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America Votes 2002: Democrats Score Big in Governor's Races

Aired November 5, 2002 - 21:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: AMERICA VOTES 2002, from CNN elections headquarters, with Aaron Brown, Judy Woodruff, Paula Zahn and Jeff Greenfield.
AARON BROWN, CNN HOST: 9:00 now in the East, and in many ways, here we go: Polls have closed across the East, through much of the Midwest. In this hour, a lot of races now to focus on and we will run down the list. And there are many.

Here we go. Beginning first in the state of Colorado, another one of those marquee Senate matchups. A rerun of six years ago. We will keep an eye on it. This is a seat the Republicans hold.

In the state of Minnesota, we've talked a lot about this over the last week. Walter Mondale, Walter Fritz Mondale, Norm Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul. There is an independent in the race as well. The polls have closed now in Minnesota. No calls yet on these.

This is the gubernatorial race in Minnesota, a three-way race. And yeah, an independent can win there. It's happened. It did happen. Jesse Ventura. And there is always a guy named Moe, literally, in Minnesota politics. It's one of those family names.

In South Dakota, another marquee Senate matchup. This is hugely important in the balance of power. John Thune, a congressman, who essentially runs statewide. It's an at-large seat, so these are two candidates who are familiar running across the state of South Dakota.

In Texas, the Senate race in Texas. Again, polls now have closed there, and this is another we will keep track of. This is Phil Gramm's seat, as I recall. Phil Gramm leaving the Senate in the state of Texas.

In Louisiana, we talked about this earlier. The number to watch when we get votes starting to come in for Mary Landrieu is 50. Does she get 50 plus one. If she doesn't, there will be a runoff in three weeks in Louisiana, and it is not inconceivable that that runoff, that vote three weeks from now could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

In the state of Michigan, Carl Levin, the incumbent there. Polls have closed now in Michigan.

In Nebraska, Chuck Hagel seeking his second term in the state of Nebraska. Hagel early on in the discussion about Iraq came out with caution, at the very least cautioning President Bush to be careful about going to war with Iraq. Pete Domenici, the incumbent in the state of New Mexico. Longtime member of the appropriations and tax writing committees in the Senate. The polls now closing in New Mexico.

Jack Reed, the incumbent in Rhode Island, the race there. Polls have closed in Rhode Island. In Wyoming, this is a very reliable Republican state, and Mike Enzi the incumbent there. We are waiting for votes in all of those states. Polls now have closed.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN HOST: And CNN is now in the position to project that Pat Roberts, we're going out on a limb on this one, will be a senator once again. He ran unopposed. No Democratic opponent in that race.

Let's move on to some governor races. In Texas, you've got Rick Sanchez -- excuse me, Tony Sanchez up against Governor Rick Perry. Tony Sanchez believed, when this is all is said and done, to have spent over $70 million of his own fortune.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He was the head of the so-called dream team, the Hispanic candidate for governor, the African-American candidate for senator, Ron Kirk, and Mr. Shark (UNINTELLIGIBLE) candidate for lieutenant governor. He poured millions in to try to beat Rick Perry, who stepped into the governorship when George W. Bush became president.

WOODRUFF: Let's move on to Arizona, where Attorney General Janet Napolitano is taking on Matt Salmon. This is Jane Hull's position, that she vacated. She's term limited. And if Ms. Napolitano succeeds Jane Hull, she would be -- this will be one of two cases, or one of two states where one woman succeeded another.

On to the state of Colorado, where you have the incumbent Bill Owens up against Raleigh Heath. Owens, of course, becoming the first Republican to have been elected the governor of Colorado since 1970, and we close off again with that board for the race in Kansas. You want to weigh in on that one, Jeff?

GREENFIELD: This is a race that Democrats have big hopes for in Kansas, because Kathleen Sebelius is one of those women who's in a good position to win. Kansas Republicans always moderates and conservatives; the moderate outgoing Republican governor is very reluctant to endorse the conservative Republican nominee, so we'll see.

WOODRUFF: We've got about seven more...


WOODRUFF: ... seven more governors' races we want to run down real quickly. Again, the polls have closed. You just saw the visual Jennifer Granholm running against Dick Posthumus in Michigan. And here in Nebraska, we're watching the governors race between the incumbent, Mike Johanns the Republican, looking for his second term being challenged by Democrat Stormy Dean. Moving quickly onto New Mexico, where former Clinton administration figure Bill Richardson is running for that open seat. He is running against the Republican John Sanchez.

In New York, this is one everybody's been watching. I'll just put it this way without naming everybody: It's George Pataki, the Republican, being challenged by a few others. Carl McCall -- Andrew Cuomo dropped out. I'm not sure why his name is -- oh, he's still on the ballot. That's right. Thank you very much.

In Rhode Island, Myrth York making her third try for governor on the Democratic side. He's running against Don Carcieri, the Republican. That's an open seat.

In Wisconsin, Scott McCallum trying to hold on to the governor's chair. He's the Republican incumbent, being challenged by Democrat Jim Doyle.

