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Don Lemon Tonight
David McCormick And Mehmet Oz In Tight Race, Kathy Barnette Trails In Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary; Race For Pennsylvania GOP Senate Nomination Neck And Neck Between Dave McCormick And Dr. Mehmet Oz; CNN Projects John Fetterman Wins Pennsylvania Democratic Senate Primary. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 18, 2022 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone and welcome there. You see we're all here. The big panel of experts, the Dream Team joining me here in New York. I'm Don Lemon.
We have breaking news on this Election Night in America. Results are coming in on a big night, a big primaries in five states as a matter of fact, plenty of election drama.
So, make sure you fasten your seat belts, some of the hottest races, Pennsylvania of course, in that Commonwealth, the Senate GOP primary hedge fund guy Dave McCormick and Trump endorsed T.V. Dr. Mehmet Oz locked in a tighter than tight battle if you can see -- look at that. Just 2,600 votes apart.
The Trumpist candidate really not endorsed by him. Kathy Barnette trailing despite what at one point looked like a late surge and people were concerned, folks in the race that she might actually win or could win.
CNN projects Doug Mastriano, a champion of the bogus big lie of election fraud in 2020 has won the GOP governors primary there.
And talk about high drama as CNN projects John Fetterman wins Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary. He is exactly where he didn't expect to be right now.
Though, watching from his hospital bed. He's recovering from surgery to get a pacemaker today after he suffered a stroke on Friday.
And then, there is North Carolina, that's where Madison Cawthorn has conceded to Chuck Edwards, 26 -year-old Cawthorn conceding after multiple scandals, everything from bringing a loaded handgun through a TSA checkpoint, to accusing his own GOP colleagues of using cocaine and inviting him to an orgy. There's a lot that happened there. We're going to discuss that. (INAUDIBLE). Crazy, right?
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: That was a lot, right?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That was a lot.
LEMON: You don't want to talk. All right, let's talk about what's happening in Oregon because the polls are closing in Idaho and Oregon. And they are counting the ballots and races including one testing the former president's power and one that will be the test of President Joe Biden's endorsement power. We're going to bring you all those results as soon as they come in.
So, here with me, Charlie Dent, can I say Bakari Sellers out because you say don't get here. Alice Stewart and Mark Preston. But seriously, though, it's good to have you here. This is an amazing and unusual evening. We're going to speak to all of you. But I want to get now to where it's happening on the ground.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny is at Oz's campaign headquarters in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and Kristen Holmes with McCormick campaign in Pittsburgh. Hello to both of you. Good evening -- good morning. It's good to see you.
I'm going to start with you, Kristen, because this race is as tight as it gets. We have -- we just heard from David McCormick, what is he saying tonight? I see you looking over your shoulders, something's going on.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was just seeing who was left here, they basically cleared out the entire area. McCormick coming out and telling everyone to go home. That the race was not going to be called today, that there were tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that still needed to be counted.
One adviser telling me they believe it's roughly 80,000 ballots that still need to be counted. Of course, that's yet to be seen.
I will tell you that advisors still feel very optimistic about the way the map is trending, they say that they believe they are over performing in areas, they thought Oz was going to do better. The areas that they're doing well, and they expected to do well and the areas that Oz is actually doing very well.
And they also anticipated that, so they like the way this map is trending, they are specifically looking at counties outside of Philadelphia, including Delaware County, as well as votes coming in in Bucks County and Lancaster County.
Now, that's going to be interesting, because there are roughly around 7,000 to 8,000 votes there that they're going to have to hand count due to a clerical error.
So, all of this might take quite a while. So, that's exactly what David McCormick said tonight, but again, he's saying he feels very, very good about it, as are his advisors as they cleared out this room tonight, Don. LEMON: All right. Listen, I want to get now to Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, from Kristen to you. It's only 2,600 votes between McCormick and Oz right now, but he still believes that he can pull it off, can he? What are they thinking?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Without question. I mean, John, this is absolutely -- it's more than too close to call. The vote simply have not all been counted yet. So, we are going to have to take a collective deep breath and Election Day is going to turn into a second day, perhaps, an election week.
ZELENY: This is something that happens in close elections. So, Dr. Mehmet Oz addressed his supporters behind me just a short time ago. There are still a few of them milling around here.
