TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A veteran state lawmaker who helped create New Jersey's county college system and once ran for governor has died.

Raymond Bateman's death was announced Saturday by his son, Christopher "Kip" Bateman, a Republican who now holds the state senate seat from Somerset County that his father once occupied.

Raymond Bateman was 88 when he died early Saturday after a brief illness.

He served in the Legislature for 20 years, including stints as the GOP's assistant majority leader and majority leader in both the assembly and senate. He also served three terms as Senate president and more than 100 days as acting governor.

Bateman also was chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

He won the Republican nomination for governor in 1977, but lost to incumbent Democrat Brendan Byrne.

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Copy desk chief / comics blogger

Print Director

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.

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