And finally, last but not least, the state of Wyoming. They're at the end of the alphabet. That is an open seat. The Republican Eli Bebout -- is that the way you pronounce it -- running against Dave Freudenthal, the U.S. attorney in that state.

Now, we have some breaking news we can't wait to tell you about. John King at the White House. There's been a significant resignation in the Bush administration.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. CNN has learned that the president has accepted the resignation of Harvey Pitt as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, Mr. Pitt has been under fire from Democrats, and in recent days the source of considerable frustration here at the White House. Democrats from the outset have said Harvey Pitt is the wrong man to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission at a time when there is so much focus on corporate corruption, because of the Enron scandal, the WorldCom scandal. Mr. Pitt in hot water here at the White House, after months of standing by Mr. Pitt.

Mr. Pitt in hot water because he recently picked William Webster, the former CIA director, the former FBI director, to head a new Accounting Oversight Board. That board set up in the congressional reaction to the accounting scandals in Enron and WorldCom to police the accounting industry.

Well, it turns out that Mr. Webster was the chairman of the accounting committee at a company called U.S. Technologies. He is in some controversy himself. There are shareholder suits against the company because it fired its outside auditors after the auditors suggested there were improprieties. Mr. Pitt knew that information, knew Mr. Webster might be the subject of controversy himself, but withheld that information from other Securities and Exchange commissioners when they voted a little more than a week ago to make Mr. Webster the new head of that committee.

The White House knew nothing about this controversy. It was furious. As recently as yesterday, the White House said it would wait until an independent investigation of Mr. Pitt's conduct was completed, but we are told tonight Mr. Pitt began to send word the day before yesterday that he was contemplating his resignation. When no one here at the White House objected, a call to the personnel office earlier today. A letter on the president's desk tonight. Harvey Pitt resigning as the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This after this election campaign we are covering in which he and other members of the Bush economic team were certainly an issue raised by the Democrats repeatedly -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: No question, John.

Two quick thoughts. One is, it's interesting the timing of these things. Something this controversial being announced. Big story otherwise if it weren't election night, it would be getting even more attention than it's getting. And second of all, this just highlights what was thought by a lot of Democrats to be a big problem for the Republicans and for the president, but it has slid away from the consciousness of many in the political world.

KING: Well, here at the White House, make no mistake about it, they think the Republicans will have a good night tonight. They think the president will be lucky, if you will, skilled they might say here at the White House, to have avoided any backlash over the economy. But there have been Democrats and some Republicans saying Harvey Pitt has to go; some Republicans even saying there should be more changes in the Bush economic team. That is one thing to watch in the days and weeks ahead.

And Judy, one more update on the president's political activity: He is in the residence watching the results. We reported earlier that he had called his brother Jeb. He also has called several other winners tonight -- among them, Katherine Harris. Remember her, she was the secretary of state in Florida during that recount in campaign 2000, a key figure in all of that. She will be a Republican member of Congress come January. The president called her to say congratulations tonight. Also getting a phone call from the president, Elizabeth Dole, the next Republican senator from North Carolina.

WOODRUFF: My guess is he'll be busy on the telephone tonight. We'll see. John King, thanks very much.

And we just want to tell you that among the names that have been mentioned as a possible successor to Harvey Pitt, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. We don't know if that's the direction it's going, but he's been mentioned. He's a guest tonight on LARRY KING LIVE at 10 minutes before 11:00 Eastern time -- Aaron.

BROWN: And I can guarantee you that he has better political skills than Harvey Pitt. Whether Mr. Pitt was the right guy for the job, one thing I can tell you is that his political skills were a little weak.

GREENFIELD: When you have the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page, which is generally not disposed to go after corporate America and their friends, more or less calling on Harvey Pitt to resign, you know the guy, in a political sense just had some problems.

And I do think Judy's right, that perhaps the timing of this, in the middle of hours and hours of election coverage might not be coincidental.

BROWN: It becomes a below the fold story at best. The above the fold story tonight will be the balance of power in both Houses of the Congress, in the Senate and House. And we will keep track of it, of course, throughout the night.

This is, as you orient yourself to the graphic, this is where things stood when we began the night. The Democrats had 14 seats in play at risk. And here is where we are. The holdovers there. You can see, the bulk of them, a third of the Senate, 34 seats up for grabs.

So far we can say that the Democrats held six seats or won six seats. The Republicans have held or won nine seats. The magic number of course 51, which will give you control, although you can get there actually with 50 because the vice president can cast the tie breaking vote at any time he wants to, including to organize the Senate.

So that's a graphic that you'll see throughout the night as we keep track of what is the main storyline tonight: which party will control the Senate, which party will control the House.

WOODRUFF: Aaron, I am told that we can tell our viewers that we have some projections we want to make.

Here they are:

In the state of Tennessee, in the Senate, Lamar Alexander, somebody who has a long-time figure on the Tennessee political scene, defeating the Democratic Congressman Bob Clement. CNN projecting that win.

