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At This Hour

U.S. House and Senate Balance Too Close to Call; Democrats Hold Small but Shrinking Lead in Arizona; Biden: "Good Day for Democracy"; CNN Calls CT-5 for Democrat Jahana Hayes. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 10, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. AT THIS HOUR, control of Congress remains in limbo. We are watching closely the key races where votes are still being counted. Let's take a look at the balance of power as it stands.

Right now, Democrats still have, at this moment, 48 seats. That is that one pickup they got in Pennsylvania. Republicans have 49, three races still undecided, including in Arizona, where Democratic senator Mark Kelly, he is holding a slight lead over Republican Blake Masters.

In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is holding a narrow lead over the Democratic incumbent, senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

And the Senate race in Georgia is headed for a runoff again. So Republicans in this moment are edging closer to winning the House but that is definitely not decided AT THIS HOUR. McCarthy already making moves to secure his potential next post as Speaker of the House.

And President Biden, he is celebrating the midterm results today, the red wave that never materialized. We have reporters in all of the key locations across the country with the latest updates. Let's begin with John Berman on the races still too close to call.

Where does it stand right now?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Georgia is headed to a runoff and you have these two remaining races in Nevada and Arizona. If one party wins both races, it will give them control of the Senate no matter what happens in Georgia.

So let's look at what's gone on over the last 12 hours in each place. The incumbent Adam Laxalt has a 15,000-vote lead over Catherine Cortez Masto. His lead actually shrunk overnight. He had been ahead by about 23,000.


Because in Washoe County, Reno, there were 20,000 mail votes that were counted last night and processed. And Masto won that significantly with 61 percent of the vote. There were also ballots processed down here in Clark County, the most populous county in the state.

And in this batch of about 14,000 votes, she netted 14,000 right there. Sorry, 14,000 votes counted and she won 65 percent. And that is how she was able to cut into the lead that had been held by Blake Masters.

Now how much of the vote is left in Nevada?

We don't know for sure.


Because mail-in ballots can arrive until Saturday. And they will be counted as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday. But you see estimates ranging as high as 160,000. It could be as low as 120,000.

If Cortez Masto continues to win the mail-in votes at that clip, she could overtake Laxalt. Here in Arizona quickly, Mark Kelly leading by 95,000 votes. He grew his lead overnight as ballots were processed in Pima County right here, also in Maricopa County.

What you need to know about Arizona, there are a lot of votes left to count, 560,000 votes left to count and we don't know which way they will skew necessarily. Two years ago, Donald Trump did well with the late arriving mail vote. And we're trying to get a better sense of exactly which vote remains, Kate.

BOLDUAN: 560,000 votes still to be counted, that also means patience is still required for everyone, as we're now going into extra innings. Let's get the latest from Arizona on the ground, where election officials, they've got hundreds of thousands of ballots they still need to count. Sara Sidner in Phoenix at this hour.

What's happening now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It feels like "Groundhog Day." We are back in the same spot we've been in for hours and hours and hours with very similar numbers. You just heard John tell you, 560,000 votes still left to count in the state.

The bulk of those votes, 400,000 to 410,000 votes still need to be counted here and they're from Maricopa County. Now Maricopa County is the most populous county so that makes sense.


SIDNER: But you should know in this county, about 85 percent of people vote early so what you are seeing are some of those mail-in votes that people walked in. They got their envelopes from the mail. They filled everything out and then those come into this tabulation center.

And they have to unsheathe them. They have to check and verify that the signatures are correct and match. And that's why this process takes a little bit longer. In about a few minutes, the county will begin, again here in Maricopa County. And we'll start getting some number but we will not be hearing about

the new numbers until this evening our time and your time. Everyone is waiting to see. But what we are seeing from the latest vote drop that came here is that the races are getting even tighter.

So tighter and tighter, which means we'll be here longer and longer before we know who the winners are.

