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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Election Night in Alabama; Roy Moore Greets Supporters as Vote Count Continues; Roy Moore Holds Early Lead in Alabama Senate Race. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 12, 2017 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He needs to win under 50 percent. And so I think the higher that number creeps up the better off it is for Doug Jones' campaign.

[21:00:18] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right, we're at the top of the hour. I just want to quickly show you where the votes are now, seven percent of the vote in. We go a 48,464 for Roy Moore. Now, it just went up, 54 percent of the vote for Roy Moore, 44 percent for Doug Jones but, again, just eight percent of the vote now in. So still, obviously, a long way to go. Polls closed just one hour ago.

And again, we're still trying to learn more about turnout numbers. We've been looking at exit polling, but we won't get the full picture of turnout until later on.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. We don't know at this point what the turnout is. We know both sides are pretty passionate on this, and we know that historically, recently Democrats have been very motivated. We saw that in the state of Virginia, for example. So they have that on their side. But, you know, Roy Moore excites passions on both sides here, and so we just don't know what that's going to be.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I mean one of the voting blocks here that's going to be interesting to see and I think determinative, especially for Roy Moore if he wins is white evangelicals, according to these polls. They're about 44 percent of the vote, 81 percent went to Roy Moore. And that is in many ways the demographic that was so key to Donald Trump winning the primary and then winning the presidency. I mean we talk about whose fortunes will sort of rise and fall, you know, if Roy Moore wins, Bannon being one, maybe it rises, maybe it falls, but if white evangelicals deliver this race to Roy Moore, I mean, they are already such a focus of Donald Trump --

COOPER: We heard from Jeff Zeleny earlier saying the word he's getting from the White House is that President Trump will not be supporting any kind of investigation or Roy Moore -- if in fact, Roy Moore wins. But if you're the president and Roy Moore wins and he becomes a senator, I mean do you embrace him? I mean, do you get photographed with him? How does this president --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: I think he does. I think he does.

HENDERSON: -- like what is the swearing in looked like, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean this is kind of -- this goes again, and I'm going to harp on hypocrisy most of the night, but this kind of goes to the picture of the Republican Party. You have Mike Pence who envelopes himself in this evangelical fashion holding a Bible swearing in Roy Moore.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The guy got 81 percent of the evangelical vote.

SELLERS: Exactly.

AXELROD: You know, but look --

COOPER: I'm sorry, before you go on -- I just want to point out how close the vote is right now, 69,000 for Doug Jones, 68,000 for Roy Moore.

AXELROD: And at very likely will continue -- if the African-American vote was as high a percentage of the total as is reported, this is likely going to be a very close election. Just to get back to Bannon for a second, and your point is right, Rick. Roy Moore is not going -- he's going to create an awful a lot of problems for the Republican Party, but Steve Bannon wants to create problems for the Republican Party. That would --

(CROSSTALK)

RICK SANTORUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree wants to create problems on a variety of different issues, but not this issue of sexual harassment.

BORGER: Of course he does.

SANTORUM: And that's the problem.

JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you're not going to run that sexual harassment -- that the issue -- that's not the issue he's running on that --

SANTORUM: I understand that.

PSAKI: -- obviously, but Steve Bannon will be empowered because this is his guy he hand picked. He's more powerful in picking him than Donald Trump was --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Hold on, Amanda, then we got to go. AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: OK. There are two people who wanted Roy Moore to win this race, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon wants nothing more to run Mitch McConnell out of the party and lay this entire mess at his feet. If Steve Bannon wins with Roy Moore, they're in lock step. They're taking over the party. It's been overlooked how the Republican leadership has created such a mess. I mean they put a guy in this race, Luther Strange who couldn't win statewide. They couldn't get a winning candidate. And because they mucked it up so much in the primary, that paved the way for Roy Moore to get there and Steve Bannon pushed him over the line.

COOPER: All right, let's go to Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN LEAD POLITICAL ANCHOR: We got another key race alert. Now, take a look at this, 12 percent of the vote now in. It's been going back and forth, Roy Moore with an advantage over Doug Jones. The Democrat right now 50.4 percent, 48.4 percent, Roy Moore is ahead by about 3,000 votes, 78, 461 for Moore. Doug Jones, the Democrats, 75, 381, 12 percent of the vote is in. Just changed again. As you can see, Moore is ahead by 4,118 votes. That's been going back and forth. Let's walk over to John King.

At 12 percent of the vote, that's already becoming a significant number, but I just want to caution all of our viewers there's plenty of votes still out.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, because it's so close, if one place comes in, you can have the roller coaster. We've seen the lead switched the last few minutes, several times. One of the reasons, though, Judge Moore is ahead at the moment is because there are some votes coming in, in this northern strip of conservative evangelical rural Republicans. And you see he's getting 80 percent, for example, in this County.

Not a lot of votes if you will, if you look at the statewide, but you come in lopsided numbers, 80 percent here, 77 percent there. Almost half of the votes in here in Coleman County.

[21:05:13] We move over here, 81. Again, 42 percent of the votes in here. So that's one of the reasons we've seen Judge Moore surge up because when we pull out to the statewide map you see it. This part, keys to Judge Moore, one of the big north of Birmingham, up here in this stripe here.

And down here, interesting within the southeast corner right now, if you talk to the local political reporters, now they say watch Houston County right here. This should be part of Judge Moore's base, but he's underperformed there sometimes, it's11 percent of vote very early on. But if this stays blue, it's interesting.

