For practically a decade, Stephen M. Sweeney, the second strongest lawmaker in New Jersey, appeared really unassailable. He boasted deep ties to essentially the most feared political energy dealer within the state and unyielding help from the influential constructing commerce unions. 4 years in the past, the state’s academics union spent more than $5 million to unseat him. He gained by 18 factors.
This 12 months, his challenger was Edward Durr, a truck driver for Raymour & Flanagan, a furnishings chain, who had by no means earlier than held workplace. His marketing campaign video was shot on a smartphone.
But Mr. Sweeney, the State Senate president and a Democrat, was ousted in a surprising political upset by Mr. Durr, a Republican, as voters opted for a political unknown in a end result that instantly rattled the political moorings of the state, which practically noticed the ouster of Gov. Philip D. Murphy; the governor narrowly won re-election over his Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli.
However it was Mr. Sweeney’s loss that was maybe most emblematic of the predicament dealing with Democrats in suburban and exurban communities.