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GOP to field candidate for Wilmington mayor

The race for mayor of Wilmington will have a Republican option after all.

Robert Martin filed Friday to run under the GOP banner on November’s General Election ballot after being nominated by the party to fill that hole.

It’s the first time since 2004 the Republican Party has fielded a mayoral candidate in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Former mayor James Baker won a third term unopposed in 2008 and current mayor Dennis Williams had no November challenger in 2012 after winning the 5-way Democratic primary.

"City residents should not be stuck in a position where the Primary Election determines who their next Mayor will be. They should not be stuck with a debate among a slate of candidates who offer nothing more than failed ideas, and a lack of opportunity for struggling families. They need a real discussion of the issues and a real choice for Mayor. In 2016, the Republican Party is offering them that choice," said Delaware Republican Party Chairman Charlie Copeland in a statement. "I commend Robert for taking this bold step today, and promise him that we will be there for him every step of the way."

Martin, a 45-year-old businessman who specializes in real estate investment,  awaits the winner of next month’s 2016 Democratic primary in which 7 Democrats are looking to unseat Williams.

Martin ran for State Senate in 2014, challenging Margaret Rose Henry for her Wilmington East seat.  He was beaten soundly, receiving only 12 percent of the vote.

Libertarian Gerald Patterson and Steven Washington from the Independent Party of Delaware are also running for mayor.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.