Wyman later became a judge and died in 2002. Durkin was defeated in 1980 by Republican Warren Rudman. He ran again in 1990 but lost to Republican Bob Smith. In later years, he worked as an attorney in Manchester and Washington.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Durkin was a longtime friend of hers as well as a friend to “all working men and women in New Hampshire.”
“John was a colorful and authentic public servant, and I will miss his quick wit and dedication to serving the underdog,” she said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Durkin family.”
Durkin was born March 29, 1936, and grew up in a Democratic family in Brookfield, Mass., a Republican mill town. He graduated from Holy Cross College in 1959, spent two years in the U.S. Navy and earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1965. Durkin moved to New Hampshire the following year to become an assistant attorney general and was named insurance commissioner two years later. He held that position for five years.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who currently holds the seat Durkin had, said the 1974 race will remain one of the more compelling chapters in New Hampshire history.
“I join citizens across New Hampshire in mourning the loss of Sen. John Durkin. From the Navy, to state government, to Capitol Hill, he devoted much of his life to public service,” she said.