So news pull out, look, here's the main question I have right now, Wolf, is what happens when these urban areas when we get more of the vote? Because 13 percent statewide. Judge Moore over 50 percent. Bakari has been talking a lot about this, 1.3 percent. We'll see if the write-in numbers creeps up. If this creeps up, you can win -- Judge Moore is above 50, right? You can win below 50, obviously. If that number creeps up here's the big question, we're at 15 percent in Jefferson County. Doug Jones is running up a huge margin. What happens as we get to 30, 50, and higher in this math here? He needs the mathematical --

BLITZER: -- big county, Jefferson, almost 14 percent of the population.

KING: This is the absolute key to the first building block for Doug Jones is to run it up and run up the margin because he needs the cushion. He needs the mathematical vote cushion to offset Roy Moore's strength, sorry about that, in the rural areas here. So we're waiting on that. Then you come to the smaller urban areas, you know, Tuscaloosa County here up to 20 percent, the healthy margin, you see if that's enough. And then you come down here, one place Republicans are watching very closely is down here in Mobile County, nine percent of the population, only one percent in.

So you see Doug Jones up to a lead, if he can keep this blue all night, that keeps it competitive race. But, again, don't jump to conclusion. It's just one percent. But the vote is starting to come in pretty quickly, up to 14 percent right now. I think the key issue is when we get to Montgomery County, Moore still at two percent. This is where Doug Jones needs -- not just a margin -- not just a 50-point margin, it's about the math, it's about the mathematical number, how big is the cushion? Because, you know, that Judge Moore in these small rural communities is running it up by big margins.

And so, what we get in the next hour or so from these urban areas is going to tell me a lot about how we going. I keep looking at Jefferson because it's your biggest basket of votes. And, again, a big percentage lead for Doug Jones but we have a lot of votes to count --

BLITZER: Fifteen percent. So there's plenty of votes outstanding. And the margins were they really need to be for these two candidates so far?

KING: I talked a little bit earlier about how in some place Judge Moore was underperformed his own candidacy back in 2012. Since the more votes have come in, if that's true in some Counties but not so in other counties. He's over performing. So let's go back in time a little bit and take a look.

This is 2012. And again, this is race the a lot of people down there compare this too, a very competitive race in a presidential year, Roy Moore underperformed Mitt Romney. High turnout of election the President of U.S. --

BLITZER: He was running for chief justice.

KING: He was running for chief justice then against the Democrat Robert Vance. You see there are four point race. And so what are you looking at? You see how well the Democrat did across here and the Democrat kept Huntsville, but Roy Moore just -- the margins here were shellacking. And this is the key, this is the one I'm talking about, the Democrats going to run up here, but let's, for example, look, Bob Vance, 63 percent of the vote in Jefferson County in 2012. This has to be the foundation for the Democrats. Right now, Doug Jones significantly over performing that, so that says he's competitive and he's in play.

But let's just go back historically, again, go back to 2012 into this particular race and you come out here, I mentioned a minute ago this was blue. Let's see. This is Roy Moore, 64 percent in this race in 2012. At the moment Doug Jones is ahead here. It's 11 percent of the vote. Let's wait. You see how it plays out. But that's one of the things you do. You compare it to the last competitive race for Judge Moore which you just dig out and then you come back to the current race.

In some of these areas, here for example, Randolph County, 63 percent of the vote, 74 percent of the vote in there. So you see pretty clear where we're going here. Let's just go back and take a look at how much that mattered, 64, that's about even to the performance in the very close race in 2012.

So you take the 2012 race, which was very close, you come up to 2017 as we watch it fill in at 15 percent. The numbers just moved up a little bit in the math right there.

Both headquarters, this is nail-biting right now in the sense that you can find places on the map where you say, great, that's what we need, and you also -- you can't answer this question yet, we're just at 15 percent of the vote in Jefferson County. We're just at 20 percent of the vote in Tuscaloosa County, then you got to look -- so you got -- Jefferson County, Tuscaloosa County, Montgomery County here, where we just at eight percent. And then up here in Huntsville we're up to 23 percent.

So in those bigger urban areas and then the closing suburbs, does the Democratic vote turn out in the cities? Can Doug Jones make the inroads among moderate Republicans in the suburbs? Right now he's in a very competitive race, advantage Judge Moore, a lot of counting to do.

BITZER: Seventeen percent of the vote in, plenty of votes. Still outstanding. Still early, Roy Moore the Republican ahead of Doug Jones, the Democrat. Anderson, over to you.

[21:10:05] COOPER: Yes, we just saw big jump, went to 17 percent. Doug Jones just got a bunch of votes that were finally tabulated, but he's about 5000 or so right now behind Roy Moore. I mean, Amanda Carpenter made the point earlier, Roy Moore really followed the Donald Trump play book.

BORGER: Totally, deny, deny, deny, deny, which worked. It's a sort of the "Access Hollywood" play book which in fact the president has since denied that the tape is real, but it's a play book of deny, deny, deny. And I think in a way it worked for Moore, he didn't -- he knew what his base was. He knew that he had to keep them, and as long as the president climbed on board, I think that was hugely important to him endorsement from Trump. And you guys were talking about Bannon and this being, you know, if Moore were to win how important this would be for Bannon. I think Bannon and Trump right now are virtually are indistinguishable. And I think it's the same thing. I think Trump is -- Donald Trump, President Trump is playing out of the Bannon Playbook, and if Roy Moore wins, I think Steve Bannon is 2going to have a lot to say about Nevada and Arizona. And I think the President is going to listen to him much more than he would ever listen to Mitch McConnell. Or then he would ever listen to --

AXELROD: We told them to be for a Luther Strange.

