MOUNTAIN LAKES - Republicans have picked the widow of Assembly GOP leader Alex DeCroce to fill the seat left vacant by his sudden death.

BettyLou DeCroce easily defeated attorney Larry Casha during a GOP county committee meeting in Mountain Lakes last night.

The 26th District includes towns in Essex, Morris and Passaic counties.

Her 75-year-old husband collapsed and died at the Statehouse as the lame-duck legislative session drew to a close on Jan. 9.

GOP officials to pick late assemblyman's successor