He's also predicted victory. He thanked former President Donald Trump, whose endorsement of course helped pull him toward the finish line. We'll see if it pulls him across the finish line. But he said this will not be settled this evening. It will be settled in the coming hours, perhaps days.
So Don, this is what is happening at this hour. We are in Newtown, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County. And as Kristen was just saying, this is one of the many places where there are a lot of votes yet to be counted. This is a strong area for Dr. Oz, but also David McCormick performed pretty strongly as well.
And one thing that will be a distinction to keep an eye on going forward, early votes versus Election Day voting, the McCormick campaign had more of an early vote strategy. They did well on early votes, at least anecdotally, and if there are more early votes to be counted, that could benefit them.
However, Dr. Oz throughout the course of the evening, really ticked off some pretty impressive victories in Trump country, if you will. The area between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh winning some counties along the border with West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland.
So, this is a campaign that is ending as it began, and it has, you know, traveled throughout these many expensive, vicious months here, a battle between Dr. Oz and David McCormick.
But even though Kathy Barnette is no longer in the running, her performance in many of these counties is going to be key as well. Did she fall off in recent days when there became more scrutiny of her candidacy? That could impact the race for both of those gentlemen as well.
So Don, this is going to continue tomorrow. And perhaps after that, we will just have to be patient and see how these votes are counted.
LEMON: You're right, and Trump supporters really hitting Kathy Barnette hard over the last a couple of days. You saw it on conservative media. Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll check back in with you. I want
to get now to the man of the moment right now. He can give us the breakdown on all of this.
John Avlon is at the magic wall for us. John, (INAUDIBLE) Mehmet Oz is hopeful. He believes he can pull it off, can he?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He sure can. I mean, look, this thing is tight as a tick. Take a look at this, 2600 votes, we're still at 86 percent. And you've got votes outstanding all over the place. But if you want evidence that Kathy Barnette could be acting as a spoiler for Oz after the Trump endorsement. Take a look at places where Kathy Barnette is in first place like Montgomery County.
Now, this is her home county, it's the third largest county in Pennsylvania, Oz is in second place. So, you see that there's evidence that they're eating into each other's bases.
And if you add those two numbers up, of course McCormick is in a distant third, but McCormick may have been able to come through the middle. Take a look at where he's rising, which is surprising, rural counties, right.
Traditionally, rural counties are the heart of Trump country, especially in a state like Pennsylvania. McCormick outperforming in a lot of these rural counties.
Also something interesting to take a look at, this is coal country. Now, Dr. Oz is performing particularly well in coal country.
However, McCormick is doing pretty well in suburban counties. And also, this base of Pittsburgh where he grew up. So, you see McCormick has a lot of room to grow in some of the bigger counties in the state, but it's pretty clear that Barnette eating (PH) to Oz and that's got to be driving the Trump folks crazy tonight.
LEMON: Yes, listen, that was my one of my first stations that I worked at in Philadelphia and we used to cover all these elections. You never know in Pennsylvania, it goes blue, red, blue, red, so you never know what's going to happen.
If not for Barnette, where would Mehmet Oz be right now, do you think?
AVLON: You got to say again, for reasons I just showed that Kathy Barnette has taken away from Oz is a total. If Kathie Barnette hadn't been eating Oz's total, you'd guess he'd be in pole position tonight.
I want to contrast also just how tight this race is. I mean, we could be heading to recount territory with for example, what happened in the governor's race where the governor's race tonight Mastriano basically sweeps except for coal country. This is a decisive win.
And then, the Democratic side where some folks thought there'd be a competitive race between Conor Lamb and John Fetterman, Fetterman sweeps the state.
LEMON: What happened to Conor Lamb?
AVLON: You know, this is one of the fascinating story.
LEMON: They thought he was you know --
AVLON: He was sort of the anointed one, a centrist candidate taylor major winner general election as swing state people thought. Fetterman big personality lieutenant governor just took all the momentum, not a lot of enthusiasm behind Conor Lamb tonight. Fetterman winning this from a hospital bed.
LEMON: Right and Kenyatta did well in what? In Philadelphia or?
AVLON: Philadelphia. I mean, you know, that's what you got to look at. It's still though Fetterman territory, you know, but he got 53,000 votes there.
So, really the story tonight the thing to watch, the thing that country and possibly control of the Senate holding on to is this Senate.
