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Election Night Coverage: Mark Kirk Wins Senate Race in Illinois
Aired November 3, 2010 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. Barbara Boxer is one of my favorite members of the United States Senate. And you know, as a woman, I shouldn't cry because that shows a sign of weakness...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Boehner cried!
BRAZILE: John Boehner can do it!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BRAZILE: And he was crying. Last week, he had a different attitude. So I'm not going to cry right now, but I'm happy. But you know what? Being in a party (ph) in an economic downturn is really tough. I mean, there's a significant headwind. We knew that going into this electoral cycle. Yet I do believe that, you know, judging by some of the results that we're seeing, especially in the Senate, Democrats at least held their own in some these key states.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, this whole -- again, another myth that somehow, it's the economy's fault and the Democrats had nothing to do with it. It's just a bad economy. There's a dead...
BRAZILE: You say, listen to the people...
CASTELLANOS: Excuse me...
BRAZILE: No, no. I'm not finished.
CASTELLANOS: Actually, you were. You passed the ball.
BRAZILE: You interrupted a lady.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Let Alex finish his thought.
BRAZILE: OK, well, I'll give this man a moment.
CASTELLANOS: I cede my time.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: She'll be telling you to man up in a minute, but go ahead now.
BRAZILE: You know, Republican women say (INAUDIBLE) But anyway, when you ask the American people, Who's to blame for the economy? They blame Wall Street. They blame George W. Bush, and then Barack Obama, third (INAUDIBLE)
CASTELLANOS: Wall Street's not running. Neither is George W. Bush...
BRAZILE: I understand!
CASTELLANOS: ... the last I checked.
BRAZILE: But I'm just telling you...
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This issue was not who's going -- who's going to be blamed because you know what? They're blaming everybody. They hate the Republicans. They hate the Democrats. My favorite survey results from CNN this year, which came up in three different surveys, that the Republicans hate the Republican Party more than independents hate the Republican Party.
ERICKSON: That says something about this election. And they're not looking to blame anymore, they're looking for solutions.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: And one of the things I've picked up tonight is that Erick doesn't much like the elites at the national Republican Senate Campaign Committee.
BEGALA: No, but I think for good cause. They invested, the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, $8 million to try to beat Barbara Boxer in California...
BEGALA: ... the most Democratic big state in America. And she's a very able politician. I did a little work for her, our viewers should know, so I have a professional bias. But that was foolish. That was good money after bad.
(CROSSTALK) BEGALA: Eight million dollars they could have spent on some these other close races.
CASTELLANOS: That's still going to be a very close race. And if you can take California, that changes everything. And you've got a candidate there...
BEGALA: And if my aunt had your mustache, she'd be my uncle! I mean, they're not going to take California...
ERICKSON: You know, there's another issue there, though, Alex...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Wait, wait, wait, wait! Stop...
ERICKSON: There's another issue there. Look at what's going on in Colorado right now, where it's a very tough race now for Ken Buck. The NRSC thought Buck had this in the bag several weeks ago, and they basically took his money and gave it out to California. And the result is the Democrats went up on the air and have pounded him for weeks and weeks.
CASTELLANOS: Erick's misinformed.
CASTELLANOS: But Erick -- well, let's just correct one thing there...
MARTIN: The same people who ran off the moderate -- the conservative Republican...
ERICKSON: You know what, though? But the issue with Buck is that he's been winning until the end in these polls, and the Democrats went after him with a very, very hard rape ad based on his prosecutorial experience in Colorado. And the Republican -- the NRSC did not really go out and aggressively respond to this because they looked at these polling numbers and said, Oh, it looks like...
CASTELLANOS: Erick -- Erick...
CASTELLANOS: ... just correct one thing. The NRSC poured 6 million bucks into that Buck race in Colorado...
ERICKSON: They did?
CASTELLANOS: ... at the tail end, so I don't think they actually pulled anything back and gave it to anywhere else. We might fix that. The point about the economy -- there's a dead body on the ground. It's called the economy. Somebody's standing over it, either a policeman that is going to find the -- you know, who did this thing, or they're an innocent bystander, or -- or they're the guilty party. And America's making a judgment right now that this dead -- there's moribund economy is Barack Obama's fault...
COOPER: But is President Obama going to continue to kind of put out this idea that the American public just doesn't get all the great things that he has done?
BRAZILE: No, no, I don't think so.
BEGALA: He better not.
BRAZILE: No, he's not.
BEGALA: He had better not.
COOPER: Because that seems to be what they have said...
COOPER: ... that it's a communication problem.
BEGALA: ... communications problem.
COOPER: But he's been communicating...
BEGALA: He has an economic problem!
COOPER: ... more than any other president I've ever seen. He's been out there on just about everybody's show.
BEGALA: ... "Ice Road Truckers" and "Rachel Ray"...
COOPER: He was on "Ice Road Truckers." Of he hasn't been, that's probably the only show...
BEGALA: He does not have a communications problem. He has an economic problem, particularly a jobs problem. And some of it -- yes, a little of it's -- yes, I wish he'd say "jobs" instead of "stimulus" and these kind of more elegant words that he uses. But fundamentally, he has to move the needle. He has to create jobs. That's the most important thing. And he can work with Republicans on that if they will work with him, but he has to create jobs!
COOPER: Gloria, your (INAUDIBLE) GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There's a question to me -- we talk about whether Barack Obama can change now, whether he's going to show the humility that the Republicans showed tonight.
