State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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Papenfuse wins Harrisburg mayoral election

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 6, 2013 12:09 AM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

The capital city's next mayor will be Eric Papenfuse, the bookseller who touted his business experience and support for a non-bankruptcy recovery plan for the indebted city.

Democratic candidate Eric Papenfuse won with nearly 50 percent of the vote.

Trailing him by 18 points was Dan Miller, the city controller who ran on the Republican ballot after losing the Democratic primary. 18 percent of the citywide vote went to write-in candidates. One favorite among them was Aaron Johnson, a longtime city employee and deputy director of the Department of Public Works, who launched an eleventh-hour campaign.

In Papenfuse's victory speech at his Harrisburg bookstore, he pledged to tackle the city's underachieving schools, high crime levels, blighted neighborhoods, and its reputation as a debt-ridden city.

"The real victory will lie in the years ahead, when our streets are clean, when our homes are safe, when our young professionals rush to get back to Harrisburg, rather than flee from it," Papenfuse said.

And he issued a call of inclusion to his supporters: "We must reach out to those who were once our opponents and welcome them to join us to make Harrisburg a model for the whole country."

A recent Patriot-News report shows mayoral candidates raising more than half a million dollars on this year's election, more than double what was raised in the city's last mayoral election.

Papenfuse raised nearly $340,000 in 2013, outspending Miller, his chief opponent, about three to one. It shakes out to about $94 spent per vote received by Papenfuse in the general election.

Papenfuse campaigned on his business acumen, his opposition to city bankruptcy, and his support for a fiscal recovery plan advanced by the state-appointed receiver. He has said he will cooperate with the state attorney general in any investigation of financial deals leading to the city's gargantuan debts.

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