New York state hasn’t gone Republican in a presidential election since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 dismantling of Walter Mondale, but the Empire State’s primary has been a key campaign stop in several recent races. The looming April 19th contest is notable, however, for its potential bipartisan importance.
Neither party cared much about New York four years ago: The Republican race was effectively over by the time Mitt Romney won here in 2012. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was a sitting New York senator, her victory over Barack Obama in New York was a foregone conclusion, while the departure of Rudy Giuliani from the Republican field just before the primary allowed John McCain to notch a landslide Super Tuesday win in New York.
With Howard Dean having dropped out of the 2004 race before that year’s New York primary, John Kerry coasted to victory here. In the previous cycle, there was a brief moment when some thought Bill Bradley’s days of playing for the Knicks and his being a U.S. senator from New Jersey would position him to do well in New York, but Gore obliterated him here as part of the eventual nominee’s sweep of Super Tuesday contests, forcing Bradley from the race. In 1992, Jerry Brown hope to capitalize on momentum he gained from narrowly beating Bill Clinton in Connecticut; instead, Brown was soundly defeated and slipped from contention.
It’s hard to write history during pre-game, but the primary this year could, unlike any of those races, impact both parties’ contests. And if it does, Brooklyn will favor prominently in the story not just as the site of both Democratic candidates’ headquarters but also where the April 14 deabte will be. (City Limits and Gotham Gazette are hosting a pre-primary panel the night of the debate featuring experts and campaign reps. RSVP today!)
On Wednesday’s Bk Live, I spoke with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams about his request that the Brooklyn debate be moved to Brownsville. And I interviewed Brooklyn Young Democrats president Veronica Aveis and Brooklyn College Professor Antonio Nadal for their views on how the New York State race is shaping up. Both clips are below.