BOLDUAN: Sara, thank you very much for being there.

In Nevada, election officials also working through the vote count. Tens of thousands of outstanding ballots there. The Senate and governor's races, they both hang in the balance in that great state. Rosa Flores is there.

Rosa, what are you hearing there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, here it's just a nail biter. That's all you have to hear. The races were tight yesterday. Well, buckle up because they're even tighter today.

In the race for the U.S. Senate here in Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is in the lead by less than 3 percent and his margin shrunk overnight. And it was -- of the ballots that came in, they were in favor of the Democrat incumbent, Catherine Cortez Masto.

Of course, there's still tens of thousands of ballots remaining. In the governor's race, Republican Joe Lombardo is ahead by a 1 percent margin. That's why these candidates hanging on every ballot out there.

If you're wondering why are there so many tens of thousands and, quite frankly, officials say they don't know exactly how many ballots are out there in Nevada, that's because in 2020, Nevada went to universal mail ballots.

That means that everybody in Nevada that's a registered voter, all 1.8 million of them, received a ballot in the mail. So long as they postmark that on Election Day, it can be counted until Saturday.

And here in Clark County alone, Kate, there are nearly 80,000 ballots out there. Just to give you an idea as to where these are in the process, 12,700 were picked up on Wednesday at U.S. Postal Service; 300 drop boxes were not counted on Election Day. They were transported here to this building, secured by the police.

Therefore more than 56,000 ballots, those are being processed. The tallies are not represented in the totals yet. And then there's another 5,000 that are yet to be cured and another 5,000 that are provisional ballots.

And so Kate, again, this is a nail biter race. The margins are razor thin and that's why these candidates are hanging on to every ballot. And we're still in a waiting game because it just depends on how many ballots come into the mail. Those all need to be processed and counted.

As long as they come in on Saturday, they can be counted here in Nevada.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.

Let's go to Georgia now. Voters could once again there have the final say on which party controls the Senate. The race between Democratic senator, Raphael Warnock, and Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, is heading to a runoff which will take place next month. Eva McKend is live in Atlanta for us. She's got much more on this.

This race now kicks back into high gear.

What's it looking like there today?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: It sure does. No days off for Walker or Warnock. Walker will be joined later by Ted Cruz. And in just about two hours here in Atlanta, Warnock will hold a news conference.

This comes as money is pouring into this state. The Democratic senatorial campaign committee, a critical fund raising operation for Senate Democrats, they have pledged to spend $7 million.

If you're wondering where is all that money going, it is going to field organizing. That's the all-important ground game, direct voter contact programs. Walker getting a boost, too, from the Susan B. Anthony pro-life America group who has pledged at least for now, $1 million.

We're also learning from the secretary of state's office that early voting could begin as soon as November 26th. That is just two days after Thanksgiving. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Here we go again. Great to see you.

So President Biden, he is waking up happy today, bolstered by the midterm results and the red wave that did not materialize.


BOLDUAN: Declaring that the election, declaring the election a good day for democracy, though his presidency is possibly likely now entering a much more challenging time of divided government. MJ Lee is at the White House this hour.

So what now?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What now is the president needs to keep waiting to see what happens. But regardless, he said yesterday, what happens to control of Congress, he said he is largely going to stay the course.

When asked what he would do differently the next two years, he said nothing because he thinks voters are just starting to find out what we have been doing. He did however acknowledge in a big way that people across the country are still very frustrated about the state of the economy. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are. The states across the country saw a record voter turnout. The voters were also clear.

They're still frustrated. I get it. I understand it's been a really tough few years in this country for so many people.


LEE: And just looking ahead, Kate, you know that, tonight, the president leaves to go abroad in part to attend the G20 summit in Indonesia.

And yesterday we heard him saying foreign leaders are often asking him these days, what is going on in the U.S."

Are things going to be OK?

He said the best way to reassure these foreign leaders is to tell them if Donald Trump plans to run again, make sure that he doesn't get elected to a second term. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you, thank you.

