(Trenton) -- John Currie, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to the passing of another legendary New Jersey Democrat, Raymond M. 'Ray' Durkin:

"Just over two months ago, I was in Princeton with other New Jersey Democratic Party Chairs, celebrating the accomplishments of Ray Durkin at our Fall gala. His loss is a devastating blow, especially given the recent passing of D. Bilal Beasley and coming, as it did, in the heart of the holiday season."

"Ray Durkin was a man of many talents and he was a dedicated servant to the Democratic Party. In addition to serving as state chair from 1985 to 1990, when he was instrumental to Jim Florio's campaign for Governor, he served as Essex County Chair, and as Essex County's first elected executive."

"Ray was also a 15-year member of the Newark Fire Department -- and I suspect that putting out fires was a skill that served him well, politically."

"I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife, Joan Codey Durkin, and children. This season of compassion, as we cherish the company of friends and family, Chairman Durkin will remain in our thoughts and prayers."

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