LEMON: Let's go back to this because there's only -- there's 1,020 --
AVLON: Yes, so we just saw -- while we were on air, you see that number getting tighter.
LEMON: So, Mehmet Oz in that speech when he's addressing, the folks at his campaign headquarters, saying we can still pull this off. This isn't going to be decided until tomorrow.
AVLON: At least.
LEMON: He's right.
AVLON: 1,000 votes right now, 0.1 percent.
LEMON: Is that a runoff?
AVLON: 0.5 percent or less is a runoff -- sorry, is a recount. There is no runoff but recount. So, we're very much in recount territory right now. This is going to go on for days, plural, potentially, this is as tight as it gets.
LEMON: Wow. So, you can see it's still coming in. It's razor thin, right? And it could happen now, but we shall see within -- at least within the next couple of hours.
CNN is ready to project the Republican Idaho Republican primary for Governor Brad Little whose incumbent is projected to win over Janice McGeachin in lieutenant governor's race there -- lieutenant governor, I should say.
So, I want to bring in now Harry Enten and Ron Brownstein to talk about that. Hello to you, both of you. So, what is happening there? We're going to talk about that in a little bit. Let's talk about -- hi, Harry, let's talk about the Senate race here. It is an unbelievably tight race. What do you know?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I mean, I'll take it for from here. I would say this, essentially, and that is that this race is going to take a while to count.
But you know, as Jeff got at something, which is there's a real difference that we have seen between the early vote and then the Election Day vote.
If in fact, there is still some absentee ballots to be counted, what you saw early on the evening was essentially that Oz was trailing in that race. He caught up as we went on. So, McCormick was doing better in that early vote.
If there are still a lot of that vote left, yes, we're seeing some squeezing right now. Yes, it is too close to call. But the fact is, David McCormick has led at every single point in this evening, you'd rather be him than Mehmet Oz. But again, there's a reason why we haven't called, this thing as tight as a tick. It's ridiculously close.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Everybody channeling their inner Dan Rather tight as a tick tonight.
Look, what really struck me about this race was even after Donald Trump called McCormick a liberal Wall Street Republican, what was McCormick's response? He didn't criticize Trump, he wrapped himself around Trump. He went on Breitbart radio yesterday, and said Donald Trump did what no Republican had done before. He crafted an agenda to deal with the problems of forgotten Americans. And I will go to Washington and implement that agenda.
You know, and his behavior really kind of underscores the point. We talked about this earlier this wee, Don. I mean, to me, the issue tonight is not so much who Donald Trump endorsed and what happened to them. It's who endorsed Donald Trump.
I mean, all of the ca -- all of the major candidates are positioning themselves in this race as officials who will keep the Republican Party moving in the Trump direction. And I think that is the overwhelming story of the night.
There are gradations, obviously, and who he personally endorses matters to some extent. But the real message as in Ohio, is that there simply is not a big constituency anymore in the Republican electorate for an alternative direction. And that has enormous implications both for the competition between the parties, but also for the very structure of American democracy, as we're going to see highlighted, I think, by this governor's race in Pennsylvania, as clearly as any with it with an election denier who wants to make it much harder to vote in Pennsylvania as the Republican nominee and someone who might in fact be a genuine threat not to certify even a clear democratic win in two years.
LEMON: All right, thank you, gentlemen. We'll get back to you, please stand by.
Here with me now, political commentators Charlie Dent, Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, along with CNN senior political analyst, Mr. Mark Preston.
OK, let's just slow it down. Because we had a lot going on, in the beginning the race tightened up in Pennsylvania. And then, I just want to make sure that I get that projection that we have, the key race alert, so to speak. A projection Idaho Republican primary for Governor Brad Little, the incumbent is projected to win over Janice McGeachin, she's the lieutenant governor.
So, now I want to bring in these guys to discuss everything that is happening. You got Pennsylvania now, which is where you're from, less than a thousand votes or about a thousand votes that separate McCormick and Dr. Oz, what the heck is going on there?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we knew this was going to be a tight race between Oz and McCormick and you know, certainly Barnette was surging, but they tamped her down pretty well over the last few days.
So, I'm not at all surprised by this. It's interesting that none of the candidates who ran for the Senate, there were seven Republican candidates I believe for Senate in Pennsylvania, not one has ever held elected office.
And so, and the two leaders, Oz and McCormick having -- lived in the state for a very long time.
