Ralph C. Porter III, who served on the Washington staffs of U.S. Senator Clifford P. Case and Rep. Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen, Jr. (R-Harding) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, died on May 17. He was 89.
The Summit native, known as Robin, later moved to Rhode Island, where he served two terms in the State Senate. His grandfather, Dr. Fletcher Krauss, served as a Chatham councilman.
After graduating from Rutgers University, he joined the U.S. Navy and served an intelligence officer.
Following his work on Capitol Hill, Porter served in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1961 until his retirement in 1983. He held posts in Haiti, Philippines and the Soviet Union. Porter took part in the 1972 summit between President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev and participated in the first U.S. mission to Ukraine.
As a retiree, Porter studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and went to Rhode Island to restore historical homes.
In 1992, Porter unseated Democratic State Sen. Paul Pederzani by 205 votes, 43%-41%, in a three-way race. He was re-elected by more than 17 points in 1994 but lost a Republican primary in 1996 by a 53%-30% margin.
After leaving the State Senate, he won race for town council in Kingston in 1998, 2000 and 2004. He sought a comeback for the Senate in 2004, winning the GOP nomination with 70% of the vote, but lost the general election to Democratic State Rep. James Sheehan by a 62%-38% margin.