The New York primary on April 19th is a pivotal contest for both parties due to the huge delegate haul and the fact that the Empire State is the “home” of the current front runners. Donald Trump needs a blowout win in New York so badly that he’s canceled campaign events in California, and won’t be sending any surrogates to Colorado for their state convention where delegates will be selected.

Report from Yahoo News:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has canceled a planned news conference in California on Friday to keep campaigning in New York, his campaign said on Thursday.

“Mr. Trump has rescheduled his California trip and will be campaigning in New York. He looks forward to returning to California in the weeks ahead,” said Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

Trump had planned a news conference on Friday at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles in Rancho Palos Verdes. The New York billionaire lost the Wisconsin Republican primary on Tuesday to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and needs to rebound in New York’s primary on April 19.

Ted Cruz is also campaigning in New York, though he’s splitting some time with Colorado as well. So far, he’s had a chilly reception in the Big Apple, from Fox News:

The friendly reception Ted Cruz got in Wisconsin – where he was boosted by the state’s governor and its influential conservative talk show hosts – must seem like ages ago as the Texas senator faces a very different scene in New York.

Cruz ran into a decidedly more hostile reception as soon as he started campaigning in the state ahead of the April 19 primary. He was greeted by shouting protesters Wednesday in the Bronx telling him to “get out,” and reportedly saw an event at a high school canceled after students wrote a letter to their principal threatening to walk out if Cruz showed up.

“Ted Cruz has no business being in the Bronx, this is an immigrant community,” one protester shouted.

Fewer than a hundred people showed up for a Cruz meet-and-greet at a local restaurant in the Bronx – and front-runner Donald Trump, who got thumped by Cruz in Wisconsin, was more than happy to play up Cruz’s political problems with New Yorkers.

New York is not exactly friendly territory for most any Republican, especially one from Texas with a strongly conservative record. However, Cruz needs to put in at least some face time in New York and work to make sure he doesn’t slip into third place against the more moderate John Kasich.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, the campaigning in New York has gotten decidedly more aggressive with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders attempting to disqualify each other from the White House, according to CNN:

Bernie Sanders is standing by his criticism that Hillary Clinton isn’t “qualified” to be president as the Democratic presidential candidates engage in an increasingly heated battle ahead of the New York primary.

But by Thursday night, the Vermont senator said he didn’t want to engage in a tit-for-tat with Clinton, telling CBS News they should be “debating the issues facing the American people.”

The controversy began late Wednesday when Sanders discussed Clinton’s suitability for the White House. He cited a headline in The Washington Post as evidence that Clinton’s campaign was questioning his qualifications, warranting his response.

“The Washington Post had a headline that said ‘Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president.’ That was what was thrown at me.”

He also cited a CNN report, “Clinton strategy: Defeat Sanders, unify party” as further confirmation that the Clinton campaign started the attacks over qualifications.

“I believe the Clinton campaign told CNN that their strategy is, ‘we go into New York and Pennsylvania. Disqualify him, defeat him and unify the party later,'” he said.

Sanders is taking off the gloves since New York is a must-win if he hopes to clinch the nomination. As we’ve reporterd here and here, the Sanders strategy will likely fall short if he can’t take home New York as a top prize. The Democratic debate next week may be the most liveliest to date.