Saturday, December 27, 2014


Maplewood's own Ray Durkin, an Essex County political powerbroker, passed away this week.

If you missed it, here is the story:

Ray Durkin, a pillar of state and Essex County Democratic politics for decades with deep family ties to the party, died Tuesday, reported. He was 78 years old and had been suffering from illness, the site said. 

“We affectionately described Ray Durkin as being a member of the Old Guard because he had so much experience in Democratic politics. He was a remarkable strategist, leader and mentor who tutored generations of young Democrats, including me,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said in a statement to NJ Advanced Media Tuesday night.

It later added:

Durkin’s rise in Democratic politics continued with his appointment, in 1980, to Essex County party chair. Five years later, he became chair of the state Democratic committee, when Shapiro lost the race for governor to Republican Tom Kean. Durkin also played a role in getting James Florio nominated in 1989 and helped Ron Brown become the national party chair that same year. 

The Maplewood resident formally retired from politics in the early 1990s but continued to play an active part in shaping the direction of the party -- a role reinforced by his family ties. 

Among his five children is Chris Durkin, the Essex County Clerk for most of the last decade. His wife Joan is a cousin of state Sen. and former governor Richard Codey, another stalwart of Irish-American Essex County politics. Joan Durkin has also served as county tax commissioner.

Read the rest HERE.

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