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Election Night in America; Tight Race in New Hampshire; Tom Cotton Wins in Arkansas
Aired November 4, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That tells you, wow, tight race, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's going to be a tight race we expect in New Hampshire as well where Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen are in a desperate battle right now.
And take a look at this. We could not make a projection in New Hampshire right now. We don't have enough information even though nine percent of the vote is in. No projection in New Hampshire, but we can make several other projections.
Susan Collins, she will easily become reelected in the state of Maine. She beats Shenna Bellows.
As is the case with Thad Cochran, another Republican and he beats Travers Childers. Thad Cochran easily reelected in the state of Mississippi.
In Alabama, Jeff Sessions didn't have an opponent. He will be in the Senate for another six years in Alabama. Jeff Sessions easily gets himself reelected.
Let's see some other Republican wins. In Oklahoma, James Inhofe, he comes back from yet another six years beating (INAUDIBLE). James Inhofe remains in the Senate.
In Oklahoma as well, James Lankford. He wins in the so special election. James Lankford easily defeats Connie Johnson. Two Republican senators from Oklahoma.
And Lamar Alexander gets himself reelected in the state of Tennessee defeating Gordon Ball. So Lamar Alexander gets another six years in Washington.
The Democrats did win in the state of Massachusetts. Ed Markey who is appointed after John Kerry became the United States secretary of state. He will now have his first general election win in the state of Massachusetts defeating Brian Herr. Ed Markey wins in Massachusetts.
And one more in New Jersey, Cory Booker. Cory Booker who came in after the death of Frank Lottenburg. He now wins in New Jersey. Cory Booker will be the United States senator in New Jersey. He gets that win.
No projection, by the way, surprisingly, in Illinois, at least for now. Take a look at this. No projections in Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island. As it stands right now, 36 Democrats guaranteed to come back in the United States Senate, 40 Republicans. Republicans are ahead right now. They need to see one to be the majority in the United States Senate. The Democrats need 50 since Biden, the vice president would break a tie.
As we wait for more real votes to come in, we want to share the latest exit poll data with you as well. These are estimates. They're based on interviews with a sampling of voters today and during the early voting process.
All right, here's the exit poll result for New Hampshire, 52 percent for the incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, 48 percent for Scott Brown. Close, but remember, these are the exit poll results. These are estimates based on interviews with voters. The final outcome may be different. You want to be fully transparent. Make sure our viewers get the same accurate information that we have right now. Let's check in with Jake. He's got an update on governors' races -- Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
Take a look at Florida right now, OK? Charlie Crist, the Democrat, has 47.7 percent of the vote. Rick Scott, the incumbent Republican has 47.4 percent. The difference is 0.3. And as we've mentioned already, if the difference is 0.5 or less where it goes to and automatic recount. An incredibly tight race, An incredibly excitingly race. Nobody knows who is going to win this. That has been the case throughout this entire race between Chris and Scott. Grueling, expensive, nasty, that's going to continue, I suspect until the last vote is counted.
But we do also have some projections to make in some key governors races. In Pennsylvania, a big upset benefitting the Democrats. Democrat Tom Wolf, a York County businessman defeats the incumbent Republican governor, Tom Corbett, CNN is projecting. That is the big pick up for Democrats.
In Alabama, the incumbent Republican governor Robert Bentley easily dispatches with former congressman Parker Griffith.
And look at this in Tennessee, no surprise there, the incumbent Republican governor Bill Haslam., good grief and defeated Charlie Brown, an unknown 72-year-old hunter.
Those are the projections we have. Now let's look at all the races where we projected winners and where we cannot. Look at these unknown. The yellow is unknown. Yellow we do not have enough information to make a projection as of yet. Look at New England. This gives you an idea of how difficult terrain has been for Democrats this year.
We cannot make a projection in New England. We cannot make a projection in Illinois. It shows you just how tough it has been for Democrats this cycle. So none of those projections yet for Connecticut, Florida as we mentioned, Maine, Maryland. Maryland, we cannot make a projection. Massachusetts, we can't make a projection. New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and in Rhode Island, which usually trends blue -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jake. Thanks very much. I have a key race alert. These are actual votes that have are already been counted.
In New Hampshire, 10 percent of the votes is in, Jeanne Shaheen, the incumbent Democrat, she has got 56 percent. Scott Brown, the challenging Republican, 44 percent. She 's up by 5300 votes.
In North Carolina, 15 percent of the vote is in. The incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan ahead by nearly 10,000 votes, 50 percent to 47 percent. Kay Hagan had been, only 15 percent of the vote has been counted, about 16 percent.
In Georgia, no projection there, 61 percent, though, for David Perdue, the Republican versus the Democrat Michelle Nunn, 37 percent for her, only three percent of the vote is in in Georgia.
In Virginia, no projection there as well. The Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie is up by about 50,000 votes over Mark Warner, the incumbent Democrat. He is the senator, 34 percent. More than a third of the vote is now in in Virginia. Ed Gillespie, a slightly ahead, 52-46 percent over Mark Warner.
These are all key states we're watching right now. I think this is pretty surprising. Ed Gillespie is doing well so far with 34 percent of the vote in.
KING: Surprising, although, as more of the vote has come in the lead has narrowed a little bit. But Ed Gillespie putting up the tough race. But little over a third of the vote counted, I will say this. We have nothing from down here in Virginia beach. This is a very reliably Democratic area down here. This go back to mark Warner's last race six years ago. You see he got 64 percent of the vote down here. All blue in here. But -- so we have (INAUDIBLE) for that.
Let's pick up again and see what else is missing. Ed Gillespie doing what a Republican has to do. They look at winning, I hear the rural area, Mark Warner winning right in Roanoke City itself with 59 percent, but not in the county. Ed Gillespie winning in the county. So in the rural areas, once you get outside of the cities in to the exurbs, Ed Gillespie doing very well.
