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Florida Still Doing Recount; Democrats Take Majority in the House; Republicans Hold More Senate Seats; The Counting of Votes Heading Into Second Week; Election Officials in Florida Working 12- Hour Shifts. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 13, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The American people delivered a midterm verdict on the Trump presidency that is becoming clearer as more and more results are coming in. The bottom line is a lot better for Democrats than we knew on November 6th.
In the House, Democrats are reclaiming control by a bigger margin than first thought. They now have a majority of 225 seats. Republicans have 200. And we're still awaiting the final outcome of 10 House races. Democrats are leading in seven of those contests.
We saw one House race in California flip in their favor before our eyes earlier tonight. The Democrats potentially picking up close to 40 seats, which would be their best midterm performance in decades.
In the Senate, Democrats have stemmed losses in some very tight races. They now hold 47 seats. Republicans have a majority of 51 seats. Two Senate contests remain undecided. Jake, we're watching some important cliff-hanger races.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, once again, right now it's all about Florida with two marquee contests on the line as a statewide recount is unfolding this evening.
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson looking to close the gap in his tight contest with Republican Rick Scott. And in the Florida governor's race, Democrat Andrew Gillum taking back his concession as votes are recounted in his battle with Republican Ron DeSantis.
Let's go back to Wolf and John King there at the magic wall.
BLITZER: All right. Let's take a closer look, John, at what's going on right now because votes are still coming in in California as we speak.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Earlier tonight we got some changes in some of the races that are still contested. Let's bring it out. It's going to change the map so you can only see the races we're waiting on, all right?
And just in California, there are five. Let me shift it over. We're waiting for 10 nationwide. All 10 currently Republican held seats. You see more opportunity for the Democrats to grow what will be the new majority.
Here are the five districts in California. You see the Republican leading in one. Let's pop that one up first. Young Kim leading. There's no incumbent in this race. Her lead was smaller -- was larger today, excuse me. And it has shrunk now to 711. It's been consistent there for a couple hours.
Now California report we had a couple of bumps in the votes. A couple of times votes came in earlier today. That one has frozen. So, this is a potential Republican hold, but the Democrats think, OK, we're still in reach. That's one.
You move down here. This one, when we started the program at 8 o'clock and east, the Republican was ahead. The Democrat moved ahead it stayed static since then, 261 votes. Obviously still some counts to be had there.
This lead for Mike Levin has been pretty consistent. That's a pretty big lead. We're still waiting, though. It's the count. Election is over, let them count the votes. That would be a Democratic pickup as would this, a major Democratic target because Dana Rohrabacher a longtime Republican incumbent.
Let me just bring up the map and then go up here to the northern part of the state and get the size of California. This, again, just mentioned Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative. The Democrats wanted to pick up his seat. This is a moderate Republican. Democrats were very eager here.
And Josh Harder in the course of the evening has gone for about 3,500 so closer to 35,000 ahead. So, his lead has stretched out a little bit. It doesn't mean it will stay that way but the trend lines in California tonight as more votes came in were all in favor of the Democrats.
There's still that one Republican ahead, but her lead is shrinking a little bit.
And then you just pull out to the national map, Wolf, just to show you. There's no question Democrats will have a majority. This is leading. Here's where it stands as we speak. This is what we know. It's at least 225. But if everything ended as it is right now, they would get to 232. And, again, a couple of those races where Republicans are leading, Democrats think maybe we can still get there.
BLITZER: Let's look at Utah right now.
BLITZER: Because that's a pretty close race. So they're still counting the votes.
KING: This is the Republican incumbent, Mia Love, losing. Remember she spoke at Donald Trump's convention, was a rising star in the national party out there. In a year when Mitt Romney, a Republican, won the Senate race and won it quite comfortably, the Democrat, Ben McAdams has a 1,229 lead, it's narrow lead. But again, that's been a consistent and steady lead.
This race has not been called. This is the Republican congresswoman on whom the president of the United States heaped considerable scorn -- I'm being polite -- last Wednesday, the day after the election even though her race has not been called. But obviously the Democrat leading there and Democrats think in a state you think of is ruby red like Utah they have a chance for pick up.
BLITZER: Let's go to New Mexico's second district.
KING: Right. Let's pull it back out, come on down. That is the southern part of the state here. The Republican incumbent left to run for governor. And so, you have two candidates in the race, no incumbent. And look, it's a very small lead, but still 3,500 votes.
In a congressional district as you get further from the election, but they list that at 98 percent. One of the things that gets difficult. Voting was last Tuesday. There's a slower process now, you're counting mail-in ballots. You're counting absentee ballots. It's the process. So, we're not sure exactly how this stands that's why we're being cautious.
Because we know the Democrats have won the majority. There's to rush to try to call these races. The question now is the margin. And again, if you're the Democrats, you're thinking this could be a pickup in this southern district that is rural has been Republican for quite some time.
BLITZER: Georgia seven, the seventh district in Georgia, we have not been able to make a call in that one yet either.
KING: We have not. Let me bring it over to this map to make it easier to see for folks and we stretch that up. This is another example. The bordering district, Jake was talking about this earlier. The bordering district was a Republican Karen Handel. She won Tom Price former seat. She won a special election. She lost on election day.
[22:05:07] In this district, Rob Woodall is the incumbent. He has a 900-vote lead, 901-vote lead over Carolyn Bordeaux, the Democratic challenger. Again, this is another textbook case of what we've seen throughout the midterms.