BORGER: Exactly.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think the President going to have a lot to say to Mitch McConnell.

BORGER: That's right.

CHALIAN: He's going to push back on the Senate Majority leader for all the graph he takes from the establishment up on Capitol Hill and he is going to feel embolden to push back on them as well.

BORGER: Right. We still need some of votes from the tax reform.

AXELROD: I think we should not -- it's not simply that he deny, deny, deny it. The fact is there's a huge cultural divide in this country and there are a lot voters and there are a lot of them in Alabama who feel fundamentally estranged from the establishment from the establishment, from the elites, who feel disdain by them. And what basically what Moore's message was, much like Trump's, they disdain me because I'm like you, I'm your champion, I'm going to fight for you. And the more he got pounded on the evening news and on cable television and in the newspapers, it strengthened that sense that -- boy, he's getting a beat down from the elites.

PSAKI: Yes.

AXELROD: And therefore I have to be for him even if don't particularly like him and he can see in those exit poll that people don't particularly like him.

HENDERSON: Yes, I think he also -- and I grew up in the south and I grow up fairly religious, to me as I would watch Roy Moore, he more than a political figure always seemed to be sort of a religious figure. He was much more -- even the way he would kind of stand behind a podium, it looks like sort of preacher like, and I think he used the language of a deeply Christian people, this idea of the world out there to get religious folks -- it's a message that is served up in church pews all the time in the south. And I think it was very easy to marry that form of sort of us versus them with the kind of Donald Trump populism. So I think it was effective. I mean, we'll see if he wins or not, but I think that formed the basis of his message and why it's resented so well.

COOPER: I just want to keep looking at the vote, 20 percent of the vote in now, 52 percent for Roy Moore, 46 percent for Doug Jones. So numbers coming in pretty quickly now.

SELLERS: There are two things I want to point out about this race. And I think that one of the things that Donald Trump and Steve Bannon showed today is they pushed the bounds of what white evangelicals would support.

Now we know that white evangelicals, especially in the south will support just about anything as long as there is a policy point, namely abortion, that you're sound on. I mean, they're willing to shy away and turn a blind eye to pedophilia or accusations thereof or sexual harassment or bigotry, or xenophobia, whatever Roy Moore came with they're willing to shy all of that away, and you can test the bounds in this race, test at the bounds of what white evangelicals especially in the south would vote for.

But Roy Moore is not just some unicorn when it comes to the Republicans Party. I mean, Republicans have nominated bad candidates many times before, especially in recent history. Christine O'Donnell, Todd Achen, I mean the list goes on and on and on of bad candidates of the Republican has nominated. And I think Democrats are sitting back -- and I mentioned this to you while we were going, while we were with Wolf (ph), you're going to see win, lose, or draw with Doug Jones, you're going to see Democrats from the south, from the southern tip of Florida all the way up to Alaska running for office because there won't be that white evangelical base that is willing to bend for anything that we're seeing tonight in some of these states that are a lot close, some of the states that are outside of the south. And I think that's going to very difficult for the Republican Party.

SANTORUM: Yes, I don't think white evangelical voters are bending for anything. I think what they feel very clearly about is, this is United States Senate race. I think it would be different bode than a House race.

[21:15:05] This is about the Supreme Court. I mean, that's a very, very important thing. It's the reason Donald Trump won the election and got the evangelical vote he got because of the Supreme Court. This is a very important thing. It is not just about abortion.

And to evangelicals it's a whole variety of moral issues. I mean that they are under attack for and being seen as either bigoted or racist or whatever the case may be. And there is a pushback. And so I disagree --

(CROSSTALK)

SELLERS: Let me be extremely clear.

SANTORUM: These are real issues.

SELLERS: Let me be extremely clear. No one in fact --

SANTORUM: One more thing. The fact that Roy Moore was accused of these things that happened 40 years ago, evangelical voters are saying, first of, we look at the man since then, and he has lived what seems to be an exemplary life. And so that's one part of it, which is forgiveness and secondly, look at the way Doug Jones is going to bode on the variety issue in this and there's a moral hazard going forward as opposed to looking back --

SELLERS: Let me explain to you. If you look through that lens and we're talking about white evangelicals in the south, an exemplary life. Let's take away the accusations that we're talking about. Let's talk about the fact that there are someone who believes the amendments after the tenth did this country a disservice. That to me is not exemplary.

Let's talk about someone who doesn't believe that Muslims should serve in the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate. That to me simply is not exemplary. Someone who believes that being gay is illegal, that to me is not example. So when lay out these facts, this is who Roy Moore is. We can add into those ephebophilia or we can take it out.

Regardless, what I'm saying it that you have individuals who envelope themselves in Christianity, and I grow up in the church. I go to church being black in the church in the south means you go on Wednesday, you go on Saturday, you go on Sunday. Like, I understand what that means. But what I'm saying is you're willing to shroud yourself in that Christianity and you're willing to put policy over the country and everything else and being Republican when that to me that simply doesn't make sense.

SANTORUM: Yes, I would say this. When I said he was exemplary, I'm talking about his personal life. You're talking about public policy positions he has which I don't agree with. And I a lot of the evangelicals would not agree with him, I'm just talking about, when you look at the man from the standpoint of his own personal like versus what he was accused of 40 years ago, that's the element of forgiveness I was talking about.

COOPER: I just want to look at the vote, 27 percent now in Roy Moore leading by 35,000 votes 54 percent to 44 percent. So some we've seen some big increase there for Roy Moore, just in the last could of minutes.

