“They are trying to erase her,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) warned a crowd of volunteers packed into a sweaty field office a mile from Fenway Park. “Don’t you dare ride the poll-er coaster.”
But some of the Massachusetts senator’s most ardent supporters fear that ride is about to end.
Warren has spent the past days chasing frantically across the country in a desperate search for Super Tuesday delegates. But her biggest problem might be back at home. Warren faces the real risk of losing Massachusetts to Sanders, a blow that could knock her out of the race. And as Warren raced from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas, Sanders dropped into her home state this weekend to try to seal her fate.
“On Tuesday, if we have the largest voter turnout in the history of the Massachusetts primary, we can win here in Massachusetts,” Sanders said in Boston.
Three separate polls released in recent days show he’s right. Sanders, from neighboring Vermont, has inched ahead of Warren in her home state, buoyed by his strong showing in the early states and Warren’s failure to finish higher than third place in any of them.
A home-state loss would be devastating to Warren. It’s hard to see how she would continue after Super Tuesday at that point, especially since Massachusetts shapes up as by far her best chance of winning a Super Tuesday state.
While other candidates exiting the race likely benefit Joe Biden more, Bernie Sanders’ team thinks Warren dropping out would help him further consolidate the progressive vote.
“If Elizabeth wasn’t in the race, the main beneficiary, without question, would be Bernie.”
“If Elizabeth wasn’t in the race, the main beneficiary, without question, would be Bernie,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus and a Sanders supporter.
And while Warren is signaling she’s in it for the long run, Pete Buttigieg’s sudden decision to drop out Sunday shows that candidates are often all-in — until they’re out.
Warren repeatedly dodged when asked this past week if she’d win there, a telling sign.
“I know that Massachusetts is a very progressive state and progressive ideas are very popular. And so I’m sure that’s why Bernie is campaigning there,” she told reporters in South Carolina Saturday.
Sanders has spent heavily on ads in Massachusetts, which borders is home state and he nearly won in 2016. Warren has barely spent any money on the state — but in a sign they’re concerned Massachusetts might slip away, a new super PAC backing Warren announced Thursday night that they’d include the Boston media market in a last-minute, $12 million ad buy.
A number of volunteers at Warren’s canvassing kickoff event in Boston Saturday told VICE News said they feared she’d have another rough election night on Super Tuesday. They expressed frustration that more voters hadn’t bought into her vision. And as Sanders swung through the state for a pair of rallies, some openly fretted that she might lose Massachusetts and be forced from the race.