NEW YORK - Both Democratic candidates for president are in the city this week as Sen. Bernie Sanders closes in on front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Clinton appeared in the Apollo Theater in Harlem Wednesday, and Sanders will campaign in St. Mary's Park in the Bronx Thursday.

New York is an important state this year if Sanders hopes to overcome Clinton's narrowing lead. It is the second-biggest prize in the Democratic race behind California.

Both candidates have strong New York ties. Clinton was a senator here and lived in Westchester. Sanders, now a Vermont senator, is from Brooklyn.

The state's primary is on April 19. The candidates are competing for each congressional district, as delegates will be awarded proportionally.

Clinton took all five of New York City's boroughs from President Barack Obama during their 2008 primary campaign, but her lead was narrow.

Experts predict the state's race will come down to who performs better with minority voters. Clinton has seemed to overwhelmingly have the support of Hispanic and African-American voters, while Sanders has done better among whites.

Experts say that could change in northern states like New York among younger voters.