BORGER: And I would -- let me ask Rick Santorum this. Because, you when you ran for president, I mean you had a large evangelical support. There is a split in the evangelical community about Roy Moore and about how far you can push this because certain issues are important to you, but other things are also important. And so the -- I mean, we don't see it in the state of Alabama right now. He has got an 81 percent of the evangelical vote. But what about the split in the evangelical community? I mean, what happens next?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean the split in the evangelical community is largely younger versus older.

BORGER: Right.

SANTORUM: And that's a big issue for Republicans. Because younger evangelicals are not as tied to somebody's moral issues as -- or tied to different moral issues, things like the environment and other types of Christian oriented values. So, yes, I think in Alabama, Roy Moore was able to get away with it. I don't think there are too many states that Roy Moore could get elected.

BORGER: Even with evangelicals?

SANTORUM: Even with evangelicals.

AXELROD: I think this is a huge piece of this, where you guys obviously the evangelical piece, abortion and the larger concern about the Supreme Court and so on. But I mean, I just keep remembering that this is the state from which George Wallace ran, and what was his message when he ran for president? Send them a message. And I think that there was a lot of that and that was sort of the appeal. That was, don't let them tell us who our senator is going to be. And Roy Moore is very, very deft at playing that card.

PSAKI: And if you look back, he reviewed (ph) his kind of support to Nia's point, which is kind of cultural site on the 10 Commandments issue, which was about having them a peer in the court room than he had a big monument. He did that, that wasn't a political site. That positioned him culturally as somebody who a population of evangelicals and others who believed then, Alabama are going to follow. He has got political capital from that. Obviously, I totally disagree with that, but he has political capital that he is tapping into now. He needs small -- he doesn't need a high level of turnout. He needs those people to come out and they probably will come out for him if they think he is at risk.

COOPER: But it is interesting I mean, his supporters' view, his stand is -- I mean, you know, as he was standing for the constitution, he was standing for his faith. Obviously, those who do not hike him see that he was removed twice as chief justice in the state of Alabama, the second, you know, panel of judges in Alabama hardly actively judges said that he was misleading, that he'd essentially lied and was not being honest.

[21:20:21] PSAKI: All totally true. Though I think the big factor here we haven't talked a lot about is how you get people to turnout in a special election. So turnout is so low.

So Bakari's been talking about African-Americans coming out supporting him. No doubt if people knew the elections today and they knew what's at risk they would come out. That is not what happens in special elections.

A lot of people who have been called and talked to, they didn't even know there was an election. They're shopping for Christmas. They're worried about other things. So that's the factor even people who are vehemently opposed to Roy Moore are not necessarily thinking of going to the polls.

COOPER: And for those who are classifying (ph) again, 31 percent of the vote now in, Roy Moore now 19,500 the show, 19, 400. So ahead here we have, you know, up for 20,000 ahead. That's down a little bit but still 19,000 ahead, 51 percent to 46 percent, 31 percent of the vote. CHALIAN: I'm sorry. I don't think we should overlook the Trump factor here either. I really think that there's going to be a significant Trump factor conversation at the end of the day, coming in doing the Pensacola rally, doing the Robocall, getting that attention, nationalizing the races, as David said before. If you look in the exit polls, again they're just a guide, but if he was a factor, clearly people leaned more in the direction that it was a factor in support of President Trump, and to Jen's point, yes people are Christmas shopping they may not know the date. But they know where President Trump stood in this race, and there are a lot of people who will follow that guide post if they know nothing else about the election. And obviously, we all know President Trump will be the first to take credit for this --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: But even though he's not usually popular in the state, right? His favorables and unfavorables are about equal for a guy who won the state two to one, but it might be enough.

CHALIAN: It might be enough.

CARPENTER: But I would say a big part of that Trump factor is a new willingness on behalf of the Republicans to say and do anything to win. I mean you go back and look at that speech the Steve Bannon gave, there was just a barn better (ph). I mean he went after Mitt Romney, which I think was more about sending people -- maybe being worried about a Romney fight that threatens Trump's power but there's a new mentality among Republicans where they use too.

You know, people would resign or get out of a race in the face of these allegations, and Roy Moore and his people, I mean they went on and did these interviews and said yes, even maybe go out, you know, maybe make gay marriage illegal and gave behavior illegal. I mean they really have no idea what they're talking about but they're still going out steadfast and there's Republicans voters who see that as a bonus, their willingness to fight for that. I mean we're bizarre terms that they thing that they're going to, you know, do the right thing for Republican to the Senate.

COOPER: It's a (INAUDIBLE). No doubt about in Alabama. Right now just looking about 34 percent of the vote in, 51 percent to 47 percent, difference about 18,233 votes, of course, where those votes are coming from, where we've gotten votes, that's critical. We'll check from our John King and Wolf Blitzer a little bit. Stay right here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:27:24] BLITZER: Welcome back. We have another Key Race Alert right now. Take a look at this 37 percent of the vote is in. More than a third of the vote is now in.

Roy Moore, the Republican, maintaining his lead over Doug Jones, the Democrat leading about 24,000 votes. Right now he's got 51.9 percent, to Doug Jones' 46.8 percent. Once again, 37 percent of the vote is in. Jake, I'm sure they're pretty excited over there at Roy Moore headquarters, but it's still not done by any means.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Nothing's done. We don't know what the end result's going to be. But we should know Alabama of course has a long history of defiance and appreciating defiant of politicians. Let's go now to Kaitlan Collins who is at the headquarters of the Moore campaign. And is the mood improving at all there?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mood is really good here, Jake. They're feeling very confident in these numbers that are reporting, that are coming in, even though it's still early. We are already saw Roy Moore, the candidate, arrive here in the room where I'm standing just minutes ago, a lot of applause. He was introduced, came through the front of the room, and shook hands, just taking a few photos, and then he left the room. We're told by his Chief Political Strategist Dean Young that he arrived here just a short while ago.

