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CNN TONIGHT

Kentucky's Election A Silhouette For Republicans; Andy Beshear Bags The Victory In Kentucky's Race; CNN Projects Dems Take Virginia House Of Delegates As Well As Senate; Interview With Sen. Corry Booker (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate About The Swing State; Governor Races Flipped By Dems Since 2016; Key Diplomat Changes Testimony And Admits Quid Pro Quo With Ukraine. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 5, 2019 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You sound pretty confident about it. Just for you guys if you're just tuning in. Secretary of State Grimes from Kentucky says they're calling the race, that they're confident that there are enough votes in right now to say that the sitting attorney general, Andy Beshear, has beaten the incumbent Governor Matt Bevin.

We have not called it. I know that will seem unusual that you've got the secretary state saying it but not us. But we have our own standards here that we have to follow here so that we don't get it wrong.

And secretary of state, I'm saying you sound confident about this in this regard. Have you had a governor's race this close? What gives you the confidence?

GRIMES: Well, in terms of watching the vote totals that have come out, we had a huge lead that came out of Fayette County, indicating a strong straight-party ticket voting.

But importantly, I think, what has propelled Attorney General Beshear to be governor-elect Beshear that will be sworn in come the end of this year is what happened in Jefferson County. The lead coming out of Louisville, the most urban area in our state, much too large for Governor Bevin to overcome in the western part of the commonwealth.

CUOMO: All right. We'll see if the prediction holds. An interesting night because you had Republican candidates replacing in the A.G. in other states in other positions, they did very well. But according to you -- and we'll see -- you may have a new governor in your state.

Thank you so much. It's such an important moment delivering us such big news. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, thank you very much.

GRIMES: Thank you, Chris. Take care.

CUOMO: All right. Be well. All right. This is big night coverage. Kentucky, you just heard that. We are not calling it at CNN, but the secretary of state of Kentucky is. Other outlets are. We have our own standards. We'll follow it through now in continuing coverage.

Also big in Virginia, Mississippi, what it means for the national picture. So right now, right now to CNN's Don Lemon on a big night.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: It is a big night. Listen, we haven't -- we haven't called it, but I mean if you have the secretary of state, the actual person who counts the votes, pretty fairly certain that she is right. An she said, she said to you there's going to be -- there could be a re-canvassing. Explain the difference between re-canvassing and a recount. What does she say again, Chris?

CUOMO: So, they don't have an automatic recount, which is where a certain margin triggers a reassessment. Recanvassing is where you go over all the totals again to see whether or not the numbers hold off. Recounting is where you go over the individual ballots from each of the counties or select counties.

The governor or maybe ex-governor, Bevin, is the one that the onus is on. He must go to court to ask for a recount, partial or full. So, re- canvass is we look at the totals from counties. Recount is what it sounds like.

LEMON: Yes. He wasn't very popular as has been said all along here on CNN. What he did with the teachers and Medicaid expansion, and his father actually passed Medicaid expansion. The governor that Bevin was very -- I should say Andy Beshear is the one who --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Andy Beshear's father was governor from 2007 to 2015.

LEMON: The one who is expected to win. Right.

CUOMO: He was big on Medicaid.

LEMON: Right. Yes. So, listen. It's interesting when you have a state that is that red as Kentucky. Used to be a swing state has John King said. And now you have a state that is, that is this red.

Are Republicans going to bank on, well, you know, he was just -- Matt Bevin was just really unpopular and that's why the Republicans lost in this state. But around the country, we have a stronghold and we won just about everything else, except in Virginia they're not doing so well as well.

CUOMO: Virginia, a very different picture, I think, in terms of the analysis there and the organizing by the DNC. They saw a window of opportunity here. I think they put more money into that state than they ever have before. That matters from an organizational perspective. That would be very historic in Virginia. They haven't controlled all three facets of the government there --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: We're projecting they're going to win at least 21 seats in the Virginia statehouse. CUOMO: Right. So, the Senate we have called. The Democrats took the

Senate in Virginia. We're waiting on the house, and of course they have the governor. To your question about what Kentucky means, you know, you got a split picture here because the other Republican candidates, the A.G. And other down the ticket, the Republican --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Chris, I've got to get to Andy Beshear. He's declaring victory. Let's go.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

LEMON: Yes. Let's go.

