On election night Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will end their campaigns by returning to where their presidential bids began — New York, New York.
Nineteen months after Clinton announced her second run for the Oval Office surrounded by the Manhattan skyline on Roosevelt Island, and 17 months after Trump declared his candidacy in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower, one of the New Yorkers will emerge as commander-in-chief.
Clinton will cap off the election addressing supporters at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, on Manhattan’s west side — a sprawling venue fitted with a glass ceiling for a candidate who has referred to her bid to become the nation’s first female president as a fight to shatter “the highest, hardest glass ceiling.”
Trump is slated to speak to supporters at the New York Hilton Midtown, just blocks away from his namesake Manhattan tower.
New York — its “values,” its accents, its deep-pocketed donors — has played a starring role in the race between Trump, a Manhattan real estate mogul, and Clinton, the state’s former U.S. senator who lives in Westchester County.
With both campaigns headquartered in New York — Clinton in Brooklyn Heights, and Trump at Trump Tower — the state became a hub of presidential political activity typically not seen in the reliably Democratic leaning, non-battleground state.
“New York remains the media center of the world, and that has a multiplier effect on the number of reporters covering this campaign, it has a multiplier effect on what gets column inches in the newspapers, what gets prime-time coverage on TV,” said Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College. “The candidates would have been guaranteed major network coverage regardless, but they definitely had some logistical advantages with their proximity to the major media outlets.”
For the past year, both candidates routinely held news conferences in the city, and tapped local supporters to serve as national campaign surrogates.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani emerged as one of Trump’s most vocal defenders on the political talk show circuit, and Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle frequently appeared on major cable news networks touting Trump’s policies.
“Having the ability to use a national platform to speak to people while being able to represent Suffolk County to the whole country has been awesome,” LaValle said, noting that he often commuted more than 2½ hours each way from his Brookhaven home to CNN’s Manhattan studios for a 10- to 15- minute appearance.
Meanwhile, Clinton who defeated Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, often cited former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement as proof of her appeal to independents.
Clinton’s cavalry of on-air surrogates this election included Democratic National committeeman Robert Zimmerman, of Great Neck, a prominent Clinton fundraiser, who said the 2016 campaign, complete with it’s competitive congressional races in Nassau and Suffolk, showed that Long Island was more than just a fundraising detour on the way to swing states.
“I love that both parties have recognized Long Island’s pivotal role in national politics,” Zimmerman said.
Long Island enjoyed some of the national political spotlight in September when Hofstra University hosted the first of three presidential debates. Both candidates also held multiple fundraisers in Nassau and Suffolk.
On the campaign trail both candidates have touted their love for New York.
“This is New York,” Clinton told supporters at the Apollo Theater during an April campaign rally. “Nobody dreams bigger than we do. This is a city that likes to get things done.”
In September, during a speech to the New York State Conservative Party, Trump boasted: “I’m the real New Yorker folks — you will never get more of a New Yorker if you want a president, than you’re getting with me.”