Republican-held districts close to the suburbs, seats that have been comfortably Republican for years, in some cases decades, at risk of toppling although the Republican is holding on to this one as it goes. As you know the governor's race here is subject to late votes as well so we're going to keep an eye on this one. Democrats are still in play. Republicans hope we narrowly hold this one.
BLITZER: There's still a contest in Maine, now the second district in Maine right now where they have what they call rank voting.
KING: You heard Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic Party on earlier. Let's pull this one up for us here. You have the Republican incumbent 668 votes ahead. Because nobody cracked 50 percent, they have this ranked voting where you vote for one candidate, but you can, it's up to you, you don't have to, but you have the option of listing your second choice.
And so in this new system, which the Republican is now challenging, but in this new system, they go through the ballots now, and they will look for candidates who have been eliminated. They'll go through and count the second choices, and that's supposed to take place as we get through the week. We'll know the answer if not tomorrow, the day after.
Again, the Republican says, wait a minute. This is a brand-new system, certain to cause controversy. The Democrats think because of that, they are hopeful that when you get to the second choices for the candidates who have been eliminated that perhaps Jared Golden picks up steam. It's a unique system. That's going to be interesting to watch over the next couple days.
BLITZER: You know, let's take a look at the country as a whole right now. If things go the way it looks like it potentially could go for the Democrats right now, they have a potential. It's a potential.
BLITZER: They're leading in seven of those 10 undecided House districts. Potentially they could have a net gain of 40 seats in the House of Representatives.
KING: And just think back a few months ago. There's a big debate, is this a blue wave because Republicans will pick up one, maybe two, depending on Mississippi, depending on Florida, in the Senate. Democrats gets seven governorships. Some people thought the Democrats could have gotten up to eight, maybe 10 if they had a perfect6 year.
When you look at the state legislative seats and you look at this, especially given the redistricting, the Democrats are going to be approaching 40. Let's say they get 37, 38. That's a big year. That is a big year. At least when it comes to the House, it's a blue wave.
Now are there warning signs for the Democrats in rural America? Are there still a lot of Republican governors out there? This point was being made earlier. You and I covered the White House. Bill Clinton got pummeled in '94 pretty comfortably won re-election. Barack Obama got pummeled in 2010, pretty comfortable won the election. President Trump got pummeled. This is a pummeling, especially when you look at the suburbs. On Tuesday does that mean President Trump is going to lose in two years? That's not a safe bet.
BLITZER: See who the Democrats nominate. A lot could happen in the next two years. But approaching, Jake, 40 net gain in the House. Approaching that. They might not get it all, but that's still very impressive.
TAPPER: Yes. I think as of now we've called 30 net races, is that right, John? Thirty net races for Democrats in the House right now with 10 outstanding.
BLITZER: They're ahead in seven of those 10.
TAPPER: Right. In 2006, which was a Democratic wave year, the Democrats picked up 32 House seats and also won back the Senate. So, a good year and potentially in the House, even bigger than what happened in the wave of 2006.
BLITZER: And remind us, Dana, how significant it is in the House of Representatives for the Democrats after January 3rd to be in the majority because they can do a lot of things they couldn't do in the minority.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's like everything because in the minority in the House, you're virtually powerless. You can go on TV and make noise, but you don't have the subpoena power that the Democrats will have now in a really big way. And they're trying to work out now amongst themselves just how to manage that. But it's not that they're not going to use it.
In committee after committee from ways and means to tax writing committee to, of course, the oversight committee, Elijah Cummings is going to be in charge of that. The president's nemesis on the Democratic side, Maxine Waters, is going to be in charge of the financial services committee. And of course, the intel committee and judiciary. It goes on and on and on and on.
And so, that is something that the president knew right away, knew leading into election day was going to be a total pivot for him, a total change from how he was dealing with Congress before. Never mind the inability to get even basic parts of his agenda passed through the House, even as a selling point to their constituents, it's not going to happen now.
TAPPER: When I had Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Democrat from New York, on my Sunday show, on State of the Union he said he's an incoming, in all likely he'll be the chairman of the House judiciary committee. He said they're going to call Matt Whitaker, the acting attorney general, before his committee and demand that he testifies about all sorts of things about whether or not his appointment was constitutional since he was never Senate confirmed, about whether or not he intends to rein in Mueller. I would expect would be a question.
[22:05:01] Democrats had no power, no ability to do that before, and we're also going to see, for instance, in the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff is likely going to be the chairman. And Nia, he's likely going to kick-start the Russia investigation that the Republicans on the House intelligence committee essentially ended.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And maybe at some point get Donald Trump's tax returns. This is something that Democrats at the grassroots level really want to see from this Congress.
TAPPER: The ways and means committee, Yes.
HENDERSON yes. Some people have talked about impeachment, and you've heard off from other folks in the House, Democrats. They know that might be a bridge too far.
But the other, I think, opportunity this gives Democrats is to brand the party in a way that they hadn't been able to before because they were not in control. What kind of bills do they bring up?
How do they try to position the party going into 2020, a party that in some ways was swept into power in 2018 by the resistance, by this very diverse coalition of folks? How do they try to use that sort of messaging around legislation to make the Democratic Party in a better position?
TAPPER: Well let's check in -- let's go to Capitol Hill right now. And our senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju. And Manu, you're on Capitol Hill. It's freshman orientation week. They're all running around with their schedules and their new freshmen beanies.
