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In 11th-hour push in W.Pa., Wolf urges voters to show up at polls | TribLIVE.com
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In 11th-hour push in W.Pa., Wolf urges voters to show up at polls

Jason Cato
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Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf makes a pre-election appearance in McKeesport. He will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
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Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf speaks at a rally in McKeesport's Renziehausen Park during a stop of his Fresh Start Bus Tour on Sunday Oct. 26, 2014.
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Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf greets supporters such as Sam Diggs, McKeesport democratic committee man, at a rally in McKeesport's Renziehausen Park during a stop of his Fresh Start Bus Tour on Sunday Oct. 26, 2014.
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Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf meets with George Matta and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at a rally in McKeesport's Renziehausen Park during a stop of his Fresh Start Bus Tour on Sunday Oct. 26, 2014.

After leading in the polls for months, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf told supporters Sunday in the Mon Valley that such predictions mean little if voters fail to turn out Nov. 4.

“Voting is what counts. Polls don’t,” the York businessman said in McKeesport during a stop on his cross-state bus tour. “The only thing that matters is what you do on Election Day.”

Wolf said he was using his tour — which made stops in Washington and Aliquippa, too — to urge people to vote and to sum up his reasons why voters should support him instead of Gov. Tom Corbett, the Shaler Republican who spent the day campaigning in Beaver County.

“This is a choice between contrasting visions — for the Pennsylvania we’ve had for the past 3½ years or for the Pennsylvania we could have,” Wolf said.

Corbett and the state Republican Party say a vote for Wolf means a vote for higher taxes, and not just on the oil and gas industry. Wolf has pledged to levy a severance tax on drilling companies to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for education.

“Tom Wolf is campaigning to raise the income tax by 188 percent,” Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason said. “Tom Wolf supports an agenda of higher taxes, bloated government and more Obamacare. While Tom Wolf is running to raise our taxes, he has refused to discuss the details of his massive tax hikes.”

Wolf called such claims “ridiculous,” “nonsense” and a “sign of desperation.”

“I want to reduce taxes,” he said.

Wolf said he would invest in education and transportation infrastructure, as well as boost the economy by protecting but harnessing the state’s natural resources.

“We are sitting on top of the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” said Wolf, adding that Pennsylvania also has vast resources of coal, hardwoods, fresh water and farmland.

A state with those attributes should not rank 50th in the nation in job creation since January 2011, as shown by recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wolf said.

“We aren’t ahead of anybody,” he said.

Gene Gorman, 81, attended the rally of about 150 people at Renziehausen Park in McKeesport with his wife, Mary Kay, who volunteers for Wolf’s campaign. Though he said he typically votes Democrat, Gorman said he was more resolved to do so this election over the issue of education funding.

“I’m dissatisfied with the current governor. I especially don’t like the budget cuts to education,” said Gorman of McKeesport, who taught high school science for 47 years.

Wolf’s campaign has repeatedly criticized Corbett for cutting $1 billion in education funding. Corbett says the money was federal funding that expired in 2011.

This year, the Corbett administration authorized an all-time-high $10 billion in state education funding, including $1 billion for employee pensions.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or [email protected].

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