ANDY BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL: And here in Kentucky, we can still fight from the very top levels of government for every family, including the lost, the lonely, and the left behind.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: I haven't had an opportunity yet to speak to Governor Bevin, but my expectation is that he will honor -- he will honor the election that was held tonight, that he will help us make this transition.

[22:05:06]

And I tell you what. We will be ready for that first day in office, and I look forward to it.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: Let me say that while this was a very hard-fought election, I know elections are difficult on families. So, let's all wish this governor and his family the very best. We can do that.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: I stand here tonight grateful, grateful to the commonwealth of Kentucky and its voters. Grateful. But I got to start by thanking the people in my life who truly drive me, my family, for their love and inspiration.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: I want to thank my wife, Brittany, your next first lady.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: And let me tell you I know another first lady pretty well, and I believe Brittany is going to be one of the best that we have ever had.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: And I have to thank my two kids, Will and Lila. (APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: You all are my reason for living. Everything I do, I think about you. I love you all so much.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: I need to thank a couple parents who raised me. I want to thank my mom and dad, Jane and Steve Beshear, for their love and support, their service, their amazing service they gave to this commonwealth.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: Tonight, I want to say thank you to our union families that helped make this election happen.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: I want to thank the FOP, the Fraternal Order of Police.

(APPLAUSE)

BESHEAR: I want to thank our educators.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Well he's thanking the educators because the educators are the ones that helped propel him to this, at least perceived to be the winner there, he is declaring victory. CNN has not called it yet. The secretary of state has called it.

I want to bring in the guy who knows just about everything about politics, and that is Mr. John King. John, we find our self -- we find ourselves in an interesting position here because he is declaring victory. The secretary of state declaring victory as well. Matt Bevin, who is the current governor, is saying that he is not yet ready to concede.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And so, we will let this, we're very cautious here at CNN, Don, so we'll let the process play out, but the math is the math. As they say, the numbers don't lie. Andy Beshear, the Democrat is ahead by nearly 5,800 votes. He has 49 percent to 48.8 percent. If you round it's 49, 49, that's why we're cautious here. We will wait until everyone is done with the final math, see what the state says tomorrow.

But Andy Beshear is declaring victory because he is the leading candidate over a Republican incumbent governor in a state Matt Bevin won by 10 points four years ago and in a state that Donald Trump won by a ton in 2016, by 30 points.

And so the Democrats they have every reason to be happy and cheerful tonight. Now, some of this is about President Trump. This is not a repudiation --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hey, John, are you there?

KING: I'm here.

LEMON: CNN has called it. I just want to tell you that. CNN has called --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: CNN has now called.

LEMON: Yes. Andy Beshear is now the winner. So, go on, there you go.

KING: So now you have a Democratic governor-elect in a state that has been red, red, and red. Now, the other Republican candidates on the ballot tonight statewide are doing quite well.

So that tells you this is first and foremost voters saying good-bye to their controversial and very polarizing governor, Matt Bevin. Matt Bevin won four years ago, as I said, by ten points. He's going to lose tonight by about a point.

[22:09:59]

Again, he has the right to ask for a re-canvassing. We'll see how that plays out. We'll see if the lawyers get involve. But this is a big celebration for the Democrats and it's a big warning not just for President Trump but for all Republicans heading into 2020 that the places that used to be easy are getting hard.

Is this all about President Trump? No. But Andy Beshear, like we saw in the 2018 midterms, like we are seeing in Virginia tonight, the Democrats running it up in the suburbs, running it up in urban areas and the close-in suburbs and the Democratic votes stretching further out beyond the suburbs into ex-urban areas that used to be ruby red Republican.

Now again, this was a personal race here. Andy Beshear's dad, you're just talking about, is a former governor. So, it's complicated in Kentucky. It's not just about Trump, but it's about Republicans.

And during the Trump presidency, Don, we're seeing the flip side of what we saw in the Obama presidency. During the Obama years, Democrats lost. Republicans gained 1,000 state legislative seats. Republicans took back the Senate then they took back the House.

We have seen during the Trump presidency consistent Democratic gains. The flip side of that, if you will, and tonight is an example, again in a state the president carried by 30 points, in a state the president is more than likely to carry by a healthy margin in 2020, still a warning for Republicans that things are very different than they were just a couple years ago.

LEMON: Can you talk, you know, he thanked the educators, right?

KING: Right.

LEMON: How did Beshear make this race so tight? It was in large part, I would imagine -- correct me if I'm wrong -- because of teachers. Teachers did not like this governor because of the cuts he made with, to teachers.