As Democrats take control of the House what is their strategy when it comes to dealing with the president? How aggressive are they going to be and how mindful are they of not trying to seem like just simply an anti-Trump party?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're recognizing that full well. They want to push hard, but they know they cannot go too far to risk any backlashes as they have to defend House majority in 2020.
But already there are laundry list of items that have now been looked into by the Republicans in Congress. And the Trump administration has not responded to a lot of requests and they're re-upping those requests demanding information.
Now Jerry Nadler, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman just tonight sent a letter demanding answers to a 100 outstanding letters from Democrats on their committee alone. He wants those answers by the end of the year. Those are pertaining to, a lot of them pertaining to issues about White House communications with the Justice Department. The Democrats believe were inappropriate.
And if those answers do not come by the end of the year, expect a lot of subpoenas to be issued. Now, as you mentioned, Nadler will bring Matt Whitaker, the acting attorney general, before his committee, but that's just that committee. There are a whole host of other committees from the House oversight committee that wants to look into the president's businesses and whether or not they violated the Constitution by accepting foreign payments as well as the House ways and means committee that's raising the prospect of getting the president's tax returns.
The House financial services committee also wants to look into the president's ties with Deutsche Bank, something that they were not able to successfully do in the Democratic minority.
But at the same time on the floor, they'll push legislation that they know won't pass but will send a message to the president about how they would do things if they had the White House. But all the while realizing the balancing act. They want to push but may not push too hard to risk alienating voters who they need to keep if they want to keep the House in a couple more years. Jake and Wolf?
TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes, Jake, thanks. Let's talk with our group here. I mean, that is the concern for Democrats and obviously for Republicans as well. But for Democrats, how far do you push in what they say is their oversight role, and how much do you actually try to get something done?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, you know, first of all they do have a burden because they are controlling the House of Representatives, and they have to prove that they want to legislate. And there may be some things that they can work with the president on, whether, you know, it's criminal justice reform or--
BORGER: Infrastructure, that kind of thing. But they also have an obligation. It is their job to oversee the executive branch, and they have not done any of that with Republicans in charge. And I think as Manu was talking about, they're going to talk about tax returns. They're going to look into the Russia investigation more fully.
They just have to be careful because they can't look like all they want to do is get Donald Trump. They have to perform their job. And I think that they can't alienate those independent voters who want to get stuff done.
And I think Nancy Pelosi, who I believe is going to be the next speaker, is very well aware of that as are the committee chairmen. They've been around a while, and they understand what their job is. They also understand how Newt Gingrich in 1998 overreached, and that was a real problem. And they don't want -- they don't want to repeat that.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They also have to swing and not miss really. The problem for Democrats is that there are a lot of targets.
PHILLIP: They have to narrow them down. They have to decide which ones do we want to be the face off versus a myriad of other people on the outside who are probably also going to be doing this kind of investigating as well from the outside, filing lawsuits and whatnot.
[22:15:05] And it's problematic to start a fight with this president and lose. I think they learned that with the Kavanaugh fight. I think they ought to be wary of creating opportunities for the president to accuse them of overreach or accuse them of just being frivolous with their power.
And beyond that, on the legislating, they have to figure out, OK, so what do you do about Trump and trade? Trade has typically been a Democratic priority. People in the rust belt like Sherrod Brown talking about how they can make that argument to their voters. What if Democrats and Donald Trump are on the same page? How do you navigate that situation in the House of Representatives, especially when you're going toward 2020, and you want to win the rust belt back from--
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it's an or proposition, though. I don't think that we have to do oversight or push policy points. I think you do both.
I, for one, don't think that we should get on an impeachment train. I know that's what people talk about. I think that you need to do your oversight, you need to wait on Mueller. You need to do those things that are necessary to provide and do your duties.
But I think that Democrats have to have big and bold ideas. I mean college affordability, criminal justice reform. I'm saying all of this knowing that it may--
DAVID URBAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: Gun control.
SELLERS: -- that it probably may never--
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It will die in the Senate.
SELLERS: It won't pass.
CARPENTER: Pre-existing conditions.
SELLERS: I mean, it's common sense gun reform, which people are asking for. A health care fix, which our voters are asking for.
URBAN: Those issues are pretty device divisive, right, and amongst a lot of the independent voters. And listen, the folks that help provide these big victories to the Democratic Party are not going to be happy seeing infrastructure got done. They'll be like, great, we got a new road belt.
BORGER: They want to make sure their pre-existing conditions are covered.
URBAN: They do want that.
URBAN: But they want heads on pokes here. They're going to want the overreach. It's going to be a really -- people come and marched on the mall and demanded change. They don't want incremental changes. They want dramatic change, just the president when they elected him, they wanted dramatic change. CARPENTER: There is a risk for overreach, but I think Democrats have
an advantage that Republicans did not have in the 1990s when they went after Bill Clinton. They have sat and watched how Republicans have conducted these sort of pseudo investigations for the past two years.
You think Adam Schiff, who has stood watch to see how Devin Nunes handled himself. They have watched and saw how the executive branch has invoked executive privilege to gloss over topics they don't want to talk about. They've seen this play out. They know where to go ask the tough questions already. So, I think they're at a huge advantage.
