Welcome to the homecoming primary.
New Yorkers are heading to the polls Tuesday for the Empire State’s Democratic and Republican presidential contests, and polls show the vast majority of likely voters supporting one of their own — their former U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders or real estate mogul Donald Trump who is, above all else, a New York City icon.
All three candidates made their pitches personal leading up to this election, hoping to capitalize on their connections to this constituency.
“You know, there’s a lot that is special for me about this primary tomorrow,” Hillary Clinton said Monday from a stage in Manhattan.
She recalled how New Yorkers “took a chance” on her in 2000 and then supported her re-election six years later. In particular, she touted her work helping the state weather the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“It was the greatest honor of my life,” Clinton said of her Senate tenure.
Evoking gender while bidding to be the first woman president, she also reminded the crowd, “You know, the first statement ever recorded in human history that set forth a rationale for women to have rights happened in Seneca Falls, New York.”
A day earlier in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Sanders drew a crowd of over 25,000. Hollywood actor Danny DeVito introduced him as “a hometown boy,” and the candidate, now a U.S. senator from Vermont, talked about coming to the park as a child growing up in the Flatbush neighborhood.
“They still have the seals and the elephants?” he asked the crowd, which roared with applause.
For his part, Trump held a rally Monday night in Buffalo, New York, doing a rare reading from prepared remarks to take on rival Republican Ted Cruz, the Texas senator, for maligning “New York values.”
“What are New York values? Honesty and straight talk,” he said, telling the crowd that no voter in the state should choose Cruz, who “hates New York.”
The mogul also said New Yorkers are “builders” who work hard and take pride in their community.
History has shown that almost no outrageous comment can damage Trump politically with his supporters, but he did make one gaffe that’s sure to get play throughout Tuesday’s election coverage: referring to 9/11 as “7/11” accidentally.
All three candidates are making a final push with paid media as well, including web videos focused on New York:
We don't all look the same, or sound the same, or worship the same—and that's one of America's biggest strengths.https://t.co/m4CJ0NgBhq
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 19, 2016
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2016