Here's where these races are won, and this is only 12 percent. But watch and see if this holds up. If he can hold on in Loudon county, he is running a very competitive state-wide race, excuse me. When the Fairfax County here, though, there you see. This is the democratic advantage. Only seven percent of the vote in here, Wolf. This is why it is a competitive race, but we need to wait on the count.
This is where the people live, the populated areas. These Washington D.C. suburbs have exploded over the past decade or so. Mark Warner winning big in Arlington County, winning big at the moment in Fairfax county.
So if these margins hold up, as we get from seven percent up to 50, 60, 70, 80 percent, that's where the votes are, the numbers are. So let's be careful as we look at this. But this is not what Mark Warner was expecting, I can tell you that. They thought the polls consistently show the big gap. They did tighten in the last week or so. So we will watch Virginia. That would be a stunning upset. I think you still have to say early on, let's wait. That would be stunning.
BLITZER: Let's see what's happening in North Carolina.
KING: You see that Virginia here and North Carolina's shaded blue at the moment. That's because of just shy -- there you go, 20 percent of the vote in. Kay Hagan at 52. Thom Tillis at 45. Remember there is a third-party candidate in this race, the libertarian Shawn Hall (ph).
If you look at the race so far, again, it is very competitive race as you're looking for anomalies, something that looks different than it should, something out of the ordinary, this does it. This looks different. I can barely ordinary competitive race.
I say ordinary. Let's go back and look at 2012 and you look at the Romney/Obama race. Remember in 2008, the president carry this state over John McCain, but just barely. In 2012, Romney won the state, not by much, 51 to 48. Remember where this red is. We will show you where the red. This is where Republicans have to run it up. But more importantly for the democrats, here's where the votes are in Raleigh, Durham, in Charlotte, in (INAUDIBLE). That's where you have a Democratic base.
One of key questions was, would you get African-American turnout, Democratic-base voters at a time when Kay Hagan was saying don't come see me, Mr. President. I have some disagreements with the president. As we watch, we have a lot more to come in. But at the moment she's winning where she has to win in places like Mecklenburg county. Let me get rid the lines so they don't confuse you.
In Charlotte, 66 percent. Go back to her last race in two counties, she has got 62 percent there, She won pretty big biog over Elizabeth Dole. Thom Tillis is proven to be more competitive candidate but she is doing the numbers she needs to do there. Let's see if she has checked.
Those are the numbers she need to do there. But very early on the race. If you look at this now, we're going to have to count them for a while. It's filling in as you would expect them to in a very competitive race.
BLITZER: The last minute, she asked the president to do a little radio ad for her today, which he did and she authorized, she approved of that ad. Let's see if that helped turn out the Democratic base in Charlotte and so the other towns.
Let's go to Georgia right now. Looks like a critically important contest there as well. KING: And the vote counts coming in slow in only four percent.
Almost pay no attention to the numbers in the sense that yes, David Perdue has the early lead. But we have to see what is happening. We have nothing. No votes at all yet, coming in Clayton county here in the Atlanta suburbs. Fulton county is Atlanta itself, nothing. Absolutely nothing there. That's the Democratic base in the state of Georgia.
So, again, just as we've talked about in North Carolina, the key question was, can Michelle Nunn, she didn't invite the president down. She said he wasn't on the ballot. He'd be gone in two years. By this, the Democratic base turned out.
Another place you have to watch for Democrats over here in Chatham county where in the Sabana area. So, if you look at this map now, in the rural areas that are reporting pretty quickly, David Perdue, this is what he has to do, this small rural county, run it up. But there's not a lot of votes there. The question that will be answered is when the cities come in. Columbus, Georgia here in the central west, part of the state. Absolutely nothing yet.
So, we have nothing from the big Democratic areas yet to give us a sense of how this is going to go once the vote totals.
BLITZER: I want to stay in Georgia. Nick Valencia is joining us from Lawrenceville, Georgia right now. What are you seeing? What are you hearing over there, Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf. Just like John King said, not a lot of votes counted here in Gwinnett county, zero precincts reporting so far. We are waiting for those precincts to show up here.
But let's bring you back over here to the Georgia election board numbers. We've got about 250,000 preliminary votes so far, less than five percent. Again, these are very early, raw numbers. David Perdue, 141,000 for him. Michelle Nunn, 100,900.
And just to show you a sense of how these counties are trending right now, again, not official but this is how they're trending right now. Nothing around the Atlanta area, nothing from Gwinnett so far. But you see a lot of sort of mixed blue and green for Perdue, and Nunn with Swafford getting less than 4,000 votes, Wolf. Still very early here in Georgia.
BLITZER: Very early in Georgia. We are watching Georgia very closely.
I want to go back to John and take a closer look at New Hampshire. This is a race that, obviously, has great significance.
KING: Right. You have Massachusetts blue. You just projected the Ed Markey race. That was not a tough race. This one here, the question is, would it be a tough race where 10 percent of the vote and Jeanne Shaheen with an early lead. Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator. I'll show you, let me pull this up a little bit and stretch it out for
you. If Scott Brown is to win this race, he's going to win it down here. He is going -- Jeanne Shaheen will win in (INAUDIBLE), but Scott Brown has to win this area around it. And he has to win right here along the Massachusetts for a lot of people live in Massachusetts and move north in New Hampshire by the independents across these towns.
If Scott Brown is going to win it, the southern belt of this state will be filled in. But Jeanne Shaheen has the lead at the moment in part, because you see where we are getting votes. We're getting them in Manchester. Brian Todd which was talking to you about that, 75 percent of the vote in the city.
Remember in 2008, this is a state where people do tend to vote late. 2008 early on, it looked like Barack Obama was winning the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton came back late to those words in New Hampshire. Jeanne Shaheen has to win those. That's your gritty, blue collar town. It is critical to Democrats. Then you move up here n Concord (ph) to the state capital, government workers and the like Jeanne Shaheen needs to do well there. Hundred percent in, she is getting 67 percent of the vote. Those are the number you need to do. The other big key for Jeanne Shaheen is to come up here. You get up to the strip of college towns up here along the border, Dartmouth University up in there. We will see how that one fills in.
