Republicans are competing to take a seat in the 3rd Legislative District, while Senate President Stephen Sweeney remains fairly secure in his seat, according to a poll released Thursday afternoon by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

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In the Stockton/Zogby poll of the district commissioned by the center, incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Celeste Riley has just under 38 percent of those polled, while the Republican challengers Domenick DeCicco and Bob Villare hold just over 34 percent of the poll.

Riley's figures have slipped some 6 percentage points since a similar Stockton/Zogby poll in September. At the same time, DeCicco's and Villare's figures have risen 5.2 and 6.6 percentage points, respectively. DeCicco is an incumbent Republican legislator, who was redistricted from the 4th into the 3rd district after a surprise win in 2009. Villare lost to Riley by 1,021 votes that year.

Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli leads the pack in that district, with more than 42 percent of those polled. With a more than 12-point lead, Sweeney, with more than 46 percent retained a comfortable lead over his Republican challenger Michael Mulligan in that district's state Senate race, the poll reported. The 3rd District includes Salem and parts of Gloucester and Cumberland Counties.

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