Home state candidates risk losing primaries

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPoll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Democrats reintroduce bill to block US from using nuclear weapons first MORE (D-Mass.) will face a key test on Super Tuesday: Can they win their home state primaries?

Losses in their home states could mean curtains on their presidential campaigns, and polls suggest both candidates could at a minimum be in for close races from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (I-Vt.), the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In Massachusetts, a WBUR poll released Friday showed Warren trailing Sanders by 8 points just days before the Super Tuesday contest.  


Klobuchar has the lead in her home state of Minnesota, but Sanders is at her heels.

A recent poll by the Minnesota Public Radio and Star Tribune showed Klobuchar at 29 percent, with Sanders at 23 percent. Warren was the only other candidate to poll above 10 percent.

“She needs to worry about Senator Bernie Sanders,” Kathryn Pearson, associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, said of Klobuchar.

Neither Klobuchar nor Warren has suggested they will drop out if they fail to win their home states, but losses would be embarrassing.

When asked at a CNN town hall Wednesday if Minnesota is a “must-win” for her, Klobuchar said “no.”

“I never set litmus tests, but I know I'm going to win Minnesota, so that's not a factor,” she added.


Asked if they’re worried about losing their home state, the Warren campaign pointed to their surrogates on the ground, which include Massachusetts lawmakers Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDemocratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (D) and Reps. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker Government spending bill to include bipartisan energy provisions MORE III (D) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' FDA ends restrictions on mailing abortion pills during pandemic Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed MORE (D), along with local officials. 

Sanders won Minnesota’s caucuses in a landslide over eventual nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' Cuba readies for life without Castro Chelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' MORE in 2016, taking 61.6 percent of the vote. The state has since switched to a primary voting system, which is likely to increase turnout and help the home-state senator.

Warren has an additional home state to worry about on Tuesday, as she was born in Oklahoma. That state has seen few polls, though a Sooner Survey from last week showed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg at 20 percent, leading Sanders by 6 points and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE by 8.

A News 9-News On 6 poll conducted between Feb. 17-21 showed Biden leading with 21.2 percent, followed by Bloomberg with 19.8 percent. Warren was in single digits in both polls.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said Warren has some reason to worry in Massachusetts, which border’s Sanders’s own home state of Vermont. He said a large number of those voting on Tuesday are likely to be progressives.

“Klobuchar looks like she’s not quite out of the woods but she’s leading” in polls of Minnesota, he said. “Warren’s situation is vastly different, part of the reason for that is because progressives are a larger share of the Massachusetts vote and Bernie Sanders is the front-runner.”

Sanders will also compete in the primary in his own home state, but the race in Vermont is not expected to be close. The FiveThirtyEight website this week projected his chances of taking his home state at 99 percent.

A poll this month by Braun Research and Vermont Public Radio showed Sanders at 51 percent, followed by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhite House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE at 13 percent, and the rest of the candidates falling below 10 percent. 

Losing a home state contest can be disastrous for a presidential candidate.

“I think the repercussions for either Klobuchar or Warren not winning their home states are pretty severe,” said Brad Bannon, a Democratic strategist. “It’s hard for me to imagine a situation where either of them lose their states and still win the candidacy. I think losing your home state is a deal breaker if you’re running for president.”

Losing your home state could make it particularly difficult to fundraise post-Super Tuesday, once primaries in larger swing states such as Arizona and Michigan come up, Bannon said. That lack of funds could force a candidate to drop from the primary contest before the Democratic National Convention in July. 

“I’m sure they’d like to, but I think practically it would be impossible for them … to raise enough money to compete,” he said. “If they lose their home state I think they’re forced to suspend their candidacies because I don’t see where they’ll get the money to sustain themselves.”


In 2016, after a series of defeats, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Senators reintroduce bill to block NATO withdrawal New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations MORE (R-Fla.) expressed confidence he would carry his own state ahead of its March 15 primary.

He suffered an embarrassing loss to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE, finishing 18 points behind the eventual GOP nominee and president. Rubio took second place, but suspended his campaign.

Then Ohio-Gov. John Kasich, however, defeated Trump in his home state — the same day Rubio lost Florida to Trump. He kept campaigning until May 3.

Biden and Bloomberg will face their own home state tests in April, if either are still in the race. Buttigieg would face home state voters in May.