And in the state of Illinois, CNN projecting Richard Durbin the winner, going back to the Senate, defeating Republican Jim Durkin.


BROWN: Couple of other -- I'm sorry. Couple of others we can now project. We project Joe Biden in the state of Connecticut.

GREENFIELD: Joe Biden entered the Senate at the age of 29...

WOODRUFF: Delaware...

BROWN: I'm sorry, in Delaware. Thank you.

GREENFIELD: Joe Biden entered the Senate from Delaware at age 29, beating a legend in Delaware. Shortly after he won that election his wife and child were killed in a car crash. He almost decided not to run. He's been there for 30 years and there are some people who suggest that his presidential aspirations, which briefly surfaced in 1987, have not completely died. PAULA ZAHN, CNN HOST: And this is a -- one of those rematches, is it not? Between Ray Clatworthy and...

BROWN; We can project...

ZAHN: Mr. Biden.

BROWN: I'm sorry, we can project now Ed Rendell the -- will be the next governor in the state of Pennsylvania. I think Jeff mentioned this is the first former mayor of the state -- of the city of Philadelphia to become a governor in the state of Pennsylvania in almost a century -- 90 years. Also former head of the Democratic National Committee.

Rick Perry, who took the gubernatorial office, the governorship in the state of Texas after George W. Bush was elected president, CNN now projects will be the next governor in Texas.

Rod Blagojevich in Illinois winner tonight -- Democrats -- been awhile since Democrats -- 30 years since a Democrat statewide in Illinois. Jim Ryan, state attorney general, there -- there have been issues with the outgoing Governor George Ryan. There's been scandal there, some confusion about Jim and George. None of it helped the attorney general tonight, clearly. The Democrats pick up a seat -- a statehouse there.

John Rowland wins a second term in the state of -- a third term, thank you in the state of Connecticut. Never really had any particular problems throughout the campaign in the East.

Indoor smoke restrictions in the state of Florida. And that is roughly the breakdown of the number of people, adults, who smoke. Roughly 25, 26 percent of people in America smoke and 75 percent or so don't. And that's how Proposition or Amendment 6 in the state of Florida broke down tonight. And we project that passing as well.

So a lot of things have already happened in the first 15 minutes of this hour as polls have started to close -- have closed now pretty much in the West and across the Midwest and in some Western states as well.

I think it's fair to say we've seen some -- we've certainly seen some results. We haven't seen that many surprises so far. There's still some big ones yet to be resolved out there where the polls have already closed.

BROWN: For me, is when you have so many races that are seeing as so very close, it's hard to know what a surprise is at some point.

I mean, if you're talking -- if you're talking about races that are all within, for example, the poll margin of error which depending on the poll is, you know, somewhere between, let's say, 3 and 5 percent. What then becomes a surprise?

GREENFIELD: Because they poll also up to and including


GREENFIELD: ...Election Day. Never mind 1948 when famously they stopped polling six weeks out. Even 10 or 20 years ago they would stop polling four or five days out. Now, there's just no room for that.

BROWN: There are literally tracking polls being done while voters are going to the polls.

WOODRUFF: We've got enough to talk about here. And you can bet that means our friends at the "CROSSFIRE" set have something to say -- Tucker.

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN CO-HOST: Yes, Judy, you were talking about surprises. These are numbers from the South Carolina Senate race that aren't shocking but I think they're kind of surprising. These are the ones -- I don't know if we can put them up on the screen here but -- there we go, with 42 percent reporting, 52 percent for Lindsey Graham, former Congressman, 47 percent for Alex Sanders, the Democrat. Probably the only person running for Congress who is a licensed fire eater. Was once in the circus when he was young.

I'm actually struck by how close that is, considering...

BOB NOVAK, CNN CO-HOST: Five points?

CARLSON: Yes, well sure, I mean Lindsey in South Carolina?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CO-HOST: It's a Republican state. But the Democratic governor Jim Hodges in the fight for his life. We see right here 40 percent of precincts reporting. It is neck and neck. It's a couple of hundred votes...


BEGALA: I'm sorry Mr. Novak, you were interrupting while I was talking?

NOVAK: I'm sorry. Let's get real.

First place, a five-point lead at this stage is not unusual in that state. Nobody thought he was going -- that Lindsey Graham was going to win double digits. And the race for governor was considered a tossup. So that's about right.

Since the last time we've been on, gentleman, there's been a lot of interesting developments though. We've had -- declared the winner, Elizabeth Dole, everybody was -- earlier this evening they were praying over her grave. We've had Jeb Bush declared the winner.

We've had -- I understand that one of the most hotly contested races, we've put it up on the board, Chris Jacola (ph) in Indiana in South Bend Republican was supposed to lose. He's ahead.

We got one of those districts that was carved out in Georgia, the Democrat, Chad Brown, is trailing badly. I think it's much too early to say, but I think all the indications are pointing toward the Republicans so far.