KING: Some teachers didn't like this governor. Andy Beshear, we were talking about it earlier tonight, look, the main reason he won, Jefferson County over here, the largest urban area of the states and big suburbs, he ran it up there. Then you come over into the central part of the state, Lexington and the suburbs.

People, math. We talk about this all the time. There's a lot more red county-wise than blue when you look at the commonwealth of Kentucky here. But the people live in the urban areas and the close-in suburbs and Andy Beshear ran it up there.

But to your point about the teachers, and he was mentioning others and rural people, he went out. This is, this part here, look at the red there. I want to go back four years ago. It's not a ton. It's not a ton, but it's a lot more red here.

You come back now, he went out and competed in what we would now call Trump country, in rural, small counties that are becoming increasingly Republican.

So, he ran a complete race, if you will. Governor Bevin tried to nationalize it at the end, trying to make it about impeachment, trying to link Andy Beshear to the quote, unquote, "liberals in Washington." Andy Beshear said, no, this is about teachers, this is about health care, this is about Kentucky.

And again, let's not overread this. This is a very, very close race, but it's a Democratic victory in a state that has been trending more and more red.

LEMON: John King at the magic wall. John, stand by, we have a lot more to get to. We're watching some other races around the country. I want to bring in now David Chalian, Dana Bash, and David Gregory.

So here we go, another election night, and we're all together. The gang is all here. David Chalian, I'm going to start with you. You know, it's so close. Even if I don't think Bevin is going to pull it out, but if he does pull it out, you know, re-election somehow, if there's a recount or re-canvassing, I mean this is a big blow for Republicans, especially considering Trump won Kentucky by 30 points in 2016. What are your takeaways?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. There's no doubt about it. I mean, we should remind the audience, right? Andy Beshear, who is declaring himself as governor-elect here.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And the secretary of state of state as well. CHALIAN: And the secretary of state did too. Obviously, there are

some still outstanding votes to be counted. The margin is very small. Governor Bevin has already indicated a re-canvass is coming.

But Beshear on the verge of victory here, Don. Remember, his dad was governor. He was the predecessor to Bevin. So, it's not unlike Kentucky could ever have a Democratic governor.

But I think what is so important here is after Donald Trump's huge 30- point victory, you know, that is -- that is when this electorate should be on fire. Donald Trump comes at the end to try and save an unpopular Republican governor and apparently may not have been able to do that. That's where the Trump linkage comes in.

It's not that Bevin was not an unpopular governor. He was. He was behind in this race. The other Republicans on the ballot did do better. But Republicans who are going to be so eager to try to delink Donald Trump from this, there should be some concern there in doing that too quickly because what we are seeing -- what John just went through, the inroads Democrats have made in the suburbs, that is real. That is a real sign of what's happening in American politics in the Trump era. And Republicans are very aware of that.

They saw, as they went from the majority to the minority in the House, based on that Trump era trend, and that is still continuing tonight. So, if they just sort of look past this and say, it's just Bevin, Republicans may be missing an important lesson here tonight.

LEMON: I'm glad you said that. Go ahead, go ahead, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I was just going to say I just want to add to that, just like David is -- I'm getting texts and e-mails from Republicans from Kentucky to here in Washington who were focused on working on this campaign, saying that this is Bevin.

[22:15:07]

He's a terrible candidate. He's disliked. He's the most unpopular governor in the country, so on and so forth.

But I did get a very candid text as well to back up what David was just saying. Somebody who works very hard in fund-raising and strategy broadly in the Republican Party saying that this -- if Bevin does lose, it's a massive blow because the president went down there.

The vice president, fund-raisers, the Republican Governors Association, the Republican National Committee, and this person said, let's face it. A Republican president having to do rescue missions in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi means something is happening for the Republicans and Donald Trump, and it's not good.

LEMON: Well David Gregory, I want to bring you in because to their point, Republicans are going to say that this was a referendum, right, on Bevin. But the president has made this a priority. I think he's tweeted about it seven times in the month of November, and there was a rally last night, and that may not have been enough.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and the president wouldn't have gone down there if he didn't think he could make a difference. And so, he put his neck out there. Now, we know President Trump. He could come back and say, well, you know, I was misadvised or he turned out to be a loser candidate.

