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 on Wednesday night.

She must resign from the state Community Affairs Department. She also must win the Republican nomination during the June primary and prevail in the November election to finish serving the two-year term.

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

The Daily Record of Parsippany reports  she told delegates she'll continue the "Republican policies" of Gov. Chris Christie.

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

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)