Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse announces write-in campaign

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — After losing to Wanda Williams in the Democratic mayoral primaries in May, Eric Papenfuse has decided he will remain on the ballot for Harrisburg Mayor this November.

The Mayor held a conference on Wednesday to officially announce his decision but he did disclose to abc27’s Mark Hall that he will be running as a write-in candidate, a decision he was mulling over for weeks.

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Papenfuse says he is running on three things. A proven track record of fiscal responsibility, ethical leadership, and bi-partisanship. He lost to City Council President Wanda Williams in the May primary but now, he says it’s important that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all have a say in who runs the city.

“We have doubles the size of our AFSCME workforce. We have doubled the size of our fire department. Eight years ago we were closing fire stations and it was not clear the fire department was going to survive,” Papenfuse said.

Papenfuse also blasted Wanda Willims, saying she would be the continuation of what he calls “Stephen Reed politics,” a reference to Harrisburg’s longtime, and somewhat infamous former mayor. He says Williams would not be a strong fiscal manager and claims she’s stalled efforts to put recovery money into the city.

Williams was unavailable for comment but issued a statement.

Today, Eric Papenfuse revelaed his true colors. After a history of supporting Republicans over Democrats, using the Mayor’s office to give favors to his political allies, and working for developers, not the people, he announced a last-ditch attempt to stop a black woman from becoming mayor. As I did in the primary, I will beat him in November and end his tenure of sexism and cronyism.

Wanda Williams via an official statement

As for the Republican on the ballot, Papenfuse says Tim Rowbottom isn’t qualified. Rowbottom says he feels the same about the Mayor but ultimately, “It’s going to come down to person, not party. It’s going to come down to whether they believe you to be truthful or not,” Rowbottom said.

Wanda Williams won the Democratic primary race in May with 29% of the vote. Papenfuse finished second with 28% of the vote, losing by only a 61 vote margin.

This is a developing story, abc27 will provide more updates as they become available.

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