BEGALA: Well those -- nearly every one of those races -- let me just -- particularly the two Carolina races. CNN has already called North Carolina for the Republicans. South Carolina very, close right now. That's -- that would be a pickup for the Democrat. If the Republican wins, it's good for the Republicans, but it's not great. They don't add to the number that they need to control over the Senate.

The Republicans are supposed to win that. And so if the Democrat is as close -- the problem is we don't know where the precincts are. We're kind of dancing in the dark trying to figure out really who's voted so far.

JIM CARVILLE, CNN CO-HOST: It's nice that you're a Republican. You're happy that you won North Carolina but you were kind of expecting it all along.

Go back in the Eastern time zone we have New Hampshire and Georgia left to go. I would tell you the Democrats would really like to win both of those. I'm not saying if they lose either New Hampshire or Georgia that they won't be able to hold the Senate but they're going to have to do very well as you move to the Central time zones.

NOVAK: That's the big casino. We can talk about the South Carolina. Lindsey Graham is going to get elected in South Carolina. But the big -- the big casino is who wins in New Hampshire. Right now it seems that John Sununu the Republican is ahead.

And who wins in Georgia? And right now, it looks like Saxby Chambliss, the Republican, is ahead.

CARVILLE: Actually, I think the last I heard of this on the phone it changed slightly. It doesn't matter. We don't know where they're coming from. Sanders was ahead in South Carolina at one point but I would be the first to tell you if the Democrats lose both New Hampshire and Georgia, I think that would portend for a long night here for the Democrats.


CARLSON: No, but truly I think we need to step back a little bit...


BEGALA: Whatever's good for the Republicans is of course good for General Motors and Enron....

CARLSON: That is not necessarily true. But truly, you need to step back and appreciate the anomalous quality of this election. As people were saying up until today, it would be -- it is amazing that a new president in his first midterm holds the House and the idea that he could make gains. Truly it's unprecedented. Even you admit that. CARVILLE: Look, if the Democrats lose the Senate it would be a big defeat. Look, if you're trying to get me to say that, I'm going to state the obvious. We don't know yet. Only thing we know is Republicans want to state that they were favored to win i.e. North Carolina. Why don't we just wait and then we'll know, instead of arguing about it.

BEGALA: And when they come in they're going to have to confirm a new SEC chair. We reported earlier tonight that Harvey Pitt is done. I think Bob Novak might be one that could get through the Democratic Senate.

NOVAK: Except for the age factor, I'd be ideal.

BEGALA: At least you're consistent on beating up on senior citizens.

CARLSON: And a very, very clever time to announce his resignation.

BEGALA: Brilliant press management by the Bush White House. Congratulations Karl Rove.

NOVAK: You really call that a resignation?

CARLSON: Well, he wants to spend more time for his family. Speaking of brilliant...

CARVILLE: He wants to return to his private practice.

BEGALA: He's going to spend a little more time working out on the gym.

CARLSON: That's mean. So on that note we're going to go back to Judy Woodruff, who is not at all mean.

WOODRUFF: Now, wait a minute, which one of you is now up for SEC chairman? Was it Novak?

NOVAK: Novak. But I'm all too old, otherwise I'd be ideal.

WOODRUFF: I'm sure they're listening at the White House, Bob.

All right, just a few moments ago we were able to project Rick Perry, the incumbent Republican, the winner -- the governor's winner in the state of Texas. When we come back, we're going to go to Perry headquarters. We'll be back after this short break.


BROWN: Awful lot has happened in the last three and a half hours that we've been on the air. Many races now have been called. For those of you just joining us or for those of you not taking notes for that matter, here is where we have been so far.

In Kentucky, McConnell, the incumbent Republican. I'm sorry. My fault. OK, I accept that. Here are three others. Keep an eye on all three. In Massachusetts, John Kerry running unopposed. Jeff Sessions, Republican in the state of Alabama, and Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia. All projected winners tonight.

Frank Lautenberg at 78 years old returns, we project, to the U.S. Senate, a Democrat out of New Jersey. Elizabeth Dole in her home state of North Carolina, we project a winner tonight, as we do Pat Roberts, the incumbent Republican senator in Kansas.

Carl Levin in the state of Michigan, the Democrat. Jim Inhofe in Oklahoma, the Republican, and Joe Biden in the state of Delaware all projected winners tonight.

Dick Durbin in Illinois and Lamar Alexander, former governor of Tennessee, twice a presidential candidate, gets a trip to the U.S. Senate out of the state of Tennessee tonight.

WOODRUFF: And now that you've memorized all those Senate winners, we're going to make sure you get down all these governor winners that we've been able to project so far tonight. Starting with in the state of Florida, the incumbent Jeb Bush, the president's brother, calls it a victory.

In New Hampshire, and this is a pickup for the Republicans, Craig Benson, the winner in the state of New Hampshire. In Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, this is, you know, the man whose name we all had to rehearse, but now we know how to pronounce...

