2021 Harrisburg mayoral race deemed “most interesting” race by experts

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The race for Harrisburg mayor always draws interest, and especially in 2021.

There are several well-known candidates vying for the spot. Some experts say it has created the “most interesting” race.

Tuesday marks the deadline for Harrisburg mayoral candidates to submit their petitions.

“They all bring some interesting things to the table,” said Danielle Gross, a democratic political consultant.

So far incumbent Eric Papenfuse, City Council President Wanda Williams, businessman David Shankweiler, former councilman Otto Banks and city resident Kevyn Knox have filed.

Democratic political consultant Danielle Gross says there is a lot of political theater baked in.

“You have folks who have been in city politics for a few years,” Gross said. “You also have some candidates running for the Democratic nomination who were affiliated with other parties so those folks may have broad appeal.”

Gross appears on This Week in Pennsylvania with abc27’s Dennis Owens. She says the Harrisburg Democratic mayoral primary is usually the beginning and the end of the race.

“In Harrisburg, historically who wins the mayoral primary wins the election in the fall. And in this case, the Democratic primary is where it’s at.”

Gross says because of the high stakes and high profile candidates involved, the race could go all the way to November.

“Not winning the Democrat primary does not mean one of these candidates couldn’t run a strong write-in campaign.”

That means the candidate would continue to campaign through the fall, asking voters to write-in their name when they cast a ballot in November.

As of Tuesday evening, the Dauphin County Office of Elections says that Tim Rowbottom has filed to run as a Republican candidate in the Harrisburg mayoral race. He is the only Republican running.

The primary election is on May 18.

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