He’s known by many simply as Ed “the Trucker.”
There really aren’t all that many state lawmakers with recognizable nicknames, but Ed Durr, the senator from LD-3 spanning Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester counties is one of them.
Durr earned fame far exceeding the status of a first-term lawmaker in the minority by beating Democrat Steve Sweeney, the then-Senate President, in 2021. The win was considered more remarkable when reports surfaced that Durr spent very little on his campaign. After all, he had a truck to drive.
Now it’s 18 months later and Durr is seeking reelection.
And in what seems surprising – at least to those not privy to the inner workings of local Republican thinking – Durr has a primary challenge from Beth Sawyer, who was elected to the Assembly for the first time herself in 2021.
Sawyer says Durr can’t win in November.
And in a very familiar refrain in GOP primaries, Sawyer brags on social media that she and her Assembly runningmate, Joe Collins, are the “real conservatives” in the race.
It’s hard to know what that really means. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be all that much philosophical disagreement here.
For instance, let’s begin with Donald Trump.
Durr has a clip on social media of him and the former president together at Bedminster.
Trump congratulates Durr on his win and remarks, “He spent like 200 bucks.”
But look around the internet and you find Trump shaking hands with Sawyer, also at Bedminster.
So, they both like Trump. Both candidates are also pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-parental rights.
Attempts to get Sawyer to elaborate on her campaign have been so far unavailing.
Sawyer and Durr both attended a parental rights rally in Trenton on May 15. They were about 50 feet or so away from each other outside the Statehouse, but there was no visible interaction.
That appears to be the norm.
Durr declined an offer to debate.
“What’s there to debate?” Durr said a month or so ago when I met him for lunch in Gloucester County.
Having nothing to debate is one reason not to do it. Another reason, of course, is a belief you’re going to win and you don’t need to debate. Why risk saying something stupid?
Durr clearly believes he’s going to win. One sign is a campaign Facebook page that avoids direct criticism of his opponent – a sure sign that a guy thinks he’s way ahead.
But just to be sure, Durr has a rally set for Saturday in West Deptford with radio host Bill Spadea, who certainly seems to get around.