Longtime Democratic New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is refusing to concede after thousands of ballots have suddenly appeared which could flip the election in his favor.
The powerful Democrat was defeated by a Republican challenger who made headlines by doing so after running an extremely low-budget campaign.
“The results from Tuesday’s election continue to come in, for instance there were 12,000 ballots recently found in one county,” Sweeney said in an email to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “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 is widely known as the most powerful politician in the state of New Jersey given his lengthy tenure and high ranking position. He has been in the state Senate seat in South Jersey’s 3rd district since 2002.
The Associated Press called the race for Republican challenger and political newcomer, Edward Durr, Thursday morning, with 100% of precincts reporting at 32,742 votes for Durr to 30,444 for Sweeney.
As of Sunday morning, Sweeney has still not conceded. Democratic State Sen. Nicholas Scutari is poised to succeed Sweeney as Senate president, NJ.com reported Friday.
Durr, who works as a Raymour & Flanigan furniture truck driver, ran a campaign based on his conservative and blue collar values.
He ran a low-budget campaign, shooting a campaign video on a smartphone and rarely hitting the trail to meet with voters, CBS New York reported.
“It didn’t happen because of me. I’m nobody. I’m just a simple guy,” Durr said last week of the projected win. “It was a repudiation of the policies that have been forced down our throat, people told they can’t go to school, can’t go shopping. You cannot continue to tell people they can’t do things when we live in the freest country in the world.”
“I want this job. I don’t want all the fame, but I want this job,” Durr said. “I want to be the voice. I want to be somebody who can speak for the people. Because, one, I got a big mouth, so I like to make myself heard.”
It was originally reported that Durr won after spending only $153 on campaigning, but he pushed back that those reports only included data up until May or June.
“You guys go in on the New Jersey Elect, obviously, and you find $153 filed. Well, that was back in May, June. That shows how behind New Jersey government is on keeping things updated,” Durr said.
Still, the Republican candidate seems to have defeated the powerhouse Democrat having only spent a few thousand dollars – in contrast to the more than $1 million spent by the incumbent.
Another case of mysteriously found ballots occurred in a shockingly tight race for the governorship in New Jersey between Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.
Murphy declared victory, but Ciattarelli has refused to concede given the strange nature of Murphy’s overnight surge of votes which bared a striking resemblance to what occurred during the 2020 presidential election when Biden had a suspicious surge of overnight votes added to his tally.
Though the race between Murphy and Ciattarelli was surprisingly tight, strategists and politicians say no other New Jersey race was as surprising as the Durr-Sweeney race.
“No one on God’s earth could have predicted that,” Democratic state Sen. Richard Codey said, according to NJ.com.
“Anyone who said they saw this coming is lying. Even Sweeney’s opponent didn’t see this coming,” Democratic strategist Joshua Henne said of the race.
Author: Blake Poeman