Democratic New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, who is projected to lose his bid for reelection against a little-known truck driver, is talking about “recently found” ballots to support his refusal to concede the race.
The defiant incumbent released a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday that explained why he is not ready to admit defeat to his Republican challenger.
“The results from Tuesday’s election continue to come in, for instance there were 12,000 ballots recently found in one county,” Sweeney said in an email, not naming the county. “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.”
The Washington Examiner sent an email to Sweeney’s office Friday evening seeking more information.
The race between Sweeney and Edward Durr was called late Thursday morning by the Associated Press . There were roughly 2,000 votes between them and 100% of precincts reporting. Durr led by 32,742 votes, or 51.8%, while Sweeney trailed with 30,444, or 48.2%.
While Democrats in the state Senate appear to be moving on already, reaching an agreement that Nicholas Scutari will be the next New Jersey Senate president, according to the New Jersey Globe , there is a similar holdout in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was declared the winner by a slim margin against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli on Wednesday, but Ciattarelli so far has refused to concede .
“No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote is counted,” he said in a video Thursday. He also noted “thousands” of provisional ballots and mail-in votes have yet to be counted.
After a 2020 election cycle in which former President Donald Trump and his allies claimed fraud and irregularities were rampant, despite election officials saying otherwise, allegations were made on social media of fraud in the New Jersey governor’s contest, but no evidence has emerged to show such malfeasance, according to media reports.
Election results in several towns in Union County, where officials said poll workers did not properly remove thumb drives that count votes, resulted in reporting delays . In some places across the state, mail-in-ballots were still rolling in throughout the week and provisional ballots were not expected to be opened until Monday.
The deadline for receipt of timely mailed postmarked mail-in ballots (those postmarked by Nov. 2) to the County Boards of Election, can be counted through Monday, according to New Jersey’s Department of State .
Sweeney has held the seat for 20 years and has served as the state Senate’s president since 2010. New Jersey’s 3rd state Senate District, which he represents, covers parts of Gloucester, Cumberland, and Salem counties. The district has been solidly blue in both the state Senate and General Assembly since Sweeney was elected to office in 2003 .