Last of JFK’s ‘Irish mafia’ dies

Richard Donahue has died, and with him goes the last living member of John F. Kennedy’s “Irish mafia.”

Along with Lawrence O’Brien, Kenneth O’Donnell and Ralph Dungan, Donahue played a key role in Kennedy’s Senate and presidential campaigns.

His specialty was working the anti-Catholic states for Kennedy.

“I would get a call, ‘They’re murdering us here with the Catholic stuff.’ And I would say, ‘Hit ’em with the 109.’ West Virginia had the greatest percentage of gold-star mothers, really proud of what their sons had done in the service. That started to help,” he told a Kennedy biographer once.

Donahue also helped engineer JFK’s strategy to defeat Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 primary campaign in which Humphrey couldn’t win the state to the east.