Republican Ed Durr to defeat New Jersey Senate Speaker, CNN Projects

Sweeney, the longest-serving state Senate speaker in New Jersey history, had been seen as the frontrunner to win the South Jersey seat he was first elected to in 2001.

His ouster at the hands of a Republican who, along with the other two GOP candidates on his list, passed – from 11 days before the election – less than $ 2,500, underlines the depth of the voter revolt on election day against the main democrats. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who was to easily win a second term, was pushed back by his GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli by just around two percentage points.
Durr in his campaign video threw out Sweeney as a rubber stamp for Murphy, claiming he “sat down and watched” as Murphy mismanaged the Covid-19 pandemic. Durr also criticized the state’s tax policies, a key part of Ciattarelli’s campaign message.

“The Speaker of the Senate spent 20 years in Trenton,” Durr says in the clip, which begins with his exit from the cab of a truck and ends with his exit on a motorcycle. “Higher taxes, growing debt and a rising cost of living – we deserve better. New Jersey, it’s time for a change. So together, let’s end the one-party regime.

Sweeney, who has fended off better organized and heavily funded challengers in the past, has yet to concede the race.

Despite the Republicans’ surprise victory, the New Jersey legislature will remain under Democratic control. But the backlash in New Jersey and Virginia, where Democrats lost the governor’s mansion and full control of the House of Delegates, sent shockwaves across the country.

Democrats who are already expecting a tough midterm election season in 2022 are now scrambling to craft a message to protect the party’s fragile majorities in Congress.

Asked in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday the night after the election what his priority was when he arrived at the State Capitol, Durr vowed to be a “voice for the people” but lacked details .

“I really don’t know. That’s the key factor. I don’t know what I don’t know, so I’ll learn what I need to know,” Durr said. “I’ll guarantee you one thing: I’ll be the voice, and people will hear me, because if there’s one thing people will learn about me, I have a big mouth.”

This story was updated with additional details on Friday.

CNN’s Jennifier Agiesta and Chris Cillizza contributed to this report.

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