In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a partial list of Irish American New Jersey political leaders of the past that you should know about:
* Thomas P.J. Barrett covered New Jersey politics for the New York Herald Tribune in the 1950s and 1960s. His son is Tom Barrett, a Democratic state committeeman from Essex County and a top New Jersey political strategist.
* Maurice Brady represented Hudson County in the New Jersey State Assembly from 1952 to 1968 and served twice as Assembly Speaker. He later served as Hudson County Register of Deeds and Mortgages.
* William J. Brennan, Jr. was named to the New Jersey Supreme Court by Gov. Alfred Driscoll in 1951 and to the U.S. Supreme Court by Gov. Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. He spent 34 years on the top court – one of the most significant jurists of the 20th century.
* Brendan Byrne served as governor of New Jersey from 1974 to 1982. He was a former executive secretary (now called chief of staff) to Gov. Robert Meyner and served as Essex County prosecutor and as a Superior Court Judge.
* Maurice “Mickey” Carroll covered New Jersey for the New York Times before becoming the public face of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The father of former Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, he was an eyewitness to the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby in Dallas following the assasination of President John F. Kennedy.
* William Cahill served as governor of New Jersey from 1970 to 1974. He had previously served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as an assemblyman from Camden County.
* Leo Carlin served as mayor of Newark from 1954 to 1962. He had served as an assemblyman, Newark school board president, city commissioner, and president of the Brotherhood of Teamsters and Chauffeurs Local 478.
* Dennis Carey was the Essex County Democratic chairman from 1953 to 1968.
* John Cryan, born in Ireland, was a three-term Essex County sheriff and a two-term assemblyman. His son, Joseph Cryan, represents Union County in the New Jersey Senate.
* Frank “Pat” Dodd represented Essex County in the State Assembly and State Senate during a career that spanned from 1964 to 1982. He was the Senate President in 1974 and 1975, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1981, and a member of the state Casino Control Commission.
* Richard Donnelly served as mayor of Trenton from 1884 to 1886, and as New Jersey State Treasurer from 1895 to 1901.
* Helen Gahagan Douglas, born in Boonton, was an actress and a congresswoman from California from 1945 to 1951. She wa the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in 1950, losing to Republican Rep. Richard M. Nixon.
* Thomas Dunn served as mayor of Elizabeth from 1964 to 1992 and as a state senator, assemblyman and Union County freeholder.
* Raymond Durkin was the skilled Essex County Democratic chairman and served as New Jersey Democratic State chairman from 1985 to 1989.
* Bernard Dwyer began a twelve-year career as a congressman after serving as mayor of Edison and as Senate Majority Leader.
* John Eagan served three terms as a congressman from Hudson County until he was defeated in 1920 by Republican Oscar Auf der Heide. He later served as president of the Weehawken Board of Education.
* Mark Fagan was the Republican mayor of Jersey City from 1902 to 1906 and from 1913 to 1917. He was replaced by Frank Hague.
* Frank “Hap” Farley was the state senator from Atlantic County from 1941 to 1972 and the Senate President in 1945 and 1962. He was the longtime Atlantic County GOP boss.
* Bill Flanagan served as Hudson County sheriff before spending three decades as the executive director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
* Cornelius “Neil” Gallagher represented Hudson County in Congress from 1959 to 1973. He served as a Hudson County freeholder and was mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate on a ticket with Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
* John Gibbons was a federal judge and founder of the Gibbons law firm. President Richard Nixon nominated him to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1969. He served as chief judge from 1987 until his retirement in 1990.
* John Giblin was a labor leader, Essex County freeholder, and from 1966 to 19678, a member of the New Jersey State Senate. His son, Thomas Giblin, serves in the New Jersey State Assembly.
* Charles Gillen was the mayor of Newark from 1917 to 1921, the first mayor under a new city commission form of government. He was born in County Roscommon, Ireland.
* Frank Graves was the mayor of Paterson and a state senator before he died in office in 1990.
* John Grogan was the mayor of Hoboken. He ran for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 1958 but lost the primary to former Rep. Harrison Williams.
* Frank Hague was one of the most legendary figures in New Jersey political history. He served as mayor of Jersey City from 1917 to 1947 and was the undisputed political boss of Hudson County with a reach that often extended to the Statehouse and the White House.
* James Hamill represented Hudson County in Congress from 1907 until 1913. He was an assemblyman from 1902 to 1905 and served as Assembly Minority Leader.
* Richard Hughes served as governor of New Jersey from 1962 to 1970, and as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1973 to 1979.
