(The Center Square) – New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney formally conceded his race in South Jersey’s 3rd District, a shocking turn for one of New Jersey’s most powerful politicians.
Sweeney, D-Gloucester, lost to Republican Edward Durr, a political newcomer. Initial reports indicated Durr spent just $153 on his campaign, but it appears to be higher.
“I of course accept the results. I want to congratulate Mr. Durr and wish him the best of luck,” the Associated Press quoted Sweeney as saying during a speech at the statehouse in Trenton.
“What the voters said in this election is New Jersey is a state filled with hardworking people who want to provide for their families and as leaders we need to speak directly to the concerns of all voters,” Sweeney added, according to the Associated Press. “I plan to keep speaking to those concerns.”
Sweeney has represented the 3rd District since 2002 and served as Senate president since 2010. Durr picked up about 52% of the vote to Sweeney’s 48% – a difference of about 2,200 votes.
“To Senator Sweeney, I congratulate you on a long career,” NBC 10 in Philadelphia quoted Durr as saying in remarks from the Gloucester County GOP headquarters. “Who knows, maybe one day we could have a beer together.”
In a statement, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lauded Sweeney's public service and wished him “nothing but the best as he pivots to the next phase of his career.”
“Senate President Steve Sweeney has had an incredible career, one that is incomparable in state history,” Murphy said. “He has been a partner in the vast majority of the progress we’ve made in the last four years, and without him New Jersey would undoubtedly be a worse place for working families.”