And, listen, this isn't hard for the Democrats to prioritize. Nancy Pelosi can go do all the legislative things that you are talking about, and then--
CARPENTER: -- the House Democrats wait for Mueller to clear up the collusion case, and then they go after obstruction and corruption. If they can silo that off and be organized, they're ready to rock.
SELLERS: And this -- and Amanda probably doesn't realize this, but this is where we kind of have, you know, the salvo. This is where we have the person who can get it done in Nancy Pelosi. That is the argument for Nancy Pelosi being speaker because she is the only person capable of threading that needle that's a House Democrat right now.
So, she's going to be a lightning rod. She's going to provide Trump with a foil. But she's going to be the one who's going to be able to do those things. What House Democrats have to do though, and I've said this over and over and over again, our leadership is older and many times our ideas get stale, OK? Unless we create a succession plan and unless Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clayborne and Steny Hoyer create a succession--
URBAN: Well she called herself a transitional figure.
SELLERS: Well, that -- I mean--
CARPENTER: Lots of young Democrats coming in.
SELLERS: Call it yourself that they've been it are different. Bustos, you have Bustos, to Kim Jeffries, you have some very talented people.
URBAN: No, but I'm saying part of the current who are they going to put up to be a part of that current leadership team that they're going to show on television to the American voters?
CARPENTER: They're going to go campaign for president.
URBAN: Who is going to be under 70, right, who is going to on them.
COOPER: I think there's going to be a lot of folks campaigning, though.
COOPER: Well, let's go back to Chris. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I love the conversation. It's amazing what a difference a week made. You know, when the results were coming down last Tuesday, you saw the same cast of people, and the Democratic majority, you know, there was a lot of, pretty modest.
Now, a week and the Democratic gains and this big story is growing stronger. Now part of that is just the practicality. You know, the votes needed to be counted and you are seeing something that is somewhat uniform across this country in the bigger counties.
You have a higher concentration of Democrat votes, and it takes longer to count more dense concentrations of population. So, we're seeing that, and now you are hearing a talk of blue wave.
But, you know, the more you look at what happened in this election, the more the idea of some overriding message or reality, it seems overstated. The old rules applied. People voted for what was best for them locally.
Now, my next guest, Lauren Underwood, is proof of that. She unseated a four-term Republican incumbent. She joins us now. Congratulations.
[22:20:03] LAUREN UNDERWOOD (D), CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT, ILLINOIS: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: Now, we'll get into politics. We'll get into what you're going to do. But I really think it will be helpful for people at home to understand why you did this. Now, tell me if I'm wrong. You're with your mom. You go to see your congressman. You have a heart murmur. That counts as a pre-existing condition. I have it right so far?
UNDERWOOD: I have a rapid heart rate.
CUOMO: OK. So that's a pre-existing condition. You'd have to check the box. You're one of the people who has a reasonable basis for being concerned about getting coverage.
CUOMO: You would listen to your congressman, who wound up being the same man you ran against, and he says, I'm telling you, I will not vote for a law if I can't protect your pre-existing conditions. A couple of weeks go by he does exactly that. He votes for something that doesn't protect pre-existing conditions.
We talk about people like you in political media all the time, people who will hear something and be like, what? They promised me the opposite. That's it. I'm going to run, and then you did.
UNDERWOOD: I did. And I'm also a nurse, and so I've seen how this issue impacts so many of my patients. We know that healthcare was the number one issue in this election.
UNDERWOOD: So, I couldn't stand by after our representative broke his word, and I knew I had to act. And I decided, you know what? It's on. I'm running. Ended up running in a primary. I beat six guys, got 57 percent of the vote. Last week got 52 percent of the vote. Won every county in the Illinois 14th district, and I'm really excited to be in Washington. It's our first day, and I'm excited to get to work.
CUOMO: So, Lauren, how did you deal with all the no's, no, you're not supposed to run. You're too young. Yes, I know you're an adviser from Obama. You don't know what you're doing though, in politics. Stay out of it.
By the way, look at your district. They don't look like you. They don't elect people like you. How did you overcome all those? And you have no infrastructure and nobody really wants to help you. And you're going to have to use your friend to figure it put, you are going to make your own web page on an online app.
CUOMO: How did you overcome all that? And why did you overcome all of that?
UNDERWOOD: Well, what was clear to me is that the Illinois 14th had the raw material to be successful. We had an engaged electorate. The election in 2016 was close. Donald Trump won by four points. He got 49 percent of the vote.
And so even from that very first list, the D triple C put out in January of 2017, the Illinois 14th was listed as a priority race. And so, we knew that the seeds were planted. We just had to cultivate them so they would grow and sprout.
And so, I knew that in this election, a woman could be very successful in engaging other women throughout our community. The women in the Illinois 14th have for a long time been activists. They've been community leaders, led every PTA, every church group, every neighborhood association, but weren't necessarily running for office.
And so, we knew that there would be a natural base of support there and also knew that the electorate, the voters were interested in a new generation of leadership, were interested in supporting someone that came from their own ranks, came from the community.
CUOMO: How did you know?
UNDERWOOD: How did we know?
CUOMO: How did you know a place that had never elected a woman.
UNDERWOOD: Sure. CUOMO: Let alone an African-American woman, let alone an outsider African-American, right, somebody who wasn't familiar with the process and the names and faces of the political machinery there? What made you feel, you know what, I know there are people out there who will respond to this?
