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Candidates for Scranton Mayor Square Off in Debate

SCRANTON — Election Day 2013 is just two weeks away and while it’s been a somewhat quiet campaign season, things are starting to heat up in the Electric City, where voters will elect a new mayor of Scranton.

And the two candidates squared off in their only debate Tuesday night.

On one side, Democrat Bill Courtright, Scranton’s tax collector and former city councilman.

On the other side, Republican Jim Mulligan, an attorney who has worked as a city solicitor.

A packed house turned out in the an auditorium at the University of Scranton for their only debate of the campaign. A face off that turned heated at times.

“A little tension here and there, and that’s never a bad thing for candidates and for people to get more interested,” said debate moderator Dr. Jean Harris.

Courtright survived a strong challenge in the Democratic primary to make it to the fall.

Mulligan is a relative newcomer to the race, having been appointed as the nominee after the GOP primary winner dropped out.

Still, Mulligan was on the offensive all night, criticizing Courtright as a long-serving politician, who’s been part of Scranton’s problem.

“Clearly my opponent is out of touch. I really don’t believe Mr. Courtright fully understands the enormity of the challenges facing the city of Scranton,” said Mulligan.

Courtright defended his record on council, as in the tax office and criticized Mulligan for his role in the outgoing Doherty administration.

“He’s made 50-some thousand dollars a year as a part time solicitor with free benefits for his entire family. He’s been part of this administration for several years, I haven’t,” said Courtright.

Mulligan said Courtright’s personal attacks were “insignificant.”

Courtright thanked his opponent for the debate, but the two appeared very chilly at the conclusion of their first and only debate.

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