LEMON: It's down to 920 votes. Can we get the tallies up in the big wall here so that we can see them on set? Thank you so much. Down to 900 and about 20 votes here.
DENT: It's too close to call, you're not going to know enough. Some of these counties aren't going to get into some of these mail-in votes until tomorrow. And some I think Cumberland County and a few others.
But bottom line is we knew this was going to be a tight race. And it just seems to me that McCormick has performed well. I mean, they all embraced Trump. But if you asked my opinion, I would tell you that I think McCormick is a much stronger general election candidate than Oz against Fetterman.
DENT: And I think he would actually beat Fetterman against Oz. I think it's a more competitive race. So, -- but I think McCormick has a good profile, particularly for the suburban areas of Pennsylvania for a general election.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And Charlie hits on the important takeaway of the night is the Republican Party needs to look at nominating candidates that will win the general election as opposed to just a primary. We need to let candidates that are reflective of the Republican Party, not Trump's wing of the Republican Party.
LEMON: Do you think McCormick can win the general election?
STEWART: Absolutely, against Fetterman, he certainly can. He's certainly a lot more moderate than Oz and Barnette as well.
And look, this is obviously close. But in speaking with the McCormick's campaign tonight, they're looking at the absentee ballots, the ones that are still out, are in places where he is favored to win a majority of those votes. They're very optimistic.
Obviously, Oz is as well. But without a doubt, we're going to probably have a recount in a lot of these -- count these votes, because it's going to be so close. And we're going to find out that Barnette has come from the sleeper candidate of this race to the spoiler candidate for Oz, because she has been just zapping votes from him.
SELLERS: The unique thing about this, though, and what many people and my good friends on the Republican Party don't want to acknowledge is that there's nothing real about David McCormick. A hedge fund guy who all of a sudden becomes a tea party guy who all of a sudden becomes a MAGA guy who yesterday was on Breitbart radio. That is not who David McCormick is.
And so, he's going to waffle and wharf.
LEMON: So, what are you saying?
SELLERS: I'm saying that it's going to be very difficult for somebody who is not true to themselves, to be able to go throughout the different portions of Pennsylvania.
And I will admit, Charlie knows this way better than I do, and win this race. I mean, you have to have somebody who was at least honest to themselves, and David McCormick has become so many different things.
The thing about Fetterman and the unique part about Fetterman and the Democratic Party is simply this. The Democratic Party you saw Malcolm Kenyatta tonight who ran an amazing race even though he got 10 percent of the vote.
You know, Malcolm Kenyatta is a very, very young candidate. He's an awe inspiring candidate, gay black man who ran extremely strong in Philadelphia.
What's happening is the Democratic Party has already consolidated around Fetterman. I mean, we're going to go out there and do whatever we can around Fetterman. This race is going to boil down to whether or not black folk can come out and vote in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas and I believe they will.
The difference though is Fetterman can do something that other candidates in Pennsylvania have not been able to do, which is that Fetterman can speak to rural white voters, he simply can.
And I think that Dave McCormick is going to have a problem because a hedge fund guy who all of a sudden is a common man, that's a hard sell regardless of what people around the table say.
Isn't it the -- well, hang on, go on.
DENT: I was going to say look, I think Fetterman is problem against McCormick will be the collar counties of Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley.
You know, Fetterman is kind of let's face it, he's an unconventional guy. I'm being very kind. But he's in those upscale counties around Philadelphia, Republicans he performed. You know, I think McCormick has a very good profile for that area and he is going to return to his bio.
He was born in Pittsburgh, he lived in Bloomsburg, they have a tree farm. And he's a --
SELLERS: You just said the key word, he's going to return to his bio. Yesterday, he was MAGA. Tomorrow, he's going to return to his bio. Like, look, I mean, it's cute. I appreciate it. But I mean, this dude is a butterfly.
LEMON: Isn't that the issue though? It's the same issue with Mehmet Oz as with McCormick, right? The lack of authenticity, right, and that's what --
SELLERS: That's why Fetterman has an advantage because Fetterman is who Fetterman is, these guys are something special every day.
DENT: He's a Bernie Sanders guy too.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He is, right. Look, Fetterman is who he is. I actually think that the profile that he cuts is very interesting and is going to make him extremely competitive in this state.