UNDERWOOD: Well, we had a very active resistance movement. We had 50 groups, grassroots groups that were meeting weekly, monthly, separate from the Democratic Party. We had women's march huddles that had turned into groups that were meeting regularly.
And we know that throughout the country, that there's been this interest in supporting outside voices. In Illinois, we really do have a machine, and it's one that is not particularly popular.
And so, I knew that if I decided to jump in and fight for healthcare, that I would have an opportunity to lead on an issue where the American people, the people of the 14th district in northern Illinois, certainly cared deeply about and that we'd have an opportunity to make a real difference.
CUOMO: Also, because it hit you literally where you live.
CUOMO: It was your own personal experience. That's very powerful medicine in politics for people who decide to get into it.
CUOMO: All right. So now you won.
UNDERWOOD: Thank you.
CUOMO: You're going to go down there and you're going to have to make some choices early on. Are you with Nancy Pelosi?
UNDERWOOD: Well, I have said publicly that I'm interested in knowing who's running. She's the only one that's declared to be running. And so, I'm interested in speaking with her personally to make sure that she's going to support an agenda that allows us to have the fixes to healthcare that we're looking for, that allows us to pass common sense gun reform and support our public schools, and really have some infrastructure investment that would help to rebuild America.
And so, I want to make sure those bills have an opportunity to come to the floor for a vote, something that we haven't necessarily seen in the 115th Congress. And so, I have not publicly stated who I will be supporting. And to be honest with you, Chris, I haven't made up my mind yet. I'm really looking forward to having that important conversation.
[22:25:01] CUOMO: I'll come back to you on it.
CUOMO: This will be a new part of your life, this dynamic. You're going to be talking to men in makeup on a regular basis.
So, let me ask you this. When you get down there, you have all of this desire to put stuff into action, right? You really put it all out there. You're young, but you put it all out there. You had a career. You had a life. Now you made this move, and you've won.
What happens when you get down there, and even if you do get stuff voted on the floor, and even if you do get stuff made that get votes and it gets past the House, but it doesn't get past the Senate, and there's gridlock, and the talk starts to be, you know what, more oversight, more hearings. We've got to get after this guy. We got to get after what they're doing. There's a lot of stuff that has to be called out. What would you make of that existence for Lauren Underwood?
UNDERWOOD: Well, what's really clear is that the people in the 14th elected us to have impacts. So, we are looking for the opportunity to pass bills that are going to touch the lives of family across northern Illinois. That's my priority.
And so, while oversight is critically important, the Constitution, article 1 outline the congress as a co-equal branch of government which has a real responsibility to provide oversight. But we can't be stuck there because the American people are looking for us to deliver on healthcare, to lower prescription drug prices, looking to us to deliver, to make sure that all of our communities are connected with world broadband, looking to us to deliver to make sure that each one of our children, no matter what zip code we live in have the opportunity to have the training and education to sustain a career in this global economy.
That is the commitment that we've made to the American people. And so, my priority is to make sure that even if this Senate wants to be a do- nothing Senate, that we have a series of bills that are going forward, giving the president an opportunity to sign them, that we are doing our job as a House of Representatives to represent the will of the people because that's what they elected us to do.
CUOMO: And, Lauren, I will offer you what I offer all people when they get down into Congress, left or right, it doesn't matter to me. The people deserve to know what's going on.
CUOMO: If you want a place where you can come on and say what's going on, what you're fighting for and why it is or is not happening, you should look to us as a resource. That's our job.
UNDERWOOD: Well, thank you. I also want to say, though, it's also important to show up in the communities. In this era of no town halls is unacceptable. We have to continue to engage our voters, engage the community, make sure that their voice is being heard. And the only way we can make sure that happens is continue to be there and have an everlasting presence in our district.
CUOMO: A 100 percent. A 100 percent. Your race is not the only one that reflected that. People know who comes and who does not come.
UNDERWOOD: That's right.
CUOMO: It matters. Retail politics matters. Lauren Underwood, thank you very much. Good luck down there. Get something done for the people in your district.
UNDERWOOD: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: All right. Coming up, we have a Republican congressman who lost his seat. Now, he's a popular congressman, and he actually just did an amazing thing, forgiving someone who had actually threatened his life. But President Trump had a different take.
He says Carlos Curbelo would have won if he'd only embrace him and his agenda more. What does Carlos Curbelo think about that? Let's talk to him next.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Welcome back. Tonight, we're certainly heading into a second week of midterm election results, election recounts, lots of suspense, Democrats seeing more blue as they start looking ahead to 2020. And, John, as we know, there are a whole bunch of Democrats specifically looking ahead to 2020 right now. But let's talk a little bit about some lessons that we've just learned in this election looking ahead to 2020.
KING: We'll go through some different maps. The first thing I want to say is be careful, be careful. Remember the big tea party wins in 2010 and 2014. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio said the Republican Party is looking for a tea party evangelical. Ben Carson said they sell my books in all those Christian churches. I am going to run for President. Who won the Republican nomination?
Donald Trump. So let's be careful about thinking what happens in a midterm carries over to the next Presidential cycle. But if you're the President and you're looking at this, number one, you should be worried. If we take this out and just show you what we showed you before in the suburban districts and then you stop this here and we do the pickups, right? Flips, flips, Democrats are going to pick up 23 Republican seats.