COOPER: And whether he would do what Bill Clinton did in '94.
BORGER: Right. Right.
COOPER: We had both just read this article Ron Brownstein wrote...
COOPER: ... where he interviewed both men and was sort of comparing their different reactions (INAUDIBLE)
BORGER: Right. And the question I have about Barack Obama is whether temperamentally he's suited to the kind of strategy that Bill Clinton had. It took Bill Clinton a year to pass Welfare reform. He gave a press conference and said, I'm relevant. I don't think we're going to hear Barack Obama feel like he has to say that tomorrow. But Bill Clinton felt really, really terrible about what had occurred. I mean, these guys over there know much more about how Bill Clinton reacted.
But my question is, can Obama go from seeing himself as transformational to narrowing his sights a little bit and being a little more incremental, like Bill Clinton was? And does he decide that it's in his own best interests to do something on the deficit and then hope the Republicans kill each other off, you know?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Paul Begala will remember this well. But Bill Clinton went through a lot of introspection after losing in 1994. I was there and watched this. He asked himself a lot, Where did I -- what did I do wrong? What do I need correct, asked a lot of people that. I've seen no evidence that Barack Obama feels he needs to go through that kind of introspection, and much less that he needs to do (INAUDIBLE) deal making.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it's also interesting that this president has gone around country saying, The reason why we're having so many problems is because we're not getting our message out on health care, and so on. And yet he's the greatest messenger of all for the Democratic Party and he's out there constantly. So that tells me that this president is not looking at this through the prism that everybody else is.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: But a big loss can refocus everyone, certainly.
O'BRIEN: It can and it might, and it hasn't happened yet. And we'll get through election night. And then tomorrow morning, everyone will sit around and say, What do we do with this new reality? And at that point, people who are not particularly introspective can suddenly find themselves becoming very introspective, especially if they're looking two years down the road. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the Republicans look at it and say the president can look back in history and find two examples of presidents who got clocked in mid-terms. He can be Bill Clinton and go back and pass some big things -- you know, the whole triangulate thing -- or he can be Harry Truman and go run against Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or both.
CROWLEY: So -- you know? Now, he can do both, he can find some sort of hybrid. But if I had to make my bet on it, it would probably be to run against Congress because that's what he's done.
BORGER: But it's good for him because he has an enemy, right?
BORGER: I mean, that works for him.
MARTIN: Talk about President Barack Obama's history, OK? You talk about introspection. He had one political loss, to Congressman Bobby Rush. And what did he do when he lost to Bobby Rush? He had to go and salve (ph) himself and say, Wait a minute. What kind of candidate was I? How do I communicate? What did I say? Where did I go wrong? When you lose, that's typically what you do. But you typically do that after you lose. And so to sit here and act as if he's not going do that -- you have to do it.
BORGER: We don't know.
MARTIN: His own history says that. And what happened? He changed how he ran. He understood the dynamics of the race. And then what did he do? Won the state senate, won the U.S. Senate, won the presidency. So I would say look at his track record versus what Bill Clinton did or Harry Truman did. He will -- he will do exactly what we're talking about, figure out, Where did I go wrong?
COOPER: We got another projection to make. Let's go to Wolf -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Anderson. A major projection in California. Jerry Brown -- he will be elected the governor of California. He was the governor 30 years ago. He's going to be the governor once again. He beats Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO, self-financed. She spent probably $140 or $150 million of her own money, but she's not going to be the governor of California.
Jerry Brown, right now, by the way, with 26 percent of the actual vote counted, he has 49 percent. Meg Whitman, 46 percent. But based on exit polling and other information, we project Jerry Brown will win.
Earlier, we projected, by the way, that Barbara Boxer would be reelected. She beat Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. So both of these women, these Republicans who spent millions of their own dollars to try to get elected in California -- both of them lose. Linda McMahon, by the way, who spent millions of her dollars in Connecticut, she lost to the Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, as well. So money doesn't always necessarily talk, Anderson. You've got tens of millions of dollars to spend, can't necessarily buy an election. Certainly didn't happen in California or Connecticut.
COOPER: Well, you can imagine the pain of a candidate not only just losing, but then waking up the next day and realizing you've lost and spent $150 million.
CASTELLANOS: I could have lost that race for only $80 million.
BRAZILE: Yes, she should have hired Alex. Might have saved $20 million.
CASTELLANOS: Well, you know, California has changed. It's a tougher state now. A lot of Republican voters and taxpayers look at the next 20 years in California, and they've moved to Colorado. They've moved to New Mexico. They've moved to other places.
Also, the housekeeper problem I think hurt Meg Whitman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
CASTELLANOS: I think they -- it changed the race.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... immigration was the issue (INAUDIBLE)
CASTELLANOS: Well, you know, it changed the race because they saw a tougher Meg Whitman there than they perhaps expected, somebody who said -- someone's been in your house nine years and you've just cut them off like that? That might have been a moment. Also, you know what that did? It disconnected the race from the national wave. All of a sudden, it became about Meg Whitman and housekeepers and not about this big wave out there, send a message to Sacramento or Washington. So even a tangential issue changes the race.
COOPER: Jerry Brown also ran a commercial with Meg Whitman in it, saying that the reason she'd come to California was all the great opportunities under Jerry Brown when he was -- back when he was first governor.
CASTELLANOS: Gosh, I bet you she wished she hadn't said that.
MARTIN: And of course, you saw Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton just really come together, have that kumbaya moment in terms of when the former president came to campaign for him, as well.
