Hours after the state enacted a historic minimum-wage increase, Hillary Clinton on Monday praised New York’s move to raise the wage to $15 an hour by 2018 and said the federal government must follow suit.
Mrs. Clinton’s rally in New York City, which comes two weeks before Democrats in the Empire State go to the polls, also served to highlight the former first lady’s support among powerful party leaders in the state. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, among others, appeared at the rally, and Mrs. Clinton has the support of other prominent figures throughout the state, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
But she remains locked in a tight primary race with Sen. Bernard Sanders, and the contest in New York — which Mrs. Clinton represented in the Senate for eight years — is closer than many anticipated. The latest Real Clear Politics average of all polls shows Mrs. Clinton up by 11 points, and Mr. Sanders has begun closing a gap that just a month ago was more than 20 points.
Mrs. Clinton largely avoided Mr. Sanders during her speech Monday and instead lavished praise on New York’s political leaders and tried to cast herself as a leader on the minimum wage.
“I was so proud to be a New Yorker all those eight years I represented you. I’ve always been proud. I’m even prouder today,” she said. “Because this is what makes America great, this kind of bold, persistent experimentation, widening the circle of opportunity and justice and dignity, giving every person the chance to get ahead and stay ahead. That’s who we are. That’s who we will be.”
President Obama and congressional Democrats have pushed to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, but the effort has gone nowhere on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Sanders also has repeatedly called for an increase in the minimum wage.