House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, he's launching his bid to secure the Speaker's gavel if Republicans win the majority, of course. And he is already facing opposition from inside his caucus. Melanie Zanona is tracking this for us.

What's happening with this maneuvering today?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes there is a group of far right Republicans aligned with Trump who see an opportunity. They want to extract concessions out of McCarthy in exchange for the Speaker.

They want more representation on committees and more power over the floor. This group is meeting right now. It's their new member orientation near Capitol Hill. I was just over there.

And I asked a member heading into the meeting, are you going to support Kevin McCarthy for speaker?

And this member said we're working on it. So their strategy is going to be a big topic of discussion today. But meanwhile, McCarthy is making moves of his own. I'm told he has been working the phones since yesterday, calling members, asking for their support, arguing he's on the verge of helping them deliver these majorities.

He's also been talking to potential holdouts and critics, hearing them out, listening to their demands, seeing if there's anywhere they can find common ground. His allies say he's very much in listening mode.

But he's also wary of giving in to some of these more hardline demands, especially some that could kneecap the Speakership. But it's going to be a messy process for him and he might have no choice but to give in to some of those demands.

BOLDUAN: We could learn soon and quickly what that looks like.

So right now, we are waiting for more results to come in in several key races. Control of Congress as we were just talking about and will continue to discuss, it's hanging in the balance.

What could come next?

What are the patterns these next votes could reveal?

That is next.





BOLDUAN: We have a CNN projection. Take a look right here. In the House, Democratic congresswoman Jahana Hayes has just defeated Republican George Logan. This is a hold for Democrats. Let's take a look at what the numbers mean for the balance of power.

Right now, you see the Democrats pick up one more seat, which is 192 Democrats in the House of Representatives; 209 Republicans; the threshold, of course, remaining to gain control of the House of Representatives at 218.

Joining me now, Audie Cornish, host of the new CNN podcast, "THE ASSIGNMENT," which launches next week.

Congratulations on that. Audie.

Also Kirsten Powers, Scott Jennings and John Berman back here with us.

John, let's talk about CT-5.

BERMAN: This is in Connecticut in the western part, west of Hartford, beautiful country I might add. Jahana Hayes winning right now with 50.4 percent of the vote, George Logan with 49.6. This is a hugely Democratic district. This is a D plus 10 district but was rated as a tossup heading into Election Day.

This is a district that Republicans were kind of salivating over, the weeks leading into Tuesday because they thought, hey, we have a chance to pick up some heavily, heavily Democratic seats. But Hayes able to squeak it out.

This means for now, New England, all blue. Every member of the congressional delegation so far Democratic. We're waiting on one seat here. This is the main first congressional district right here, where Jared Gold, the incumbent is running.

If he gets over 50 percent of the vote, he wins outright. Otherwise, they do rank choice but he's looking good as of now. So you can have an entirely blue New England delegation. And this puts Democrats closer to the possibility of maybe maintaining the House. They're at 192. They would need what, 26 more seats?


BERMAN: Republicans only need eight. You can see right now Democrats are leading in 23 of the 26 they would need. Not impossible, maybe not likely though.

BOLDUAN: It's truly a just hold on, let's see exactly how each one of these races ends because a lot of expectations being defied.

Scott, Republicans were kind of salivating on this one. D plus 10 then a tossup and now this.

What pattern does this fit, if any?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What's remarkable is just how many of these House races got right up to the line for Republicans, got within a whisker and couldn't close the deal.

It's apparent, in most of these places, it was independent voters that Republican strategists had expected to just side against the party in power, who decided in many cases to stick with Biden, despite misgivings about him, his plans and whether it was actually helping the country.

They stuck with it for some reason and a lot of people like me today are thinking Trump might be the problem. I'm sure there are many explanations.