You know, I was, you know, cracked up the whole time, when you had somebody who basically never voted in their life, and all of a sudden, they want to be governor. And so it was amazing when you couldn't find the time to vote when all of a sudden, you want to actually run for something.
CASTELLANOS: Well, first time out of the box, though...
MARTIN: Might want to show up at a poll some time.
BRAZILE: Fellows, can I say something?
ERICKSON: The campaign ad that is my absolute favorite campaign ad this entire year is Jerry Brown's campaign ad, where he had Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman together, saying the same exact thing, and then at the end, saying, Is this the path you want to continue now?
ELIOT SPITZER, CO-HOST, "PARKER-SPITZER": ... I think that's the point because all politics is a reaction to what comes before you. California just had a governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came from a completely non-political background. Didn't work out so well. And he's leaving them with a bigger deficit and an economic debacle, whether he's to blame or not, of course. So they're saying, Hey, you know what? Maybe somebody who's actually been in government is a better model, and that's where they're going.
BRAZILE: Well, good news. We've elected our first Latino woman governor in the United States in New Mexico. Did she mention that when I was...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No no, no, no.
BRAZILE: And Nikki Haley first...
MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Go on, girlfriend. Let's hear it!
BRAZILE: ... a first Indian-American woman...
MATALIN: Say who it is in New Mexico.
BRAZILE: ... Nikki Haley -- oh, Susana Martinez. And in South Carolina, of course, another Republican, Nikki Haley.
COOPER: We have another projection actually. We can make another governor's race, Wolf?
BLITZER: Arizona, Jan Brewer, the incumbent governor of Arizona, is reelected. She beats Terry Goddard in the state of Arizona. A lot of our viewers will remember Jan Brewer. She helped push through that anti-immigration law in Arizona. She has been rewarded, I guess, in part because of that. The voters in Arizona liked her enough to get her reelected. With 61 percent of the vote now counted in Arizona, she has 56 percent, Terry Goddard 41 percent. So Jan Brewer reelected governor of Arizona.
Let's take a look at some Senate races that are still outstanding right now and we'll put them up for you. In Nevada, we have not projected a winner in Nevada -- 61 percent of the vote has been counted. Harry Reid, the majority leader, the Democrat, with 51.5 percent, Sharron Angle, the Republican, 44 percent. Harry Reid's ahead by 35,494 votes. They still have 35 percent of the vote outstanding.
In Pennsylvania right now, very close, but 90 percent of the vote is counted in Pennsylvania, and Pat Toomey, the Republican, has 51 percent to 49 percent for Joe Sestak. Toomey's ahead by 74,109 votes. They still have 10 percent more to go. I don't know what part of the state hasn't yet been counted, but we're watching Pennsylvania close -- closely. It's still very close there.
Illinois, we have not projected a winner in Illinois either, even though 92 percent of the vote has been counted, Alexi Giannoulias with 46 percent. He's the Democrat. Mark Kirk, the Republican, with 48.4 percent. So we're watching this race closely. Kirk is ahead by 83,238 votes, but still 8 percent of the vote outstanding.
In Colorado, 59 percent of the vote is in. We have not been able to make a projection because look at how close it is. The incumbent senator Michael Bennet with 47.6 percent, Ken Buck, the Republican, with 47.1 percent. Bennet is ahead right now. More than a million votes have been counted. He's ahead by 6,086. They still have 41 percent of the vote outstanding. So we're watching this very carefully. There's still a lot of drama. There's still a lot of excitement out there.
We're waiting to see what happens in Nevada and Colorado and elsewhere, Alaska, as well. They're getting ready to close the polls in Alaska. We'll check in there. Stay with us. Much more of our coverage right after this.
NIKKI HALEY (R-SC), GOVERNOR-ELECT: ... and I want to extend my great respect and my great thank you to him and his wife, Amy (ph), and their three boys.
BLITZER: All right, this is Nikki Haley. She's been just elected the governor of South Carolina. Let's listen in briefly to hear what she has to say.
HALEY: ... Senator Shaheen (ph). He is a senator I certainly look forward to working with. He's a senator that deserves our respect for running, and his family deserves all of the respect in what they've done. So thank you, Senator Shaheen, and thank you for your comment (ph). BROWN: All right, this is Nikki Haley. She's just been elected governor of South Carolina, the first woman of Indian ancestry to be elected to a United States governor's position. She becomes the second American Indian to be a governor. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is the governor -- is of Indian ancestry. When I say Indian, I mean of India, not American Indian.
Let's go back up to John King. He's taking a closer look. We started the night here with 100 seats, basically, at play, most of them held by Democrats, 91 of them held by Democrats. The wall was basically blue, but it's now turning increasingly red.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you look at this and you remember from that starting point Wolf just left you with, 91 of these 100 were blue when we started the night. Just in the little bit you can see, you know what has happened in America tonight. Now more than 40 of these have turned red. And I'm going to take you through. This is the class of 2008, Barack Obama's coattails. The class of 2006 -- this is the class that made Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House.
Back to the class of 2004, and you see -- look at the flashing lights and look at the states they're from -- Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Louisiana. You keep coming this way, you'll see Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio. This is north, south, east, west, Wolf. Democrats that came -- the first two classes of 2006. Do you remember Rahm Emanuel? That was the class he recruited. It was the class that made Nancy Pelosi speaker. Many of them are losing tonight.
