Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s re-election may have become a little easier.
Considered to be Rybak’s greatest challenger for mayor and the DFL-endorsed candidate, Bob Miller announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign to focus on family health concerns.
“Although I would have liked to vigorously continue this effort, changes in my family situation have made it impossible for me to put forth the time and effort that this campaign deserves,” Miller said in a statement.
Miller’s mother and wife have both been suffering from serious health issues, and campaign manager John Schultz said Miller has an obligation to his family and his job as director of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
“The campaigning was just running on a short stick, and it doesn’t work when you run on a short stick,” Schultz said.
Schultz said Miller could continue campaigning down the road, but he is no longer actively campaigning for the DFL endorsement.
City Council President Barbara Johnson said this is the first time she has seen this situation arise in a local election, but she said family priorities should always come first.
While Miller’s suspension could make Rybak’s seat safer, Johnson said she had expected Rybak to be reelected prior to this announcement.
“I think R.T. is a successful mayor, and it’s really hard to run against an incumbent,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to point out any negative baggage.”
But Miller did have support for his campaign, and Nokomis East Neighborhood Association Associate Director Doug Walter said he is disappointed about the possibility of Miller not receiving the endorsement.
“I think it’s time for Minneapolis to have a new mayor; I feel that very strongly having worked closely with the city over the last seven years,” Walter said.
Walter said he has not been impressed with Rybak’s administration since his election in 2001 and thinks it’s time for a change.
There is a meeting scheduled for Miller’s supporters Thursday evening, and Walter said he expects Miller to discuss this situation further.
“It’s got to be hard on him because I know he really strongly believed in running for mayor,” Walter said. “It would be a shame if Bob really does drop out although R.T. would probably enjoy running against himself.”