In this race, we are to Charlie's point that the Republicans should win. I mean, the Republicans should win it. I mean, the fact that the candidate right now McCormick is MAGA but yet is really Republican establishment. The likes of the -- of the Senate, of Mitch McConnell, have all this, you know, inside D.C. money is all going to go to McCormick anyway because they're going to be supportive of him because they know deep down inside, that he is more like him.
And Donald Trump, let's not rule out the fact that Donald Trump is going to come out in the next couple of days assuming that McCormick wins and says, I love this guy. Dean Apollo (PH) was such a great member, you know of my staff, and I'm behind that.
LEMON: Listen, I want to get to the break here. But he doesn't believe in the election liar. He has not run on the election lie, right? And other parts of MAGA, certainly did not embrace Donald Trump at all.
PRESTON: That makes him more acceptable for more centrist Republicans like Charlie said.
STEWART: He also had the American First agenda was more of his platform and I love you Bakari, but you've talked about Fetterman a lot. You haven't said really what he is, he's a progressive wing of the Democrat Party. His views are very progressive. I just don't see how that's going to play overall in the state of Pennsylvania.
LEMON: I need to get back to -- I need to get back to John Avlon over at the magic wall. Dr. Oz is taking the lead in the Pennsylvania race. John, what's going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know why we're talking about McCormick.
AVLON: So, take a look what's going on here. I mean, Oz for the first time tonight pulling ahead. And let's be real. This is 714 vote folks.
LEMON: A lead is a lead.
AVLON: And it is a momentum shift. As Harry Enten was saying earlier tonight, you want to be where David McCormick's been all night, up until this point. So, this is -- this could be a tipping point for the race.
Again, we got 90 percent in now, still 10 percent out Lancaster, major X factor with the outstanding votes.
AVLON: Yes. But take a look at this. I mean, Oz getting the momentum. He was telling his team he would see, finally pulling ahead out of a long night. So, nobody should be (INAUDIBLE) in either camp, but there's a little bit of Big Mo (PH) heading towards Dr. Oz.
LEMON: 31.2 percent, 31.2 percent. As a local anchor and reporter in Pennsylvania, Charlie, you know, that was one of the first things they told me. It's Lancaster, not Lancaster, right?
DENT: Lancaster County and I'm happy to speak Pennsylvania Dutch to you. I know how to do that.
LEMON: We got a long way to go from here. We're just getting started. Thank you very much.
We're going to take a quick break here. But we've got lots more election results to come in tonight including the governor's race in Pennsylvania and how it can impact the 2024 election.
And Madison Cawthorn conceding, stay with us.
LEMON: We always say that it's a nail biter race, but it really is playing out in Pennsylvania right now in the GOP Senate race there. Look at that. Dr. Mehmet Oz has taken the lead for the first time but it's still neck and neck, 31.2 percent to 31.2 percent.
Mehmet Oz is 714 votes ahead right now. It doesn't get much closer than that. So, here with me now, CNN political commentators Charlie Dent, Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, along with CNN's Senior Political Analyst, Mr. Mark Preston.
So, Charlie, let's talk about Pennsylvania has this important. We're going to get back to the Senate race. They've got this important governor's race as well as Democrat and Attorney General Josh Shapiro is going to face off with right Doug Mastriano there.
What do you think is going -- what do you -- how do you think he's going to save up against Mastriano and Shapiro? What do you think that race is going to do?
DENT: Well, I think that, you know, Josh Shapiro was probably the happiest guy in Pennsylvania tonight. He got exactly what he wanted. He invaded the Republican primary by running ads that were very statements about, you know, he's the most pro Trump guy in the race and basically, building up Mastriano for Republican voters and Mastriano many believe he is unelectable, unelectable.
And I suspect, you know, he serve -- I used to serve in the State Senate. And, you know, I don't think that Mastriano could beat Shapiro in the Senate Republican caucus in Harris.
LEMON: OK. Look, I think everyone learned after 2016 don't count anyone out. Right? And I hear people saying that all the time. Why are you saying that? Because look, he ran away with it.
DENT: The collar counties of Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley. 35 percent of the vote is probably going to come out of those five counties into Philadelphia, plus the four collar counties extended up to the Lehigh Valley. That's a lot of votes.
And it's a more moderate area of the state. And I think the stolen election business is going to turn off a lot of swing vote in Republicans and independents, and he's really going to have to make a lot of votes up.