Too early to say right here. But if Jeanne Shaheen, you're looking at what has come insofar, you're feeling pretty good, but we need to see the seacoast and we need to see belt right across the Massachusetts border, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, take a look at this, John. We got some votes. I want to show our viewers how close it is in Florida right now. Look at this. This is the governor's race in Florida. Rick Scott, 47.9 percent to Charlie Crist's 47.2 percent, only 32,000 votes ahead, 32,000 votes. Look at this. Almost four million votes have already been counted. Seventy four percent of the vote already in. Look at how close it is in Florida.
Let's go Alina Machado. She is taking a closer look. You've got some news, Alina? What are you learning?
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've learned that according to a spokesperson from the Florida secretary of state a judge has ruled on that emergency motion filed by the Charlie Crist campaign seeking to extend voting hours in Broward County after learning about possible problems at some polling stations. We're told that motion has been denied and from a spokesperson from the Charlie Crist's campaign we're told that they will not be appealing that decision.
We're also told that the Rick Scott campaign is not commenting on this emergency motion, but it's worth noting, Wolf, that the people who were already in line at 7:00 eastern when the polls closed will still be allowed to vote.
BLITZER: All right, Alina. Thanks very much. Looks like that judicial issue is over with through now, John King.
Let's take a closer look at Virginia right now, once again, because it's obviously a bit of a surprise that Gillespie's apparently doing as well as he is against Mark Warner.
KING: And we're up to 36 percent of the vote. Ed Gillespie continues to hold that lead. I just want to give the cautionary note to look where the Democratic votes are. Let's just check. Only 14 percent of the vote counted so far in Fairfax county. So this is Mark Warner territory. So we need to watch that at the moment. They're not panicking at Warner headquarters yet, but they are sweating a little bit. And team have this race note (ph).
This is the key battle ground. Another suburb, Loudoun county is getting a little tighter as the vote comes in. We are only at 12 percent. If this one stays red, then Ed Gillespie's putting up a tough fight. The other two counties, when you get to Arlington and Fairfax, closer in. And again, I just want to note, this is a big democratic strange hold down here. A little over five percent of the state population. We have nothing, nothing reported down here. So that's a democratic stronghold. We will watch this, but Ed Gillespie running very well in the small, rural counties of Virginia. That's where the Republicans has to do to get into play. This gets you into play, all that red out here. But the way you win is to be competitive in the suburbs. Close elections in a swing states like this are won in the suburbs and the moment --.
BLITZER: Is Fairfax county, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
KING: Here is the gap. Here is Washington right there. This is a lot of people who work in this town live here. A lot of high-tech workers, a lot of defense workers, a lot of younger people, lot of Latinos. This area has changed dramatically over the course of the past decade.
You had a more diverse population growing anyway that post 9/11 when you had the high tech under defense industries (INAUDIBLE) around here. This is the fastest growing areas of the state, makes on the most diverse area of the state. A lot of younger voters.
Again, Arlington county, Mark Warner getting 68 percent, only 21 percent of the vote. And Remember, a lot of people live here. So as the counts come in, this maps will go up. The question of the margins.
You move down to Alexandria city, 71 percent. This is a democratic stronghold. About 70 percent of the vote in there. So there is not that much more for more quarter to pull out. But there are still plenty of places here. This is a tougher race and closer race than we thought it would be. I just want to caution that there are still plenty of places for democratic votes to come in, including down here in the suburbs.
BLITZER: Yes. In Florida, it's an incredibly close race.
KING: Close race in Florida. BLITZER: Yes. I mean, it brought back some memories as you and I
KING: And so now, it's shaded red, but it keeps going back and forth, 48-47. Two million to 1.99, 75 percent of the vote count in. Luckily, we're past hanging Chads and all that. The technology is a little better. But 75 percent there counting.
What do you look at? You look up here in this part of the state, this is likely to be red. Let's take a peek at how Rick Scott's doing up in these counties, up in the panhandle. We don't have any vote. Boom, you touch it and vote comes in. But no, very little so far, 57 percent to 38. He needs to keep running up numbers like that. You see where you do have vote here, again, it's a smaller county, only 20,000, 25,000 votes total. But that's only five percent. Rick Scott needs to keep these margins in these small counties and he has run it up. Because you're going to see a lot more red than you see blue in the state of Florida. You always do in a close race.
The problem for the Republicans is, you start moving down here, as they say, the further south you go the further north you get. This is where you have a lot more transplants, a lot more Democrats. Sixty percent for Charlie Crist in Palm Beach county so far. Only eight percent of the vote in. There are a lot of votes still to come in there. If Charlie Crist keeps that margin, he's going to be tough to beat. Move a little further to Broward County where there was dispute about keeping the polls open. He is at 71 percent.
BLITZER: But zero percent, these are absentee ballots.
KING: Right. We just get it yet. So we have not -- they have now --
BLITZER: This potentially voids well for (INAUDIBLE).
KING: If that margin holds -- if that split holds up, when you get the boat load of votes that are missing here, not all the votes well (ph). It could make the difference. And then the same difference when you move down here in to Miami-Dade.
I just want to show you, Rick Scott had a pretty tough race. The last time we went at this in 2010. He got 42 percent in Miami-Dade. What he is getting now? He's getting 41. I mean, one more check here, 27 percent of the current race here. He got 33 percent last time. So those three southern most counties could make the difference.
BLITZER: Incredibly tight. Let's go back to Anderson. He's got more big surprises, Anderson, at least so far Florida and Virginia, Florida how close it is. In Virginia, Ed Gillespie doing well.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, certainly, potential surprises. Let's drill down on both those races with Jake Tapper and David Gergen and Gloria Borger.
Let's talk about Virginia first. Ed Gillespie, a strong showing at this point. Again, still a lot of numbers to come in. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's a surprise.