I think what's important I think to point out tonight, with all the caveats, is that Donald Trump was not on the ballot, but Trumpism was on the ballot. So, if Donald Trump as president is on the ballot against another national Democrat, of course Kentucky, as John King was saying, is going to look a lot different.

So, we don't want to overread these things but if you look at Jefferson County as an example, some of those suburban areas, that's an example where Trumpism, that version of the Republican Party is starting to fail, where people are looking up and saying, look, this isn't just Kentucky. This is also the majority leader of the Senate, where he represents, that there's something wrong with this version of the Republican Party.

That's what some Republicans are rejecting, and especially when he is in power, just like we saw during Obama. The opposite party gains steam. That's what I think we're seeing as the big --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But just to clarify because you and I were talking as Andy Beshear was declaring victory, when the secretary of state said, you know -- when the vote count came in from Jefferson County, which is a large urban area, it was too much to overcome, any of the suburban areas that were out, too much to overcome. Republicans are losing support in those suburban areas because of Trumpism. Am I wrong with that?

GREGORY: No. I think you're right. I think it's a sense of Republicans who think, whoa, he's just gone too far. By the way, look at Mitch McConnell. He's been very critical of him on national security.

So, there are a lot of Republicans who could say Trump has just gone too far in a lot of areas. Is that enough to overcome his core supporters who are still going to be there for him, and can he still overperform among those voters, or can the alternative, Democrat who he's against in a presidential election, can they make those same inroads? I mean, I think what Andy Beshear did.

Now, remember certain things. In Kentucky, the Affordable Care Act, they had one of the first highly functional exchanges in the country. They're very proud of that. So, you go into those rural areas where health care and some of those improvements were working well for people, they're going to, you know, be open to this message from the Democrats, especially if that's what was put on the ballot.

LEMON: Very interesting. OK. I want everyone to stand by. We have our breaking news. We're going to get back to this group in just a moment. But the Democrat, Andy Beshear, the Democrat declaring victory over

Republican Matt Bevin, who is the current governor in Kentucky's -- in Kentucky's governor's race tonight. You're looking at live pictures now. That is Andy Beshear's headquarters. Again, he is declaring victory.

Also, the secretary of state was on with Chris just moments ago, just about 20 minutes ago, and also saying that Andy Beshear is the likely winner in her state.

There may be a re-canvassing. Governor Matt Bevin has said that he is not going to concede tonight. So, we'll see, or at least at this moment. We shall see if he does it tonight.

John Kasich is here to weigh in next. We'll be right back.

[22:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, we have breaking news. It's election night. A major upset in Kentucky in the governor's race there. The Democrat, Andy Beshear, declaring victory over incumbent Republican Matt Bevin in that state that Trump won by 30 points in 2016.

The former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, is here to help us break all of this down. Governor, thank you so much. You know how tough these races can be. You've won a number of them, and you've been there.

So, listen, Beshear claiming victory over Bevin. It's huge news in a red state like Kentucky, a ruby red state really. Why do you think a Democrat was able to be so successful?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think first of all, Don, he came across as a moderate. You know, I've told you all along, center right, center left is where the country is, and I think that's what he was able to do. I mean he didn't go out -- he didn't talk about impeachment. He didn't allow Bevin to say he was some, you know, liberal Democrat. He went, and he talked about health care, which Bevin had become sort of opposed to in many ways.

He talked about education. You know, Bevin had a fight with teachers down there. He was talking about things, kind of those kitchen table issues that really matter. And there should be -- look, there's a big lesson for Republicans.

It looks as those the midterm results, which showed the suburbs and even, the areas even beyond the suburbs beginning to move away from Republicans because of the rhetoric, the negativity, the division and all that, but there's also a very big lesson for Democrats.

If you think you're going to win nationally with Medicare for all and New Green Deal and all that other stuff, you're not going to win because when you look at what happened in '18, and when you look at Beshear and even look at the races in Virginia where the Democrats have taken the state Senate, you will find those candidates running closer to the middle than on the extremes.

[22:25:00]

LEMON: So, you think -- you think the country is center right, center left?

KASICH: I do.

LEMON: You do?

KASICH: I do. There's a lot --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Even with all the rhetoric and all the division we have going on, John?

KASICH: I think, Don, we live in -- you and I, a lot of people, we live in a bubble. We hear these voices out here, whether they're on Twitter, you know, whether they're on television. We hear those voices. But most people are not know focused on the kinds of extremes.

