HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) said it wasn’t the Midstate record temperatures that had him steamed.

“The lie has been told that I am a backroom-deal guy, and I participated in a backroom deal and I’m going to be very diplomatic today,” Wagner said in a firm tone. “This is not true and I’m very hot under the collar right now about this whole thing.”

Wagner’s anger comes from an ABC27 report Tuesday about York lawyer Scott Harper, who alleged that he was offered a judgeship or government legal work in return for getting out of the state Senate race to replace retiring Pat Vance.

Harper said he believed Wagner was behind those offers. He believes Wagner supports Representative Mike Regan (R-York) and by enticing Harper to drop out it would help solidify the York County vote for Regan.

The other candidates, Jon Ritchie and Brice Arndt, are from Cumberland County. The 31st senatorial district comprises both Cumberland and York counties, so many believe geography is important.

“This guy sat in front of your camera and he lied to you,” Wagner said Wednesday from his personal attorney’s office in Hummelstown.

What’s not a lie is that Harper met at the Capitol cafeteria on Feb. 10 with Wagner chief of staff Jason High and Matt Plummer, a political consultant to the Arndt campaign. All sides confirm that happened. Harper concedes it was the two men, and not Wagner, who voiced the offer in exchange for his exiting the race.

I pressed Harper on the specifics Wednesday.

“They (Plummer and High) brought up judgeship?

“Yes,” Harper said.

“They brought up outside government legal work?”

“Yes,” he added without elaborating.

Both sides also concede that Wagner stepped off the Senate floor briefly to meet Harper. There is dispute about what exactly was said. Wagner insists it was just a meet-and-greet without substance.

Harper remembers the conversation with Wagner differently.

“I said, ‘you invited me here because obviously you want me out of the race and he said ‘yeah, you’re diluting the vote’ (for Regan),” Harper said.

“That is a total outright lie,” Wagner said when told of Harper’s recollection of the meeting.

ABC27 has obtained an email exchange between Plummer and Harper following the Harrisburg meeting that seems to support Wagner’s claim. Harper wrote to Plummer, “I’m not sure what we really accomplished for me. Wagner made me no offers or commitments in exchange for me withdrawing. At this point, we are moving forward with signatures and getting on the ballot. If they want to revisit the issue I would be more than welcome to hear what they have to say.”

That may suggest it was Harper angling for a deal from Wagner. I asked him about it.

“I was told he (Wagner) was gonna offer me something,” Harper said.

“That’s why you came up here?”

“Sure,” Harper said. “I didn’t know what he wanted to offer me, maybe support for my campaign, maybe to get out.”

Harper also said he came to Harrisburg at Plummer’s request and that in an earlier meeting at his York law office he’d met Plummer and discussed possible enticements to get out of the race. The Harrisburg meeting, Harper thought, was to solidify details. That never happened, Harper said, and he returned to his campaign business.

Wagner says Harper’s story is fishy and insists that it’s being pushed by unnamed forces behind the scenes.

“There are a lot of people gaming for me right now,” Wagner said, “because I’m disrupting things in Harrisburg and I don’t do back stabbing. I’ll stab you in the front. You’ll see the knife coming.”

Wagner was asked about the appropriateness of his taxpayer-funded staffer taking political meetings in the Capitol cafeteria. His response: “My chief of staff has every right to walk down to the cafeteria if he wants to take a 15-minute break. He’s entitled.”

Harper survived a legal challenge to his petitions Wednesday morning in Commonwealth Court so he will remain on the ballot.

Wagner said that may be no victory at all.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download the ABC 27 News App and the ABC 27 Weather App for your phone or tablet.