BROWN: And a pickup...

WOODRUFF: He's the governor, and it is a pickup. We didn't say that on our graphic, but he is a pickup.

In the state of Texas, we talked about this a little while ago, Rick Perry goes back to the governor's mansion. He, of course, became governor when George W. Bush became president. He was the lieutenant governor.

In Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell. This is a pickup for the Democrats. Tom Ridge, of course, having been the governor of Pennsylvania, then moved on to become the head of the Office of Homeland Security for President Bush. In Connecticut, John Rowland returns for another term as governor.

And that's where we are right now.

GREENFIELD: If we can make a very quick point. Given what's going to happen to the economies of these states all through the '90s, massive surpluses. They could spend money. They could...

BROWN: Great time to be a governor.

GREENFIELD: They may want to ask for a recount in about another year. It's going to be a tough time for a lot of these new governors.

ZAHN: Let's go back to the projection you made that Rick Perry is back as governor of Texas. And Suzanne Malveaux is standing by in Austin, Texas, which happens to be the joint headquarters, I guess, of the new projected governor and a man who's running for the Senate for the Republicans.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we just talked to a spokesperson for the Perry campaign. And I am quoting here, "they are not counting their chickens yet." That is what they are saying, that not all of the votes have come in, so they are cautiously optimistic about all of this. But it is no surprise to anyone here. Governor Rick Perry ahead in the polls by anywhere from 10 to 15 percentage points over the last two weeks. His challenger, Democratic challenger Tony Sanchez. This race known for a number of things, but mostly the amount of money that was spent on this campaign, some $87 million. A lot of that coming from Tony Sanchez, a multimillionaire using his own funds to finance his own campaign.

The other thing, this race really seen as a rather nasty race. Negative ads being thrown on both sides of the fence there. But no surprise to these folks that Governor Perry comes out on top.

Now, as you mentioned before, also another very important race here. That is the Senate race. John Cornyn's folks very optimistic at this point. Already a sense of feeling of celebration here. That is because we spoke with their spokesperson just a while ago. He said they're looking at the early voting results, out of those results, those are the numbers, the votes that come in before Saturday, the ones that either were cast in person or handwritten. Those votes indicating that Cornyn actually has taken Dallas by 15,000 votes. Why is that significant? Because his opponent, the Democrat Ron Kirk, the former two-term mayor of Dallas. This, of course, would be his best shot at winning a lot of support from his own home city.

Very important to note, however, two very important points. One, of course, being that these are early votes that have been mailed in; only represent about one-third of all of the votes. And also taking a look at Texas' secretary of state Web site, we are only seeing that about 4 percent of the total votes cast have actually been accounted for. So still very premature to call that one. But definitely a sense of optimism from the Cornyn folks here.

ZAHN: Well, that could be a really interesting place if the votes didn't go the way these supporters wanted them to go. Because you could have one celebration and another corner that wouldn't be so happy.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. What was very interesting about the Senate race as well is Ron Kirk, it was a chance of really to make history here. His camp saying that this would be the first time, if he were to win, the first time that an African-American would be a U.S. senator from Texas, and the first time somebody from the south, African-American in nearly a century. So they are really looking at this.

One of the most important things is voter turnout here, specifically from the African-American and Hispanic communities. They make up some 40 percent of Texas' population, 30 percent of registered voters. And really looking at that group to pull it through for Kirk.

But it looks like according to some of the folks here, they are optimistic that Cornyn is going to pull it through.

ZAHN: It's going to be a little while before, I think, we can make that projection from the real vote desk of what the Republicans are anticipating there. Suzanne Malveaux, at the risk of sounding like I'm morphing into Jeff Greenfield, we need to point out that the projection that Governor Perry will be governor again, the fact that he studied to become a veterinarian AM, which would make him the first aggie governor of Texas.

WOODRUFF: And maybe the first veterinarian governor too...

BROWN: Paula, we all knew that, didn't we? Come on.

ZAHN: Sorry, Jeff.

GREENFIELD: That's all yours, Paula.

BROWN: We all knew that.

WOODRUFF: Well, we are watching -- obviously we're watching these projections as we're able to make them, but you are watching on the bottom of your screen the raw numbers as they are coming across, and there's some raw numbers we want to share with you right now. We've already projected Jeb Bush the winner in Florida, but we just to show you with 66 percent of the precincts reporting, this is what the numbers look like with that many votes counted. You can see Governor Bush carrying a healthy lead over Bill McBride, 57 percent to 42 percent.

And some Senate contests we want to look at now. This is very interesting. The incumbent Max Cleland with 18 percent of the vote. Now again, we don't know where this is coming from. It's still early in the evening. But he has 44 percent to Saxby Chambliss, 55 percent. This is a seat the Democrats very much had believed that they were going to hang on to -- Jeff, you want to jump in here?

