Two years ago, Philadelphia Democrats were riding an unbelievable wave of voter enthusiasm heading into the November elections with then-candidate Barack Obama.
How tables have turned.
This year, Democrats are calling in the big guns to re-energize voters in liberal-voter-rich Philadelphia, where the party traditionally dominates. Former president Bill Clinton campaigned for Senate candidate Joe Sestak and gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato on Monday. President Obama is returning next Monday for a Sestak fundraiser.
“[The polls] say Dems, ‘You’ve got to get the vote out in urban areas,’ and in our state, Philadelphia is absolutely essential,” said pollster Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College. “There’s no way Democrats can win with turnout in Philly being below state average.”
Sestak’s campaign tried to downplay Philadelphia’s significance in the race against former Congressman Pat Toomey. “We’re getting our message out in the entire state, but Philadelphia is an important part,” said April Mellody, a campaign spokesman.
Vito Canuso, chair of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee, said campaign workers are getting positive feedback. “And the polls are reflecting that,” Canuso said.