Those who came in right here on the president's coattails -- and we haven't called all these races. There will be more red on this board as we go through. We now project (INAUDIBLE) they're way above the 39 they needed, and now they are going on and on and on.
And I want to show you what this looks like on our map. Here's what it looks like in our "Matrix." You say 91 of these were blue to start the night. They are more and more turning red. Now let's get down and show you on a map to show you the breadth of this across the country.
Here's how we began the night when it comes to House races. This was House districts, 435 of them, all across the United States. The blue are Democratic incumbents. The red are Republican incumbents. Watch this. Watch this very closely. This is where we began the night. This is where we stand right now. Look at all that red. I'm going to go back one more time. This is where we began the night. Look again. This time, focus over here, the Northeast -- see all that blue up here. Out here in the industrial Midwest, down through here, as we go through the Midwest, Wisconsin, Michigan and the like -- watch this again. This is where we began the night. This is what is happening.
This -- we talked about this a lot in 2008, how Barack Obama turned so many red states blue. Tonight in the House of Representatives, we began blue and we are in a sea of red. This, Wolf, when it comes to the House level, is just -- we're not sure on the West Coast yet. But we are from east to the mountain west seeing a shellacking. BLITZER: Yes, and it's not just some of those newly elected Democrats who won in 2006 or 2008. Some veteran Democrats, chairmen of powerful committees, have apparently lost, as well.
KING: In South Carolina, John Spratt. I was looking earlier -- I want to take a peek again to see how John Dingell is doing in Michigan. I think this is his district right here. It looks like he's going to hold on. He's winning narrowly there. But that's a tough race for a veteran incumbent there. Ike Skelton in Missouri had a tough race, as well. That one's out here. You just -- you see more and more of these districts as you come through.
BLITZER: That's what's going on. It's a big night for the Republicans, especially when it comes to the House of Representatives. A big night for them in the Senate, although we project the Democrats will retain the majority in the Senate.
All right, let's go on. We have two more major projections to make right now.
All right, CNN now projects that John Kasich will be the next governor of Ohio. John Kasich, we project he is the winner in Ohio. But take a look at this, the Pennsylvania race. Pat Toomey -- we project he will be the next U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey -- Pat Toomey is a former congressman from Pennsylvania, but he will beat Joe Sestak, who was the Democratic candidate.
That's a big win for the Republicans in Pennsylvania. This is a state that Democrats desperately need if they want to retain the White House in 2012. But certainly a big win for the Republicans in what traditionally has been a relatively blue state of Pennsylvania. Look at this. There is Sestak speaking right now, and there is Toomey speaking right now, Sestak getting ready to speak. Let's listen in briefly to Toomey and hear what he has to say.
REP. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA), SENATOR-ELECT: And I am grateful tonight.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TOOMEY: And I've got to -- I do have to single out the guy who managed the whole process, who oversaw everything and paid attention to every single detail without ever losing sight of the big picture, and that is the brilliant Mark Harris (ph). Mark, thank you for your leadership.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BLITZER: All right, let's listen in to Sestak, Joe Sestak, retired U.S. Navy admiral, a congressman. He's losing in Pennsylvania.
REP. JOE SESTAK (D-PA), SENATE CANDIDATE: And you know my pop's up there and his hand's on that tiller. So thank you very much to my family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Daddy, you mentioned (INAUDIBLE)
SESTAK: And my brother. Thank you.
BLITZER: All right, so Sestak loses. Toomey wins. Anderson, Pennsylvania goes Republican in the United States Senate. Ohio, a key battleground state looking ahead to 2012, the Republican wins the governor's race in Ohio. The Republican wins the Senate race in Ohio. These two contests -- the White House worked hard in Pennsylvania. The president went there several times. Joe Biden went there several times. They both went to Ohio a lot. Didn't do much good because in the end, the Republicans win.
COOPER: Numerous trips by President Obama. And this is a big loss for the Democrats.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a huge deal. I mean, Biden and Obama had put a huge amount of capital in Ohio for the governor's race because of redistricting, because of its influence on the next presidential election. Kasich has pulled that out, trailing Portman, but a very convincing win. Toomey had been ahead significantly most of this election cycle. And this last minute surge by Sestak is really significant. Not enough at the end of the day. The fact that Corbett, the Republican governor of Pennsylvania, won much more handily than Toomey I think also speaks to the relevant strengths and weaknesses. But a big night for Republicans all throughout the Rust Belt.
BORGER: This is a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by 1.2 million voters. So the fact that Sestak couldn't pull it out and -- with Obama's support, doesn't bode well. Also, you know, you look at Ohio. Also, we don't know the results of the Florida governor's race. But if you lose the governorships in -- in a state like Ohio and a state like Florida and you're running for president in 2012, it's not good. Those were states that were really important, swing battleground states. And losing the Senate seat in Pennsylvania's not too good, either.
CROWLEY: It's not just that a Republican took a Senate seat in Pennsylvania. It's that a very conservative Republican took the Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
CROWLEY: This is not Tom Ridge.
BORGER: Or Arlen Specter.
CROWLEY: This is not Arlen Specter. This is a very conservative Club for Growth, very fiscally conservative-backed candidate. So it's even bigger than it sounds.
AVLON: He's socially conservative, too.
CROWLEY: Yes. Yes.
AVLON: He really is. COOPER: Erick?