I mean, you know, if there's always a surprise on election night. Ed Gillespie may not pull it out. But the fact that he's do being so well is a shock even to Republicans I've been communicating with.
COOPER: Former head of the RNC.
BORGER: Right. Former head of the RNC, worked for George W. Bush in the White House, was always a staffer, suddenly decided to run, which would came as a shock to many of his friends, but these are too important battleground presidential states in the fact that Ed Gillespie has a race here and is this close in Florida who has got a lot of democrats saying, OK, that's interesting for 2016.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Mark Warner was -- has long been a rising star and won Democrats. He was seen as a vice presidential candidate. He is a guy who works across the aisle. This was the battleground state. Virginia was not on anybody's radar screen officially because they were seven to ten points ahead. So it is a big surprise as it is close. It looks like he may still pull down (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: I think there are a lot of political battlefields which are littered with the bodies of former rising stars.
COOPER: Like every year --
TAPPER: And in Virginia, earlier this year, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader defeated in a primary. Obviously, that's a much smaller group of voters in a primary than in a general election, but you're exactly right.
Interesting about Ed Gillespie, who is obviously a very seasoned Washington hand. He ran against Warner as Mark Warner has changed. Because Mark Warner was a one-term popular governor in the state of Virginia. I'm sorry, commonwealth of Virginia. I don't want to get tweets on that. Mark Warner has changed. Washington has changed him. And Mark Warner ran after Ed Gillespie, Run after him talked about the fact that he was a big, high-priced lobbyist. And so, they were attacking the other as being a creature of Washington.
COOPER: The other race that you've been following closely, Jake, is Florida. It is just fascinating -- I mean, look at those exit polls. It's basically evenly divided between Republicans, Democrats and independents.
TAPPER: One of the things about the Florida race was so fascinating is that both of them were unpopular. Just like both of them were underwater. More people disliked them than liked them. And it was -- when I was down there moderating the last debate, I would hear from voters. They didn't like their choices. They didn't like their options. And that is one the reasons this has been so close. And it looks like it's going to keep getting closer and closer.
COOPER: Talk about -- I mean, the debate you moderated was fascinating. I mean, just the antipathy.
TAPPER: They hate each other. They really, really dislike each other. They are too very, very opposite guys. One guy, the incumbent governor, Rick Scott, perhaps knocks school (INAUDIBLE) like trying to please people. The other guy, Charlie Crist, perhaps, tries to please people a little too much. And it was one of the reasons, you know, one guy too slick and the other guy not slick enough. And they really dislike each other.
COOPER: It could be-- I mean, a very late night in Florida.
BORGER: It will be, I think . And I was there over the weekend with Joe Biden. And one of the question I think people are going to ask if Charlie Crist does not pull this out is whether the president should actually been down there helping to get out the vote. I mean, they had Joe Biden down there over the weekend talking to a largely African-American audience, getting them out to the polls.
COOPER: I just -- I've got to show our viewers that the numbers right now. Let's look in Florida, the governor's race. Rick Scott, 80,000 votes ahead or 81,000 right now, 2,259,000 votes cast. Charlie Crist, 2,177,000, 48-47 percent. I mean, it is neck in neck. There is heated battle ahead.
Also, in Clinton county, the polls close soon in Arkansas. The question is can the former president Bill Clinton save an embattled democrat in his own home state or will the Republicans get closer winning Senate control. That is just ahead on this election night in America.
BLITZER: Coming up, one state with high stakes.
COOPER: And for the Clinton family, this one is personal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Just moments from now, Democrats on the defensive on Bill Clinton's home turf.
In Arkansas, a senator from a popular political family is being linked by his opponent to an unpopular commander in chief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a senator who will stand up to Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: That's the biggest bunch of hogwash I've ever heard in my life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: It is a high stake showdown in the battle for control of the Senate. And it gets even more intense in the coming hour with three more incumbents in danger, and they're not all Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will never give up. I'm going to take (INAUDIBLE) and win.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This is CNN's coverage of election night in America. The fight for Congress, the battles for governor, and the issues Americans care about most.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you not vote? It's your future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The polls are closing in Arkansas, and anything is possible. Until the last vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Congress could look very different by the end of tonight.
Welcome back to the CNN Election center. I'm Wolf Blitzer.
In the matter of minute, there's a lot on the line for Democrats in Clinton county. We're standing by for results from another one of those 13 key races that will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
The polls are about to close in Arkansas where a Democrats eloquent ally (ph) is on the ropes. Here's what we are looking for right now.
Will senator Mark Pryor be toppled by a Republican rising star, a win for congressman Tom Cotton. Would certainly make it one of the youngest members of the United States Senate. Based on the result so far, Republicans now need a net gain of only five more Senate seats in order to get a majority and win control.
As we standby for the polls to close in Arkansas, we also want to look ahead to one of the most interesting governor's races of the night.
In Wisconsin, Democrat Mary Burke is challenging a Republican governor Scott Walker. He fought organized labor, survived a recall election and now is seen as a possible presidential contender in 2016. Polls close in Wisconsin right at the top of the hour.
Anderson Cooper will be watching that race and a lot of others very close.
COOPER: That's right. We have the best political team in television spread out from coast-to-coast tonight to cover the most important and fascinating races. I want to turn back to that crucial fight right now for control of the Senate. Gary Tuchman is at Tom Cotton's campaign headquarters in Arkansas.
Gary, the polls are about to close there.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The polls are about to close. If Tom Cotton wins, he would be the youngest U.S. senator, as a matter of fact, he would be the first U.S. senator to be born after the U.S. bicentennial. He was born in 1977. He is 37-years-old. He faces the Democrat Mark Pryor. He's been a senator for two terms, 2 year. His father was a senator before that. It was very heavy early voting here in Arkansas. And both men believe that plays to their advantage -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, we will be watching very closely. As I said, polls close there very shortly.
