NEW YORK—Hillary Clinton returned home on Wednesday.
Well, to be more precise, she returned to one of her homes. Over the course of her 68 years, she’s had a few. There was Illinois, where she was born and raised. Then there was Arkansas, where she and her husband launched their careers and raised their only child. There’s also Washington, D.C., which you might call her professional home for most of the last 25 years and where she’s owned a house for the last 15.
New York, however, is Hillary Clinton’s political home. The distinction is an important one both for the primary election she faces on April 19 and likely for the general election campaign she’ll wage in the fall. By dint of birth and unmistakable accent, her main competitors for the presidency have equal if not greater claim to favorite-son status in the Empire State. Unlike Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, she was neither born nor raised here. But it is a place where she, and only she, has twice won statewide election.
Clinton’s last victory in New York was a decade ago, and while she and Bill still reside in Westchester, her homecoming rally at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Wednesday afternoon was a mix of reunion and reintroduction. Before she arrived, the man who in 1999 prodded her to run for Senate, Representative Charles Rangel (now 85 and about to retire) danced slowly across the stage, eliciting cheers from the older members of a crowd he’s served for 45 years. Clinton’s shepherd and validator was New York’s senior senator, Charles Schumer, who offered up a greatest hits of her eight years in the Senate and reminded the audience that of all the places where Bill Clinton could pick to open an office after he left the White House, he chose Harlem. (It wasn't because his wife was already running for Senate there. Definitely not that.)