Sweeney concedes election but says he’s not done with NJ politics
TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney conceded his stunning loss in last week’s election Wednesday but says he’s not done with politics.
Sweeney, D-Gloucester, has been the 3rd District senator for 20 years and is the longest-serving legislative leader in New Jersey history. He had already lined up support within the Democratic caucus for another term as Senate president and seemed to be on track to run for governor in 2025.
Instead, he lost to little-funded political novice Edward Durr by more than 2,200 votes, or 3.4%, a margin large enough that he will not pursue a recount.
“The results of Tuesday’s elections are in. All votes have been fairly counted. And I, of course, accept the results,” Sweeney said at a Statehouse news conference. “I want to congratulate Mr. Durr and wish him the best of luck.”
Sweeney said he isn’t exiting the state’s political scene. He said he plans to remain fully involved in public affairs in New Jersey, focusing on issues such as fiscal responsibility and affordability.
“I’ll be speaking from a different podium,” he said. “But I promise you: I will be just as loud and just as forceful for a voice for change.”
In his seven-minute speech, Sweeney summarized his political career, priorities and accomplishments, focusing extensively on Salem County, Gloucester County and South Jersey more generally. Asked if he’ll try to regain his Senate seat in the 2023 election, Sweeney wouldn’t say.
“What I said is I’m not going away. I don’t say what I’m doing,” Sweeney said. “But I can tell you something: I’ve been a believer in making New Jersey affordable for a long time. I’ve been the one that has been through battles over pension and health-care costs for a long time.
“My voice has been consistent because it’s with the blue-collar workers that I see every day. They got to be able to live here,” he said. “We got to take things serious, and we got to fix New Jersey. But the greatest news of all. This is a great state, and it’s fixable. So, let’s make it an affordable one.”
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.