GREENFIELD: Well, Aaron asked the question, when are there any surprises? And if you back date them enough, up until three weeks ago, everybody had this one clearly in the Democrats column. Max Cleland was going to win this race, and it has closed and closed and closed. So even though you're quite right, Judy, these raw numbers don't tell you where and who's casting them, the Democrats were very pessimistic going into this one.

BROWN: We were talking last night to a prominent Georgia politician. We'll describe him that way. Democrat, and he was hardly optimistic about Senator Cleland's chances, said all the tracking is going the wrong way.

WOODRUFF: I think if it's the same person I was thinking -- I was talking to last evening, same thing.

ZAHN: Oh heck, we all talked to the same guy, but we're not telling you who it is.

WOODRUFF: We all talk to the same people, but we're not going to tell you who it is.

In the state of Missouri, how close can it get? But this is just 5 percent of the vote. Jim Talent challenging the incumbent Jean Carnahan. This is one the Republicans have been saying the last few days, we think we've got it. But it's early, and we're going to watch the numbers come in -- Aaron.

BROWN: Some votes to note coming in -- Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, has built a lead. Again, got about half the vote in, 53 percent of the vote in. This is a seat held by, for as long as I have been alive, at least, Strom Thurmond. I think Senator Thurmond went to Washington in 1932.

GREENFIELD: Well, he was elected to the Senate in 1954 on a write-in. So that's 46 years, which is the all-time record. Before that, he had been governor of South Carolina as a Democrat. Ran as a States Rights Democrat against Harry Truman in 1948, and led...

BROWN: Walked out of the party in '48.

GREENFIELD: Led the march in the Goldwater year of 1964 of conservative Democrats to Republicans, and Lindsey Graham was not able to vote for him the first time he ran, maybe his father wasn't.

BROWN: John Sununu again in the early -- well, 40 percent. We have some votes, although we don't know where they're coming from, but you see with the numbers out of New Hampshire, against the incumbent governor, the Democrat, Jeanne Shaheen.

In New Hampshire, this, again, is one of those seats. This is a seat held by Republicans. It is a seat the Democrats thought they had a play for. It may turn out, in the end, that they do, but with 40 percent of the vote in, the numbers don't look good yet.

ZAHN: We are going to try to focus in now on the vast amounts of money that have been spent on governors' races across the country. You just heard Suzanne Malveaux report from Governor Rick Perry's headquarters that when it is all said and done, it's believed that some $90 million would have been pumped into that race. Tony Sanchez, the man who is projected to be the loser by CNN, a man who's worth some $600 million, is said to have spent some $20 million.

Let's check in with Bill Schneider to get an overall perspective on the amount of money pumped into these races.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Money, money, money, Paula, and let's take a look at the five most expensive governors' races in the country. No big surprise, the five largest states. As you said, California, almost $90 million, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida. All over $30 million in these governors' races. One of the interesting things about politics this year is many, many governors are in trouble. Why? Because of the fiscal crisis in those states, because the tax revenues have not come in, and they've had most governors, unlike the president, have to balance the budget, so they have tough choices. They either have to raise taxes or cut spending. In the four largest states, however, we've already called winners. Incumbents, Texas and Florida.

Why are they doing well? Bush and Perry, I think that's the President Bush factor. California, Gray Davis, a Democrat, is favored to win although he's not very popular. The reason is, his opponent has run a poor campaign. New York, Governor Pataki is favored to win. Why? September the 11th. In all of these races, we're seeing huge amounts of money spent, $30 million in Florida, 33 in Pennsylvania, 44 in Texas, 64 in New York, and almost $90 million in California because incumbent governors across the country facing fiscal crises are all in trouble.

ZAHN: So, Bill, come back to Texas, Florida, New York for a moment, and how important those governorships will be to President Bush in 2004 during a general election.

SCHNEIDER: Well, of course, these states go in different directions. Florida is crucial. Florida is the battleground of American politics. Keeping it in the Republican column has symbolic and real meaning, because if he expects to be reelected, he has got to carry Florida.

New York, California, those are expected to go Democratic. And Texas, it is its own state. If he can't carry that, he's sunk. So Florida is the big state that's a real battleground, and that state he had to keep in the Republican column. His brother won it tonight, and I think in both Texas and Florida, where there are fiscal crises, I think the president, Bush's, popularity had a great deal to do with that.

ZAHN: I heard one governor say yesterday that in some cases, if the governorship is held by the same party as the president in a general election, it could mean as much as a 3 percent bump to the presidential candidate because of the potential get out the vote effort.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Governors much more than senators control an operation in their states. They run things. They have people working for them. They have state employees. They have an organization, so they can turn out the vote in a way that a senator really can't. So having a governor has always meant a great deal, possibly less than it used to, because organizations are not what they used to. When you have a governor on your side, it means they have workers, a party organization, and party workers. It means a lot more than a Senator.

ZAHN: Hey, Bill, can I tell you, you're doing a really fine job without exit polling information this evening?

SCHNEIDER: We're doing the best we can, and we think we have a lot of interesting things to point out.

