New Jersey State Capitol Building
New Jersey State Capitol Building iStock

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the state official with the most power besides the governor, conceded on Wednesday to a Republican challenger who was an unknown until he succeeded in a historic election upset.

Democrat Sweeney had held off conceding to Edward Durr until all the ballots in his district had been counted, NorthJersey.com reported,

On Tuesday, Sweeney made a public announcement that his record length tenure as the state senate president had come to an end with his defeat by Durr, a truck driver who ran a campaign with a tiny budget who was never expected to pull off an upset win.

"The results of the election are in. All votes have been fairly counted. And I, of course, accept the results," he told reporters in Trenton, New Jersey.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the people of the 3rd district in the state Senate and to serve as the president of the Senate,” he said.

Sweeney lost to Durr by around 2,200 votes, the Associated Press reported. He said his loss was due to a “red wave” that had carried sections of New Jersey for the GOP.

“We have to focus on things that are important to the people in this state. We have to listen to them,” he said.

He added: "What the voters said in this election is New Jersey's a state filled with hard-working people who want to be able to provide for their families… I plan to keep speaking to those concerns."

Sweeney did not rule out running again for his senate seat in two years, or entering the race for governor in 2025.

Durr was expected to hold a press conference announcing his win on Wednesday afternoon in South Jersey.