Look, I was elected nine times to Congress in a district that wasn't overwhelmingly Republican. I pulled an upset victory when I was a young man running for the state Senate. And in my second election as governor in a state that at that point was swing for sure, I won 86 out of 88 counties, but I wasn't swinging out one way or the other. I was just trying to give people hope and give them some health care and deal with education and bring people together.

If you want to divide people, which I think -- look, I don't want to trash Bevin. It's a tough night for him. But when you work and divide people, you start losing people who exist in the middle.

I think, you know, the suburbs are a perfect example of it. It's a holdup from the '18 election, and Beshear conducted himself very carefully. You know, his father -- I know his father. His father was a very moderate governor. And so that's what people can relate to, I believe.

LEMON: Yes. So, listen, I just want to, you know the cliche and it's true, all politics is local. You know, as David Gregory told me earlier, that Trump wasn't on the ballot, but Trumpism was on the ballot down in Kentucky and in many races around the country.

I'm just wondering how much of this is what's happening in Kentucky locally. But you have to keep in mind that since Trump took office, John, Democrats have flipped governorships in Kansas, in Nevada, in New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Kentucky is likely adding to that list. I mean what message does that send to you?

KASICH: Think, Don, think about the type of candidates who are winning on the Democratic side. When I even think about central Ohio where I live, you know, they had that congressional election was so close here. It's happening because Democrats are not running to the extremes, and Republicans are having to fend off the division that Donald Trump has caused.

I mean there isn't any question he's driven young people, suburbanites away, college educated people. They don't like any of this. And while he may be doing better in rural areas, although you see that Beshear went to those rural areas. He was starting to connect a little bit.

LEMON: To almost every county, I hear.

KASICH: I mean, you know, I tell you, it takes -- well, it takes a toll when you have somebody who is dividing the country, being negative, calling names, bullying, all that kind of stuff. That, to some degree today, as I sit here today, counts far more than the issue of impeachment. It's the president's conduct but maybe not related to impeachment, particularly in Kentucky. It's a very interesting result in Kentucky.

LEMON: Yes.

KASICH: And it's a blow to Republicans, no question about it. But Beshear ran a good race, and the lessons for Democrats are, can you pick somebody who most of the country can look at and say that's reasonable?

LEMON: Listen, we don't always agree, but tonight I have to give you an amen on your wisdom. Very well said. Very well put. Thank you, John Kasich.

KASICH: All right, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: See you soon.

Here's our breaking news. The Democrat, Andy Beshear declares victory over Republican Matt Bevin down in Kentucky in the governor's race. We're going to break down the rest of tonight's races. Don't go anywhere. Next.

[22:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. Here's our breaking news this election night. Democrat Andy Beshear declares victory over Republican Matt Bevin in Kentucky's governor's race. And we've got news on the governor's race in Mississippi. So let's get right to CNN's John King. John King is at the magic wall. John, there's a nail-biter of a race tonight. So show us the map. What are the numbers in Kentucky, please?

KING: Kentucky first. Andy Beshear declaring victory there. It is a nail-biter, 5,800 votes is the margin. Andy Beshear declaring victory. Governor Bevin, the Republican incumbent saying he will not concede tonight, saying he wants to go through the process of tomorrow and raising what he says are some irregularities.

So, we'll let the lawyers and everyone else deal with this one. But by the math, Andy Beshear -- will not going to call this at CNN, at least just yet, but by the math Andy Beshear is, and the Secretary of State, a Democrat senator, she considers him to be the Democratic governor elect of the state of Kentucky.

And again, just performance if you go back in time, compared to Matt Bevin's big win five years ago, this race will be studied. Number one, Democratic turnout in the urban areas. Number two, the continued Democratic growth in the suburbs. And number three, Andy Beshear in particular went to the eastern rural parts of the state and put himself in play. When you have a 5,800-vote margin, yes, having a huge margin in Jefferson County, in Louisville, look how big that is, nearly a 100,000 votes.

Yes, that is the backbone of your support. But if it's as close as 5,800, guess what? You're also grateful even though you didn't win by as much out here, you went out and competed and did way much better than the Democratic candidate did four years ago. So Kentucky looks like it will go Democratic. We'll let the arguing go on for a few more days, more likely, see when the lawyers get involved.