We want to check in on the Wisconsin governor's race. It has been getting a lot of buzz nationwide. Ted Rowlands is at Governor Scott Walker's headquarters. How are things there tonight, Ted?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Scott Walker, of course, is being watched here. He is a conservative favorite. They're watching to see if he can get reelected after he imposed those incredible law changes when he first took office in his first term. He is up against Mary burke. She is a businesswoman. And she is hoping to help Democrats send a message to other governors not to do what Walker did here in Wisconsin.
If Mary Burke is elected, she'd be the first Wisconsin female governor. And as you mentioned earlier Scott Walker not only trying to keep his job here but also trying to keep his 2016 presidential hopes alive. We are waiting on early numbers here. When the voter turnout, we will be a key specifically in Milwaukee, Burke leads. A huge turnout in both Milwaukee and Madison if she hopes to win.
COOPER: All right, Ted, thanks very much. We will come back to you shortly.
Our Jake Tapper is following a lot of fascinating governor's races. And he is also checking in on our ballot cam reporters -- Jake.
TAPPER: That's right, Anderson. Some of the night's hottest races could be decided by a very, very small number of votes, including potentially the Senate showdown in Arkansas. Randi Kaye is there just moments before the polls is close -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is the room where it all happens. It's going to be very exciting in here tonight. And this is what we are going to be keeping our eye out for all night. This big blue bag. Pawleski county, election commission.
This is what the results come in. And what you're going to find in this bag when they open it here is going to be a plastic bag that is sealed which will then have these memory cards and also this memory card, one that looks like this from the paper ballots, and these will all be counted on machines called the m-100. They'll be sliding them into a machine like this and that information will go into the computer. And that will then be feed out to the secretary of state's office.
What we have right here, Jake, this is the early voting. This is all of it right here. It is going to be counting in just moments here in Pawleski County -- Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks, Randi -- Wolf. BLITZER: All right, thanks very much.
We're watching what's going on in Arkansas right now. Get ready for a projection. Now, look at this. Tom Cotton, CNN projects will be the United States Senator from the state of Arkansas, defeating the incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor, a major, major projection. Now the magic number for the Republicans, down to four. They need a net gain of four Senate seats, seats that were held by Democrats, without losing any Republican seats. Tom Cotton. Tom Cotton will be the United States senator from the state of Arkansas. Gary Tuchman is on the scene for us. Gary, I assume this is going to be pretty exciting news for the folks who supported Tom Cotton.
TUCHMAN: Well, it already is, because the TV set is on CNN. Everyone just saw your projection. They're very happy people here. Tom Cotton's already in Washington. It's a first-term congressman, he's been there a year and ten months. He will now be switching the sides of the Capitol building to become one of Arkansas's two U.S. Senators. As I said just earlier, he will be the youngest senator at the age of 37. He has quite an impressive resume, he's an Army officer, he graduated from Harvard Law School, he served in Iraq, he served in Afghanistan twice. And what he's done a lot of during this campaign is he's talked about his opponent, Mark Pryor and said he's too closely aligned with Barack Obama. That's been a lot of the campaign. Mark Pryor, on the other hand, a two-term senator and he is very disappointed in Barack Obama. Obama's name has been mentioned a lot, but it has not worked out for Pryor. It has worked out for Tom Cotton. Who will be Arkansas's junior senator the first time since the 1870s there are two Republican senators in this state.
BLITZER: Open things up. Gary Tuchman, Tom Cotton, CNN projects, will be the next United States senator from Arkansas defeating the Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor.
We have some more projections for you right now. Look at this. In Rhode Island we project Jack Reed as fully expected Democratic incumbent will be reelected defeating Mark Zacharia. Jack Reed gets another six years in the Senate. Dick Durbin in Illinois, he defeats Jim Oberweis as fully expected. Dick Durbin will remain in the United States Senate for another six years. Here's the count where it stands right now. 38 Democrats guaranteed in the next U.S. Senate. 41 Republicans. Still plenty of outside - plenty of outstanding races. The magic number being 51. The Republicans now need a net gain of four. They started the net with six, then five. Now four. They need four more wins, net wins in order to be the majority in the United States Senate.
As we wait for more real votes to come in, we want to share some new exit poll information with you. These are estimates based on interviews with a sampling of voters as they left select polling stations. We're going to get those exit polls in a moment. But let me go back to Jake for a moment. Jake, you've got a projection right there as well?
TAPPER: That's right, I do, Wolf. It looks like it's a good night for Republicans in Arkansas. CNN projecting that Asa Hutchinson, the former Congressman and Bush administration official will be elected the next governor of Arkansas. He defeats Congressman, former congressman Mike Ross, a Democrat. Asa Hutchinson CNN projecting will be the next governor of Arkansas.
Now let's take a look at that hot race in Florida where we had 89 percent of the vote in. Rick Scott has now taken a lead, 49 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Charlie Crist's 46 percent of the vote. He's up 124,000 votes. But of course, that is still not enough information. We're still waiting for 11 percent of the vote to come in. Wolf, now I understand you have some key races you want to talk about.
BLITZER: I do have some key races. And let me show the viewers. What the numbers are right now? No projection in Georgia, the 12 percent of the vote is in, David Perdue, the Republican, 61 percent, 37 percent for Michelle Nunn. The Democrats still very early. Remember, in Georgia, if you don't get 50 percent plus one, there will be a runoff on January 6. Right now it's still early, but Perdue ahead in Virginia (ph). Look at how close it is. 52 percent, more than half of the vote is in, 52 percent for the Republican Ed Gillespie is the challenger to the Democratic incumbent Mark Warner with 45 percent. Ed Gillespie doing very, very well in Virginia. A lot better than a lot of the pundits originally thought. They thought Mark Warner was going to ride this one out. He still might based on some of the results that are not yet in. But right now with more than half of the vote in, Mark Warner not doing all that great. In North Carolina, no projection, a third of the voters in. Kay Hagan, the incumbent Democrat, ahead 52 percent, 45 percent. She's got a 61,500 vote lead overtime, Tillis in New Hampshire, only 17 percent of the vote is in in New Hampshire, but Jeanne Shaheen, Jeanne Shaheen has 56 percent. Scott Brown, 40 percent, 44 percent for Scott Brown but only 17 percent of the vote, under 10,000 margin ahead for Jeanne Shaheen. I want to go to Dana Bash, our chief congressional correspondent.
