Think of a newcomer who delivered a shock upset against an establishment insider and triggered a political earthquake. No, not Glenn Youngkin. Cockburn is referring to Ed Durr, a very late contender for favorite candidate on the slate in any state this year.
Durr, a truck driver from southern New Jersey, is poised to knock out New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney. What makes the story quite so delicious is how little the plucky Republican spent to take down the man who runs New Jersey’s Democratic machine. If Durr holds on to his lead in the vote count, this major scalp will have cost a grand total of $153.
When Cockburn first read this figure, he wondered whether the martinis from last night’s bash with the Concerned Mothers of Northern Virginia (a lively lot!) hadn’t quite worn off. $153! In Joe Biden’s America! These days, Cockburn has clocked up that much on his expense account before lunch. To put it in terms more easily understandable for someone from Durr’s native South Jersey, that only gets you 18 pounds of pork roll. (Cockburn is told people actually eat the stuff.)
And half of Durr’s expenditure went on coffees from Dunkin’ Donuts. The rest was spent on flyers and business cards.
To put the figure in context, Cockburn thought he’d do some reporting, and checked what Mr Sweeney spent to win the same seat last time around. He came across an article from 2017 claiming that year’s contest in the district might have been the costliest legislative race in US history. Sweeney and his allies spent a whopping $13.8 million.
The result of Durr’s rather cheaper operation is, as you may expect, an admirably lo-fi campaign. He had no staff, and little more than a Facebook page and volunteer help from friends and family. But his limited campaign literature leaves one with a clear enough sense of the man. Durr seems like a sensible enough chap: a hard-working family man, a devout Christian, and a good old fashioned fiscal conservative. Now, Cockburn may not be any of those things. But he nonetheless has a soft spot for politicians who are.
Generally speaking, Cockburn is all for the mountains of money involved in politics. How else would he cope? Who would pay for his Michelin-starred diet?
Cockburn has no plans to stop living off the fat of the land, and the last thing this town needs is another bout of abstemiousness. But he is willing to take a brief break from the Bacchanalian revelry to admire the thrifty Mr Durr.
He also notes that Mr Durr has $9,847 in unspent campaign funds. Come down to Washington, Ed. We’ll blow it all at Cafe Milano in your honor.
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