PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl remained behind closed doors Thursday as his absence from public events amid a re-election campaign fueled speculation about his future.
Ravenstahl’s office declined to discuss the mayor’s status, leaving others to try to explain his absence from events in recent days.
Ravenstahl, 33, will be holding a news conference in the next couple days to discuss “some issues,” according to a friend.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party chairman, Jim Burn, told WPXI-TV he “fully expects” Ravenstahl will announce that he will not seek re-election.
The mayor’s office, however, has been decidedly mum on what Ravenstahl is doing and his plans, which has only amplified speculation in political circles. Reporters gathered outside his office Thursday in hopes of catching a glimpse of the mayor.
Ravenstahl’s campaign manager, Aletheia Henry, said that that Ravenstahl missed several events because his mother is ill. City Council President Darlene Harris told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that there were “some personal problems.”
Ravenstahl is also dealing with a federal investigation of city police business that prompted him to ask for the resignation of the city’s police chief.
Ravenstahl has been mayor since he replaced Bob O’Connor, who died in office in 2006. He automatically got the job because he was city council president at the time.
A Democrat, Ravenstahl was elected to a full four-year term in 2009. He has said that, under his watch, the city has created a climate for growth. He’s also said the city has better employment numbers and a lower crime rate than when he took office.
City Councilman Bill Peduto and Controller Michael Lamb have both announced plans to challenge Ravenstahl in the May primary.