Elizabeth Warren has won the first open contest of the New Jersey Democratic presidential primary, winning the organization line in Hunterdon County on the third ballot.
She defeated Michael Bloomberg by four votes, 74-70, a 51%-49% victory.
Hunterdon was the first vote since favorite-son Cory Booker withdrew from the presidential race last month.
This was a strong out-of-the-box showing for Warren, who outdistanced Bernie Sanders by a considerable margin on the first two ballots.
Bloomberg showed considerable early strength for a campaign that remains fairly new and still has not competed in any Democratic primaries or debates.
He won the endorsement of Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), a rising star in New Jersey Demcoratic politics, last Thursday.
Many of the speeches delivered by candidates’ surrogates, Warren’s included, touted each Democrats electability.
“The fundamental question a lot of folks come out have is who can win, and I want to say this: I believe it is Sen. Warren for two reasons,” Jersey City Councilman James Solomon said. “First, she’s taken on big entrenched special interests and won … The second thing, which I think maybe it helps within the room with her candidacy, is — this room is the best place for me to say this — when women run for office, they win.”
Solomon touted Warren for her role in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s creation, which Warren pushed before gaining elected office.
Michael Muller, Boomberg’s New Jersey state director, emphasized his candidate’s cross-party appeal, saying that Bloomberg would pull in Democrats as well as Republicans disaffected with Trump.
“To me, that is really what this is all about. We know we have great candidates running for president. There are great candidates running for president who ware no longer in the race,” Muller said before touting Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun-control group founded by the former New York Mayor. “We must defeat Donald Trump, and that’s one of the things that motivated me in this race.”
Aside from the waves of voting, there was little drama to Sunday’s convention.
The little grumbling there was dealt mostly with the convention’s length.
Though it ran for only about three and a half hours, a handful of delegates prematurely left the convention. Chairwoman Arlene Quiñones Perez at one point urged the audience members to stay through the upcoming round of voting.
Each round, conducted on paper ballots instead of at a voting machine, went relatively quickly.
New Jersey could still be in play by the time of the June 2 primary election.
If Warren is out of the race before the March 30 filing deadline, Hunterdon Democrats are expected to reconvene and hold another vote.
Warren and Bloomberg advanced after becoming the only candidates to meet the 20% threshold after the second ballot.
Bloomberg had led Warren, 40-39.
On the second ballot, Amy Klobuchar received 22 votes, followed by Pete Buttigieg (19), Sanders (17) and Joe Biden (12).
Warren led Bloomberg, 37-33 on the first ballot, followed by Klobuchar (23 votes), Buttigieg (20 votes), Biden (19 votes) and Sanders (19 votes).
Andrew Yang (2 votes) and Deval Patrick (zero votes) failed to get enough first ballot votes to advance.
Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Bennet did not have enough support to be nominated.
Hillary Clinton carried Hunterdon County in the 2016 Democratic primary by 432 votes, 52%-48%, against Sanders.
In 2008, Barack Obama carried Hunterdon by 255 votes, 53%-47%, over Clinton.
Gary Hart won Hunterdon by 57 votes against Walter Mondale in the 1984 New Jersey primary, and Ted Kennedy took Hunterdon by 92 votes over Jimmy Carter in 1980.
This story was updated at 9:42 p.m.