An Oath Keeper Did Security For The Capitol Rally. Now, He’s A Republican Candidate for NJ Assembly.


On January sixth, Edward Durfee donned a radio earpiece and an “Oath Keepers New Jersey” cap as he labored a safety element exterior the U.S. Capitol for the far-right Oath Keepers, whose members are actually fingered by the feds for conspiring to violently cease the Electoral Faculty vote rely that will certify Joe Biden’s victory within the 2020 election.

Three months later, Durfee filed paperwork to be the Republican candidate for the state Meeting again dwelling in New Jersey—and he was backed by the Bergen County Republican Group, the official GOP chapter within the state’s most populous county. 

Durfee, a 66-year-old IT marketing consultant from Northvale, is a long-shot Republican candidate in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. However his candidacy, first reported final week by Politico New Jersey, factors to a crossroads going through Backyard State Republicans. Though county Republicans are placing him on the poll beneath the gubernatorial nominee, the front-runner for that nomination, former Assemblyman Jack Ciatterelli, is distancing himself from Durfee. When advised of Durfee’s actions on January sixth, marketing campaign communications director Stami Williams stated: “Jack believes anybody who stormed the Capitol on January 6 needs to be held absolutely accountable for his or her actions by a courtroom of regulation, and positively wouldn’t help anybody who participated within the rebel working for workplace as a Republican.”

A dozen purported Oath Keepers have been arrested for offenses that embrace “conspiracy,” which implies prosecutors are making a case that some Oath Keepers organized and deliberate the storming of the Capitol, and weren’t simply caught up within the second. The Oath Keepers have change into a  face of the January sixth riots. The group is made up of former and present cops and members of the navy pushed by a perception that political leaders are plotting to take their rights away. The group will get its title from the “oath” they take to guard the nation from enemies international and home.  

Take heed to Matt Katz’s report on WNYC:

Durfee, who has been an Oath Keeper because the group’s inception in 2009, just isn’t charged with a criminal offense, and he denied “storming” and even getting into the constructing. Video and images taken that day and obtained by Gothamist/WNYC from the web investigators at Capitol Terrorists Exposers, which works with information retailers to determine these on the rally and riot, again up Durfee’s story. They present him milling about with Oath Keeper leaders in entrance of the Capitol and on the entrance to the constructing, however he was not a part of a bunch of Oath Keepers who wearing tactical gear and allegedly entered the constructing in formation.

“The onus was to make sufficient noise in order that Congress knew that we have been in D.C., as a result of we needed some outcomes,” Durfee stated in an interview. The outcomes he needed? Overturning the election, which he stated was fraudulently given to President Biden. That declare has been debunked by even Republican election officers as a conspiracy idea.

In keeping with one other video offered by Capitol Terrorists Exposers, Durfee has hung out with the highest leaders of the Oath Keepers: Stewart Rhodes, the group’s founder who’s now below scrutiny for his position within the January sixth riot, and Roberto Minuta, a former New Jersey resident charged with conspiracy within the aftermath of the assault. 

How New Jersey Republicans deal with Durfee’s candidacy will get to bigger questions going through the occasion. The state GOP has been out of energy within the legislature for almost 20 years and solely holds two of 12 congressional seats. All county places of work in Bergen County, as soon as a state bellwether, are Democratic. Democrat Governor Phil Murphy is working for reelection with approval scores that frequently ballot round 60 %, and former President Donald Trump, looming shadow and all, could possibly be summering as soon as once more at his golf course in Bedminster. Do native Republicans now double-down on MAGA in an endorsement of the Trump takeover of the occasion? Or do they return to the average roots that introduced them gubernatorial election victories, from the affable Tom Kean Sr. to the bipartisan deal-maker Chris Christie?

For Jon Bramnick, the state Meeting minority chief and an outspoken anti-Trump Republican, placing Oath Keepers on the poll as Republicans is “a path to failure, and a path to being completely within the minority.” Bramnick himself shook off a risk from Trump apparatchiks who demanded he publicly apologize to Trump for previous criticism or they’d run towards him. Bramnick refused, and defeated two Trump conservatives and a Democrat to win reelection. “It was [my] proudest second, as a result of I stood as much as the nonsense of Donald Trump,” he stated.

Nonetheless, Bramnick determined to not run for governor this 12 months as a result of he didn’t assume he may survive a Republican major towards a number of MAGA candidates. Then January sixth occurred. Now, he thinks, he would have a greater likelihood at profitable a major as a average. “I feel that that motion was detrimental to those that thought that the rhetoric of Donald Trump was not harmful,” Bramnick stated. “I believed it was, and I imagine that modified the opinions of many individuals.”

A wide shot of hundreds of people at the Capitol on January 6; Durfee is on the right


Edward Durfee, far proper, on the January sixth Capitol riot.

