BOSTON (CN) – Sen. Elizabeth Warren lost her home state of Massachusetts to former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday and is very likely to finish in third place.
With 90% of the precincts reporting, Biden led Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 33% to 27%, with Warren at 22%.
The Biden win is a big surprise because he was largely an afterthought in polling in the state throughout February.
Sanders meanwhile won his home state of Vermont by a sweeping margin.
With 99% of the Vermont precincts reporting, Sanders had 51% of the vote. Biden was second with 22%, above the 15% threshold necessary to qualify for at least some delegates. Following were Warren with 13% and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg with 9%.
In addition to losing Massachusetts, Warren was also stunned in Maine, which is only 25 miles from her home state. With 71% of the Maine precincts reporting, Biden held a slight lead over Sanders with 34% to Sanders’ 32%. Warren was in third place at 17%, just barely over the 15% delegate threshold.
Meanwhile, a third senator, Amy Klobuchar, watched as Biden won her home state of Minnesota following her endorsement of Biden on Monday.
With 99% of the Minnesota vote in, Biden led Sanders 39% to 30% with Warren in third place at 15%.
Prior to Klobuchar’s exit from the race, she held single-digit leads over Sanders in most Minnesota polls with a large number of voters still undecided. It appears the Klobuchar and undecided voters broke heavily for Biden.
Minnesota switched to having a primary this year after holding caucuses in 2016. That year Sanders swept Hillary Clinton with more than 61% of the vote, racking up victories in Minneapolis and other major cities and showing weakness only in rural areas near the South Dakota border. But tonight, Biden was holding a slight lead over Sanders in Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located.
Warren’s embarrassing loss in Massachusetts come at the end of a long slide since October, when she briefly led national polls and held a 20-point lead in her home state.
Since then, she finished third in the Iowa caucuses, fourth in New Hampshire and Nevada, and fifth in South Carolina.
In the past week Sanders appeared to be trying to deal a humiliating blow to his progressive rival by campaigning hard in Massachusetts. He held rallies in Springfield on Friday and on the Boston Common on Saturday. In Worcester, his campaign sponsored “a four-day festival of music and canvassing” dubbed “Berniepalooza.”
Sanders lost the 2016 primary here to Clinton by a single percentage point. Clinton swept Boston and the surrounding suburbs while Sanders ran up large margins in the state’s more rural areas – interestingly, the exact opposite of the pattern that occurred in Minnesota. Tonight, the pattern appeared to be repeating here with Biden winning in areas that went for Clinton four years ago.
Warren herself refused to predict victory in her home state last week and had been trying to manage expectations elsewhere. Over the weekend her campaign released a statement predicting that after Super Tuesday, “no candidate will likely have a path to a majority of delegates” and suggesting she would “ultimately prevail” as a consensus candidate at a contested convention.
Bloomberg said something similar Tuesday morning. A contested convention is “the only way I can win,” he told reporters, adding that no candidate is likely to win a majority of delegates, so “then you go to a convention, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Even in Warren’s liberal home city of Cambridge, where she garnered 90% of the vote in her 2018 Senate bid, a number of voters who admired her said they were voting against her for strategic reasons.
“The logical thing to do would be to vote for Warren, but I picked Biden because I think he can win,” said Nancy Sizer. And Renée Brouard said she voted for Biden because Warren “isn’t going anywhere.”
A third voter, Ruth Wejksnora-Garrott, said, “I love Elizabeth Warren, but I think Sanders is more electable.”
Sisters Marilynn and Sheila Brass voted for Biden. They said Warren was “absolutely wonderful” but thought her “Churchillian” manner would put people off in a general election.
Meanwhile, Rose Moss said she was voting for Bloomberg because of “realism.”
“I really like Elizabeth, but I told my friends ‘I’m voting for Mammon,’” she added.