ERICKSON: One of the interesting things I've always found out about Pat Toomey is when he was in the House, he was unapologetically conservative in a district that leaned Democrat by I think 4 points. And so that he was able to pull this off -- it's closer than what I'm -- talking to people in the Toomey campaign, closer than what they thought it was going to be. But it is somewhat surprising to me that a guy that conservative is going to win a state like Pennsylvania.
Kasich and Portman in Ohio, both of whom were connected to Bush, with Obama going into Ohio regularly for Ted Strickland, moreso than Lee Fisher, who really didn't run a good race -- and we're not just seeing it here at the federal level. Again, we're seeing it now at the state level. It looks like North Carolina's legislature may go completely Republican for the first time since 1870.
MARTIN: Anderson, earlier, you were talking to the folks at the other table in terms of about President Obama's coalition in 2008. And the reality -- one of the things that they did not do is that they simply did not truly activate them. You spoke about the mailing list, but it really went beyond the mailing list. They put Organizing for America into the DNC. But one of the things that I constantly heard on the ground, people were saying, What do I do? Where do I go? How do I get involved? When you look at health care, even when you look at the student loan bill, they never moved their people to action. They never targeted folks. They never got them involved.
And so all of a sudden, here you are in the election year. Over the summer, he releases a video. Tim Kaine releases a video. And they were saying, Wait a minute. Where have you guys been for the past year? If you talk about Ronald Reagan and the Reagan revolution -- Ed and I talked about it last night. Ronald Reagan utilized those college students in '80 and '84 and kept them involved and active for eight years. You cannot ignore those folks and then think they're going to show up.
COOPER: Ed Rollins?
ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This was a big night for us because we have some future stars again, and this is the key thing. It's not about Washington. Obviously, we're going to play a very important role. We don't have to be invited to the table. We're in the room...
COOPER: Future stars for you who, Marco Rubio?
ROLLINS: Marco Rubio, some these governors. You know -- and I've always felt the governors obviously are the ones that basically are the ones that good presidential candidates come out of. And my sense is we got very Washington-oriented. We got some tired -- John McCain was tired, what have you. We now have a whole new group of people that can prove in states that they can be successful. And I think if they do that, then I think we've got some very significant...
(CROSSTALK) CASTELLANOS: In 1992, the Democrats invented -- transformed themselves, the new Democrat. What's happening tonight -- this is the beginning of the new Republicans. You do have Nikki Haleys. You do have Marco Rubios. You have Susana Martinez. You have Sandoval running against Harry Reid's son in Nevada. You have -- but Bob McDonald (ph), Chris Christie -- this thing that's happening in the Republican Party is much bigger than just Tea Party candidates.
SPITZER: But Alex...
CASTELLANOS: Finally, we're seeing a new generation of Republicans emerge from the Bush shadow...
MARTIN: No, the new Democrats...
CASTELLANOS: ... and they're going to be around for the next 20 years.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You do see the new Republicans at the gubernatorial level. I think what we're going to end up seeing in the Senate, you know, witness Pat Toomey, and in the House, witness the leadership of John Boehner, is a clash between sort of the new Republicans that are really much more focused and much more ideological on fiscal issues, and the old mainstream Republicans, which are much more tied to big business and the people who've kept them there. And I think, ultimately, that's going to be a huge challenge for the Republican Party.
COOPER: Quick comment from Eliot...
SPITZER: I just want to view this from 10,000 feet. Twice in the last 20 years, Democrats have elected presidents with progressive agendas, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama. Both times, within two years, both had their agendas completely rejected by the public. It grieves me as a Democrat, somebody who's progressive, but I think you got to step back and recognize, twice the public looked at these presidents and said, No, that's not what we want.
COOPER: We'll take a short break. Our coverage continues. We'll be right back.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, CNN's ready to make another major projection right now. Let's put it up on the board.
In Illinois, look at this, Mark Kirk, the Republican, we project will be the next United States senator from Illinois. Mark Kirk, he was a five-term Republican congressman. He beats Alexi Giannoulias. He was the Democratic state treasurer, a friend of the president's.
This is the seat that President Obama used to hold. Roland Burris is the current U.S. senator from Illinois, but Mark Kirk will become the next U.S. senator. Now that Roland Burris is leaving the United States Senate, there will not be even one African-American in the United States Senate.
Mark Kirk will be the next U.S. senator from Illinois, an embarrassment for the Democrats and for President Obama, since that was the seat that he used to hold.
Let's take a look at some numbers coming in. We have not projected a winner yet in Nevada. With 70 percent of the vote in, Harry Reid, the majority leader, is still ahead, 51 percent to 45 percent for Sharron Angle, the Republican and Tea Party candidate, 30 percent of the votes still outstanding.
We have not projected a winner in Colorado because it's so close. Michael Bennet, the incumbent-appointed senator, 48 percent to Ken Buck, the Republican Tea Party favorite, 47 percent. Bennet is ahead by 8,453 votes. More than a million have been counted already.
It's close in Washington State, as well, 54 percent of the vote has now been counted, 51 percent for the incumbent, Patty Murray and 49 percent for the Republican challenger, Dino Rossi. It's close in Washington State.
I think we have another race that we want to update our viewers on right now. Let's get another number up there -- actually we don't have that number up there, but we'll bring it up in California soon. But let's talk to Ali Velshi, going through exit poll numbers.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BLITZER: And you're specifically looking at what voters, people who actually went to the polls, told our people as they emerged about what's going on in California.
VELSHI: A very sophisticated set of questions that we ask along with other networks that get really down to the root things. You were just talking about California. Let me pick up where I left off.
