The ills of Harrisburg are certainly no small secret. Today will go a long way towards determining who will lead the city for the next four years. The run for the Democratic nominee for Mayor of Harrisburg is one of the highlights of Primary Day in Pennsylvania.
There are plenty of problems that the leader of Harrisburg will encounter. Money shortfalls and violence name a few. But three candidates are looking to knock off Mayor Linda Thompson and take the reigns of the Capital City. The office will determine the direction of Harrisburg for the next four years.
Four candidates, one city, plenty of problems. The race to become the Democratic nominee for Mayor of the City of Harrisburg is in the home stretch.
“People don’t know what’s going to happen,” said candidate Dan Miller during a debate in April.
The outspoken Miller blames Mayor Linda Thompson and her administration for many of the current problems. The city is mired in $300 million worth of debt. Miller’s belief is bankruptcy is the only way out.
“We’ve had this so-called receiver in place, and nothing has happened. People don’t know how high the taxes are going to go,” Miller said.
Mayor Linda Thompson is banking on the past four years to give her the edge in this race. The city’s first ever black female Mayor has captained the ship through some tough financial times. The mayor also believes her newly started neighborhood safety zones have and will deter crime.
“All these gentlemen do up here (and Lewis is getting a little bit better) is attack, attack, attack. And, they have not developed any real plan,” said Mayor Linda Thompson said during an April debate.
During the debates, businessman and former teacher Eric Papenfuse, the owner of the Midtown Scholar Book Store projected himself as anti-establishment candidate. He believes he will bring a fresh set of eyes to race despite his involvement with the Harrisburg Authority, the group in charge of the incinerator and its massive debt.
“I was your appointee to the Harrisburg Authority, and I told you then we shouldn’t approve any more debt. We can’t pay it back. And, I resigned because I was unwilling to commit fraud,” Papenfuse said during an April debate.
Community activist Lewis Butts is the final contender. Butts raised some eyebrows with his idea of building a hydro-electric dam to raise revenue. He is hoping that style will win him some votes.
The winner of today’s Democratic primary will face independent candidate Nevin Mindlin in the November election. Mindlin battled Thompson back in 2009 as a then Republican candidate. He lost that battle but hopes to have a second bite at the apple come November.