The other race tonight for governor is down here in Mississippi. Democrats thought they had a shot for two stunning upsets tonight, 63 percent of the vote in. It does not look that way. The state of Mississippi, the Republican Lieutenant Governor, Tate Reeves is leading over the Democratic State Attorney General, Jim Hood.

You watch the map fill in. There's nothing extraordinary about this except here's the one point I will make. It does look like the Republican is on a path to victory here tonight in the state of Mississippi. It's a red state, it will stay red. Juts if you're trying to read the tea leaves about the election climate out there, no shock, right, that Mississippi appears likely to elect a Republican governor.

[22:35:09]

I just want to go back in time. The last Republican governor won by 30 points. If Tate Reeves holds on tonight, it's somewhere in the ballpark of a 10-point margin. So, again, a red state likely to stay red. But if you're a Republican from a red state, you thought red district, you thought you should be able to go home and run for re- election and just phone it in. Think again.

LEMON: Mr. John King. Thank you, sir. I appreciate that.

Also the news that CNN can project that Democrats will take the Virginia House of Delegates as well as the Senate. Let's discuss now. Back with me, David Chalian, Dana Bash, and David Gregory. So, Mr. Chalian, you first. Let's talk about the race in Virginia. Democrats won the state Senate there. The House of Delegates as well. Democrats poured a lot of money into the state legislature races.

CHALIAN: They did. We saw a slew of 2020 Democratic candidates go through Virginia and lend some support there. Barack Obama tweeting his support. This was a Democratic focus point for this election season. And we should note, this is the first time that Democrats will control the governor's mansion and both parts of the state legislature for complete Democratic control in the commonwealth of Virginia for the first time in a generation, Don. Why is that so important politically? Because there's a census coming

up and there are new Congressional districts to be drawn, new state legislative districts to be drawn in 2021. And the Democrats are going to be in complete control of that process. Remember in the Obama era, we saw Republicans win statehouse after statehouse and then drew maps that really helped them extend those victories. That's what Democrats are trying to build back here in the Trump era, and Virginia is ground zero for it.

LEMON: David Gregory, why does this race -- some views why this race matters?

GREGORY: Are we talking about Kentucky or talking about Virginia?

LEMON: Virginia.

GREGORY: Yes, well, I mean, I think, it's -- we're looking at a lot of these districts around a state like Virginia which is trended to be a Democratic state and congressional -- rather in presidential races. But if you look at a lot of these districts, it gets harder and harder for Republicans in the Trump era to go back and win re-election. And it's because in a lot of these suburban areas that are more typically Republican areas, you have people who are fed up with Trump or the Trump version of the Republican Party, Trumpism.

LEMON: You think John Kasich is right, that it's easier for Democrats to put someone on the ballot who is more moderate, because -- and it's tougher because Republicans are trying to fight off Trumpism. They are trying to -- they've got to run up against Trumpism.

GREGORY: Right. Yes. But I think there's a couple things going on at once, and we're going to need more time to figure it out. There is the toxicity and the polarization in the country, and so turnout matters. So we see that in Kentucky where in urban areas, you get high Democratic turnout.

LEMON: Right.

GREGORY: They're against Trump. They're against the Trump brand of Republicanism. The other piece of it is, look at a state like Kentucky where health care is a big issue. The history of health care, a successful health care system with the exchange under the Affordable Care Act. That's what Democrats ran on so successfully in 2018 and won back a lot of these suburban districts.

You know, the toxicity in American politics that we talk about day in and day out, a lot of people simply don't have time for it. What they do have time for if they're trying to figure out whether their prescription medication is going to be covered under their insurance that they can understand. That's the pain that they're feeling. A politician who can speak to that pain is going to get results.

LEMON: Dana, is Virginia going to be a swing state next November in the presidential election?

BASH: It sure doesn't look that way. That was the other thing that I was thinking about. Really until the end of 2016, it looked like a swing state. And then the president kind of -- the now president's campaign sort of said, OK, that's not happening. It's hard to imagine that he's going to really play there at all. I might be surprised, and maybe they will because they have a lot of money in the Trump campaign.

But this is another sign that Virginia, which was a big surprise when President Obama won it, has gone way blue. As we're talking about tonight, the governor's mansion, both parts of the legislature, but also, that was also, to use David's term, ground zero for the wave that we saw in 2018 for the suburbs, for the Democrats to take back the suburbs.

We saw that in really big waves, not only in northern Virginia near where we are in Washington, but around Richmond and so forth. So it could take Virginia off the map. It wasn't really clear that it was going to be very intense, but, you know, it makes it, I think, pretty set.

