ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A former county official has been chosen to fill the seat of a New Jersey state senator who died last month.

Atlantic County Democrats on Tuesday unanimously approved former Freeholder Colin Bell to complete the unexpired term of Jim Whelan. Bell will be officially sworn in to the seat later this year.

The 68-year-old Whelan died at his home on Aug. 22. He had announced in January that he wouldn’t seek re-election, and Bell is the party’s candidate for the seat in November’s elections.

Whelan had served three terms as mayor of Atlantic City before losing a re-election bid in 2001. He won a state Assembly seat in 2005 before being elected to his Senate seat two years later.