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State Sen. Mike Testa at Gov. Phil Murphy’s FY2024 Budget Address. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Testa says Ostrum should drop out of Senate primary

Durr has support in all LD3 counties, including Testa’s home turf of Cumberland

By Joey Fox, March 13 2023 3:09 pm

With Republican convention wins in all three of his district’s counties, State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan)’s campaign for renomination against Salem County Commissioner Mickey Ostrum (R-Pilesgrove) is looking stronger than ever – a far cry from a few months ago, when it seemed like New Jersey’s most famous truck driver was in serious trouble.

Ostrum is undecided on his next steps for now, but there’s a good chance that he ends his campaign long before the June primary. And one of South Jersey’s most influential Republicans, State Sen. Mike Testa (R-Vineland), said today that Ostrum and his slate should do just that.

“I don’t believe that he should continue campaigning at this point,” said Testa, who is also the Cumberland County GOP chairman. “The message has been sent very loud and clear by all three counties in which a convention was held… I think it would be very graceful of him to bow out at this time.”

Durr, who shockingly unseated Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) in 2021, is running for re-election alongside Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington) and Hopewell Township Committeeman Tom Tedesco. If Tedesco wins, he and Testa will be the only two legislators from Cumberland County; in fact, his addition to Durr’s ticket may have helped the senator lock down the Cumberland GOP line.

Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich), meanwhile, was one of the leading figures in the efforts to boot Durr and is running on Ostrum’s slate. With no county lines to her name, Sawyer is now in a tough spot for re-election, which Testa said is unfortunate.

“My wish would have been to see all three of the elected officials from LD3 stay together and move forward for re-election,” he said. “But obviously, that’s a ship that has sailed at this point.”

Whoever does emerge from the Republican Senate primary will face former Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro), who is taking up the Democratic mantle this year after Sweeney passed on a comeback bid. The 3rd district leans Republican, but if South Jersey Democrats choose to put their millions behind Burzichelli, it could host one of the top races of 2023.

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