HARRISBURG, Pa. — Two-term incumbent Mayor Eric Papenfuse conceded to City Council President and longtime Harrisburg native Wanda Williams.
Williams beat Papenfuse for the democratic nomination for mayor of Harrisburg. If she is elected, Williams will become Harrisburg’s second Black and second female mayor next year.
One day after the election, voters told FOX43 why they think Mayor Papenfuse lost.
"It [Harrisburg] can be very pretty and very nice, and it's not the worst place for kids, how's that?" commented Essence Ford of Harrisburg. "The whole uptown area where I am from originally and the hill, so many areas still look exactly the same. Downtown looks different every day, and it shouldn't."
Some voters like Ford feel Mayor Papenfuse focused too much on the Midtown throughout his two terms as mayor.
"As far as Midtown section, he did a great job, but what about further uptown? What about these empty vacant buildings? There is a lot of them!" exclaimed Sean Allison of Harrisburg.
"The common things you heard in this mayoral race was that Midtown gets all the attention. Whether that's true or not, that's the perception," said Brandon Flood of Harrisburg.
Flood lives in Harrisburg. He is also the secretary for the PA State Board of Pardons and active with the Greater Harrisburg NAACP.
"Harrisburg is majority minority city," said Flood. "I think the residents were eager to have representation that looked like themselves and certainly Wanda being a longtime fixture on city council."
Flood says those things build trust. Williams also touts being a lifelong Democrat which Flood believes resonates well with voters.
As far as the next mayor, Flood says residents want someone who understands the city's issues and walks the talk. He says people do not want candidates parroting the national dialogues.
"Big for our area is our schools," added Ford, who has a child.
"Gun violence," commented Flood. "Jobs, economic development."
"Building the city, knocking the old buildings down, and giving the kids more things to do, and the judicial system," stated Allison.
"We have the potential to be a mini D.C. From the culture to recreation to commerce: The potential is endless for what Harrisburg could be," added Flood.
The question now: Who do voters want to make that potential a reality? Williams? The lone republican: Timothy Rowbottom? Or a write-in candidate?