Former New Jersey Gov. James Florio has died at age 85, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.
It was not immediately clear when or where Florio passed, or his cause of death.
“Governor Florio was a fighter who never backed down. He was a leader who cared more about the future of New Jersey than his own political fortunes. And he was also a friend whose kind counsel was invaluable to me and countless others across our state,” Murphy said in a statement, adding he would order flags lowered to half-staff in the former governor’s honor.
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 ever in the state.
He ran again and was easily elected governor in 1990, before losing a close re-election bid in 1994 to Christine Todd Whitman. He later sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2000, losing the primary to Jon Corzine.