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New Jersey Dem refuses to concede to truck driver after 12,000 ballots reportedly ‘found’ in one county

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Democratic New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney, who has served in the chamber for decades, is refusing to concede to his Republican challenger — a truck driver who spent very little on his campaign — after claiming that thousands of ballots were “recently found.”

“The results from Tuesday’s election continue to come in, for instance there were 12,000 ballots recently found in one county,” Sweeney claimed in an email to the Philadelphia Inquirer 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,” he added.

Fox News reportedly reached out to Sweeney’s campaign for comment but the campaign did not respond. Specifically, the network was inquiring which county in South Jersey recently discovered the ballots.

Sweeney has served in South Jersey’s 3rd district since 2002; he has been president of the state Senate for a decade.

All said, The Associated Press called the race for Edward Durr, a truck driver who is new to politics, on Thursday after 100 percent of districts reported 32,742 votes for him versus 30,444 for Sweeney. But by Sunday, Sweeney still had not conceded, though Democratic state Sen. Nicholas Scutari is queuing up to take over as Senate president, according to NJ.com on Friday.

Durr, who drives a delivery truck for Raymour & Flanigan furniture, ran on his blue-collar, conservative background and principles, lashing out at Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions as well as the state’s Democrat political machine. Murphy himself nearly lost a close race to GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli, whose campaign ripped The Associated Press late last week after calling the race for his opponent; as of Friday, the spread was 51-49 percent — about 44,000 votes in favor of Murphy, who was expected to walk away with the race.

“With the candidates separated by a fraction of a percent out of 2.4 million ballots cast, it’s irresponsible of the media to make this call when the New Jersey Secretary of State doesn’t even know how many ballots are left to be counted,” Stami Williams, Ciattarelli’s communications manager, noted in a tweet.

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

Durr reflected on his victory last week despite Sweeney’s claims.

“It didn’t happen because of me. I’m nobody. I’m just a simple guy,” Durr noted. “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,” he added. “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.”

Jon Dougherty

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