New York has been very kind to Hillary Clinton. The next primary state, which she once represented in the United States Senate, favors her for the Democratic nomination in the most recent polls.
That means the real challenge for Clinton's New York operation is not just to win, but to win overwhelmingly, and thereby stop left-wing rival Bernie Sanders dead in his tracks. Anything less than total defeat for Sanders means his campaign could argue he had eroded Clinton's strength on her home turf — and it would indeed signal a significant reversal, given the role New York has played in Clinton's campaign thus far. The state's Democratic donor infrastructure has been a key source of her funds throughout the primary season, and going back to well before she officially launched her 2016 presidential bid. More than any candidate of either party, Clinton has dominated state fundraising.
When it comes to individual campaign contributions, the numbers are stark. While Sanders has performed well on the national level in small-dollar contributions — even outraising Clinton for a few months in a row — her haul in New York positively dwarfs his.
Over the course of the 2015-2016 campaign season, Clinton has raised $20.5 million from New York state alone, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Sanders, the closest runner-up, has brought in $1.5 million, less than a tenth of Clinton's New York take. The Republican candidates lag even further behind.
Granted, there are some limits to the FEC data. The current statewide totals only include contributions up to January 31, not any of the funds raised in February and March. Sanders outraised Clinton nationally in both those months. Similarly, it only includes contributions from individuals who have donated $200 or more over the course of the campaign cycle. A key subsection of Sanders's donor base is people who give smaller amounts.
A better indicator of Clinton's power in New York may be the number of fundraisers held in her honor. These events tend not to be where the modest $25 or $50 political contributions originate; instead, fundraisers bring in the wealthy Democratic potentates and party elites who can wield disproportionate influence on statewide politics. A typical high-level Clinton fundraiser in New York might charge guests a minimum entry fee of $2,700 and feature big draws like former President Bill Clinton, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, or the rock star Sting.
Clinton far outstrips any other candidate in New York fundraisers, particularly when the numbers include soirees held by pro-Clinton super PACs. The Sunlight Foundation's database of political fundraisers includes three held in New York on behalf of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, two for Sanders, and one for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Donald Trump, whose campaign is largely self-financed, has held zero fundraisers in his home state.
And Clinton? Her campaign and various pro-Clinton super PACs have collectively hosted at least 82 fundraisers in the state, nearly 14 times the number of similar events held for all other surviving candidates combined.
The pro-Clinton forces started early in New York as well; the Ready for Hillary super PAC held at least one event in the state as early as November 2013, just a year after the last presidential election.
In other words, New York money has gone virtually all-in on Hillary Clinton; only in California have donors given slightly more to her campaign. If money equaled votes, she would have already beaten Sanders in the Empire State by a margin of well over 50 percent: The Sanders campaign might call it a victory that the race is significantly tighter than that.
UPDATE: April 8, 2016, 1:51 EST -- This story was updated to include caveats regarding the limitations of FEC campaign contribution data.