The nation's first black elected governor, L. Douglas Wilder (search), is ready to return to Virginia's capital city in a bid for the mayor's seat.

Wilder, 73, lives in Charles City County, but he can run for mayor in November if he establishes residency in Richmond by Aug. 1, according to the city's new charter.

"I am now in the process of making arrangements to meet the necessary legal requirements to be on the ballot," Wilder said in a statement released Saturday.

Last year, Wilder, a Democrat, pushed for a referendum to have Richmond's mayor chosen in a citywide election rather than be appointed by the City Council. In November, voters approved the charter change and the General Assembly has provided its necessary approval.

Richmond, with a population of just under 200,000, in recent years has had one of the nation's highest murder rates and has had two council members convicted within the last year of bribery and tax evasion.

"Leaders don't shy from problems," said Paul Goldman, a longtime Wilder aide. "I know that crime is something he has talked about. Crime is right there at the top of the list."

Wilder served as a state senator and lieutenant governor before being elected governor in 1989. He has remained active in public life and led the drive to create the U.S. National Slavery Museum (search) in Fredericksburg.