A commercial truck driver from South New Jersey defeated the state’s longest-serving Senate president in a long-shot victory on Tuesday.

Republica challenger Edward Durr, a commercial truck driver from Gloucester County, defeated Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney by more than 2,200 votes in New Jersey’s 3rd District.
The loss by one of New Jersey’s most powerful politicians will result in upheaval of political power in the state, forcing the Senate to find a new president. Sweeney has been the chamber’s leader since 2010.

Just four years ago, Sweeney won reelection in what at the time may have been the most expensive legislative race in American history.

Durr said he entered the race after being denied a concealed carry permit despite having a clean record.

A post-election campaign finance report shows a slate of three local candidates, including Durr, spent a little over $2,300 in the past year. When interviewed by national media, Durr said he had also spent about $5,000 of his own money.

“Well, I’m a numbers guy and I’ve looked at the numbers over the years,” Durr said in an August interview with conservative commentator Elizabeth Nader. “We have a district that is 150,000 voters. Senator Sweeney has never broken 32,000 votes, and so I felt if he can’t even get half the district, that means there’s numbers out there to be taken, and you just have to get people to come out and vote. I believe if they come out and vote, we could win,” Durr said.

Durr promises lower property taxes and the creation of a “friendly business environment.” When it come to the Second Amendment, he states on his website that “any law or regulation by a state is a violation.”

He also believes that “abortion is wrong and should be stopped” but suggests that so-called heartbeat bills, which restrict abortions to early on in a pregnancy, often before someone know they’re pregnant, offer “a path to a compromise” with Democrats. 

“Not everybody has to have a lot money to run. All they have to do is have a heart for the people, and he’s got a heart for the working people,” his mother Gloria Durr, told a local tv station on Wednesday. She also shared that her husband of 63 years, Edward Durr Sr., died just two weeks ago and that her son, despite being on the campaign trail, “was right there by his dad’s side throughout.”

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