N.J. Dems pick new candidate in close state Senate race

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Democrat Vince Mazzeo, a two-term state Assemblyman from Atlantic County, NJ

New Jersey Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo on Wednesday dropped out of a competitive race to represent Atlantic County in the state Senate.

Mazzeo, a 53-year-old Democrat, cited family reasons and said he would instead seek reelection in November to the Legislature's lower chamber, where he has served since 2014.

Republicans criticized Mazzeo last month for sharing a video on Facebook that was seen as insensitive to immigrants. He deleted the video, saying he had not been wearing his glasses when he posted it.

Colin Bell, 35, a lawyer and former Atlantic County freeholder, announced that he would run to represent the Second District in the Senate. The seat is being vacated by Sen. James Whelan, who is retiring. Bell, like Whelan, is a Democrat. 

Running on the Republican side is Assemblyman Chris A. Brown, 52, a lawyer serving his third term in the Legislature.