Martin T. Durkin, a Ridgefield Park attorney who was the Democratic candidate for State Assembly in 1969, died on October 17. He was 88.
Durkin spent more than 20 years as the Borough Attorney for Ridgefield Park and also served as attorney for South Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs.
He became Bergenfield Borough Attorney in 2009 after Dennis Oury, a political ally of then-Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero, was ousted.
Durkin began his political career as the president of the Bergen County Young Democrats and was elected to serve as a delegate to the 1966 New Jersey Constitutional Convention representing Bergen County. He also served as a deputy state attorney general during the administration of Gov. Richard J. Hughes.
He practiced law at a firm headed by former State Sen. Alfred Kiefer (D-Hasbrouck Heights).
In 1969, Bergen County Democrats nominated Durkin and Ernest Allan Cohen to run for the Assembly in Bergen County’s District 13-B. They faced incumbent Thomas Costa (R-Teaneck) and Bergen County Freeholder William Dorgan.
Known then as the East Bergen district, it included Cliffside Park, Edgewater, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Teaneck, and Tenafly.
One seat became open when Englewood was redistricted out of 13-B, along with incumbent Assemblyman Austin Volk (R-Englewood).
Costa was a strong vote-getter in East Bergen. He has served more than a decade as a Teaneck Councilman — he was first elected in 1958, along with future Senate President Matthew Feldman — and had been the mayor for three years. Dorgan had been Mayor of Palisades Park before winning his freeholder seat.
Durkin finished third in that race, 9,554 votes behind Dorgan. Costa finished 341 votes ahead of Dorgan, while Cohen received 954 loss than his running mate.
After redistricting in 1971, Costa and Dorgan did not seek re-election. The East Bergen district was won by Democrats Byron Baer and Albert Burstein.
In 1977, Durkin supported Rep. Bob Roe (D-Wayne) in the Democratic primary for Governor against incumbent Brendan Byrne.