There are 20 now. There is a few still outstanding. But they could pick up as many as 23, maybe even 24. Republican seats in American suburbs. That has long been the base of the Republican Party. So California is going to be blue. You're not worrying about that. But if you start to come over here, Virginia, used to be a red state, became a purple state. You can lean it blue now in Presidential politics. That's one lesson to take. Let's switch and look at the Senate map.
If you're the President, this is still subject to recount. But that's a big (Inaudible) Presidential politics. You think Florida is actually trending more Republican. We always call it a swing state. It's a battleground state, it is. But you could say it's leaning more Republican, 2018 seems to prove that. If you're the President of the United States looking at the Senate map, just got a Democratic governor in Michigan.
That's one of the states the President flipped. Pennsylvania still has a Democratic governor. The Senate race there was no contest. No contest. The Democrats win. If you switch this map, I am going to come to the governors now. You switch this over and come to the governors, if you're the President, you're happy with this. The Republicans held Ohio. However, Mike DeWine is more John Kasich than Mike DeWine is Donald Trump, if you think about philosophy.
The Republicans held the governorship of Iowa, but the Democrats picked up two seats, congressional seats in Iowa. So Iowa always a swing state, small in the Electoral College. But if you're looking at the map (Inaudible) more, Bakari was talking about this earlier, a couple of Democratic pickups in North Carolina.
Sun Belt states are becoming more Democratic, Democratic enough. North Carolina is a competitive state in Presidential politics. Trump won it pretty handily last time. Watch that as we go forward. And then one of the things people will talk about is it used to -- I am going to switch this to Senate before I do just to show you the blue out here. Used to be Nevada was a swing state that leaned Republican.
Nevada is now a swing state that leans Democratic. Arizona is going to be a big battleground in 2020, because you just elected a Democratic senator in 2018. We know in these Sun Belt states, there are more opportunities for Democrats. Does that mean that's about to flip to blue in presidential politics? It doesn't mean that. You can't take a midterm and extrapolate it over.
[22:34:52] But if you look at the demographic changes, that's the President's problem. Can he squeeze that white working class coalition out one more time? There's a lot of evidence in the 2018 map, especially when you look at the House that says as of today that will be harder. That's today. A lot can happen, including a Democratic nominating process.
BLITZER: As you remember, of course, all of us remember it was Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania which basically got Donald Trump elected President.
KING: It did. And so when you look at the governors' map, if you're -- Democratic governor, Democratic governor, Scott walker loses, Democratic governor. Now, does having a governor of your party or the opposite party mean you're dead, mean you're doomed? No, but you like that person. You like that person because they're in control of the party organization. If you have a strong Republican governor, they have a strong state Republican Party. In a close race, they can turn out voters. They have the identity in
place. Now, you know, Pennsylvania's been blue for a long time. Donald Trump still won it. So it's not an automatic rule. But if you're the Democrats, you're thinking, OK, these voters who two years ago stunned us, broke the blue wall in the Midwest, if you will, and elected Donald Trump President, if you want to go back and look at that, you can see it here.
You know this was the shock of election night 2016. Did something happen in 2018 that definitely changes 2020? No, but if you're the Democrats, you like those states blue. You're thinking, thank you. Can we carry this over to 2020? That will be the big challenge. No question, those three will be big battlegrounds.
BLITZER: And Hillary Clinton lost those three states by about 80,000 votes total, as everybody remembers. All right, let's go back to Chris.
CUOMO: Boy, I got to tell you, Wolf, you know, let me break protocol for a second. Listening to you and John and Jake and Anderson and the panels, and Dana and Nia, you guys are really good at what you do. I have to tell you. I have had a unique opportunity tonight to kind of watch the coverage and last Tuesday as well. You guys are great at what you do.
It's a pleasure to be on your team. And it's interesting what your conversation was with John. Nancy Pelosi said to me in an interview right after the election, I told my candidates in my party. Don't take Trump on toe to toe on immigration. Let the fear and loathing, as I call it, let it burn out, she said. It won't help him in this race. She was right.
And it gives you a little bit of a nod that maybe the Democrats are figuring something out about how to combat this President and this administration. It's still an open question, though. But the administration and the President, they're making their own problems. The day after the election, President Trump went out of his way to mock Republicans who kept him at a distance. That is very rarely done in politics. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Carlos Curbelo, Mike Coffman, too bad, Mike. Mia Love, I saw Mia Love. She called me all the time to help her with a hostage situation, being held hostage in Venezuela. But Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: She actually hasn't lost yet. This is a reflection of the President's not understanding, as odd as this is to say, our President doesn't understand our electoral process. It's not over on election night. People have to count votes. Mia Love's race is still being counted. I am joined now by one of the lawmakers that the President mentioned there. He didn't say his name right, but he meant to say Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo. It's good to have you now, Congressman. The President called you out.
And I had a friend who was there that night when you spoke about your race. And you said I have no regrets. I know who I am. I know what I am about. I know I am a Republican, and I know what that means. How do you process that you lost a race, and if that was because you weren't tight enough with Trump?
REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Well, Chris, good evening from Miami. It's good to be with you. What I will tell you is that the President's got to sharpen his pencil and check his ego. If you look at the math in my district, Governor Scott who was at the top of the ticket, friend of mine, looks like he's going to be the next Senator from our state. He got 44.5 percent in my district.
Ron DeSantis, who looks like he'll be the Governor of our state, ran a campaign very closely aligned to the President. He got about 45.5 percent in my district. And I ran my own race independent of political parties, and certainly independent of the President. And I got close to 50 percent, 49.2 percent, I think. So he's just wrong.
