Pennsylvania

Article excerpt

MANY CONSIDER PITTSBURGH Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who easily won a second term in November with 55 percent of the vote, a rising political star. At 26, Ravenstahl became the youngest mayor of a major city after his predecessor, Bob O'Connor, died in office in 2006. Since then, Ravenstahl has displayed considerable political know-how. The following year he defeated challenger Mark DeSantis in the mayoral special election. Now, at the age of 29, Ravenstahl held off two primary challengers and two independents--including the son of Steelers Hall of Famer Franco Harris--to win his first full term in office.

Local political observers say most Steel City residents consider Ravenstahl's tenure a success given that he has presided over a large budget surplus. The question now is whether the young mayor will make a run for higher office--the state Senate or even the U.S. Congress are possibilities. But Pittsburgh-based political consultant Bill Green says the conventional wisdom is that Ravenstahl will stick with the mayor's office, at least for now.

"I don't see him running for state office for at least five years," Green says. "The last mayor of Pittsburgh to successfully run for governor was David Lawrence, which was more than 60 years ago."

Regardless of his political aspirations, Ravenstahl faces significant challenges in Pittsburgh that will likely carry ramifications for his future. …