LEMON: Yes.

GREGORY: Can I just say one of the things that I think is so important to throw into the mix here, we are still in this off-year cycle where you can say, hey, I don't like how things are going? I don't like the Republican brand, or I may not like Trump. It's still such a different proposition to say, it's Trump versus someone else.

[22:40:05]

LEMON: Right.

GREGORY: And I'm going to make that call between the two of them, because people who might be willing to reject the Republican governor, because they don't like him may say, well, I don't like that Democrat. I may just stick with Trump whether I like him or not.

CHALIAN: Which is why -- sorry.

LEMON: Could we put the four shots back up? I've got to run, David. But look at that, you got the Dana and the two Davids, a rose between two thorns.

BASH: What are you in that mix, Don Lemon?

LEMON: Well, I mean, you got Dana, David, Don, and you know, there you go, all D's. Just another D. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.

Tonight is a big night for elections and it's got a lot of people looking ahead to one year from now. I'm going to talk about the 2020 presidential race, and I'm going to talk with the 2020 presidential candidate, Senator Cory Booker, on the other side of this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Here's our breaking news tonight. Democrat Andy Beshear declares victory over Republican Matt Bevin in the ruby red state of Kentucky, a key race as we are one year out from the biggest election in our lifetimes. So joining me now to discuss is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, also a presidential candidate. Thank you, sir. Thanks for joining us.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be here.

LEMON: Are you holding up? Can we get you some water?

BOOKER: Yeah. Please.

LEMON: We'll grab you some water.

BOOKER: Thank you. I'm just so speechless.

LEMON: I'll give you a long question so you can recover.

BOOKER: Thank you, I can recover.

LEMON: Listen, this marks the ninth state that Democrats have flipped. You know, we haven't called it, but they're calling it there -- since Trump took office. Democrats now hold governorships, have flipped them in Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and Kentucky could be the next one. What do you think is this a blue wave? What do you think this means for 2020?

BOOKER: Well, I don't want to overstate it. This was an unpopular governor in Kentucky, but the Democrats, they ran a great race with an extraordinary candidate and Donald Trump put a lot of his energy. He was down there. He was trying to push, and he came up short. I just think that this brand of politics as Trump, may work for a segment of a base, but you're seeing this from Virginia to Kentucky tonight. People rejecting this type of politics.

LEMON: I'm glad you said that because CNN is projecting Democrats are going to flip the chambers -- both chambers, the Virginia legislature and also taking control of the state Senate and the House of Delegates. Is Virginia now a blue state?

[22:45:03]

BOOKER: Look, I'm going to tell you right now, we're going to see Virginia now is shifting dramatically. It has been consistently in the era of Trump. But I'm telling you right now don't give up, Arizona is shifting. North Carolina, you see incredible changes there in the last cycle. This is a president that is pushing more and more areas, suburbs, cities, southern states more and more to the Democratic column.

LEMON: And so you can bring that water in. What is the lesson here? There you go. Cheers.

BOOKER: Thank you very much.

LEMON: Thanks, Kevin. What is the lesson here, you think, for Democrats? John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, was on earlier and said listen, I think this is a lesson for Democrats that they need to run more moderate candidates. When they run moderate candidates they win, because the country is center right, center left. Do you agree with that?

BOOKER: Well, first of all, I think the lesson is to fight, cede no ground. Run a 50 states strategy. Put up candidates. We can win. And I sincerely do not believe that we should ever again in the Democratic Party give up on states, give up on areas.

And then number two, yeah, you've got to have candidates that fit the electorate. And New Jersey, we showed that. You know, we have people like Mikey Sherrill, who is extraordinary former combat pilot. She flipped a seat in our state. There's Malinowski.

There's Lee, there's Josh Gottheimer. These are all people that are more moderate Dems who have picked up seats that used to belong to Republicans. So, absolutely. We are a big ted party, we can have people that are progressive and people that are moderate. And I think that the nominee for 2020 better be a candidate that can speak to all of the Democratic Party.

LEMON: Is that you?

BOOKER: You know, you got me on your show.

LEMON: This is your opportunity. You're not saying that candidate is me.

BOOKER: Go to corybooker.com tonight and endorse.

LEMON: In a piece in essence magazine, here's what you write, you said, what we need to understand right now as a Party is that every successful struggle for justice in America, not to mention every winning Democratic coalition in modern times has concluded the active participation and engagement of black people.

