Alan Walden, the Republican nominee for Baltimore mayor, said Saturday he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer and will undergo surgery next week. He vowed to continue on with the campaign.
Walden said he will undergo "major surgery" Tuesday at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie. He said he expected to make a full recovery, and that it would probably take about four weeks for him to get back to campaigning. If bladder cancer is caught early, patients generally have a high survival rate, doctors say.
"I have to focus on me and dealing with this on a highly personal level," he said. "And then, of course, getting on with business as quickly as I can."
Walden, a former WBAL-AM anchor, has run on a generally optimistic message about the future of Baltimore. But, he argues, 50 years of Democratic leadership of Baltimore have not led the city in a good direction.
"I am as determined as ever to continue the campaign to become the next mayor of Baltimore," Walden, 80, said. "The city needs a difference and I intend to be that difference."
Walden beat out four other Republicans to win the GOP primary in April. He now faces Democratic nominee Catherine E. Pugh and Green party candidate Joshua Harris. There are also several unaffiliated candidates, who must gather more than 4,000 signatures to get their names on the November general election ballot.
Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 10-to-1 in Baltimore.
Harris last month released a detailed economic development plan that, among other proposals, called for the creation of a public bank in Baltimore and the cutting of property taxes.