ALBANY — The 2016 presidential primary elections have, arguably, been the most polarizing in local memory. Rarely do presidential candidates make time to take to the stump in a state so reliably blue at the polls, but this year was notably different—three Republican and two Democratic candidates (as well as a former president in tow) have recently staged events in the Capital District in the lead-up to the state primaries on Tuesday, April 19.
On Monday, April 11, more than 10,000 supporters showed up to see Republican front-runner Donald Trump eject protesters from the crowded arena and slam his opponents while calling for America to “take our country back.” On the same day, thousands descended on the Washington Avenue Armory—some waiting in line for more than four hours—to hear Bernie Sanders discuss income inequality and universal health care. Just days earlier, Hillary Clinton appeared at Cohoes High School to address supporters, bolster her reputation for environmental protection and defend her stance on the minimum wage. Ted Cruz and John Kasich have also come to visit the region: Kasich held a closed-door fundraising event at the Fort Orange Club on April 11 and Cruz was in Scotia on the morning of Thursday, April 7.
In an effort to understand what criteria influences Capital District voters, we asked some local officials and other local figures why they’re supporting their chosen candidate: