John Crowley, a Republican at the center of much political speculation, will not run for governor next year, PolitickerNJ reports.

Crowley, a Navy reservist who left the business world to found a bio-tech firm to help find a cure for a rare disease affecting his children, had been seen as a potential dark horse candidate whose life story and checkbook might make him a player in the 2009 election. But spokesman Bill Spadea tells Politicker that Crowley "does not intend to run at this time."

Spadea said he and Crowley would continue working on their Building a New Majority political organization, but that speculation about Crowley's 2009 ambitions had moved ahead of the reality.

Just last week, at a round table of state political leaders and consultants, Republican state chairman Tom Wilson had named Crowley as a potential candidate when asked who might carry the GOP flag next year if U.S. Attorney Chris Christie does not run.

While many Republicans await a decision from Christie, the only two candidates in the race so far are Morris County Assemblyman Rick Merkt and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.

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