Why did Jerry Brown win? Well, there's some very, very sophisticated dynamics going on in California. Two very prominent women, former CEOs running for office, let's talk about Jerry Brown versus Meg Whitman and what that race looked like.
Where did women go in that race? Let me tell you a little bit about this, 56 percent of women voted for Jerry Brown, 56 percent of women cast their ballot for Jerry Brown, only 40 percent of women in California voted for Meg Whitman.
This is kind of interesting according to our exit polls. As you know, California has a very large Hispanic population. How did that break for the two major candidates? We decided to take a look at that, 65 percent of Hispanics and Latinos ended up casting their ballot for the Democratic candidate Jerry Brown, 31 percent for Meg Whitman.
Go back to when Arnold Schwarzenegger won in California. He got a pretty low Hispanic-Latino turnout, but it was still 40 percent. Jerry Brown did substantially better than Arnold Schwarzenegger did. Meg Whitman got far less of the Hispanic-Latino vote.
And, you know, Wolf, earlier in this campaign, she got into some hot water about whether or not she knew that she had hired somebody who didn't have their papers. So she did not end up getting very much of the Hispanic-Latino vote out in California and she didn't win the woman vote.
BLITZER: That explains why the Democrats won the governor's race and the Senate race in California. Thanks very much. I want to check in with CNN's Ed Henry, our senior White House correspondent.
Ed, you're getting new information. The president of the United States is speaking on the phone with a top Republican, tell us what you know.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We're learning first that that the president has now called the House Republican Leader, John Boehner, the incoming speaker of the House.
Even though it's not official, all of the projections are showing that. The White House behind me inside, there are several top aides still here, David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, other, watching these returns. They know what we know, which is that the Republicans will take over the House.
I'm told in about the last half hour or so the president reached out to John Boehner and they spoke briefly. I'm also told the president is reaching out to the current speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, out of respect to talk to her. I don't know if they've connected just yet.
I'm also told the president has been watching these returns very closely. He's been working the phones. He's called several other Democratic candidates. Some who have won, some who have lost. There are obviously a lot of tough races.
And, look, there are -- you just mentioned, Illinois' Senate. The president's own former seat in the Senate, now has gone into Republican hands. Another bitter pill for this White House to swallow is the Ohio governor, Ted Strickland, now conceding to Republican John Kasich.
That is big because of the fact that this president has traveled to Ohio, 12 times, including just this past Sunday in Cleveland, his last rally of the campaign season, trying to bring Ted Strickland across the finish line so some bad news certainly for this White House tonight. But the president is trying to reach out to the Republican Leader John Boehner.
He's also going to have this news conference as you know tomorrow 1:00 p.m. Eastern here at the east room here at White House. I'm told on Thursday, the president's also expected to make a statement where he's likely -- to reporters and to the nation where he's likely to talk about reaching out to Republicans. Maybe even talk about having some sort of a summit with the Republicans after he returns from Asia. So they're trying to project an image of reaching out, going across the aisle very quickly here, Wolf.
BLITZER: Has the White House actually put out a statement, has Robert Gibbs said anything on behalf of the White House as a result of these dramatic results tonight?
HENRY: They have not said anything publicly. I've been e-mailing with Robert Gibbs, other top White House aides. They've been obviously in fairness earlier tonight they were trying to make sure the polls in California, other states, closed before there was any sort of comment.
Even networks like ours were projecting that the Republicans were going to take over the House. Even now that a lot of the polls obviously have closed, and all these results are coming in, they still have not commented in publicly.
They're going to let the president do that tomorrow at the news conference, though. We expect some sort of statement between now and in the morning, obviously, something from the White House. But in private, they're watching this very closely. Keeping a close eye on everything and as you know, the House Republican leader, the incoming speaker, John Boehner's having a news conference with the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tomorrow about 90 minutes before the president has his news conference in the east room, so the back and forth will start right away, Wolf.
BLITZER: And the president's news conference is at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll, of course, have live coverage here on CNN. Ed, standby. We're getting ready to make another major projection.
And CNN projects that Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, the majority leader in the Senate, will be re-elected beating the Republican challenger Sharron Angle in the state of Nevada.
Right now with 70 percent of the vote in, Harry Reid has 51 percent to Sharron Angle's 45 percent. But based on those numbers, exit polling numbers, other information that we're getting, Harry Reid will stay in the United States Senate, and he will be -- continue to be, we assume, the majority leader even though that majority is going down and down and down.
We have projected the Democrats will retain the majority in the Senate as opposed to the House of Representatives, where the Republicans will be in the majority, in the new Congress. Harry Reid is re-elected in Nevada. It's been a bitter fight out in Nevada for Harry Reid.
But when all is said and done, we project he will win. It's a huge win for Harry Reid. A huge win for the Democrats in Nevada. Right now, it would had been very embarrassing if their majority leader had lost.
Jessica Yellin is over there in Las Vegas right now watching this. You're at the Harry Reid headquarter. The balloons are behind you. There's a lot of excitement. We've projected, Jessica, that Reid wins.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the room has been going nuts for the last five minutes. You just missed them, shouting "Harry, Harry" over and over. Of all the wins tonight that the Democrats can say they just eked out this is the one that so many thought would never happen.
Harry Reid is not just another incumbent. He is the face of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate and somebody that Democrats thought the Republicans were gunning for above all. The fact that he's been able to pull it out is mostly a testament to the fact that he has an enormous ground game here in Nevada.