Dana, you've got some information. You are in the Democratic Party war room over there. What are you learning?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm learning that according to sources in both parties that on Friday, the White House has invited a pretty large group of bipartisan leaders to start talking about what's next. We're still on election night. We don't know what exactly the outcome is going to be, but obviously where I am Democrats are bracing for a loss in the Senate. They're almost sure it's going to happen in the House. So they're going to start talking already on Friday about how to govern in that situation with complete control by the Republicans of Congress, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, so the president will be meeting, inviting the bipartisan leadership, I assume at the House and the Senate to come to the White House on Friday to deal with the final two years of his presidency. We're watching a surprising turn in the Virginia Senate race, the Democrat Mark Warner now trailing as Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, can he survive? We are also standing by for more votes. It could be a bombshell in the battle for control of the Senate. But first, let's take a look at the man who just scored the second Senate pickup for the night for Republicans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UM: A key victory for the GOP. "New York Magazine" calls Tom Cotton, the perfect candidate. He has a resume made for politics. A farm boy with a Harvard law degree. He joined the Army after 9/11. Led combat patrols in Iraq, then served in Afghanistan. Winning the Bryant star. Our one term congressman on the fast track to the Senate. So fast, he'll be one of its youngest members.
TOM COTTON: Some people say I'm a young man in a hurry. Well, guess what, they're right.
Um: 37 year old Tom Cotton is Arkansas's choice.
BLITZER: All right. Let's go to Virginia right now, John King. This is a fierce battle under way in Virginia right now. Mark Warner, the incumbent Democrat, he was supposedly, if you believe the polls going into Virginia, going to coast to a nice victory, but Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman and adviser to the former president George W. Bush, he's doing well in Virginia right now.
KING: Mark Warner, as Jake noted a while ago, a former governor, he was popular in this one term, Virginia is the state President Obama carried twice. It was not something Ed Gillespie, a first time candidate, statewide, it was not something we had on our radar screen, with 60 percent of that vote, just shy of that in, and Gillespie at the moment still running ahead.
Now, there's still a lot of vote suffering. Democratic carriers, so. We don't know where this one is headed ultimately. But Ed Gillespie doing exactly what a Republican has to do number one. Just look at this. In the excerpts, once you get outside of Washington suburbs (INAUDIBLE) and then all throughout the rural parts of Virginia, a lot of Republican red. The question is, can Mark Warner make up the votes? It's interesting. You look at that map, you think the Republican has to win. Look at all that red in the state of Virginia, but what we have to do is to stretch the map out a little bit and look here at the Washington suburbs. This is where the people live. So, you are looking here. Mark Warner's getting 57 percent. Here's the big number. Only 11 percent of the voted. So, there are a lot of votes. If that margin holds, the math will change because there's so many votes still to be counted. That's Fairfax County. Here's Fairfax City where it's a little closer, 55 to 43, almost 60 percent of the vote in there, come back out a little bit. I want to stretch back in just one more time and take a look at Arlington County, only 25 percent of the vote. So in places where Mark Warner is winning by lopsided margins, there's still a lot of votes to be counted. If that margin holds up, there's enough math to make up to Ed Gillespie lead right now.
I will say come down here, to Alexandria City. That votes in. So, that's all he's getting there. So, that one of the three suburbs we were looking at is in. When we last looked at this race we had nothing. From down here in Virginia Beach.
So, let's take a look. 51 to 47. That's 57 percent reporting. I'll show you this. 51 right there now. Let's go back to this last race which was against a credible candidate but was not very competitive. Against Jim Gilmore. Mark Warner had 64 percent, so margins sometimes matter in a close race. Remember, 64 percent when he last won. Only 51 percent this time. If that margin holds up, that can matter. So, you are going to see this area stay blue, we are going to have to keep an eye on it, to see what the margins are, because when you get out into these rural areas, 61 for Gillespie here, 57 for Gillespie here. 71 percent here. Not a lot of people out here.
I just went into West Virginia just for the fun of it, right? In these areas here, and again, it's actually - I went into West Virginia by accident, but it tells you something. Newt was talking about this earlier. If you look in this areas, this is former coal country and tobacco country right through it here. This used to be Democratic strongholds. Michael Dukakis carried West Virginia back in 1988. Al Gore lost it in 2000. This is a changing part of the country. A lot of people thought Virginia had made the transition to a blue state. Ed Gillespie setting a statement tonight. Maybe not so fast.
BLITZER: Capitol or the Congress, will be from West Virginia. Will be the next Republican senator from West Virginia. Let's go to Florida right now. Where an incredibly close race is under way.
KING: Let me switch this.
BLITZER: For the governor.
KING: Switch this over to the governor's race here. 49, 46 - Rick Scott has actually pulled out a little bit since we last looked closely at the map of this race. We're at 90 percent reporting. So, your question is, there's 10 percent of the vote out, is it enough? Is it enough? And so you look for where it is. And I want to get - where I managed most in a moment, but this was open last time we looked at this race. I was saying, Rick Scott had to do well up here. And do well he did. 75 percent in Walton County, 74 percent in Holmes County. Again, not a lot of votes up here, but he knows what's going to happen to get more - we are about to go. So, it's critical for the Republican to run up the margins in these small, rural counties up in the panhandle. So, now we go down here. These are the three most important counties for the Democrats right down here. We do this in every race. Whether it's a Senate race, a governor's race or a presidential race. This is where the votes are in Florida. So let's pull them out, let me get rid of the line, so you don't see them. Palm Beach County, seven percent of the population, here's where it's getting a little dangerous for Charlie Crist, 76 percent now in. He's running a good margin. I want to make these comparisons to the last race.
