A New Jersey truck driver who caused the biggest upset of Tuesday’s election by ousting the longest-serving legislative leader in the Garden State has a history of tweeting intense Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-Semitic content, it has emerged.
Durr barely campaigned for his stunning victory over a powerful New Jersey career politician
Edward Durr, a 58-year-old Republican, claimed to have spent only $153 on his campaign – although finance records show he spent a still-modest $2,200 to defeat Steve Sweeney.
Sweeney, a Democrat who has held the post of State Senate president since 2010, spent $490,000 on the race.
The race was called for Durr on Thursday by The Associated Press, although Sweeney has yet to concede.
On Thursday evening, NJ.com was first to report that Durr – who was not vetted by the Republican Party – has a history of extreme and offensive tweets.
In August 2017, following the murder of a counter-protestor at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, with neo-Nazis chanting ‘Jews will not replace us,’ Durr echoed then-President Donald Trump in saying both the white supremacists and counter-protestors were equally at fault.
Durr was seen speaking to media on Thursday near his home in Swedesboro, New Jersey
‘Yes, thugs in Charlottesville on both sides. Neo-Nazi & White supremacist….and on left BLM and Antifa,’ he tweeted, adding the hashtag: ‘#HateisHate’.
The same month, when WikiLeaks whistleblower and transgender activist Chelsea Manning tweeted: ‘Imagine a world without prisons…’, Durr responded with transgender abuse.
‘Of course the she/him s*** wants no prisons.
‘Shim should be in one,’ he said, using an offensive term for someone whose gender identity is confused.
Durr also wrote a Facebook post claiming that the January 6 Capitol riot was a ‘set-up,’ stating that the police opened the doors to people he described as ‘so-called Trumpers’.
When Kamala Harris became vice president, Durr said she was chosen ‘based on race and gender.’
And most recently, in August, he likened COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Durr was unfit for office.
‘Islamophobes and other bigots should not be in policy-making positions impacting the lives of Americans of all faiths and backgrounds,’ it said.
‘Mr. Durr should either renounce his hate-filled statements or resign from office.’
Durr has not responded to requests for comment on the post.
But, in an impromptu press conference outside the house where he lives next door to his mother, he said he was symbolic of a greater movement.
Durr was asked what he’d do on his first day in office and he said he doesn’t know
‘It didn’t happen because of me,’ he said. ‘I’m nobody. I’m absolutely nobody. I’m just a simple guy. It was the people. It was a repudiation of the policies that have been forced down their throats.’
He then took his three pitbulls for a walk, The New York Times reported.
Sweeney said the race still isn’t over and he’s not conceding. That’s despite The Associated Press indicating that every precinct in the legislative district has already finished reporting.
‘The results from Tuesday’s election continue to come in, for instance there were 12,000 ballots recently found in one county,’ the veteran lawmaker told Politico.
‘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 claimed more ballots were ‘found’ in the local race, despite AP reporting that all the precincts in New Jersey’s Legislative District 3 had turned in their results
Durr told Fox News on Wednesday night said he had no plans for when he gets to the state capital of Trenton.
‘I really don’t know,’ he said, when asked about what he’ll do his first day.
‘That’s the key factor. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I will learn what I need to know, and I’m going to guarantee one thing – I will be the voice and people will hear me because if there is one thing people will learn about me, I got a big mouth and I don’t shut up when I want to be heard. I’m going to be heard.’
Durr, 58, is employed as a truck driver for furniture store Raymour & Flanigan. He grew up in South Jersey and has three children and six grandchildren.
Out of the initial $153 he declared, he spent $66.64 at Dunkin Donuts to buy food and drinks for his ‘staff’ and $86.67 for flyers and business cards.
Durr posted a photo of himself to social media going to vote on Tuesday, before his surprise victory
The 58-year-old truck driver appears to have shot his campaign video with very little assistance
Durr’s winning campaign is emblematic of Americans’ nationwide dissatisfaction with Democrats
He has never held elected office but said in a past interview that he was spurred to run in his blue collar and predominantly white area by being unable to get a concealed carry permit.
The trucker launched a failed bid for New Jersey’s lower house in 2019.
But now for the first time since 2002, his legislative district will be represented by a pro-Second Amendment conservative Republican, rather than a Democrat who once reportedly called New Jersey’s former GOP Governor Chris Christie a ‘rotten bastard.’
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state
Durr’s campaign video, which he appears to have shot himself, paints Sweeney as complacent to Governor Murphy’s actions leading the state through the COVID-19 pandemic and its high property taxes.
‘In 2020, my opponent sat by and watched as Governor Murphy forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients, resulting in the death of over 8,000 of our seniors,’ Durr says while walking through a cemetery in broad daylight.
‘He remained silent as Governor Murphy, with his lockdown and mandates, forced the closing of over one third of our small businesses costing New Jersey families thousands of jobs.’
‘He has done nothing, as seven out of every ten moves are leaving the state, placing a heavier burden on those of us who remain. The Senate president has spent 20 years in Trenton – higher taxes, increasing debt and a rising cost of living. We deserve better. New Jersey, it’s time for a change.’
Durr described himself to Politico as a ‘constitutional conservative’ who has backed cutting an array of different taxes for ‘businesses to grow’ and supports federal legislation to ban abortion.
Sweeney, an ironworks union official and one of the most powerful politicians in the state, has been a state senator for nearly two decades.
He was also floated as a possible 2024 gubernatorial candidate.
New Jersey state Senate Democrats will now be forced to pick a new leader.