He has -- I have to pause. You can hear them. Wolf, these people expected to lose. They didn't know they were going to win tonight and so they are just so elated. Harry Reid was lucky in that they drew an opponent who was rather unusual. She was not a practiced politician.
She was unusual candidate. This Tea Party backed woman Sharron Angle. Had they drawn another one of those candidates you might not have had this victory tonight, but you've also got to acknowledge that Harry Reid has an enormously strong ground operation across the state.
And he knew, he kicked it into gear, and got his people out to the polls, Wolf. This crowd is astonished right now, I'll tell you that.
BLITZER: It's interesting, Jessica, the Tea Party Express had setup their headquarters in the same hotel where Harry Reid is right now. They were expecting to sort of rub it in. They thought that Sharron Angle would win. She is not going to win. She's going to lose. Harry Reid will be re-elected.
YELLIN: That's right and this will come as a really sting -- a stinging shock to not just the Tea Party Express, but a number of those third party groups that really poured money into this race.
They wanted a symbolic victory of taking down the head of the Democratic Party in the Senate. So many these conservative groups poured money here to defeat Reid, as you say the Tea Party Express is here in this hotel. I visited them a short while ago.
They were predicting it would be a great night for them. Of course, it looks like it did not work out that way. I'll find out what they're saying now, but I'm sure they'll say, they'll fight on, though, will sting for them. This will sting, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jessica, standby. We're going to come back to you. We're checking it in, but the breaking news, Harry Reid wins his bid for re-election in Nevada. Sharron angle loses. She's the Republican, the Tea Party favorite.
We'll take another quick break, but there's a lot more to come. John King is standing by. He's getting new information on -- from the world of Twitter. What could we learn from this -- the latest tweets that have been sent out? Stand by.
BLITZER: Live pictures from New Mexico, Susannah Martinez will be the next governor of New Mexico taking over for Bill Richardson who is retiring. She's a Republican. The first Latina Republican senator -- excuse me, governor.
She's going to be taking over as governor of New Mexico. You can see the confetti that's flying in New Mexico right now. Lots of happy Republicans in New Mexico. Lots of happy Republicans all over the country.
We're watching all of these races very, very closely. John King is here. John, you got some stuff about Twitter that's going on right now. And I see tweets and I see Twitter, but tell our viewers what we know.
JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING USA": This is one of the interesting ways we're using technology to look at how politics is playing across country. We've shown you the matrix. We'll get back there in a minute, we use our maps here on the wall quite a bit to show you things.
But we want to show you this one race in particular. This is the Reid/Angle race you were just talking about. Harry Reid now projected to win re-election the state of Nevada, one of the hotly-contested races in the country and because of that. Look at this number up here.
Over the course of this race, we have analyzed more than a half million tweets, more than 545,000 tweets in this race. And if you go back in time, above the black, those are positive tweets. The dark green is Angle, the lighter green is Harry Reid.
Below the orange here is Harry Reid. The yellow here is Sharron Angle. The black is neutral. So if it's up on top it's a positive tweet. If it's down on the bottom it's a negative tweet.
Watch as this plays through time. This is going all the way back to April and you watch this play out and watch out on the left you can see the numbers, the percentages of the positives and the negatives going up and down and so you come through, you come through the race now.
We're into the heat of the race. I want to stop down here, when you get into late September, so what are people saying about this, when you get down in here? And you see some of the tweets up here. Well, if you come over and see, what are people saying anti about Harry Reid?
I will get it to work I promise you. You come over here what are people saying negative about Harry Reid. Well, somebody here in the final days of the campaign saying, Harry Reid's going to raise your taxes. Harry Reid is a liar. Hey, ho, Harry Reid's got to go. That some of the anti-Reid sentiment playing out on the twitter verse and of course saying negative things about Sharron Angle as well. I'm still slightly in denial that Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell are serious candidates for office. Obviously an anti-Tea Party voice there.
And then the blind hate that is financing Sharron Angle's run talking about the financing. So just one way, Wolf, to track and this is a unique way, sentiment analysis, we call it. You can see the positive, you see the negative.
And in this race this that is remarkable more than a half million tweets because so many people not only talking about this in Nevada, but across country, because of the national profile. Let me go up here and join you.
That's one take on an important Senate race. Wolf, as we've talked throughout the night remember when we started this is the CNN 100 you see around here around the matrix. This is the 100 hotly contested House races, the most competitive House races across the country.
Guess what, 91 of these slates were blue when we started the night and as you can see as we go through this a lot of red up here going back into the class of 2004, 2002 and beyond. Why is there so much red? Because Republicans are now projected to be on a path. We know they will win the House majority. They needed a net gain of 39 for that.
We can now tell you. They will gain at least 60 seats in the House of Representatives. At least 60 seats to make it a new Republican majority that is the highest number, Wolf, since the Democrats gained 75 back in 1948.
And from 1948 until today it was the 1994 year when the Republicans gained 52 in their last sweep. That had been the high watermark since 1948, 75 then, 52 in 1994, we know all of these red slates, all of those flashing lights that you see at home, the Republicans will eclipse 60 tonight. We'll see where the ceiling is in the hours ahead.
BLITZER: I think it's fair to say the House of Representatives, that's a landslide, more than the 52 that the Republicans won as you say in '94, the most since 1948. A Republican net gain in the House of Representatives, at least 60 seats and we'll see if how high it winds up going because there's still plenty of races still out there.