And the fact is that in many districts like mine, the President was not helpful, and that's why I am glad I ran my campaign. And when the President has been wrong throughout these last two years, I have said it, just like when I have agreed with him when he's done something that I think has been helpful to the community. I have gone ahead and said that.
[22:39:50] But I think that's the type of honesty we need in politics. And I would encourage all of these new members that are getting to Congress, don't role play. Don't read off the partisan scripts. Put the talking points away. Campaigns are about talking points, but governing is about being honest, about compromising, about details, about building legislation. That's what this country really needs.
CUOMO: Why do you think you lost?
CURBELO: I just think the cart was too strong. I don't know if it was a blue wave, but certainly there was a blue undertow out there. And there were a lot of people who were just coming out to vote against the President in suburban areas like mine. And even for members like me and others throughout the country that have independent brands, that have just called it on honest on every issue and try to do the best every single time, it was just too much.
I just hope that people don't give up on that approach to politics. I hope that the Tom Reed's and the Josh Gottheimer's and the Stephanie Murphy's and Brian Fitzpatrick's of the Congress, these are all centrist members, Kathleen Rice from New York. They want to shake things up in Washington. They actually want to get big things done. They come from both parties. I hope that they win the day, not the hard core partisans that have, quite frankly, put us in the political rut we're in.
CUOMO: What's the trick to it, though, Congressman, because they get there? You know, just like you were in the situation. I have had you on many times in the morning and at night. The last time I had Congressman Curbelo on, he had forgiven a young man who threatened to kill him on Twitter. It was an actionable threat. The police looked at it. Curbelo forgave him and they did a press conference together.
And Carlos was making the point that he's making to you right now, saying we've got to forgive each other. We've got to be better than this. All right, so you get to Congress, and the President says something that is abusive of truth and is malicious in the main. And people will come and say what do you say? This is the President of your party. That's been the jam for a lot of people in your party.
That they say, well, what do you want me to do? Comment on every tweet? It's not about what he says. It's about what he does. That clearly is not working for the majority of the American people. What do people in your party need to do?
CURBELO: You have to speak up. And look, I get it. Your life can't revolve around the President. I hope, you know, too many Americans' lives revolve around this President today. And that's all they talk about, whether they adore him or whether they hate him. And that's unhealthy. But when the President steps out of line, you know, Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and it is set up to be a counterbalance to the executive.
And you have to do your job. You have to speak up. That doesn't mean you have to comment on everything. But there are some things that are certainly worth commenting on. Like today, these attacks against the French. I mean we may not have a country if it wasn't for the French, right? The French helped us during the American Revolution, one of the few world powers that did. And the President's out there, attacking Emmanuel Macron today gratuitously.
That's unnecessary. And members of Congress from both parties, but especially from the President's party, should speak up and say no, we disagree with this. We don't think this makes sense. And by the way, our Democratic colleagues and the Democrats that are coming into this new House, if the President gets something right or he's working on something that's worthwhile, I think they should be willing to recognize that as well.
That's what I have tried to do for four years in Congress, Chris. And I truly do feel blessed because I am not even 40 yet, and I have been able to serve my community four years on the school board, four years in the Congress. It's been a wonderful experience. All I have is gratitude. But what I have tried to do is put away that script, you know, not be robotic, just be honest everyday, call it even.
And I think the American people will eventually validate that and appreciate that, because I think that's what most Americans want. You got your hardcore partisans out there. But I think most Americans are in the middle and just want to see this political system work. They want to put an end to the insults, to the personal attacks to Americans diminishing each other and degrading each other based on their political differences.
CUOMO: Look how many close races there were. Look at your race, 4,000 votes. And we're like, well, that was one of the more clearer outcomes, 4,000 votes, 50-49. Congressman Curbelo, thank you for your service to the country. I am sure that you've got a long future, and I appreciate what you've done. I will be seeing you again.
CURBELO: We'll keep in touch, Chris. Thank you. Good night.
CUOMO: All right. What an interesting story this election is turning out to be. What you see right there, that's what the focus is. What will the recount show in Florida? The margin makes it a hand recount. Where do things stand? It's going to come down to the wire. We have the latest for you in a moment.
[22:45:00] TAPPER: Tonight, election officials in Florida working overtime recounting votes. The sunshine state is the prime battleground in a midterm election that is not yet over. Our correspondents are covering all the recounts action. First, let's go to Ryan Nobles in the state capital of Tallahassee. Ryan, what's going on right now?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you're right. They are counting the ballots tonight. But while the recount takes place on one end of this story, the other part of the story is going to take place behind me here tomorrow in federal court. And that's when the judge here, a federal judge will hear arguments about a lawsuit brought by Bill Nelson in his campaign about the signature match law here in Florida.
Now, this is just one example of a number of lawsuits filed by Nelson and the Democrats against Governor Rick Scott and the Secretary of State here, designed to open up the pool of potential votes that could be counted in this race. And that's because Democrats would like to close that margin between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott. It stands right now at just more than 12,000 votes.
And there's never been an election in American history that's flipped with that wide of a margin on Election Day and then after the recount. So this process moving ahead. They need to have that deadline met of Thursday at 3:00 p.m. to have this first stage of the recount complete. Jake, this is supposed to all be finished by November 20th, but a lot of it depends on what happens in courtrooms like this one behind me because these lawsuits could play out for some time, Jake.
