'Blue Collar' Truck Driver on Verge of Unseating Leader of Democratic Machine

Edward Durr spent $153 on his campaign

November 3, 2021

A commercial truck driver whose campaign committee spent only $153 is more than 2,000 votes ahead and on the verge of unseating the Democratic New Jersey Senate president. 

Edward Durr, who says he jumped into the race "not seeking power or fame, only give the people better representation," employed no staff for his long-shot campaign, instead relying on family, friends, and grassroots supporters to knock on doors in South Jersey's Third Legislative District. His opponent, Steve Sweeney, is the longest-serving Senate leader in New Jersey history.

"I have lived here all my life. I have been a commercial truck driver for last 25 years. I consider myself to be 'blue collar,'" Durr’s campaign website reads. "I believe in God. I am hard working, trusting, and very loyal. I believe in fiscal responsibility, transparency, and lower taxes. I also support the Second Amendment. I am not a polish politician who is looking for a career; instead, I would like to see government return to the hands of the people."

A Durr victory would dramatically shake up New Jersey politics. Sweeney has been one of the most powerful Democrats in the state for decades. Should he lose his post as Senate president, the New Jersey Democratic power center will shift away from the southern portion of the state—once known for its reliable bloc of unionized, blue collar voters. Former president Donald Trump won the district in 2020.

Sweeney’s campaign revolved around delivering new projects to his constituents from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills. The stalling of those two bills opened Sweeney up to attacks from Durr, who said that Democrats in the state were afraid of debating the issues New Jersey voters care about.

A September campaign ad released on Facebook opens with Durr highlighting the Democrats’ record on handling the coronavirus pandemic and highlighting Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D., N.J.) decision to house sick patients in the state’s nursing homes. Durr’s campaign messaging focused on higher taxes and soaring crime in New Jersey’s cities.

"The Senate president has spent 20 years in Trenton. Higher taxes, increasing debt, and a rising cost of living. We deserve better," Durr says in the video before hopping onto his motorcycle and driving past a "Don’t Tread on Me" flag. 

Of the $153 Durr spent on his moonshot campaign, nearly half went to Dunkin' Donuts.

Published under: New Jersey