Republican mayoral candidate John Gill is dropping out of the race "for personal reasons," according to the GOP's party chairman, T. J. Barnes.
Barnes said Friday that "something came up suddenly" and Gill, a 29-year-old attorney, could not continue.
The Republicans scrambled to find an alternative challenger to Democratic Mayor Art Ward over the last few days and have apparently come up with someone.
Barnes said the party will introduce its candidate early next week.
Barnes said that GOP leaders were "very disappointed" that Gill had to drop out, but given the circumstances, they understand his decision.
"I'll leave it up to John to explain," Barnes said.
Barnes said that Gill is "a good guy" who has a bright future in the party. He said he fully expects that Gill will be involved for years to come.
Barnes said that Gill is part of the Republican effort to "reinvent ourselves" and bring new, young people into its ranks.
"Our bench isn't that deep," Barnes said, and newcomers such as Gill offer hope for the future.
The mayoral race also has an independent contender, Gary Lawton. The election is November 3.
I'll have more on this story as it develops today, including, I trust, something from Gill.
I do want to say up front, though, that I am aware of the circumstances that caused Gill to make his decision and I won't allow comments speculating about them. It is not something that Gill or the Republicans could have anticipated.
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