Clinton seeks to avoid loss in home state NY

Clinton seeks to avoid loss in home state NY
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president The Memo: 'Whistleblower' furor gains steam Missing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani MORE is doubling down on her effort to win New York’s April 19 primary against what is expected to be a tough challenger from Brooklyn native Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.). 

With polls tightening, Clinton has taken root in the Empire State, where she served as senator for 8 years and continues to keep her main home. 

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She’s investing more money and time in New York than she originally had expected, underscoring the importance of a victory on her home turf. 

Clinton will spend four of the next six days in New York, signaling the state is more important to her than Wisconsin, where she is an underdog to Sanders in Tuesday’s primary. 

A Sanders win in Wisconsin will complicate matters for Clinton by giving the Vermont Independent more momentum. It will also raise the stakes for her campaign in New York, where 247 delegates are up for grabs. 

“I would expect her to win the state but I would also understand why some in her camp would be nervous,” said Grant Reeher, the director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

“It’s about two things: momentum and it’s fair to say that Sanders has it right now,” Reeher added. “And the polls which indicate that Sanders is gaining ground on her.  It’s a response to a perceived problem that something is shifting.”

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed Clinton with a 12-point lead on Sanders, 54 percent to 42 percent.

On Friday, Sanders declared that his campaign will win New York. 

“We’re going to do rallies all over the state, and I think we have a good shot at this,” Sanders said in an interview on CBS This Morning.

During a campaign rally in the Bronx on Thursday evening, Sanders drew more than 15,000 people—a crowd larger than the one present for Clinton’s launch speech last June.

“This campaign is about creating a political revolution,” Sanders told the crowd. “You are the heart and soul of this revolution.

The fight for New York comes as tensions between the two camps are on the rise once again. 

Clinton has at times appeared frustrated with criticism from Sanders and his supporters, and she shot back at an activist with Greepeace on Thursday afternoon who asked her if she would reject taking fossil fuel money from registered lobbyists. 

“I am so sick, I’m so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about this. I’m sick of it,” she said in a moment played repeatedly on cable television Friday. 

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, later accused the Sanders team of misleading voters, adding that “this campaign has not taken a dollar from oil and gas industry PACs or corporations.”

But on Friday, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver called on Clinton to apologize.

“We didn’t say so-and-so is lying. I think the secretary did and I think she probably owes the senator an apology for that because the senator is not lying about her record, he’s talking about her practices,” Weaver said. “She obviously doesn’t like it, but that doesn’t make it lying because you don’t like it.”

To win New York, aides say Clinton will emphasize how she “made a difference” around the state as senator.

She’s also seeking to contrast herself with Sanders by saying that she is the only candidate who can carry out her vision. 

“Unlike her opponent, she actually has a real strategy for how to create the good-paying jobs of the future, not just re-fight battles from twenty years ago,” Jake Sullivan, a top aide to Clinton told reporters on a conference call this week. “And unlike her opponent, she can show how she's actually going to get things done as ‘resident.”

Clinton aides said the Democratic frontrunner is far from frustrated with having to keep battling Sanders, even as she appears to be campaigning with an eye on a possible general election matchup with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE. Clinton has increasingly focused her attacks on Trump in the last week. 

“She’s energized,” Sullivan said of his candidate in New York. “She’s got an extra spring in her step here. I do think you’ll see her run a spirited campaign here.”

Reeher said that New York’s voting laws play to Clinton’s favor, especially since New York is a closed primary and the laws are restrictive requiring voters to register early on.

“It’s a good state for her on paper,” he said, adding that there’s nothing from her tenure as senator that would diminish her chances of winning.

“She was popular, she paid attention to the whole state and she was reelected easily,” he said. 

Still, a loss in Wisconsin will cause consternation.

“I think what happens here is going to be telling as to what goes on in New York,” said Kathy Cramer, the director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.