ALLENTOWN, Pa. - While Ed Pawlowski currently is seeking re-election as mayor of Allentown, a non-profit organization called "Pawlowski for Governor" has been incorporated in Harrisburg.
Another candidate for mayor has pounced on Pawlowski for creating a political action committee to support a campaign for Pennsylvania governor.
Michael Donovan, independent candidate for mayor, accused Pawlowski of abandoning Allentown.
The mayor is expected to make a decision on a possible run for governor "in the next few days," said Mike Fleck, Pawlowski's campaign manager.
Fleck explained Pawlowski for Governor was incorporated in case he does decide to run for governor.
Pawlowski could not be reached for comment Friday.
The mayor is considered a leading Democrat to challenge a re-election bid by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett next year.
But this year Pawlowski is seeking re-election to a third term as Allentown's mayor.
If Pawlowski begins a third term next January, he immediately would be running against other Democratic candidates for governor leading up to the primary election in May. If he wins the primary, he would face Corbett in November 2014.
"Why would he run away now?" asked Donovan in a news release. " Is he afraid of the ramifications of his one-sided decisions?
Donovan stressed that he will serve the people of Allentown for an entire four-year term.
Allentown's home rule charter stipulates that if the office of the mayor becomes vacant for any reason, City Council will appoint an interim mayor of the same political party to serve until the next municipal election.
Donovan said if he is elected mayor, he will protect the city "from having to experience, again, what happens when officials are appointed instead of elected." He noted three of City Council's seven members were appointed.
Pawlowski was elected mayor in 2005 and re-elected in 2009.
Donovan is a professor of business and economics at Cedar Crest College and a former city councilman where he served as vice president for two years and chaired the budget and finance committee.
In his statement, Donovan said: "We are fortunate to live in a country where anyone can run for any government office.
"However, after pushing through so many of his pet projects, each with decades of unknown effects on the citizens and businesses of Allentown, and each without adequate citizen engagement and input, it is surprising that the current mayor would divert his attention to higher office.
"He has not fixed Allentown, as he claims; he has created great uncertainty. Why would he run away now? Is he afraid of the ramifications of his one-sided decisions?
"By making this statement, Mayor Ed Pawlowski is abandoning the city of Allentown."
Allentown, PA 18102