KING: We were out for 1994 - I think we slightly missed the 1948 one.
BLITZER: That was a big contest. That's right. We brad it in our history books. Let's go to Dana Bash, she's up on Capitol Hill right now.
Dana, we heard that the president called John Boehner to I guess congratulate him on the Republicans taking the majority in the next session of the U.S. House of Representatives. You're speaking to sources close to Boehner. What are you hearing? DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, we're getting the Boehner's side of that phone conversation, Wolf. And basically what the Boehner aides are telling us is that they had what they're calling a straightforward and honest conversation, like he said -- like they say, the president and John Boehner generally do in the past.
And said they discussed working together and focused on top priorities for the American people, and Boehner said to the president, according to his aides, that he identified creating jobs and cutting spending, and that's what they expect.
They, meaning the voters who were out there. That was the Boehner's side of that equation. And you know, I'm here at Republican headquarters, which is pretty much breaking down at this point. But very, very interesting, I think, to note that on the Democratic side of this equation right now the current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, I'm told, is still over at Democratic headquarters as we speak.
Closing in on 1:00 a.m. Eastern, Wolf, I'm told she's still pouring over the results, the outstanding numbers, maybe the numbers that already came in to get a sense of what really has gone on in the field and out there in the country on this very, very bad election night for Nancy Pelosi and for her party.
I'm also told that you know one of the outstanding questions for her is what will she do? Will she stay in the House? Will she stay in her position of what will be House minority leader? We're told that we're not going to find that out tonight.
Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in the coming weeks, but at least not until they get a full picture of what the House will really look like after this election, Wolf.
BLITZER: Dana, thanks very much. It's going to be a whole new House of Representatives for you to cover in the new session in January, when the new members are sworn in as we've been saying at least a net gain of 60 seats for the Republicans in the House of Representatives.
They need 39 to become the majority. They're going to get at least 60, we now project. We're only a little more than seven minutes away from the top of the hour. That's when they close all the polls in the state of Alaska. Standby. We have more projections, more information. We're only just beginning.
BLITZER: All right. We've got some more projections right now, on propositions in California. Marijuana is not going to be legal for recreational use. CNN now projects that Proposition 19 will go down to defeat no, 56 percent yes, 44 percent, 20 percent of the vote is counted in California.
But based on our exit polling and other information and the actual voting so far, Proposition 19 will go down to defeat marijuana for recreational use in California will not happen at least not now. In Rhode Island, there was a proposition, it was called question one, to change the name of the state. The official name of Rhode Island is Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. There was a motion to change the name, just to Rhode Island.
They say no 78 percent with 100 percent of the vote in, didn't want to change the name, 22 percent yes. So Rhode Island stays as Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, that's the official name of the state.
Rhode Island has a new governor, an independent, the former Republican, Lincoln Chafee, the former senator from Rhode OIsland. He will become the next governor of Rhode Island. He beats Frank Caprio who was the Democratic nominee, John Robitaille, the Republican nominee.
Lincoln Chafee, the independent, a friend of President Obama. Remember, President Obama only the other day, he went to Rhode Island. He didn't endorse anybody, but he didn't endorse the Democratic nominee, Frank Caprio that irritated a lot of Democrats.
It certainly irritated Frank Caprio who uttered those famous words the president can take his endorsement and really shove it, something to that effect. I'm sort of paraphrasing, but you get the point of what Frank Caprio said.
Right now, Lincoln Chafee will be the next governor of Rhode Island. I don't think that a lot of people in Rhode Island, John, you went to the University of Rhode Island. You that state. It's a Democratic state. I don't think they like the fact that the Democratic nominee told the president to take his endorsement and really shove it.
KING: No, so there's two big things. Number one, I won't have to take a sharpie and cross out Rhode Island/Providence Plantations on my college degree that's a good thing for me.
To that point that's one of the things that we've debated after the elections. A lot of people saying, did the president failed in his step as the leader of Democratic Party not endorsing the Democratic candidate despite his past relationship with now governor-elect Lincoln Chaffee. That will be one post election debate.
Here's another post election debate. This is the current United States Senate entering the night, 59 for the Democrats, 41 for the Republicans. Now we know that's going to change and change dramatically.
Right now, let me bring up -- here we go. Right now, we have it at 51-47 and by our projection the Democrats will keep control of the Senate because Harry Reid we just called that race for Harry Reid.
Now here's what is already happening in Republican circles, they're saying what, if what if Harry Reid, of course, had the Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle, many Republicans are already asking tonight what if a mainstream Republican had won that race and that had happened? Instead, and you could tip that over to the Republicans and they're also revisiting this race in Delaware, Wolf, you moderated the debate saying if Mike Castle the congressman had won that Republican nomination not the Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell and then perhaps we would be looking at this tonight and then you would be looking at 49-49 with Washington State and Colorado to go.
So already tonight, as we know the Democrats will keep a very narrow Senate majority. One of the post-election questions that Republicans are already saying, has the Tea Party, that yes, brought so much energy to the party, perhaps cost it a couple of very, very important Senate races. And Anderson, recriminations are always a fun part of politics.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": No doubt. Do you think that, John Avlon, you write a lot about the Tea Party do you think there will be a lot of recriminations?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There should be some reckoning. I mean, the reality is that they would have likely won Delaware if Christine O'Donnell had not beat Mike Castle. They would have likely beat Harry Reid if Sharron Angle hadn't been the nominee. That could make all the difference in terms of control of Senate.