[22:50:03] TAPPER: All right, Ryan, thanks. Let's go now to the recount in Broward County, Florida. CNN's Jessica Dean is there. And Jessica, I assume they're counting right now?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, your assumption would be absolutely correct, Jake. They are counting right now. And they're going to continue counting throughout the night. I am told they're 12 hours on, 12 hours off in terms of shift work. So they have people in there around the clock as they race toward that Thursday deadline that Ryan was just talking about. And also inside with all the people who are actually making sure all these ballots get counted. They have got representatives from the Democratic Party. They have got representatives from the Republican Party, who are
watching, making sure that they feel comfortable with everything that's going on in there. They also have sheriffs, deputies that are in there, making sure that everything is secure, everything is safe. Broward County of course, finding itself in the spotlight yet again, you go back to 2000 it was in the spotlight. And 2016 it was in the spotlight.
This is a place where they just have a very high number of votes that they have to count every year. It takes a long time to get through that process. There have been protesters out here throughout the weekend and into the week. Although, it's gotten a little quieter since the recount has officially begun. But Jake, again, all eyes toward Thursday. And Brenda Snipes, the supervisor here, says she's 100 percent confident they're going to make that deadline.
TAPPER: All right, Jessica Dean thanks so much. We're also following late vote counting in legal battles in the race for Georgia governor. And CNN's Kaylee Hartung has the latest on that. She's live from Atlanta, Kaylee.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Similar to Florida, a lot of moving pieces in the legal system here in Georgia, but no recount, at least not yet. Now, we know we will not have a definitive conclusion to this election before this Friday at 5:00 p.m. That's because yesterday, a federal judge ordered that the state could not certify the election results before then.
That was to allow some provisional ballots that had previously been rejected to be reviewed in good faith in the case that that voter's name couldn't initially be found in the voter registration database. Stacey Abrams, throughout her campaign worked to convince Georgians that every vote counts. And now, she is demanding that every vote be counted. While Brian (Inaudible) says he has confidence in local election officials here to do their jobs.
But Abrams, she is very unapologetically, very unapologetically using the courts and using all of her campaign resources to continue this fight. Earlier today, both campaigns had representatives in a federal court house just down the street from me here, where her campaign was asking for additional absentee ballots that had also been previously been rejected to get another look in the case, that their birthdays could be -- indeed help those voters registration identities be confirmed.
Now, as her campaign manager walked out of that courtroom, Jake, she said whether or not this all results in a runoff, to some extent it's just one point of this, recognizing that this might not end with her in the governor's office. But they are going to fight until the end -- have every vote counted.
TAPPER: All right, Kaylee Hartung thanks. So we have voting continuing, counting the votes in Georgia, recounting the votes in Florida. We also have a 10 House races that remain uncalled officially. Let's go back to Anderson. COOPER: Jake, Wolf, thanks very much. David Chalian, just in terms
of, you know, for the Democrats who are out there, who are looking to Florida, who are looking to Georgia hopefully. Try to put this in perspective in terms of what we have seen from recounts in the past.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: The Florida numbers are steep when you compare it to what you've seen in the past. There's doubt about that. I don't think we've ever seen 12,000 votes flip in a recount situation. But we should also just point out this is triggered by the law in Florida, that the margin was so close. It's an automatic recount. In three statewide races, but in the two high profile ones, the Senate and the governor's race.
In Georgia, it's all about trying to see if enough votes go elsewhere to bring Brian Kemp's number down to below 50 percent plus 1, so that it triggers a runoff. That also seems like a steep climb to me, with some 18,000 votes needed to do that at this point.
BORGER: You know I think one thing we should point out is that while there have been charges of fraud, there has been no evidence of fraud, period. People are trying to count votes. There are automatic recount rules. And while the President has warned about fraud, etcetera, nobody has shown any concrete evidence of any fraud, period.
PHILLIP: That's what's so puzzling about this whole thing. Why is the President making this basically pro forma recount into a whole conspiracy theory? It seems, as David points out, highly unlikely that you'll have tens of thousands of votes flipping in this election. So just let it happen. Let it happen. Let the process play out, and don't create a conspiracy theory around it.
[22:55:07] I think the President is in some ways, kind of putting blood in the water here for Democrats and making this more of a principle issue to force some kind of recount, to force this process to go...
SELLERS: I'm sorry to cut you off. I think for Democrats it is a principle issue. I think for Stacy and Andrew, in particular because of the fact that they engaged so many young people and so many new voters. And so it's very hard for you to say every vote counts. We need to show up. We've outperformed everybody, and now we're just going to give up.
SELLERS: And so, you know, in this just one brief note. Today in the Georgia capitol, state senator (Inaudible) Williams who actually held (Inaudible) OC got arrested because they were chanting every vote counts. And so the energy is there, and these candidates just are a vessel for that. And they have to play the course.
CARPENTER: Yeah. The two parties have two very different approaches to voting now. The GOP has been the party that constantly warns about voter fraud. The Democrats have been warning about voter suppression. I can tell you which one brings new voters to the table, but the new voters...
URBAN: Just quickly, it's just a shame in 2018 we don't have a voting system as sophisticated as our ATM.
COOPER: Election results still coming in tonight. We're keeping you on top of the votes after the break. We'll be right back.