TRENTON -- Senator Joe Kyrillos will not seek re-election in 2017.

The Monmouth County Republican, who has served in the legislature for the past 28 years, told PolitickerNJ, "I am truly fortunate to have had the ability to serve for so many years in the state Senate, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished on behalf of the people of New Jersey.” He did not offer a reason for why he will not run.

The Red Bank resident also did not elaborate on his future plans but told the political site he plans to continue playing a role in public affairs in New Jersey and nationally.

"I don’t close the door on running for elected office or on another public role someday," he told the site.

Fellow Republican state Senator Tom Kean commended the 56-year-old's legislative career.

“Joe Kyrillos’ history of public service to Monmouth County and all of New Jersey is extraordinary. He has been the voice of reason that members of both parties in the New Jersey Senate have looked to for leadership on key issues since 1992," Kean said in a statement.

Gov. Christie in a statement said "Joe Kyrillos has served the interests of his constituents and all the people of our state with great skill and passion for nearly three decades. His decision not to seek re-election is obviously a personal one. I congratulate him on his years of service to our state and our party. Mary Pat and I wish Joe and Susan every happiness and success as they enter this next phase of their life together with their fabulous children."

Kyrillos most recently strongly supported the increase in New Jersey's gas tax, calling it “a productivity, prosperity and quality of life package for New Jersey.”

Kyrillos ran a losing campaign against incumbent U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in 2012 and lost to Frank Pallone in the 6th congressional district in 1992. He was chairman of the state Republican party from 2001-2004 and was the New Jersey chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2008.

He was once a close friend and political ally of Christie's and was chairman of his first campaign for governor in 2009. The two seemingly drifted apart after Kyrillos did not support Christie's run for president, instead donating $10,000 to rival Jeb Bush.

"Joe and Susan and I have been friends for over 20 years and we'll always continue to be friends. This is politics. It's a business decision. He's made a business decision; he thinks Jeb Bush is a better candidate for president," Christie said during Ask the Governor in April 2015 before he announced his own run at the White House.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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