Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed Monday to a Democratic debate in Brooklyn on April 14 — five days before the critical New York presidential primary.
Their agreement means the political world will be focused on New York that night. While the Democrats are in Brooklyn, the three Republican candidates will be in Manhattan speaking at the annual New York GOP gala.
Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff called the appearance of all five presidential candidates in New York on one night a political “mega event.”
“New York was built for big shows. That’s why Broadway is here,” Miringoff said.
CNN, which will host the Democratic debate along with New York City’s cable news station NY1, said it will be held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse at 9 p.m. CNN’s anchor Wolf Blitzer and chief political correspondent Dana Bash will moderate along with NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.
Sanders initially had resisted holding a debate on April 14 because his campaign had secured a permit for a rally in Washington Square Park that evening. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Clinton supporter who was pushing for the Brooklyn debate, tweeted assurance to the Sanders campaign that “I’ll help you secure any permit you need to ensure your NYC rally can happen too.”
The Sanders campaign, which had criticized Clinton for not agreeing to more debates, quickly changed its schedule to jump on the opportunity.
“Fortunately, we were able to move a major New York City rally scheduled for April 14 to the night before,” campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said in an email. “We hope the debate will be worth the inconvenience for thousands of New Yorkers who were planning to attend our rally on Thursday but will have to change their schedules to accommodate Secretary Clinton’s jam-packed, high-dollar, coast-to-coast schedule of fundraisers all over the country.”
Clinton’s campaign didn’t immediately comment.
The same night in Manhattan, GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich all are slated to speak at the New York State Republican annual gala at the Grand Hyatt.
Often an afterthought in the White House chase, New York’s primary is playing a critical role this year because neither party’s nomination is wrapped up. In addition, New York is the second biggest prize remaining — 291 Democratic delegates, 95 Republican — next to California.