Franco Doc Harris, 29, is making his first bid for public office by running as an independent against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, providing the incumbent survives the May 19 Democratic primary.
Ravenstahl also announced his re-election bid Tuesday.
Harris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was looking at President Barack Obama for inspiration.
"A first time senator from Illinois somehow figured out how to take on and beat probably the biggest political machine ever known in this country," he said.
Harris, who has business and law degrees and currently works for the family bakery business, said he would launch his formal campaign in June.