NJ Dem leader refuses to concede to GOP truck driver, says thousands of ballots 'recently found'

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Democratic New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says thousands of “recently found” ballots supports his refusal to concede to a Republican challenger who ran a 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 on Thursday. “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’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the matter, specifically on identifying which South Jersey county recently found the ballots. 

TRENTON, NJ – JANUARY 21:  New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney greets New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prior to being sworn in for his second term on January 21, 2014 at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie begins his second term amid controversy surrounding George Washington Bridge traffic and Hurricane Sandy relief distribution.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Sweeney has been in the state Senate seat in South Jersey’s 3rd district since 2002. 

The Associated Press called the race for Republican truck driver and political newcomer, Edward Durr, Thursday morning, with 100% of precincts reporting at 32,742 votes for Durr to 30,444 for Sweeney. 

By Sunday morning, Sweeney has not conceded. Democratic State Sen. Nicholas Scutari is poised to succeed Sweeney as Senate president, NJ.com reported Friday.  

Durr, 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.”

He made headlines last week for spending only $153 on campaigning, which he pushed back on as only showing data from May or June. 

This image from video provided by Fox News shows Edward Durr, a furniture company truck driver and first-time office holder, as he appeared on Fox News Channel’s "Fox News Primetime" program with guest-host Rachel Campos-Duffy. Durr, a furniture company truck driver and first-time officeholder, defeated longtime state Senate president, Democrat Steve Sweeney, in New Jersey’s 3rd Legislative District, according to results tallied Thursday, Nov 4, 2021. (Fox News Channel’s "Fox News Primetime" via AP)
(Fox News Channel’s "Fox News Primetime" via AP)

“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.

New Jersey’s gubernatorial election last week also saw a surprisingly tight race between Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. Murphy has declared victory, but Ciattarelli has also refused to concede. 

A confident Jack Ciattarelli likes to say that he’s the only New Jersey Republican who can unseat Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy in this November’s election. 

“I don’t want people falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors,” Ciattarelli said in a video last week. “While consideration is paid to any and all credible reports, please don’t believe everything you see or read online.”

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. 

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“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. 

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