ZAHN: Lot of fascinating stuff -- lots of things to talk about -- Jeff. GREENFIELD: It should be pointed out, however, that in 1996 and 2000, Republicans controlled the governorships of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan...

SCHNEIDER: OK. We didn't have...

GREENFIELD: ... and Clinton and Gore won both of them. All those states, both times. So you have to kind of take a small step back from this theory. It's where the primaries, if you are running for president in a primary, you want the governor of that state with you, so they can lock up money, endorsements, and power. Just thought I would throw that out.

BROWN: Did that work for George Bush in Michigan?

GREENFIELD: No, that's the point. It didn't.

BROWN: Oh, OK. In the primary...

GREENFIELD: No. But it worked in every other state, like South Carolina.

WOODRUFF: It didn't work big time for him in Michigan.

GREENFIELD: Not South Carolina.

BROWN: It was just by one chance to do that tonight. A couple of calls we can make. Little bit past 9:30 here in the East -- 9:37 in the East. Beginning in the state of Nebraska. This is not surprising. Chuck Hagel, a second term in the U.S. Senate. We are also now in a position to project -- we wait with baited breath -- Mike Johanns will be the next governor in the state of Nebraska. Over Stormy Dean. I can't swear to this, but I believe that's the only person named Stormy on the ballot tonight.

WOODRUFF: Speaking of ballots and balloting -- thank you, Aaron.

BROWN: You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: Our Wolf Blitzer -- we've designated him as our poll watcher. And Wolf, before I come to you, because you may have new information. I want to share with our viewer that the Republican National Committee has let CNN know that it tried to argue with the judge in Arkansas who decided that the polls in Arkansas would stay open later because of problems in one county's -- I believe Pulaski County's voting. The judge decided to keep the polls open until 10:00 Eastern. The Republican National Committee is letting us know that they didn't like it. They didn't even -- their lawyers didn't even get a chance to make the case before that judge -- now to you, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Judy, we can just add to that one of the Republican Party officials in Pulaski County is telling the Associated Press the state Republican Party chairman, Marty Ryall, that the GOP is going to challenge all of the ballots that were cast after the polls were supposed to close in Pulaski County, the largest county in Arkansas, where Little Rock is, at 7:30 Central time, 8:30 Eastern time. Ryall accusing the Democrats, according to the Associated Press, of -- quote -- trying to steal the election in Arkansas, important Senate contest underway, an important governor's contest underway. The judge, though, ruling that because there were not enough ballots, apparently, in Pulaski County, Little Rock, and its suburbs, other areas of the county that they're going to keep the polls open for an extra 90 minutes in that one county, which has -- what -- about 26 or 27 percent of the eligible voters in that state. We're watching that very closely.

We're also watching in Minnesota where, of course, the former Vice President Walter Mondale is facing a tough race with the Norm Coleman, the former Saint Paul mayor.

We're now told by the leadership of the Democratic party here in Washington that there have been some problems there as well. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the DNC, Nina Lowy, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee, as well as Patty Murray, the senator of Washington state, who's in charge of trying to get Democratic senators elected. They're saying that some of the problems in one suburb of St. Paul, Bloomington, Minnesota is causing problems because people waiting in line at 8:00 Central time were not allowed to vote.

Listen to what Patty Murray told reporters in Washington just a little while ago.


SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: There is one state I particularly want to point out to you, and that is Minnesota. We are hearing reports that voters who are in line for the polls which close at 8:00 are being told that they will be turned away at 8:00.

We want everyone in Minnesota to know that the law allows anyone who is in line at 8:00 and is not gotten in, will be allowed to vote.


BLITZER: Now we spoke with Bill Walsh, a spokesman for the Republican party in Minnesota. He confirmed that there were a shortage of ballots in Bloomington, Minnesota but he said that as long as people stayed in line they would bring more ballots there, get those ballots. But he was hoping, of course, the people would stay in line. Maybe, then again, he was hoping they wouldn't necessarily stay in line.

But that -- those are some problems that we're finding around the country. Minnesota and Arkansas, two important states with very close contests -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: It sounds like it. I was tempted to say, Here we go again. But maybe this will be the end of it. Somehow I think probably not because we've still got a lot we're keeping an eye on.

All right. Wolf, we'll be coming back to you through the night. I am told we now have two races we can call. And CNN is projecting in the state of Wyoming that Michael Enzi will return. He's the Republican incumbent, having defeated Joyce Corcoran, the Democrat.

And in Rhode Island, CNN projects that Jack Reed, the Democrat, will return to the United States state having defeated the Republican Robert Tingle. No pickup in either place. The parties stay pretty much where they were -- Paula.

ZAHN: We've been talking a lot about family ties tonight, the number of brothers that have served in Congress together. And tight now we're going to check in with the father of a man who is running for Senate in the state of New Hampshire. Let's join Bill Delaney now.

Hi again, Bill.

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well that's right, Paula. You know, here in New Hampshire there's a lot at stake nationally, whether Congressman -- Republican John Sununu or Democratic Governor Jean Shaheen wins this race.

