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​​NJ Senate president Sweeney concedes in dramatic upset

The Hill logo The Hill 11/10/2021 Caroline Vakil
​​NJ Senate president Sweeney concedes in dramatic upset © New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney's twitter page ​​NJ Senate president Sweeney concedes in dramatic upset

New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) on Wednesday conceded victory to his Republican challenger Edward Durr, a political newcomer who only spent about $2,000 dollars on his campaign.

"The results of Tuesday's election are in. All votes have been fairly counted. And I, of course, accept the results," a somber Sweeney said during a news conference.

"I want to congratulate Mr. Durr and wish him the best of luck. The people in the third legislative district are the best in New Jersey. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent them in the state Senate and to serve as the president of the state Senate," he continued.

Sweeney's comment came after one of the biggest political upsets during last week's elections. Sweeney lost his seat to Durr, 58, who had previously never held a public office. He had only made one failed bid at a 2019 state assembly race previously.

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The race results for Sweeney were all the more surprising considering campaign filings that showed Durr had only spent a collective $2,300 on the campaign one week before the election. The spending number is small for a political office bid.

The results also illustrate the extent to which Democrats suffered losses in the off-year elections.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) barely eked out a win last week against his Republican challenger, and said earlier this week that the weak performance demonstrated that "there's a lot of hurt out there."

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe was unsuccessful in taking back his old seat as governor of the commonwealth despite campaigning with high-profile Democrats like President Biden. Virginia Democrats also lost the majority in the state House.


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