The votes are in and Thompson is out. Mayor Linda Thompson lost the Democratic primary last night. Businessman Eric Papenfuse soundly defeated the field to take a huge step towards becoming the next mayor of Harrisburg.
Papenfuse, the owner of the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, says a little relaxation is first on the agenda but he is promising a smooth transition as he gears up to become the next mayor of Harrisburg. He will first have to win the general election in November. Either way, his primary win means there will be a new sheriff in town.
Change is in the air. The City of Harrisburg will have a new leader come January 2014.
“Harrisburg’s best days are yet to come,” Papenfuse said during his victory speech last night.
Businessman Eric Papenfuse soundly defeated incumbent Mayor Linda Thompson. Papenfuse promised change throughout his campaign, beating City Controller Dan Miller by 400 votes and Mayor Linda Thompson by nearly 700 votes or 11 percent.
“With your help we are on our way to better schools, safer streets and a city that will be the envy of a nation,” he said.
“I think the voters have spoken, that they are looking for change, and I accept that with much humbleness,” said Mayor Thompson during her concession speech.
Thompson is stepping aside after just one-term in office. The mayor’s term was consumed by the fiscal crisis, along with several missteps along the way.
Thompson gracefully conceded to her competitor last night promising a fruitful last seven months in office.
“It really was about the will of the people. And, I will make sure the transition is done smoothly,” Thompson said.
That transition will come with a price. Harrisburg’s huge financial problems are continuing to mount. The city is over $300 million in debt. Papenfuse is promising to immediately put his campaign promises to work taking on blight, crime, economic development and education.
Turnout was a big reason for Papenfuse’s victory. About 6,500 voters hit the polls yesterday compared to about 5,000 in 2009. Papenfuse said yesterday that he thought a large turnout would benefit his campaign and that was certainly the case.
Papenfuse will now face Independent Nevin Mindlin in the general election in November.