The Wisconsin Democratic primary is next Tuesday, but yesterday, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders were both campaigning in New York, a state that both claim deep ties to — and one that doesn't vote until April 19. Clinton is already running New York–specific ads, and she and husband Bill Clinton are also campaigning in New York City on Friday. Sanders held a large rally Thursday night at a park in the Bronx, and his campaign said it will air special New York ads, too. Clinton, whose primary home is in Chappaqua, is noting her eight years representing the state in the U.S. Senate, while Sanders is talking a lot about his childhood in Brooklyn.
New York, with 247 delegates, is the second-biggest pool of pledged delegates left, after California, and Sanders is hoping an upset victory over Clinton will propel him to the nomination, both by hauling in a cache of delegates and by embarrassing her in her adopted home state. "Winning would create a story beyond the mere delegate count, which I think would propel his campaign," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, tells The New York Times. "We've got to do well in New York, obviously," Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver tells The Washington Post, "but she has to do really well in New York."
Clinton's team argues that unless Sanders wins big, the race is essentially over. And "there's very little evidence to date of their ability to win the big, diverse states like New York by the type of margin they would truly need to overcome the delegate edge," says Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon. Along with the large share of the New York electorate that is black or Latino — about a third of likely voters, according to Miringoff — Clinton may be aided by the outsized female vote and the fact that only Democrats can vote in the state's closed primary. On the other hand, New York politics watchers say, the state has an increasingly large progressive streak that should help Sanders.
In a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, Clinton leads Sanders, 54 percent to 42 percent, in New York. But "if there is a large voter turnout, we will win," Sanders predicted at his Bronx rally. "And if we win here in New York, we are going to make it to the White House." Peter Weber