The two candidates running for mayor of Harrisburg squared off Wednesday night in their first one-on-one debate.
The debate was hosted by the non-profit group Harrisburg Watch Coalition at the State Museum auditorium. It featured several lively exchanges.
"This woman said, 'the one thing you have Dan Miller that Eric Papenfuse doesn't have is that you're genuine," Miller said early in the debate.
Papenfuse countered quickly. "Your whisper campaign basically saying that I cannot be trusted is really beneath you and I think is the hallmark of a career politician," he said.
Miller later came back to rebut that. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "I'm a citizen who cares about the city. I have no political aspirations. The only reason I'm running for mayor is because of the total incompetence I've seen for the last eight years."
Papenfuse later got in this one.
"You are the Ted Cruz of Harrisburg," he said. "There's no question about it."
That comment came on discussion of the city's "Harrisburg Strong" recovery plan and Miller's opposition to it. Papenfuse supports it.
"The choice is either that or Dan Miller's plan, which he referenced at the last debate, a three page memo from 2010, which isn't workable," Papenfuse said.
"I would bet you this," Miller answered. "I would bet that if Eric Papenfuse weren't running for mayor, he would be blasting the hell out of this plan."
There was also discussion about campaign contributions. Miller said his were small amounts from residents compared to Papenfuse taking large sums from private interests.
"You're the one who has fundraised outside the city of Harrisburg, went to New York for a fund-raiser. Let's not go down that road," Papenfuse said.
"That's factually incorrect that I went to New York," Miller answered. "This is what they want. They want to buy someone. Eric Papenfuse is the latest one they're going to buy. They're going to control him."