He was downstairs in what they're calling the war room where several campaign aides are looking over possible turnout and projection models. And we're told that Roy Moore was in a stoic mood but officials are certainly feeling very confident about this race tonight, Jake. We're told that before Moore arrives here tonight he was being kept apprised of the general really reaction to these turnouts by some of the aides.

He wasn't involved in the nitty-gritty details. It was just kept surprise of whether they were up or down. But it seems like they are feeling highly confident here, Jake, now that he's arrived. And Steve Bannon one of his longest and most perfect supporters is also in the room. So we're expecting to hear from them shortly and we'll get back to you with the update.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins in Montgomery, Alabama, with the Moore Campaign. And Dana Bash, we were talking earlier during the break about what a history of rewarding defiant politicians Alabama has obviously they've had a governor George Wallace. But then also even after Roy Moore was kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court, he ran for Chief Justice and won.

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He won a couple years ago and got his judgeship back. That really surprised a lot of people.

But, look, I think what is going on right now as we look at these results, as we wait for the final results. I've been texting with some Republicans here in Washington. There's a lot of anxiety.

[21:30:05] There is -- And there's a picture right there, you see, which is moments ago of Roy Moore. A lot of anxiety here in Washington about what comes next.

Now they're not -- they're really not sure if that's exactly what it's going to be if you're going to actually see Roy Moore in the United States Senate. But even before that I'd think I mentioned to you earlier I was on the Hill today talking to a lot of Republican senators and aides. And this notion of this the Alabama Senate race which was certainly a big political story but still felt far away was closing in on them.

And that no matter how this ends tonight, it is going to be in their lap tonight into tomorrow morning on to how to deal whether it is dealing with a potential one-seat majority if Doug Jones wins, or the political nightmare of the Republican leadership having to go ahead. And people like talk to close to Mitch McConnell insist that he is going to do this to go ahead and push for the ethics committee investigation, see how that goes. And if they find out that these allegations that we've heard about are true, potentially go forward with expelling a United States senator which hasn't happened in over a century.

TAPPER: And there'll be tremendous pressure on those senators if there is such a vote or even what over the question of whether or not to support such a process. President Trump will be on one side saying the voters of Alabama picked him and let him represent them in the United States Senate. There'll be other people saying, look we're have all these other states, other purple and blue states where we have candidates up. We need to stand up for -- stand up against child abuse, child molestation that's going to put a lot of these senators between rock (ph) and a hard place. Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. We're watching very closely the results coming in. We're going to take a quick break. A lot more coming up right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:36:10] BLITZER: Let's get right to a Key Race Alert. More than half the vote is now in Roy Moore the Republican still maintains a lead over Doug Jones the Democrat 51.4 percent to 47.2 percent. Now you can see that lead about 28,000 votes for Roy Moore over there. Let's go to John King. John 51 percent of the vote that's a significant number. It's not early anymore but there's still about 49 percent to go.

KING: Still 49 percent to go. And so if you're sitting in the Doug Jones headquarters, can you come back, is your question. If you're in Roy Moore headquarters, are you coasting to the finish line?

Can Doug Jones come back, the answer is, yes. But what he's trying to do is bend if not break the DNA of a very conservative state. The reason Roy Moore is called ahead, Wolf start with that is up in this top band of the state, we talked about it all night long. These are rural Christian conservative, the evangelical Roy Moore-Donald Trump voters.

In this county here, 52 percent to 45 percent relatively close in this particular county start moving over here, this start getting more into the 70 plus range. Only 35 percent of the vote in there, some of these other counties this is where the jump came for Roy Moore. These counties, smaller counties starting to report get up to 95 percent or more. You see the big gap right there. See, another big gap right there.

Roy Moore is running it up in the northern part of the state and down here in the southeast corner where you have his base in all his elections where he has won, that is where his basis. You see the blue right in here, here's where, can Doug Jones come back? Yes, he can comeback because if you look that's a 40,000 vote margin right there at only 40 percent of the vote is down what? 31,000 vote's right.

So if this margin sticks, and if it essentially doubled plus the turnout, the math is possibly there. But then you're looking at other places. One of the questions we're going to watch as we go through the night here we're up to 67 percent in Tuscaloosa County.

It's a healthy margin, but its 5000 vote's right there, 5000 when you start going through these smaller counties, and you've a couple thousand here and 6000 there -- little under 6000 there. You start going through these smaller counties are there enough votes here to overcome it?

You look down here in Montgomery County, there only at 22 percent. Again, it's a healthy Doug Jones margin. So you're setting it -- in the Democratic campaign saying our base hasn't come in yet, let's wait and see if it comes.

But if you're sitting at the Roy Moore campaign, just pay attention in this map. Let me draw a couple line for you here. Roy Moore strength is across here and to this down here.

You see all the blue filling in like that here. This is 2017. Roy Moore right around 61 getting, you know, 52 percent of the vote. The Democratic candidate, 47 percent of the vote.

Let's go back in time to 2012, the last time Roy Moore won for chief justice. Roy Moore 52, the Democrats 48. Look at the map. Roy up Moore here, Roy Moore down here.

This map is filling in, almost identical right now to the 2012 race that Roy Moore won quite narrowly. The question as we count the rest of the votes here in 2017 that was a presidential year this is not. So the turnout overall is down. The question is we're all this Democratic reports of rockets increase in turnout in these urban areas. Will they prove true?