Rick Scott had a good race last time against Alex Sink. 39 percent last time in (INAUDIBLE) County. He's getting 38 percent now. The question is, is the turnout comparable? We look at those numbers to see. Charlie Crist doing what he has to do there. The question is, is it enough? This is the one that I have a big question about. Only 17 percent reported so far. Charlie Crist getting 70 percent in this county, so you've got 80 percent or more on the votes still to come. You look at that gap. So, there's math. The mathematic - mathematic ...
BLITZER: Howard (ph) County is ten percent of the population.
KING: Right. The mathematical possibility remains, and we only have one third of the vote counted. Miami-Dade County. Again, Charlie Crist getting 57 percent of the vote. If that margin holds up when the two thirds, the rest of that vote comes in. You can see, so mathematically, there are a lot of votes still to be counted in places that are shaded blue. And the key question is, are there a lot of Republican votes left out there. And that's why the Scott campaign is going to watch nervously. As those votes come in, because you go to these conservative counties, 98 percent counted. 100 percent counted. 83 percent counted. 74. So there are some votes still out here for Rick Scott. He's going to get votes in the dozens and hundreds, down here's where Charlie Crist can get votes in the tens of thousands to make up some math. Now, we'll see. 92 percent reporting. That is a close race.
KING: ... advantage Scott at the moment.
BLITZER: There's a democratic incumbent in New Hampshire, a democratic incumbent in North Carolina. Can they hold on? Let's go to North Carolina first.
KING: Again, this is - this is a flip-flop. We thought that the Virginia race would be shaded blue by now. And really wondering what was happening. In North Carolina. , Kay Hagan, I think most - even most Republicans would concede this. Being the most disciplined, both her as a candidate and her campaign. In a very tough state. Now, right now with 40 percent of the vote in, 42 percent of the vote in, she's leading 52 to 45. But by no means it means it's over. But as the results come in, again, we were talking earlier about Rick Scott doing what he had to do. Thom Tillis is doing what he has to do here in the rural areas. But this will - look at this - look at this races up here. I want to go back to 2008, when Kay Hagan won. Elizabeth Dole did not run a good campaign. Also, it was a presidential year. Remember that too. So, you had Barack Obama carrying the state then.
So, Kay Hagan doing better in some places where she's not going to win tonight. But at the moment she's running up the margins where she needs to. I want to look at the (INAUDIBLE), 55 percent there. You come over here, 59 percent. She's doing what she needs to do where the people are, and that late ad by the president perhaps helping gin up turnout. We'll see where that goes. Let's take one quick look before we go. Let's move up here in the state of New Hampshire. Not enough in yet to get conclusive here. 19 percent of the vote. They're kind of a little slow in New Hampshire tonight. Shaheen was a lead, though. If you talk to most people eat the end, they said at the very last weekend, Scott Brown pulled this one close. The expectation, even for most Republicans was that Shaheen would pull out a very close race. If you look at it at the moment, we don't have enough data to know. Again, I talked earlier tonight about how Scott Brown has to do critically well along here. We don't have enough data yet. But Jeanne Shaheen is doing well in Manchester, conquered up in the college areas. The map a- and over in Portsmouth. We've got to see what happens down here. That's the place ...
BLITZER: 80 Brown vote in New Hampshire, still out - our standby Republicans, they are making important gains with the battle for the U.S. Senate, but they could face a huge setback only minutes from now. The polls are getting ready to close in Kansas where a long time GOP senator is in serious danger. As opponent, as a Democrat turned Independent who might turn out to be a kingmaker in the battle for Senate control.
BLITZER: Some of the biggest upsets of the night may be just around the corner.
KING: We're heading into another round of poll closings, and both parties have something to lose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Um: Just moments from now, three endangered senators await their fate, including a Republican who's surprisingly vulnerable.
PAT ROBERTS: Every square inch of the Republican Party knows what's at stake.
UM: In Kansas, a powerful GOP incumbent is in unexpected peril. Against that Democrat turned Independent.
GREG ORMAN: I've tried both parties, and like a lot of Kansans, I've been disappointed.
UM: Also in jeopardy, a pair of Senate Democrats with famous names. One in Louisiana. The other in Colorado. Both have an Obama problem.
Um: I've stood up to President Obama.
Um: And in South Dakota, Republicans are counting on a win, but this three-way contest could be a wildcard.
MIKE ROUNDS: South Dakota is a purple state. You take nothing for granted.
UM: This is CNN's coverage of election night in America, "The Fight for Congress." The battles for governor. And the issues Americans care about most.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not on the ballot this fall, but make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Polls are closing in 14 more states, and anything is possible, until the last vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And it's election night here in the U.S. capital and across the country. Welcome back to the CNN election center. I'm Wolf Blitzer, we're closing in on 9:00 p.m. Eastern. When there's more at stake in the battle for the Senate than in any hour so far. Four key races, they are on the line. Remember, we are focusing in on just over a dozen key Senate contests across the country. These are the races where the fight for the U.S. Senate control is being decided. Polls are about to close in four key races. South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas and Louisiana.
Here's what we're looking for. In Kansas, will an Independent candidate hand Republicans a painful loss and then put the fight for the Senate in limbo. Greg Orman is a serious threat to the sitting GOP Senator Pat Roberts. In Louisiana, Democrat Mary Landrieu will likely face a runoff that could delay a final decision about Senate control. In the state with an unusual election rule, she's facing two Republican challengers, Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness. In Colorado, another Democratic Senator is in danger. Will Mark Udall be ousted by the Republican challenger, Cory Gardner?
And in South Dakota, another crowded field, Democrat Rick Weiland is facing former Republican Governor Mike Rounds and an Independent candidate, former Republican Senator Larry Pressler. Republicans are expecting a pickup, but will there be a surprise? Right now, Republicans need a net gain of four, repeat, four seats, to win control of the U.S. Senate after scoring pickups tonight in West Virginia and Arkansas. But if they lose in Kansas, that number could go back up. The polls are about to close in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Let's go back to Anderson for more.
