Skip Navigation

Harrisburg voters to pick their next mayor in Nov. 2 election

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 6 to 1 in the city.

  • Julia Agos
The city of Harrisburg at night.

Joe Ulrich/ WITF

The city of Harrisburg at night.

(Harrisburg) – Harrisburg voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to pick a mayor.

They have three candidates to choose from.

The Democratic nominee, Wanda Williams, 67, is the President of the Harrisburg City Council and has been endorsed by fellow Democrats: Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Williams, a life ling Harrisburg resident, was elected to City Council in 2005 and has been president for the past 12 years. If elected, she’d be the city’s second black mayor and second female mayor.

Williams did not respond to requests for comment.

Tim Rowbottom, a 42-year-old contractor, is running to be the city’s first Republican mayor in over 40 years. He ran unopposed in the May primary.

Rowbottom’s platform includes tackling crime and repairing city infrastructure.

During the campaign, he has answered questions about a felony assault charge from May 2020 for allegedly hitting one of his children last year.

He said he was disciplining her.

“I gave her an old fashion butt whooping and the police came in and charged me, uh, because I left a mark on her arm where she tried to block it and, on her leg,” he said.

Critics have also pointed to comments from Rowbottom they say are homophobic. The GOP candidate maintains he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The third candidate is the incumbent mayor Eric Papenfuse, who lost the May primary to Williams by 46 votes.

After conceding to Williams, Papenfuse, 50, decided to mount a write in campaign.

He touts his management of city finances and bipartisan work with the GOP controlled state legislature.

Papenfuse, who has been in office since 2014, said if elected this would be his final term.

“My priorities are to make sure that the city has a credit rating restored, to implement a hundred-million-dollar infrastructure plan, and to make sure that the American rescue plan funds and any additional funds to come from the federal government are deployed wisely,” he said.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 6 to 1 in the city.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Regional & State News

Suit claims trucker in crash wore noise-canceling headphones