We're up 40 percent in Jefferson County. Again, that's a great margin for Doug Jones.

BLITZER: Yes.

KING: The question is the raw numbers and the math. Is there enough here still to be counted in Birmingham, in Montgomery. Some has not in it all yet.

More in Tuscaloosa and up here in Madison county with a margin is not as big where a 56 percent of the vote. But this thing blue keeps Doug Jones in play. The question is, is the rest of the rural areas since we get see we're at 76 percent here, 88 percent here. There only 35 percent here. So this is more Roy Moore vote out there too.

BLITZER: What about in Mobile? KING: This has been waiting all night long. For this one it's got a very small count.

BLITZER: Only seven percent vote is in.

KING: And this has been stuck for a long time.

BLITZER: And it's 8.6 percent of the population to the state.

KING: 8.7 percent for the population. And right now a very healthy 30-point plus lead. Again, so if that's only seven percent, and it's a 5000-vote margin, if you're sitting in Doug Jones headquarters, if that margin stays and you get ton more votes, the math is possible, the math is possible but if you're looking at the overall map, you're seeing -- you know, again especially up here.

[21:40:08] And goes talk about I think it was David Chalian said, is there a Trump affect? Is there a Roy Moore affect? Call it what you will, but in this conservative areas that were critical to Roy Moore is getting margins.

I talked earlier about places where he was underperforming in 2012 and a lot of those places here is come back, and then some that he's running up are pretty good margins. That's the key test right now. Will the rural conservative DNA Alabama overcome the blue urban suburban part? And we're not done yet. We still have again -- we're only up 40 percent here, so there's still math to be done.

But if you're at Doug Jones headquarters, when that number goes up, you need to seek not only this margin staying in that ballpark, but the raw number. You need a big turnout to offset what's still to come in as we count us these rural counts.

BLITZER: Have the margins changed since the last time we really typically closer look county by county in Alabama specifically going back to 2012, the last time he ran, Roy Moore, for statewide office.

KING: Yes, one of the things you look at, if you go back to the 2012 race, you see that Doug Jones -- if you're in Doug Jones headquarters, you're thinking OK, vis-a-vis this race, we're doing pretty well.

Again, I will show you in Jefferson County, 63 percent for the Democratic and that raise to come up now. Doug Jones is at 80 percent. One difference is remember, this was a president -- 2012 race is a presidential year so turnout is nationally higher. This is the rise here. If you go to some other places, let's just say, earlier Roy Moore was underperforming in some places. But let's go here, 76 percent in that race in 2012, 78, 79, almost 80 percent in 2017.

So I could find you a county of tourist under performing, but it's that Moore vote have coming --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: As more of that vote has been counted, he is essentially matching or exceeding in some of the places. And that's of this these rural counties 0.3 percent of the population there, not a ton of votes, but again, this adds up, close to a 2000-vote margin in this county. You come back over here, you know, 3000-vote margin in this county.

You start adding these up in these smaller counties, the question is, as that builds, are there enough votes here and here for Doug Jones in the hour ahead as they start to come in to offset that? If you're at Jones headquarters, you started up tonight (ph) optimistic, right about now you're getting nervous.

BLITZER: Yes, then I go back to Mobile, that's still very small vote so far, seven percent of the vote and that's a big county, almost nine percent of the population. You know, he is doing well there, Doug Jones. We'll see what happens when more of the vote comes in, in that county.

KING: If that margin holds up as we go from seven to 20, to 30 and higher. Then there's -- that's what makes the math possible. The question is, we need to see those votes.

BLITZER: Yes, so -- and the biggest counties still plenty of votes outstanding.

KING: Right, absolutely, without a doubt here.

BLITZER: Sixty percent of the votes the long standing in Jefferson County.

KING: Yes. I just want to show you come back in here you see the depth is how much the candidates winning by dark blue means the Democrats winning to by a big margin. You see the bright red here, where Roy Moore is winning. He is winning big.

These are healthy margins for Doug Jones, don't get me wrong, there are question -- might be a question here is on the overall turn out, will there be enough map, I want to come out of this, because Auburn just came in and have it been earlier. So I want to take a peek over here. Again, a 10 point, 11-point margin there. The question is, that's 100 percent it all came in at once, so.

BLITZER: Yes.

KING: So that's done. Got Doug Jones a little bit closer, but there's no more to count over there.

In Jones headquarters, you are calling in to Montgomery County right now and to Jefferson County right now to try to find out from the local for these things, than the vote counters election commissions what's left out there.

BLITZER: Can you compare 2012 and now that the Roy Moore contest then, the strength of the vote, what the number of people who are actually showing up to vote?

KING: Well, I can't give you the wrong numbers on the wall because it was a presidential year. But we can show you just in terms of the depth of it here. You see the red, again the deeper the red means --

BLITZER: This is Mitt Romney and --

KING: Mitt Romney, I'm sorry let me come over to the right race here. Here we go, we drop down at this race, the chief justice race. Again, the depth of it, it looks very similar. Again, just you're looking at this right now. This is almost a mirror image of the race. Just focus on the color there at the depth. This means the Democrats are winning big, this means the Republicans are winning huge, the deep red.

And you come out where are in 2017, it's largely similar in the sense that, but got Roy Moore from a little behind in the early count to this that need right now is he depth of the red in this conservative rural areas where the vote has turned out for him tonight for 57percent now. And the big question comes. We get out of this focus, so you can see the raw numbers here. Yes, there are enough votes. If you go here, here, here, and here, there are conceivably enough votes.

