Amid reports that State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan) could face a primary challenge this year, one of his running mates, Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington), gave him her strong backing today.
“Of course I am [supporting Durr] – he’s my senator!” McCarthy Patrick said while walking through the halls of the statehouse. “He’s the LD3 senator, I’m the LD3 assemblywoman.”
Durr, McCarthy Patrick, and Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich) shocked the New Jersey political world in 2021 when they flipped the 3rd legislative district red, defeating seemingly invincible Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and his running mates.
But as reported by Politico, the relationship between Durr and some Gloucester County Republicans, among them Sawyer, has not been especially smooth. Sawyer was briefly considered a potential primary challenger herself but quickly took her name out of contention; now the speculation has shifted to East Greenwich Mayor Dale Archer, who told Politico that Durr was “unqualified, controversial and [has] proven that he cannot even handle the position of senator.”
McCarthy Patrick, meanwhile, is a Salem County native, making her the only legislator to hail from New Jersey’s least populous county (and meaning she’s somewhat distinct from any Gloucester drama).
In addition to the prospect of a primary challenge, 3rd district Republicans could face a tough general election fight if Sweeney chooses to seek a rematch. Sweeney could immediately draw the resources and support needed to make the 3rd district one of 2023’s top races – but if he passes on a campaign, Republicans can probably keep the red-leaning district securely in their column.