NEW YORK – Former New Jersey Governor James Florio has died at the age of 85, Governor Phil Murphy said Monday.
It was not immediately clear when and where Florio died, nor the cause of his death.
“Governor Florio was a fighter who never backed down. He was a leader who cared more about New Jersey’s future than his own political fortunes. And he was also a friend whose kind advice was invaluable to me and many others in the Our state. ”Murphy said in a statement, adding that he would order the lowering of the flags at half-mast in honor of the former governor.
Florio served 15 years in Congress, starting in 1975. In 1981, while still in the House, he ran for governor and lost by less than 2,000 votes, the closest margin in the history of the state.
It worked again and was easily elected governor in 1990, before losing a tight re-election in 1994 to Christine Todd Whitman. He later sought the Democratic nomination for the US Senate in 2000, losing the primary to Jon Corzine.