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Standing next to former President Bill Clinton, Dan Onorato admitted he would not be able to win the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race without the support of Philadelphia voters.

At a rally at 52nd and Chestnut streets on Monday, the Democratic nominee for governor and Clinton addressed about 500 West Philadelphians.

“If you really believe in what you did in 2006 and 2008, you have got to show up in 2010. You have got to do it,” Clinton said, referring to large Democratic victories in previous elections. Clinton also encouraged the audience to spread the word about the election. “Every one of you knows 100 people who won’t vote unless you ask them to,” he said.

Clinton and Onorato were also joined by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Rep. Chaka Fattah and Gov. Ed Rendell, all Democrats and Penn alumni. The three emphasized that Philadelphia “needs a friend in Harrisburg.”

Onorato trails Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett in every individual poll conducted from February to August, according to RealClearPolitics.com, which tracks polling data in races nationwide.

“This race is tight right now,” Onorato said, “but it is very winnable.” He added that, though he grew up in Allegheny County, Philadelphia “is a big part of my win. The Republicans are hoping we don’t show up.”

Courtney Rydel, a graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences, attended the rally. She admitted that she is not “on the fence” as a voter and plans to vote for Onorato. However, she said the rally was “a great way to energize voters” in the West Philadelphia area.

“Dan Onorato had specific proposals that Corbett can’t match,” Rydel said, adding that she saw a strong link between his education and job proposals. “I not only have friends who work in colleges, but also in secondary schools … and I myself teach students.”

College junior Emma Ellman-Golan, president of Penn Democrats, noted that the gubernatorial race is not a hot topic on campus.

“The majority of Democrats on campus are currently enamored with [Democratic senatorial nominee Joe] Sestak right now,” Ellman-Golan said. However, she confirmed that Penn Dems will be working “equally hard for both campaigns.”

“Our goal is voter turnout, and voter turnout in Philadelphia will help both Onorato and Sestak,” she said.

And though College Republicans President and Engineering junior Peter Terpeluk confirmed that the group will start phone banking for Corbett soon, he attributed the difference in West Philadelphia campaign strategies to party affiliation.

“Democrats usually see mass turnout as more appealing to them. For Republicans, it’s about those with genuine and self-informed opinion coming out to vote,” Terpeluk said, agreeing that “clearly, West Philadelphia would help Democrats.”

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