* William Hughes, born in Ireland, was New Jersey’s United States Senator from 1913 – the first directly elected by the people – until 1918. He had previously served as a congressman from Passaic County.
* William J. Hughes represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Panama under President Bill Clinton, and as a first assistant Cape May County Prosecutor.
* William Hyland served as attorney general of New Jersey under Gov. Brendan Byrne. He was a Camden County assemblyman from 1954 to 1961, the Assembly Speaker in 1958, and the president of the Public Utilities Commission.
* Phil Keegan served as an assemblyman, Essex County Freeholder, and New Jersey Democratic State Chairman.
* William Kelly represented Hudson County in the New Jersey State Senate from 1958 to 1974 and was a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1969.
* Edward Kenney represented Bergen County in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1933 until his death in 1938. In January 1938, Kenney was asked to deliver the keynote speech at the annual New Jersey Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. According to reports, Kenney had much fun at the dinner — and afterwards; unable to travel back to his home, the Chamber arranged for Kenney to get some sleep in the hotel room of one of their members who was in town for the dinner. Kenney woke up during the night; presumably disoriented and in search of the facilities, he mistook a French window that was eighteen inches from the floor for a door and fell six stories to his death.
* John V. Kenny was the mayor of Jersey City from 1949 to 1954 and the Democratic boss of Hudson County into the 1970s. He broke the Hague political machine, only to see his own machine ousted by Paul Jordan in 1971.
* John Lynch represented Middlesex County in the New Jersey State Senate from 1956 to 1978, He served as Senate President in 1966 and as mayor of New Brunswick.
* Frank McDermott represented Union County in the New Jersey State Senate from 1968 to 1974, in between tenures in the State Assembly. He was Senate President in 1969 and sough the Republican nomination for governor that year.
* Joseph McGahn was the Democrat who topped Hap Farley in 1971 and served in the Senate until his own party took him out six years later. His nephew, Donald McGahn, served as White House Counsel under President Donald Trump. His brother, Paddy McGahn, was a powerful Atlantic City insider.
* Cornelius McGlennon was the mayor of East Newark from 1907 to 1919, a state senator from Essex County in 1917 and 1918, the Senate Minority Leader in 1918, and a congressman from 1919 to 1921.
* Frank McNulty, born in Ireland, was the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers from 1903 to 1918 and a Democratic congressman from Essex County from 1923 to 1925.
* Daniel Minahan as the mayor of Orange form 1914 to 1919 and a congressman from 1923 to 1925.
* A. Harry Moore served as Governor of New Jersey three times, from 1926 to 1929, from 1932 to 1935, and from 1938 to 1941. He also served in the U.S. Senate from 1935 to 1938. Moore was a close ally of Mayor Frank Hague and served as a Jersey City commissioner from 1913 to 1925.
* Franklin Murphy was the governor of New Jersey from 1902 to 1905. A Union Army officer during the Civil War, he had served as Newark council president and in the State Assembly.
* Vincent Murphy was the mayor of Newark from 1941 to 1949 and the Democratic gubernatorial candidate against Walter Edge in 1943. He was the head of the New Jersey AFL-CIO.
* Mary Taylor Norton became the first woman to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives when she was elected in 1924. She had served as a Hudson County freeholder and as Democratic State chair.
* Charles O’Brien was Mayor Frank Hague’s public safety director and served as a congressman in between James Hamill and Mary T. Norton.
* Charles O’Neill was the mayor of Jersey City from 1868 to 1869, and again from 1870 to 1874.
* Jack Rafferty was the mayor of Hamilton Township for 24 years. He served as an assemblyman and sought the Republican nomination for governor in 1981.
* Thomas F.X. Smith was a colorful former Jersey City Clerk who was mayor from 1977 to 1981. He ran in the 1981 Democratic gubernatorial primary and played for the New York Knicks in 1951.
* Joseph F. Sullivan was the New Jersey bureau chief for the New York Times for decades. He negan his journalism career with the Newark Evening News in 1955 and joined the New York Times in 1971.
* T. James Tumulty was a secretary to Mayor Frank Hague before serving as Assembly Minority Leader and as a congressman from Hudson County.
* Joseph Patrick Tumulty was elected to the State Assembly in 1906 at age 27 as a Democrat from Jersey City. He became secretary to Gov. Woodrow Wilson in 1910 and was Wilson’s private secretary in the White House from 1913 to 1921.
* Arthur Walsh was appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate in 1943 after the death of Sen. Warren Barbour and served thirteen months.