COOPER: Yeah, one of the most fascinating races we've been covering, of course, is Louisiana. We have got correspondents all across the country right now covering the Senate races in key states. Tracking the ballots as they're counted. I want to go to Louisiana now. Suzanne Malveaux, she's at Senator Mary Landrieu's headquarters. Very possible there's going to be a runoff there, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, it's very possible. But this is a jungle primary online candidates fighting to get 50 percent plus one, if nobody hits that magic number, there will be a runoff in December. I just spoke with a senior campaign aide of Senator Landrieu staff who says that they are very hopeful that they are going to hit that number, but they are prepared for a possible runoff in December. Now the senator's going to be arriving very shortly with her family to watch very closely the votes coming in, to tally those votes. I spoke with her earlier today, and she said it's the energy, it's the crowds, the excitement that makes her confident about this evening. But Anderson, she's got to get a record number of African-Americans, women as well as 30 percent of white voters to come and vote for her. The polls have closed. And we'll see what those numbers say as they come in.
COOPER: In my book, Louisiana wins for the coolest name for a primary, a jungle primary. Only in Louisiana. Now, the Kansas Senate race, another fascinating race for covering. Jim Sciutto is at headquarters of the Independent candidate Greg Orman. Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, tonight, I'll tell you. Here at Orman headquarters, they have the balloons, they have the music. I can tell you the bar just opened as well. But they have everything but definitive results. Additional results coming in, it is a virtual dead heat with nine percent of precincts reporting. Just 27 votes separate the candidate. That's out of 66,000 votes. Remember, Kansas is interesting, because most of the state, the polls closed about an hour ago. They're in a central time zone. It's just a sliver in the West where the polls are just closing in a few minutes now, and that's when you're going to get those final precincts reporting. But I was told by the Orman campaign that there were still people in line in many of these districts. And if you are in line, when those polls close, you can still vote. So, not only is the counting still being done, but the voting is still being done here in Kansas in a very close race.
COOPER: But the bar is open, the Greg Orman headquarters, suddenly no bar here in Washington yet. We'll see what happens later tonight. Chris Frates is in Colorado covering the Republican Senate challenger Kory Gardner. Chris?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, so for the first time in Colorado history, the ballots being cast this year are by mail. At least 1.8 million votes have been cast so far. And in the next few minutes, a huge amount of those results are going to begin pouring in. Cory Gardner's camp feels pretty good, because at least seven percent more of those ballots so far are Republican. But Mark Udall's campaign says they're counting on late-voting Democrats and un- affiliateds to put them over the top tonight.
TAPPER: It is going to be very exciting at a number of races - Chris, we'll check back in with you. (INAUDIBLE) Jake Tapper now. I was covering in number of other races.
Thanks, Anderson, as you've mentioned, we're coming up on two races that had many candidates, the vote counting process therefore. It could be very complicated with the potential for cliff hangers, legal challenges and more. Let's go to our ballot cam reporters. In some of the states where polls are about to close. Don Lemon is in Louisiana. Don?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the secretary of state's office, Jake, and a jungle primary, how interesting is that. According to the Secretary of State, we are going to see some results - the polls are going to close in just a few minutes. We shouldn't start seeing results probably for about 45 minutes. They
say normally if this was just sort of a regular municipal election we'd start to see - get the final results in about two hours. It's going to take longer now because there is a lot on the ballot. Quite a big ballot here in Louisiana.
This is what people are paying attention to. Here they are voting for, of course, Senator, congressman and also voting for a lot of other things on the ballot. It's going to take sometime for them to tally all that. Results will start coming in. Probably about 45 minutes. We'll be here to covering it. To cover it. Jake, I need to tell you, all candidates have been going to their social media sites, telling people to get out and go vote. They're the spelling "go." Geaux in Louisiana and not GO.
TAPPER: Of course, they are. Don Lemon, thank you so much. Now, let's go to Kansas. We'll - our ballot cam reporter Kyung Lah. Kyung.
KYANG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jeff, we're just getting the very first results, this is early voting, advanced voting. You are seeing the election commissioner Brian Newby start to cross-reference the numbers. This is 30 percent of the people who will vote this evening. And I'm looking over his shoulder, Brian, tell me, Representative Pat Roberts has in Johnson County, the largest county in Kansas, how many votes does he have so far?
BRIAN NEWBY: Right now we have Pat Roberts, 28,865. And Greg Orman, 31,407.
LAH: OK, Orman's ahead, Orman's ahead in Johnson County, this is the largest county in Kansas. Just early sign, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Kyang Lah, thank you so much. Now, let's go to Colorado where we find Ana Cabrera. Ana.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Anderson. We are just about ten minutes away from the polls closing here. Now - mentioned, it's mail-in ballots in Colorado. So, people have been casting their votes for the past couple of weeks, but we're still seeing a lot of those people turning out to the polls today. Just behind me. In all of these green envelopes are some of the most recent ballots that came in here to Arapahoe County. One of the bellwether countries. They're going through a machine here and will be eventually processed in a matter of seconds. In fact, those votes will be tabulated and all they have to do is hit that button on election at 7:00 and we'll be able to get some results very quickly. Back to you, Anderson.
TAPPER: Or Jake. Either one. Thanks, Ana, I appreciate it. With the polls about to close in four states, we're getting a lot of new exit poll information. John King, what did you learn?
KING: Quick look at the mood in some of these big states, Jake. Let's get this - let's start in Kansas. Greg Orman's business dealings, Pat Roberts stressed, and were you concerned about? Nearly half of the vote in Kansas said yes today, but do you think Pat Roberts spent too much time away from Kansas? A lot of people question whether he lived there. 64 percent, so the two big questions that play in the Kansas race, quickly look at the Colorado race, this one is a tough one, 28 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republicans, 39 percent Independents. Well, so the candidate who wins those unaffiliated independent voters will win that big Colorado Senate race.
TAPPER: All right, John, thanks very much. Let's get a projection right now.