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Luke Ravenstahl exits: Next!

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Friday, March 1, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Word is that on Friday afternoon, two guys with broad, full-of-themselves smiles were seen strutting their stuff around Pittsburgh's Market Square like newly emboldened pigeons upon first hearing of Bill Burns' death.

But Democrats Michael Lamb and Bill Peduto should be careful now that their collective wish has come true.

A mere 11 days after announcing his re-election bid, Democrat Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Friday he will not seek another four-year term.

In office since late 2006 upon the death of Bob O'Connor, the winner of one special election who then was elected to a four-year term in his own right, Mr. Ravenstahl, 33, has been fending off the “scandal” tag for years, including the current Bureau of Police scandal that has rocked the city and sparked an FBI investigation.

Mr. Ravenstahl cited personal reasons for his decision. Whatever.

But Hizzoner's decision not to run makes neither Mr. Lamb nor Mr. Peduto any kind of new front-runner. Rather, and days before the filing deadline, it opens the starting gates wide for new runners far more attractive than the Lamb or Peduto brand.

Think of former state Auditor General and Pittsburgh City Council President Jack Wagner. Think of Jim Ferlo, the former city councilman and current state senator. Both are Democrats. But think, too, of someone like Republican/independent Mark DeSantis, who lost to Ravenstahl in that 2007 special election.

At long last, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to restore mature, commonsense and economics-savvy leadership to the mayor's office. The clarion is sounding. Will Pittsburghers heed its call?

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