In the first of several expected announcements from Republicans hoping to break the Democratic Party's grip on the D.C. Council, Jim DeMartino says he will file Friday afternoon to challenge Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) in the November election.
A lawyer and former Marine Corps officer, De Martino is currently a contract military analyst for the Navy Department. DeMartino, who lives near Nationals Park, is also on the board of directors at Capitol Hill Tower and the D.C. Cooperative Housing Council.
He is closely aligned with Will Cobb, the independent candidate whom Wells defeated by a margin of 3 to 1 in the 2006 general election.
"As former military officers, Jim and Will became friends and worked hard to get Will elected," DeMartino said in his campaign biography. "Going door to door in the summer months for Will's campaign, Jim learned the importance of public service once again."
DeMartino said he plans to run against Wells, who will also likely face a challenger in the September Democratic primary, because he wants to improve education in the city. DeMartino supports Chancellor Michelle Rhee and vows to fight to expand charter schools and protect the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
DeMartino will likely face an uphill challenge in the general election. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Ward 6, which centers on Capitol Hill, by about 8 to 1.
Still, DeMartino's candidacy shows Republicans plan to field a slate of candidates this fall to take on the Democratic incumbents.
The council currently consists of 11 Democrats and two independents, including at-large member Michael Brown, who was a Democrat before he sought his council seat in 2008.