In particular, they have included black women, who in recent elections have been engaged more and vote at higher rates than the national average. CNN's exit polling for 2018 midterms confirms that, showing that, black women voted Democratic at a rate of 92 percent. A new poll upholds the Democratic primary race finds that former Vice President Joe Biden leading the pack at 28 percent. You're significantly behind that. What's your plan to get some more substantial momentum?

BOOKER: Well, remember at this point in 2007, Barack Obama was behind in African-American voters to Hillary Clinton, 21 points behind her national elections. It's just too early. But I will tell you this. The person on this ballot, in the Democratic primary, who has shown unequivocally their ability not just to get the percentage of the African-American vote, like any Democrat that is going to run. I hope will get that percentage. But the key is to expand the base.

Remember it was almost exactly six years ago, 2013, Chris Christie set the Senate election in New Jersey for a Wednesday in October. My race was on a Wednesday. His was on the regular Election Day in November three weeks later. The black turnout in New Jersey when I was running alone on a ballot was over 13 percent. On a normal election with elections up and down the ballot, it fell down to around 9 percent. So I know I can command not just the percentage of the African-American vote but expand the numbers of that turnout.

LEMON: SO, quickly if you can, because I have to get to the break. You know, we got to do those --

BOOKER: You've got to pay the bills.

LEMON: We got to pay the bills.

BOOKER: And so do I. Go to corybooker.com.

LEMON: Mayor Pete Buttigieg has said that this race is likely between him and Senator Elizabeth Warren. What do you say there?

BOOKER: I say I'm not focusing on the things that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is saying. There's a lot of supporters. In fact, we are leading him and others for endorsements in Iowa from elected officials. I'm excited about this race. We're in it. It's too early to tell what's going to happen, 80 percent of voters haven't made up their mind yet.

LEMON: Thank you. I'm glad that you get so choked up about being on the show.

BOOKER: It's very emotional to be with you here tonight.

LEMON: Thank you, sir.

BOOKER: I'm so excited about the Democratic win. I'm on the (inaudible).

LEMON: I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

(LAUGHTER)

BOOKER: All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:50:00]

LEMON: We'll get back to the election, but we are going to get the latest on the impeachment inquiry now. Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union revising his testimony to Congress admitting to a quid pro quo between the U.S. and Ukraine. American military aid in exchange for an investigation of Joe Biden.

Let's bring in Laura Coates and Michael Isikoff. Good evening to both of you. Laura, President Trump's ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland is now admitting he realized that Trump wanted a quid pro quo all of a sudden now he remembers this? What's going on?

LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: That's quite an epiphany and an end to the amnesia, isn't not? But it also indicates to everyone, this is the reason why you have closed-door testimony, Don. You don't want witnesses to be able to get their story straight. You want them to remember the facts.

And the second that everyone else was corroborating each other and that they had that conversation about the quid pro quo, you see that he was able to change his story. And frankly, you want that to happen. You want them to be able to have the realization. No matter how disingenuous it maybe, because it actually helps to further the evidentiary basis to go forward the inquiry.

LEMON: Michael, listen. Bill Taylor testified about multiple occasions he spoke about elements of quid pro quo with Sondland. So, are we really supposed to believe -- look at them, they're all up there on the screen for our viewers. That Sondland didn't know of a quid pro quo until September 1st?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATION CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: No. And actually, first of all you have Sondland admitting that he basically in September, in Warsaw tells Zelensky aide that the suspension of military aid is not going to get lifted unless you make the kind of statement the president's wants.

But, you know, Taylor is really interesting here. Because describe -- he is asked about the phone call. The perfect phone call that the president had with Zelensky and when he reads the transcript he says, he is surprised. He's troubled by it. That it's wrong to bring up these issues that of the domestic politics when you're trying to advance U.S. national security interest.

[22:55:00]

Now, you know, this is -- you know, with this testimony today, the defense that the president and House Republicans have made has all but collapsed. That there was nothing wrong with the phone call. That there was no quid pro quo. That there was no connection between the military aide and the -- and what the president was asking for. They have to go to another defense. And it's going to be it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. But the core facts are now pretty clear.

LEMON: Yes. Michael, Laura, thank you very much. I appreciate that. The Democratic candidate declaring victory in the Kentucky governor's race. John King is the latest at the magic wall. He's next.

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