Former U.S. Rep. Robert D. Franks, who nearly won a United States Senate seat in 2000 despite being outspent by more than $65 million, passed away this morning after a battle with cancer. He was 58.
Franks served four terms in Congress, spent fourteen years in the State Assembly, and served two separate terms as the GOP State Chairman. He was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2000, and sought the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2001.
Since 2001, Franks has served as the president of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey.
Franks began his political career as state chairman of the New Jersey Teenage Republicans, and worked on political campaigns will attending DePauw University and Southern Methodist University Law School. He played key roles in the campaigns of Raymond Bateman for Governor in 1977, James Courter for Congress in 1978, Thomas Kean for Governor in 1981, and Dean Gallo for Congress in 1984.
The Union County Republican was elected to an open State Assembly seat in 1979, when the 22nd district was politically competitive and included Democratic towns like Plainfield and Rahway. He held the seat until going to Congress in 1992 when Matthew Rinaldo retired.
Franks is survived by his wife, Fran, and three young daughters.