Capitol Terrorist Exposers

Durfee denied that Oath Keepers are a militia, and characterised the group as a charitable group that merely seeks to “promote the Structure.” He stated they’ve been unfairly maligned by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle as anti-government extremists. “We’re not out within the discipline having maneuvers and preparing for tomorrow’s Armageddon, you understand what I imply?” he stated.

Durfee is a ham radio operator who claimed to make use of these abilities on January sixth to guard a pro-Trump group (known as “Asians For Trump” or “Latinos For Trump”—he didn’t bear in mind which) as they moved from Union Station to the Capitol constructing. “I obtained my radio on the best channel so I may speak to different guys on the element,” he stated, including that at one level he obtained a “style” of pepper spray. 

On the radio, he stated he heard that antifa—anti-fascists who face off towards militias and white supremacists on-line and at protests—was attacking the Capitol. That contradicts the findings of the FBI, which has blamed the violence on right-wing activists. 

“The FBI can say all they need, however the proof is there isn’t any proof that we have been there as a bunch with a concerted effort to overthrow our authorities throughout a democratic course of,” Durfee stated. 

Homeland safety officers are nonetheless retaining a watch on the Oath Keepers. In an announcement to Gothamist/WNYC, the New Jersey Workplace of Homeland Safety and Preparedness stated whereas the company doesn’t classify teams as “extremists,” the Oath Keepers preserve a presence in New Jersey and “some people affiliated with the group have advocated for violence.” 

That, then, begs the query about Durfee’s help from the Republican occasion in New Jersey. Bergen County Republican Chairman Jack Zisa advised Politico New Jersey that it was Durfee’s First Modification proper to run as a Republican. However a former county chairman, Bob Yudin, stated Zisa may have denied Durfee the flexibility to run on the occasion’s official Republican line on the poll. “Does that imply if a Nazi adopted the process and received [Zisa] would give a Nazi the road?” Yudin requested.

Durfee is working within the thirty seventh district, which incorporates Teaneck and Hackensack, and the place a Republican hasn’t been elected to the legislature in many years. Durfee has two working mates,  certainly one of whom—state senate candidate Michael Koontz—posted this week on Fb that Democrats are evil and plotting inhabitants management, and shared a video that that alleged the U.S. authorities is “run by baby intercourse traffickers.” Koontz additionally says the election was fraudulent. 

Jeanette Hoffman, a veteran GOP operative within the state, stated in non-competitive races, county and state occasion leaders have hassle recruiting aggressive contenders, so they are going to typically find yourself working fringe candidates. “As a result of who actually desires to waste their time and their power and their cash to get 10, 15 % of the vote?” she stated. In the long run, she stated, “this isn’t a sensible drawback—you are not going to have an Oath Keeper representing New Jersey Republicans within the legislature.”

A photo of Durfee in a plaid shirt smiling a the camera


Edward Durfee

Durfee’s marketing campaign website

The Democratic slate within the thirty seventh district can also be having its share of controversy, with one Democratic meeting candidate dropping out of the race after she was accused of anti-Semitism when it was revealed she known as for a boycott of companies apparently owned by Jews in Teaneck. 

Durfee served within the Marines within the early Seventies however didn’t see fight, he stated. Within the interview, he expressed some conventional conservative views, like an aversion to taxes and funding for immigrants. He additionally stated he opposed what he described because the educating of “deviant intercourse” to schoolchildren. 

A former Republican chairman of his city, Durfee has run for workplace earlier than and courted controversy by means of the years. In 2016, former Congressman Scott Garrett was criticized for attending a fundraiser hosted by Durfee. Durfee was soliciting cash for the American Bedrock Basis, which funded Oath Keepers packages.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat, defeated Garrett in that race and now represents Durfee’s district. Requested about Durfee’s candidacy, Gottheimer stated in an announcement: “Following the risk warnings from the FBI, we must always have zero tolerance for Oath Keepers or any home terrorist teams in our communities and positively in any elected workplace. They current a transparent and current hazard to regulation enforcement, our neighborhoods, and our households.”

Final 12 months, Durfee unsuccessfully ran for borough council in Northvale, the place his opponents slammed him for his Oath Keepers affiliation. 

This 12 months Durfee is working with out the advantage of getting his message out by way of Fb and Twitter; he stated that he was booted off each platforms because of his affiliation with the Oath Keepers. The group’s chapter in New Jersey, the place he’s the North Jersey regional director, doesn’t have many members, he stated, however they do attend protests, together with in New York Metropolis, to work safety and defend folks from antifa.

“All I am doing is I am exercising my constitutional proper to meeting,” he stated. “It isn’t like I am a member of some, you understand, home terrorist group, like they wish to attempt to say.”