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Pittsburgh council president will not run for mayor

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Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 5:09 p.m.

Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris ended speculation on Thursday that she would run as an independent candidate for mayor, saying she didn't want to cause a Democratic Party rift by running against its nominee.

The Spring Hill Democrat changed her voter registration to Independent after the May primary, saying she was positioning herself to run in case Mayor Luke Ravenstahl stepped down.

A federal grand jury has interviewed several people close to Ravenstahl, who decided in March not to run for re-election. Ravenstahl and his attorney have repeatedly said he is not a grand jury target.

Should Ravenstahl leave office, Harris would be first in line to replace him. To do that, however, she would have to relinquish her council seat.

“I was just keeping my options open,” Harris, 60, said.

Thursday was the deadline for independent candidates to file nominating papers with the Allegheny County Elections Division for the Nov. 5 election.

Retired businessman Lester Ludwig, 80, of Squirrel Hill was the only independent to file for the mayor's race. He will face Democrat Bill Peduto, 48, of Point Breeze and Republican Josh Wander, 42, of Squirrel Hill.

Two Constitution Party candidates filed to run for Allegheny County Sheriff and Allegheny County Council.

Mike Zitelli of Bridgeville will challenge Sheriff William Mullen, a Democrat. In the council's District 1 race, Jim Barr of West View will face Democrat Daniel A. McClain Jr. and Republican Tom Baker, both of Ross.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer forTrib Total Media.

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