Senate President Steve Sweeney, the longest-serving legislative leader in New Jersey history, is on the verge of losing his own State Senate seat in what could be a stunning political upset.
Edward Durr, a conservative truck driver who reported spending just $153 on his campaign, leads Sweeney by 2,009 votes in the South Jersey-based 3rd legislative district.
Sweeney’s defeat would cause a total realignment of politics in New Jersey, and most immediately creates a wide-open race for Senate President.
Democrats lost bids to flip two GOP Senate seats and appear to have lost two or three more, something that could reduce their majority from 25-15 to 22-18.
Republican won two other hugely competitive Senate races in South Jersey.
In the Atlantic County-based 2nd district, former Assemblyman Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) defeated four-term Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) by more than 7,000 votes, 58%-42%.
State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), who went to the Senate as a Republican in 2010 and switched parties in January 2019, appears to have been unseated by Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton). Stanfield’s lead is 3,491 votes.
In Central Jersey’s 16th district, former Rep. Michael Pappas appears headed to a political comeback in his bid to succeed retiring GOP State Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg). He leads Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) by 2,260 votes.
The 60-year-old Pappas was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 but lost his bid for re-election two years later to Democrat Rush Holt.
In the Monmouth-based 11th district, Republican Lori Annetta leads freshman State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) by 490 votes. It’s not immediately clear how many uncounted votes exist or where they come from, so this race is too close to call.
Polistina holds the seat Republican Christopher Brown (R-Ventnor) flipped four years ago. Brown announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek a second term and resigned from the Senate this summer to take a job in the Murphy administration. Polistina won a special election to replace Brown but hasn’t been sworn in.