Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Papenfuse Wins Re-nomination for Harrisburg Mayor; Council Incumbents Successful

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse makes his victory speech tonight at Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

Incumbent Eric Papenfuse secured the Democratic nomination for Harrisburg mayor today by a wide margin, putting him in a strong position to serve a second term.

With all precincts reporting, Papenfuse tallied 2,663 votes versus 2,048 for his nearest challenger, former City Council President Gloria Martin-Roberts.

In his acceptance speech, Papenfuse said he was “troubled” that the city appeared so divided during the election and that turnout was low.

“I’m committed to uniting this divided city,” he said, speaking at his business, Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

He also said he would make a strong effort to pass a home rule charter for Harrisburg in his next term.

“Home rule is the path to the city’s sustainable future,” he said.

For her part, Martin-Roberts appeared very disappointed in her second-place showing, as she gathered with about 30 supporters at the Harrisburg Elks Lodge.

“We ran a good, clean race,” she said. “We took the high road.”

She said she would “continue to serve the community,” but then took a jab at the people who didn’t vote for her.

“I respect the electorate,” she said. “If they want another term of misery, that’s fine.”

Gloria Martin-Roberts (second from right) speaks to her supporters, including city Treasurer Dan Miller, following her loss in the Democratic primary race for Harrisburg mayor.

Trailing the field were challengers Jennie Jenkins (506 votes), Lewis Butts (124 votes) and Anthony Harrell (74 votes).

No candidates ran for the Republican nomination. However, Papenfuse still could face a Republican opponent in the Nov. 7 general election based on Republican write-in votes, which were not tallied at press time. In addition, city resident Chris Siennick has said he plans to run in the general election as an independent.

In other races, Harrisburg City Council incumbents Ben Allatt, Wanda Williams and Shamaine Daniels each won Democratic nominations for four-year terms, as did challenger Ausha Green. No Republicans ran in the primary.

For city school board, Democratic incumbents Judd Pittman and Danielle Robinson won nominations for four-year terms, as did challengers Brian Carter and Carrie Fowler.  Incumbent James Thompson lost  renomination on the Democratic side but cross-filed, so will appear as a Republican candidate in the general election. Newcomer Percel Eiland ran unchallenged for the nomination for the board’s lone two-year seat.

Incumbent city Treasurer Dan Miller and incumbent city Controller Charlie DeBrunner ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. There was no Republican challenger for either office.

Several races for magisterial district justice were hotly contested.

Incumbent Barbara Pianka defeated newcomer Josh Feldman for the Democratic nomination for district 12-1-02. Both candidates cross-filed for the Republican nomination, but that race was too close to call at press time.

In Harrisburg district 12-1-04, incumbent Justice David O’Leary defeated former Harrisburg Treasurer Tyrell Spradley for the Democratic nomination. No Republicans competed for the seat.

And, in an open seat for district 12-1-05, Hanif Johnson came out ahead in a crowded Democratic field, defeating Harrisburg Councilwoman Destini Hodges, former Councilman Kelly Summerford and newcomer Claude Phipps. Only Phipps cross-filed on the Republican side, so he secured that nomination.

All of tonight’s winners must compete in November’s general election.

Reporter Danielle Roth contributed to this story.

This story was updated with late results to show that incumbent David O’Leary defeated challenger Tyrell Spradley for the Democratic nomination for magisterial district justice.

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