I'm with a man who has a lot personally at stake in this election and that is John Sununu senior, chief of staff for the first President Bush, and of course the governor of New Hampshire for many years.

I know you're a bit prejudiced. But you're also looking at some hard numbers. What are you seeing?

JOHN SUNUNU SR., FORMER GEORGE H.W. BUSH CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, what we're doing is comparing the town by town, precinct by precinct results to the Smith-Sweat results, where Smith won by 15,000.

DELANEY: Bob Smith -- the former -- the outgoing senator here.

SUNUNU: And as long as we keep on that trend or ahead of that trend we feel comfortable. So far so good.

DELANEY: What is it like to be a father, a former politician yourself on a night like this, a nail-biting night?

SUNUNU: It's 10 times worse than being a candidate.

DELANEY: Why is that?

SUNUNU: The heartburn level is about at a peak right now. So you just sit here and watch the numbers come in and agonize.

DELANEY: As you look at the hard numbers, who's going to win this race tonight?

SUNUNU: Well, of course it's going to be my son. I couldn't give you any other answer but that. Even if the numbers weren't going right.

DELANEY: But you're telling me the numbers are going your way.

SUNUNU So far so good.

DELANEY: She's doing reasonably well in the cities but he's trending powerfully in the rural areas and 3 to 5 percent gap compared to Senator Smith six years ago.

SUNUNU: Yes, but he won Manchester. And he's probably going to win Laconia (ph). He'll win his share of the cities. It's -- some of the liberal cities went to her. The conservative cities will go to John.

DELANEY: That Manchester vote, the city of Manchester here, considered all evening now very important by the Sununu camp -- that Governor Jeanne Shaheen -- the Democrat has apparently not won Manchester, seen as a good trend for Congressman and Republican John Sununu and for Republicans possibility of keeping the seat here in New Hampshire.

Back to you.

ZAHN: Hey Bill, can you ask Mr. Sununu if he's had any contact with any members of the Bush family, particularly now that we can all project Jeb Bush as the returning governor?

DELANEY: Have you spoke ton the Bush family at all?

SUNUNU: Not tonight.

DELANEY: Not tonight.

SUNUNU: We've talked to them a lot in the last two weeks.

DELANEY: How concerned have they been about this race? How much focus did you feel from the Bush family on this race?

SUNUNU: The former president and I talk a lot about how good it is to have our kids running. So it's not concern, it's sharing of the misery of being a parent and the joy of being a parent.

DELANEY: Governor Sununu, thank you very much. Back to you.

ZAHN; All right, thanks so much Bill.

AMERICA VOTES returns right after this short break. We're coming up on a number of closings at the 10:00 hour.

We hope you'll stay with us. We'll be right back.


WOODRUFF: The excitement builds. It's election night 2002. We are watching the races all over the country. Governors, senators, House races and maybe a few others, some ballot initiatives. We're talking about them all. Let's take a look right now at where the governor's races stack up. Going into today, the lineup around the country, 21 Democrats, 27 Republicans and two Independents. Now, we had 11 of those Democrats defending their seats. Twenty-three Republicans up and two Independent. As of right now, if I can read this graphic correctly, the holdovers that we are able to project, having won 10 Democrats four Republicans -- sorry. Holdovers were not up tonight.

Ten Democrats and four Republicans won tonight. Two Democrats and 5 Republicans for a total so far of 12 Democrats and nine Republicans. And next time I'll let Aaron or Paula handle this.

BROWN: That's about as easy as trying to explain the whole VNS thing we were doing at 6:00.

ZAHN: We're on your side. That was impossible to read, Judy. We're going to do it collectively next time. We'll each read a line.


ZAHN: Let's check in with Kate Snow, who's standing by on Capitol Hill. She's had the opportunity to talk with Republicans and Democrats tonight as the returns have started coming in.

Kate, what's the buzz there tonight?

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, you know, everybody is saying it's still early. That's the mantra here. But I can tell you I just got off the phone with Senator Lott's office who, of course, could potentially be the new majority leader of the Senate if Republicans are able to take back on control.

It's a big night for him. I am told that he is over at the White House. He went over there for dinner a little bit earlier. And we thought he was going to be back here on Capitol Hill by now monitoring election results. He had told me earlier that he didn't want to stay up really late. He didn't want to get caught in staying up overnight because he really thinks that they won't have results until sometime tomorrow morning.

But now I'm told that he's still over at the White House having a good time over there, which leads you to believe that Republicans are very optimistic. They're in a very good mood. Certainly I can tell you from talking to some of this staff that they are very excited, particularly looking at that race in Georgia, that Cleland-Chambliss race. Looking at the early results there, they think they might have something.

Democrats too though not giving up yet. Senate Democrats are out and watching the results too, Paula. And they too say, Look, it's still too close to know what's going to happen and they're watching it very closely -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks, Kat. Kate, we'll be checking back with you a little later on this year.



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