Rep. James Spallone of Essex ended his exploratory campaign for Secretary of the State Tuesday and immediately endorsed Majority Leader Denise Merrill.

Deciding this was not the right time to run for statewide office, Spallone said he concluded that he cannot devote his full attention to repairing the state‘s fledgling campaign finance law, his duties as co-chairman of the General Administration and Elections Committee, and his district, while running a statewide campaign.

“I also have a law practice and, most importantly, two very young children at home. This is simply not the right time for me to wage a statewide campaign,” Spallone said in an emailed statement.

In that same statement he endorsed Merrill.

“Denise’s commitment to good government and expanding our democracy predates her service in the legislature,“ Spallone said. “Denise has helped me countless times with my work on government and electoral reform, and she is committed to restoring civility to our political discourse and engaging the next generation of voters.“

Merrill’s campaign sent out a statement thanking Spallone for his support.

“Jamie Spallone has been a gracious and worthy adversary on the campaign trail and I respect his record in public office and his passion for the issues,” Merrill said.

Spallone said he will seek another term as a state representative.

The other Democratic candidates in the race for Secretary of the State include former New Haven Alderman Gerry Garcia, state Sen. Jonathan Harris of West Hartford, and Norwalk Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel. Republican candidates include Richard Abbate, Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell and Bloomfield lawyer Corey Brinson.