guy who screams and hollers in Trenton,” Durr said. Just what New Jersey needs.

Democrats are asking how this could have happened, but there’s no real mystery. As different as the states of New Jersey and Virginia can be, they share similar concerns about education, the pandemic, and the culture.

New York Times:

His meager campaign included the 80-second campaign video, where he accentuated his working-class roots with an opening scene of his stepping down from his truck cab, and ending with his riding away on a motorcycle. His victory was announced on the same day Mr. Durr was on a shift driving his truck.

The campaign video was shot on his cellphone which gives it a homespun feel.

As is typical with Democrats, Sweeney has yet to concede. In this day and age, if you don’t win by a million votes, the results are questioned and aspersions are cast on the outcome.

But Dur gave a pretty good summation of why he won.

Mr. Durr did not respond to several requests for an interview. But in an impromptu news conference outside of his house on Thursday, Mr. Durr nodded to an electorate he saw as angry.

“It didn’t happen because of me,” he said. “I’m nobody. I’m absolutely nobody. I’m just a simple guy. It was the people. It was a repudiation of the policies that have been forced down their throats.”

Mr. Durr then took his three pit bulls on a walk.

“It was the people…” It seems that the politicians who keep that thought uppermost in their minds generally do well in elections.