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Clinton-Sanders Battle Ramps Up

Usually, New York is an afterthought when it comes to the presidential primary calendar. Not this year.

After Tuesday's rally at Cohoes High School, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's senior advisor for communications and senior spokesperson Karen Finney said the former first lady and New York Senator is on target with the issues voters are most concerned about.   "They know Hillary. They know her record. They know that when she says she's gonna do something, she gets it done. And we think New Yorkers throughout the state, whether it's Syracuse or Utica, Rochester, Buffalo, Manhattan, Long Island, you name it. Wherever you are we want your help in making sure the rest of the country knows what New York knows, and that is that Hillary is someone who is gonna fight on behalf of not just New Yorkers, but on behalf of the American people, as she has consistently throughout her career."

The fight moves to the debate floor April 14 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders have finally agreed to go head-to-head.

Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs says the Vermont Senator is on a roll.   "Well he has won six out of the seven last contests, so we think the momentum is behind him. He won those contests by landslides in the Western states. We're also at a point where we are doing phenomenally well and are humbled by the outpouring of support from more than 2 million donors who contributed to his campaign. In total they've made more than 6 million contributions. It's a real grassroots effort out there, creating a lot of momentum, and we think that coming into New York he's going to be able to make his case."

Clinton has the edge in delegates, including superdelegates, and appears to tweaked her message to appeal to those same "grassroots" voters.  

Neither side is tipping their head ahead of the Brooklyn meeting, but team Sanders hints Bernie may soon be making his way upstate:    "We're still nailing down scheduling details. The senator very much wants to get into upstate and not just concentrate on New York City. We definitely will do that. Exactly when and where we're gonna be traveling throughout upstate New York is not yet 100 percent nailed down.

Polls have had Clinton ahead, but it's that momentum Briggs spoke of that's keeping Sanders in the race.

Local historian and former state Assemblyman Jack McEneny predicts Clinton will take New York.    "I think the thing with Mrs. Clinton is that she was our Senator for a number of years and has a very wide sense of knowledge of the state. A lot of people know her personally, so it wouldn't surprise me anymore than it would surprise me with Bernie Sanders carrying Vermont against anybody."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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