BLITZER: Yes.

KING: But remember, we did this in Michigan. We did this in Wisconsin on election night of the presidential year. Democrats kept saying wait, wait, wait.

BLITZER: Stand by, 57 percent of the vote in. We're going to take a quick break. There are still quite a few votes to be counted. How soon will this election be decided? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:48:47] BLITZER: Let's get another Key Race Alert right now. Sixty percent of the vote is now in Roy Moore. The Republican maintains his lead over Doug Jones. The Democrat, a lead of about 47,000 votes -- well, it just changed to 51,572 that's the advantage he has over Doug Jones right now 52.6 percent to 46 percent. Roy Moore maintaining his lead 60 percent of the vote is in, Anderson?

COOPER: Well, thanks very much. Jennifer Granholm former governor of Michigan has joined the panel.

So the first time we're hearing from you as you look at these numbers, who stands out?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I feel like here is -- I just -- I hate these nights and I love these nights, because you see the flipping. So we're all here watching "The New York Times" site which is projecting --

SANTORUM: Some of you --

GRANHOLD: Oh, you've been looking at me the whole time. You've been looking at my shoulder.

SANTORUM: I would never forget my screen. GRANHOILD: It says that Jones -- they are still predicting that Jones is going to win by 69 percent. It's like, because all these counties that are blue have yet to come in. However, I say that and I am reminding myself of how I felt on the night of 2016 when I was looking at "The New York Times" site and all of a sudden, you know, Nate Silver is, you know, they flipped horribly.

[21:50:08] So it is still early, but there is still hope, that's what I hope --

AXELROD: So I was saying, why you showed up late. You couldn't --

GRANHOLM: It wasn't as late.

AXELROD: But you just have the story.

GRANHOLM: I missed it

COOPER: Bakari, what counties are you looking at?

SELLERS: So there's a few. I mean of course we're looking at Jefferson County. I mean one of the major figures in this election is a good friend of mine Randall Woodfin. Randall Woodfin, he took ought on incumbent Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. And he's the new refreshing progressive voice in Alabama. And what you're starting to see is he energized Jefferson County and energized a lot of the state. But what we haven't seen yet and one of things that I wanted to ask to John about when he goes back to the map is, I'm starting to believe that a lot of these counties in the northern part and southern part of the state that are Roy Moore counties are maxing out.

But these counties along the Black Belt where you're having a turn out of 65, 70, 75 percent of a presidential election where you -- in the Black Belt, for everybody watching, the Black Belt is called the Black Belt. And I know John said before, he's not because it's filled with black folks. It's because the way that the soil is very rich, black dark soil that is there. It also happens to have a very large swath of African-American voters and a great deal of poverty and a lot of history. And there a lot of people know and I said earlier, I'll say it again, they know what Roy Moore represents. And so along this east to west portion of Alabama where the history, where the culture, where you have the sit in movement, where you have all of these things to start from, I think that's where Doug Jones is going finish tonight.

AXELFORD: And this has been the key for Jones to get a disproportionate turn out in these strong Democratic areas. The concern that the Jones team had earlier with reports of a very high turn out is that it would exceed their model and that the higher turn out would be in those rural counties. And the question now is Moore is getting the percentages he needs in many of these rural counties. Is he getting the turn out he needs to overcome what's going on in these counties that Bakari is --

SELLERS: But again let me just say this because I know that you mentioned The Times, The Washington Post, CNN, you know, Alabama.com, everybody's going to do these expose (ph) on African-American voters. And let me be explicitly clear for everybody watching around the world. African-American voters particularly black women are carrying the load for the Democratic Party. Again, this race will not be lost on the backs of black voters. They're turning out in amazing numbers. And so we need to take note of that as a Democratic Party and begin to invest. And we have to invest earlier in these races and have a --

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: We need to take note of that as Republicans, too.

SELLERS: And no question about that.

SANTORUM: That's a problem for us, I mean the fact that we're not doing well in the minority communities is something that --

SELLERS: Me and Rick Santorum agree. Can we have a breaking news --

SANTORUM: It would be nice too --

SELLERS: Exactly, I agree with that

SANTORUM: -- among the races, to be honest.

CARPENTER: I wish we could see some policies that would really help all people.

BORGER: You know, the thing though in Alabama is there's no real infrastructure for Democrats, as you know, Bakari, to kind of get out and vote. Because why would there be?

(CROSSTALK)

SELLERS: But that's what you're seeing now, though. You're seeing the -- That's the difference. You're that in NAACP being engaged, the black church HBC is.

BORGER: Right. So this is different. This is new, this as a result of Moore. And maybe it's a result of Donald Trump, I don't know. And to Rick Santorum's point, I agree. And a lot of Republicans that I talked to are nervous like you are.

COOPER: Let's actually just look at the vote, 68 percent in now exactly got no closer now, just 20,000 votes, 20, 726 votes, Roy Moore leading with 50.5 percent and Dough Jones 48.1 percent. So just as you've been talking it is from --

SELLERS: Stop talking, so I'm going to keep looking --

(CROSSTALK)

CARPENTER: I would say one thing regardless of who wins this race. I think we should be looking at how the women's vote has eroded among Republicans. And my question is will Republican leaders care? I'm not so sure because regardless of what happens Donald Trump is picking a fight with women as shown by tweets directed at Senator Gillibrand today which we haven't talk about yet. I believe he's going to picking a fight with this, Me Too movement because when we look at 2016 race, Hilary Clinton, who ran in becoming the first female president. I can win that fight again. I'm not so sure.

