BOONTON, NJ – State Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), who also serves as Roxbury's township attorney, announced today that he will not run for Congress.

Bucco, who considered a campaign for the House of Representatives seat being vacated at year's end by Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, instead threw his support behind fellow GOP state Assemblyman Jay Weber's campaign for the seat.

“In the critical election for Congress, I’m endorsing my Assembly colleague and fellow Morris County Republican Jay Webber," Bucco said in a statement. "Jay is a principled conservative with a strong record who will fight for taxpayers. Jay will be an effective voice for New Jersey in Congress. I’m confident that Jay can and will run the kind of campaign necessary to keep this seat in Republican hands, and ultimately, protect taxpayers from a liberal, big-government approach under Nancy Pelosi.”

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Webber announced his candidacy in early February. Bucco described the 45-year-old Morris Plains resident as "the clear front-runner in the race for Congress."

Weber returned the kind words.

“Tony has been a strong and consistent voice for New Jersey taxpayers and a proven leader in our Assembly Conference," he said in a statement. "Morris County is fortunate to have him representing us. His endorsement builds on the momentum we have seen over the last few weeks. I’m proud to have his support and welcome his advice as we continue to grow our winning campaign.”

Bucco, who planned to continue serving as Roxbury township council during his campaign for Congress, said he put a lot of thought into his decision to not run and made the choice "after countless discussions with family, colleagues and others over the last three weeks."

The Boonton resident, whose father, Tony Bucco, is a state Senator, thanked those who urged him to run.

"I was floored by the outpouring of support from so many important leaders across Morris County, and humbled by an energy within the Republican Party that I haven’t seen in years,” said Bucco. “After thoughtful deliberation about politics and building a winning campaign, ultimately I came to realize that at this point in my life, turning things upside-down to be in Washington was too big a price to pay for myself and my family.”

He said he wants to keep working in Trenton, especially given the recent election of  Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy. “My work in Trenton isn’t finished," Bucco said. "I want to continue fighting for taxpayers and deliver a more affordable New Jersey. With the tax-and-spend policies proposed by the new administration, it’s important now more than ever."