Mayor Rich Dziekan (left) and Alderman Gino DiGiovanni.

Registered Republicans in Derby will head to the polls Sept. 12 for a Republican primary to decide which mayoral candidate they want to represent them at the top of the GOP ticket in November.

Republican voters will cast ballots from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 12 at two polling places-Irving School, located at 9 Garden Place, and Bradley School, located at 155 David Humphreys Rd.

Voters can visit the city’s website here to find out where they vote, how to obtain an absentee ballot and other information related to the primary and the upcoming Nov. 7 municipal election.

Second Ward Alderman Gino DiGiovanni received the endorsement from the Derby Republican Town Committee on July 19 in his bid to run for mayor.

Incumbent Republican Mayor Richard Dziekan said he did not seek the endorsement of the local GOP, and instead opted to collect signatures to force a primary. Regardless of the primary’s outcome, Dzkiekan said he will also appear on the ballot in November as a non-affiliated candidate.

DiGiovanni has federal charges pending for allegedly entering the U.S. Capital on Jan. 6 to disrupt Congress. DiGiovanni said while he entered the building on Jan. 6, he was let in by a Capitol police officer and simply walked through the building. 

His next court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 9, two days after the general election.

Dziekan, 57, announced his re-election plans to seek a fourth term as mayor on July 12 before a crowd of 75 supporters at Twisted Vine Restaurant. He said he’s not seeking the approval or endorsement of any politicians, regardless of party. Instead, he said he’s taking his case directly to the voters themselves in an effort to secure a place on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for mayor.

Dziekan reiterated his position to the Valley Indy in an interview on Aug. 10 after he was successful in his quest to trigger a primary.

“I refuse to seek the approval of any politician or make empty promises for support,” Dziekan said. ​“Instead, I’ll let the big progress our little city has made during my three terms in office speak for itself. It has me easily getting the number of signatures necessary to force a primary and letting all Republicans decide who will represent them on the November ballot.”

Some of those victories Dziekan is touting include being able to grow the city’s fund balance to more than $3 million and keeping taxes stable for the past two years. He also hailed economic development progress downtown including a 90-unit Cedar Village housing development soon to begin, along with the 100-unit, mixed-use development, Trolley Pointe taking shape on the former Lifetouch Studios property, and the long-awaited widening of Route 34 by the state which is also underway.

Dziekan accused DiGiovanni of ​“stacking” the DRTC in order to secure the endorsement.

“While I was focused on achieving big progress for our little city, my political opponent was busy making promises and stacking the Republican Town Committee with friends and family to get the nomination,” Dziekan said.

DiGiovanni, 42, said he’s up for the challenge of the primary, and has never shied away from hard work in order to achieve his goals.

“The journey is more rewarding than the victory itself,” DiGiovanni said. ​“The victory is just a culmination of the hard work. My whole life I have worked hard for my accomplishments. Nothing has come easy nor has been given to me. This primary in September is no different. I will use that same work ethic I’ve had my whole life and get the message out to the hard-working citizens of Derby and let them know it’s time for a new generation of leadership.”

DiGiovanni said Derby has lost its unity and pride and said he’s the right guy to restore that. He said as mayor he’d be available 24/7, something Dziekan has been accused of not being, would reinstate all the aldermanic subcommittees, and replace the city’s aging fleet of fire, police, and public works vehicles.

As for Dziekan’s accusation about him stacking the DRTC, of which DiGiovanni is the chairman, DiGiovanni said that’s just not true.

“They’re completely false,” DiGiovanni said. ​“We have 10 members that have been there for between 10 and 20 years, and nine members were brought in by the mayor himself over the last few years. He lost the support of the town committee and he realized that when he formed his exploratory committee or campaign and when he called everyone and asked them for his support and they told him no.”

If Dziekan is defeated at the Sept. 12 primary, he has done the work needed to secure a place on the November ballot as a petitioning candidate. According to Garofalo, 29 signatures are needed to get on the ballot as a petitioning candidate. Dziekan submitted 36 signatures, of which 34 were certified.

If Dziekan isn’t on the Republican line on the November ballot, his name will appear on the fourth line of the ballot as a petitioning candidate, according to Garofalo.

Another mayoral candidate, resident Sharlene McEvoy, also submitted 56 signatures, of which 49 were certified, to get on the November ballot as a petitioning candidate. Because she submitted her paperwork before Dziekan, Garofalo said McEvoy’s name will appear on the third line of the November ballot, above Dziekan’s name. 

Also in the crowded race for mayor is Democrat Joseph DiMartino, a former alderman and longtime Derby High School softball coach and retired veteran employee of the Derby Public Works Department. 

DiMartino, 56, received the unanimous endorsement from the Derby Democratic Town Committee on July 24. DiMartino ran against Dziekan for the mayor’s seat two years ago, losing by just 48 votes.

DiMartino, the father of four girls, said he wants to change the culture of Derby City Hall and the city because he said it’s not in a good place right now.