R.T. Rybak won't seek fourth term as Minneapolis mayor [UPDATE]
Rybak has been mayor since January 2002.
At a presser this afternoon, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced he will not seek a fourth term.
Rybak cited his desire for a more balanced family life as a reason for his decision.
As the presser began, Rybak offered up this tweet:
Mayor or not I'm going to be working for Mpls and will stay very involved in keeping city moving in the right direction
-- Mayor R.T. Rybak (@MayorRTRybak) December 27, 2012
"I've got a year left," Rybak said during the news conference, adding that he believes he still has a lot to accomplish before giving way to his successor a year from now.
"The lame duck isn't quacking yet," Rybak quipped.
Rybak said he has no immediate plans to take a job in Washington D.C., as has been widely speculated. In fact, he said he hopes to stay in Minneapolis, and no matter what he does from here, plans to continue "working for Minneapolis."
Rybak's long-awaited announcement was widely seen as the first domino in what could shape up to be a very interesting 2013 campaign for Minneapolis mayor. Council member Gary Schiff filed for a mayoral run earlier this month, but has hedged about whether or not he'd run against Rybak, even though he was sharply critical of the mayor's support for the Vikings stadium. Of course, Schiff doesn't have to worry about running against R.T. now.
Rybak-supporting Council Member Betsy Hodges has also filed for a 2013 run. When she filed last month, she said: "If the mayor runs again, I will support him."
Schiff and Hodges may look like the two leading contenders to succeed R.T. at present, but other contenders will undoubtedly throw their hats in the ring in the days and months to come.
:::: UPDATE ::::
2:49 p.m. -- Just minutes after Rybak's presser drew to a close, Betsy Hodges confirmed that with R.T. out of the picture, she plans to run for mayor next year.
Here's Hodges' statement:
Today, I am filled with respect and gratitude for Mayor Rybak's nearly 12 years of service in leading Minneapolis with vision, energy and compassion. His accomplishments in restoring Minneapolis' financial health, making our city dramatically safer and spearheading Minneapolis' transformation into a self-confident, nationally-respected city will stand the test of time. I am proud to have worked closely with Mayor Rybak on many initiatives -- most especially on putting our city on firm financial footing, and firmly keeping it there -- that have made Minneapolis far stronger than it was 12 years ago.
His announcement that he will not seek a fourth term leaves a huge void, but also creates a great opportunity for those of us who believe that Minneapolis can become the great city of the 21st century to do even more to make that happen.
After carefully consulting with family, friends, and people of every neighborhood who care about our city, I intend to run for mayor.
In the coming days, weeks and months, I look forward to hearing from residents about the future of our city and sharing my vision for Minneapolis. That conversation starts today.
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