COOPER: And you're not so sure because things have changed?

CARPENTER: I think things have changed, and I think there's more women who have become, you know, more banded together, become more conscious, more willing to fight back, more willing to vocalize their concerns and they're organizing. There's more women running now, and it saddens me deeply they're not Republicans. They're mostly Democrats.

GRANHOLM: And Gloria, just on this particular race, because as your point it's really important, what were you the numbers you were just saying about mothers turning out?

BORGER: Well right, but we don't -- these are -- they're mothers are 18 percent of the electorate, but they're --

[21:55:00] CHALIAN: It has been update -- oh, I'm sorry.

BORGER: Sorry.

CHALIAN: It's just that we just got another update.

BORGER: Its not 18?

CHALIAN: Now mothers make up about 20 percent of the electorate.

BORGER: OK.

CHALIAN: And Jones is winning them, 66 percent to 32 percent. It is really interesting to compare that with women without children, just compare that to --

BORGER: Well, that was what I was just going to say.

CHALIAN: And it's a nine point advantage for Jones. So, the difference, I mean you've got a 34 point advantage with women who are mothers and a nine point advantage for Jones --

BORGER: Right. And --

(CROSSTLAK)

CHALIAN: It's not difficult at all.

HENDERSON: Is there anything -- Do we have --

COOPER: OK, hold on --

HENDERSON: So, I was just going to ask if we have married women. The Republicans usually do --

AXELFORD: While you guys are scouring for those numbers, there's one fundamental number here, which is among those who approve of Donald Trump, Moore is winning like 97 percent of the vote. Among those who disapprove of Donald Trump, Jones is winning by 97 percent of the vote.

COOPER: What does that tell you?

AXELFORD: We are tribal in our politics, very polarized. It's reflected in this race and it's all about turn out. Which is everybody is --

SELLERS: -- briefly because Chalian brought this up earlier, which is good point, but I look at the Trump effect slightly differently. I look at the Trump effect saying the Democrats can get close for a House seat in Kansas. You can get close for a House seat in Tom Price's own district --

HENDERSON: In South Carolina.

SELLERS: You can be -- in South Carolina that was the closes race on them all. And (INAUDIBLE) is running again. Joe Cunningham against Mark Sanford, you can literally in Donald Trump's era of the Republican Party be on CNN in a neck to neck race in Alabama.

CHALIAN: Bakari, I actually think that is the political story of 2017 writ large is that. When we talk about where is the enthusiasm in American politics those results, even losing, even the Democrats losing those House races, those result shows that the enthusiasm which really the motivator is on the Democratic side of the equation in the Trump era. By the way, that's not so uncommon, right, we saw on the Obama year the enthusiasm on the Republican side. But it is clearly in all those places, Kansas, South Carolina, Georgia even though Democrats could not --

AXELFORD: And how about Virginia?

CHALIAN: And Virginia is the other -- They over perform. So even where they did win, they over performed the Democrats in that race and previously over performed Hillary Clinton's 2016 number. That shows an enthusiasm.

BORGER: And it's not just Democrats. So, if you add to Democrats say groups like women, groups like mothers --

SELLERS: Young people.

BORGER: -- groups like young people who may not be registered one way or another, and then you have a larger, you know, you have a larger coalition. So it's not just about party. It's about a lot of other things that people care about, and in this race, you know, you see the mothers clearly -- I would add however that Moore won the fathers substantially.

GRANHOLM: Yes. But you know what, I mean this is what so interesting to me, Gloria, is that this enthusiasm question.

BORGER: Right. GRANHOLM: We have seen some of us have looked at this at this time in the cycle last go around, Emily's list had 900 women they were helping. At this time in this cycle, 20,000 women have raised their hand. That is amazing.

AXELFORD: I don't think the events of the last few weeks are going to diminish that number.

GRANHOLM: No, that's exactly right. I mean it just -- I mean, A, we need more women in positions of authority anyway. But this -- I'm telling you these millennials and these women are going to save our country.

SELLERS: But Governor, just think about this. And this is what gets young people excited but disillusioned at the same time. Imagine if we actually had a state party that had the infrastructure in place. In a place like Alabama, or Mississippi, or South Carolina to take advantage because of the things that Barack Obama showed the country. And with all due respect, David, because he was one of the architect with this. But one of the downside is that Barack Obama showed the country that you could win and get the 270 without going through the south. And so it dissipated a lot of Southern Democratic parties. And so now in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, you have that enthusiasm. We don't have that infrastructure in place --

GRANHOLM: Organization.

SELLERS: -- and organization in place, so and we're trying to build that together it catch this wave.

GRANHOLM: But you must admit the stats from the Democrats about the number of doors they've been knocking on, the numbers of calls they've made. I mean they have put a huge amount of resources to build up a party that may be needed some help.

SELLERS: No question.

GRANHOLM: But I think it's going to be a lesson that we cannot write off any state.

CHALIAN: It sounds like you're arguing for Howard Dean's 50 states --

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: All about it.

HENDERSON: You look very concerned.

COOPER: Let's just give a -- quick update, 72 percent, again 22, 000 vote -- 22, 912 Roy Moore had. Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes. Let's go back Key Race Alert right now, Anderson, take a look -- and the lead that Roy Moore, the Republican has over the Democratic Doug Jones it's shrunk a bit. 72 percent of the vote is in, 50.5 percent for Roy Moore, 48.1 percent for Doug Jones. He's got a lead of almost 23, 000 votes. It was a bigger lead just a little while ago. So it's come down 72 percent. Once again 72 percent of the vote is in.

[22:00:14] Let's go over to John King.