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Glee’s Matthew Morrison joins Pa. campaign trail

Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor

With only three weeks until the 2010 congressional elections, signs have cropped up all over the city to remind voters of this upcoming event. The advent of television attack ads, red and blue campaign posters, and daily poll results in every form of media reinforce the importance of voting, especially for voters aged 18–25, who historically have had the lowest percentage turnout. Last Saturday, Hamburg Hall 1000 was crowded with students eager to hear several politicians voice their support for Dan Onorato and Joe Sestak, the Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial and Senatorial races, respectively. The highlight of the event, however, was the arrival of actor Matthew Morrison, a renowned Broadway performer and current star of Fox’s hit show Glee.

The rally started with the introduction of Richard Fitzgerald, a Carnegie Mellon alumnus (’81) and an Allegheny County Council member. Fitzgerald’s strong demeanor and passionate speech emphasized Onorato’s accomplishments to date and also expressed his opinion that the Republican Party’s agenda to “turn back the clock” on issues such as health care, green technologies, and women’s rights. The GOP, associated with “big money” and Senatorial candidate Pat Toomey, would also abolish the middle class, Fitzgerald claimed. Young people, he added, are the key to winning this election. “We’re a blue state. There are 1.2 million more Democrats than Republicans. The only way we can lose,” he said, speaking to the students in the crowd, “is if you don’t vote.”

Next on the lineup was Congressman Mike Doyle, who represents the 14th District of Pennsylvania. Doyle stressed that the GOP was a stubborn party that refused to find middle ground with “seemingly sensible Democratic policies” regarding health care, tax cuts for small businesses, tax incentives for companies, and green energy jobs. “Let’s create some clean-energy jobs in the country; let’s be a leader in the energy revolution taking place; let’s not follow China.... Republicans said no,” Doyle said, pacing the stage.
Doyle also compared the two candidates’ track records: Sestak was an admiral in the navy; Toomey was a derivatives trader on Wall Street and has ties to China.

According to Doyle, the GOP is outspending the Democrats 8:1 in this campaign. “The way we beat money is with people,” he said. “If we show up, we win. It’s that simple.” But like in Fitzgerald’s speech, just 10 minutes before, his main message was clear: A large voter turnout among young citizens is the key to winning the election.

The final speaker of the rally, Matthew Morrison, entered the room to standing applause and enthusiastic responses from the audience members. Morrison, who flew on a red-eye from California to campaign for the Democratic candidates, stressed the importance of voting and injected seemingly Glee-inspired words of wisdom regarding LGBT hate crimes and personal empowerment into his speech. “I’m here to speak to you as a young voter,” Morrison said. “As young Americans, we can speak louder than any one individual voice. We, the youth of America, can shape the future of this state and this country.... We need to find ways to work together.”

Among the topics Morrison touched upon, education, respect, and tolerance were his focal points. Morrison chose to help campaign for Onorato and Sestak because he is a supporter of the Democratic Party and its policies, and he feels electing such officials is “important to the grand scheme of things.”

Election Day, Nov. 2., is quickly approaching. According to www.politico.com, the most recent polls (Oct. 5, Muhlenberg College/_The Morning Call_) show that Onorato is currently trailing Republican Tom Corbett in the polls 47 to 36 percent. The same poll shows Sestak trailing Toomey 45 to 38 percent.