BOLDUAN: One thing to explore. So then as we were looking at the -- I think we just need to take it day by day, Audie, at this point.

As we're looking at the day ahead, what do you think today, as we like just made this projection, what else could today bring?

What are you looking at?

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm in the same probably psychological place you are, which means lots of refreshing of feeds, lots of double checking up on recount laws.

For example, in Nevada, there's no particular number of threshold for a recall. A losing candidate can just ask for one.

Another thing I'm looking at is whether or not Republicans, if and when they reach a majority, who's in it?

And which part of the party's wing will be strengthened by its newest members? And then lastly, Scott sort of alluded to it, but the hand wringing that's going to happen about Trump. You know, there was so much hand wringing on the Democratic side about Biden. He took a step back and let each candidate run their race, which probably turned out to be a good thing.

Because then the candidate quality issue that had come up earlier in the year for Republicans really was underscored and could be defined for voters. I'm interested to hear what that dialogue will be in public and what we hear kind of whispers from behind closed doors.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So as we await more -- and it can come at any moment -- I want to take a look at what has happened and what can be learned from it. I just got back from Pennsylvania. That was, you know, the Senate race and the governor's race but specifically the Senate race. Everyone watching so closely.

The "Philadelphia Inquirer" pointed this out, that Fetterman had a higher percentage of the vote for his race than Joe Biden did in the 2020 presidential election in 61 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

John, what do you see?

What have we learned even since this has been projected and called in that Senate race?

BERMAN: First of all, one thing I want to point out is John Fetterman now leads by more than 4 percent. The morning after the election, which was, what, yesterday, I've lost count. His lead is growing in Pennsylvania.

I want to show you what you just mentioned there, where the Democrat outperforms Joe Biden, where Fetterman has outperformed Joe Biden is everywhere, everywhere pretty much in the state.

Fetterman, if you compare it to the baseline of Joe Biden barely winning two years ago, he's doing better. And there's really just no other way to say it. And in some places, a lot better. You see all the red counties here. You can see the margin Joe Biden lost by 44 percent.

Fetterman down by 40. That 4 percent matters there. Here, Donald Trump won by 51 percent. The margin here is 48. That 3 percent matters here. So you can see, generally speaking, Fetterman did better than I think anyone expected.

BOLDUAN: So some are suggesting that Pennsylvania, you know, a premier battleground always, is kind of a becoming a blue, slightly bluer shade of purple today.

What do you see, Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, maybe. We'll see. I think this is a really extraordinary election. It wasn't just Fetterman who was outperforming Biden. It's happening everywhere. I think that's one of the reasons, separate from people trusting the

polls, but also I think a lot of people who are expecting things to go badly for Democrats were looking at the fact it's pretty unusual for that to happen. It's not typical that you will wildly outperform the president.

And the president's numbers are underwater and he's not very popular. So this is highly unusual what is happening, just cannot stress that enough. The fact that there is still a possibility that the Democrats could control the Senate and could maybe even control the House is -- it's just incredible.

So I think it is a time for Republicans to take a step back and ask, where did we go wrong?


POWERS: And you know, Scott has said that a lot of Republicans are saying they think it's Trump. I would suggest that perhaps they've gone too far on abortion and also not really offering a plan, you know, criticizing the Democrats a lot but not necessarily saying what they would do differently around inflation.

Then finally, the issue of democracy and that does tie in with Trump. But we have also seen in the past where, right after an election, we'll see Republicans being critical of Trump but then, you know, give it a little time and, suddenly, they're rallying back around him and believing he's not the problem.

So I think there's a lot of things to watch over the coming days.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Guys, stick with me. Much more to discuss in the coming moments ahead. Programming note for all of you: former vice president Mike Pence, he will be joining Jake Tapper for a live CNN town hall. That's next Wednesday at 9:00 pm Eastern.

So inflation is cooling more than expected. Wall Street loving that news. Markets way up in this moment. Details on that new inflation report, next.