In other parts of the state, Shapiro hasn't had a run hard left. He didn't have a primary and Josh has a pretty popular Attorney General. Let's face it.
And so, I think that he's well positioned. Now, I can -- Mastriano make a race of it perhaps because it could be a very good Republican year. At least until he gets over the top.
LEMON: So, listen, Mark, Trump endorsed Doug Mastriano, has been a fierce proponent of the big lie for election fraud in 2020. And I just want to remind everyone that Pennsylvania -- the Pennsylvania Governor appoints the Secretary of State who oversees elections. I mean, this new matchup just became even more important. PRESTON: I hate to say that what happened on January 6th, and you know, the months leading up to it is the new normal, but it is the new normal.
I mean, earlier this evening, Jake Tapper said my gosh, I don't think we've ever seen anything like this. And I can tell you, I don't think we've ever seen anything like this in politics, what we've seen over the past few years.
Look, Mastriano is going to play to a certain elements of the MAGA base. But to Charlie's point, especially in a state like Pennsylvania, he's not going to have that opportunity, at least on paper right now, there's not a chance that he's going to have the opportunity to do it.
But you do have to ask yourself, though, what were the Republican voters thinking when they decided to make him their nominee?
LEMON: Interesting. OK, listen, we're going to get to North Carolina. We're going to do that. But we got to get back to John Avlon first because John, things just tightened up even more in the Pennsylvania Senate race. What do you have for us?
AVLON: So, we've seen that Mehmet Oz was just around 700 votes up, now that shrunk 200. It shows just how much this is a game of inches, every ballot counting and with 91 percent, who knows which way this is going to go?
But Oz has had the big moat pulling back a little bit. McCormick still very much -- I mean, look, they are tied 31.2 to 31.2.
So, the reason Oz jumped ahead just a little bit, seems to be a lot of ballots in Bucks County. And that seems to be just where his headquarters is and where his wife's family is from.
So, him getting the edge there made the difference, but every vote is counting right now. And this is just a stunning race to watch. So, now, 502 ahead in the last minutes changing from 700 to 500.
LEMON: I think this just made our night a little bit longer. Bakari and I are looking at each other. He's going to be -- it's ahead. Four hundred, 300. Four hundred, 200. He's at the ten-yard line. The seven, the one.
Oh, boy, here we go. And guess what? Madison Cawthorn, right after the break. Don't go anywhere.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. A lot going on. I want to bring in our Harry Enten and Ron Brownstein. And we're going to talk about Madison Cawthorn.
Gentlemen, hello to you once again. So Ron, Madison Cawthorn lost. Trump appealed for a second chance for him. To lose this race, I mean, it doesn't normally happen to an incumbent in a safe seat. With all the scandals and the political blunders, you know, he really got in his own way. He lost this race.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, he got -- he got in his own way.
I mean, Trump's endorsement is a powerful force in Republican primaries, but it's not a complete get-out-of-jail-free card. Right? I mean, no president has that capacity. We're going to see Biden tested in Oregon tonight.
You know, the most famous example, Franklin Roosevelt in 1938 tried to purge the Democratic Party of the Southern senators who opposed him. All of them lost. So no one has the ability to, you know, simply command all voters.
And Cawthorn, I think, just you know, out -- he put more on the camel's back than it could bear. And the voters there were just kind of tired of the antics, and I think that was a pretty clear -- it was a personal repudiation more than any kind of shift of direction in terms of the party.
LEMON: When I said he lost this race, I mean, he lost more than the other guy won the race, right? It was really his own opponent there. Harry, what do you think this reveals about Donald Trump's hold on the GOP?
ENTEN: Look, Donald Trump still has a hold on the GOP. Right? You look at the North Carolina Senate race. Ted Budd easily won there he was Trump endorsed and basically went from nine percent in the polls before Trump endorsed him up to 55 percent.
I think, you know, I would say this, which is the Trump endorsement can only go so far. You saw last week, Charles Herbster, in Nebraska, the gubernatorial race there, had sexual harassment allegations, numerous ones of them, against him.
You go here, again, you have multiple scandals going on with Madison Cawthorn. And you know, it gets to the point you asked earlier on, Don, you know, just how rare this is. Only two percent of incumbents who ran for reelection in 2020 lost in a primary. Just 2 percent.
So clearly, Madison Cawthorn did something very, very, very wrong. And the fact there's all of this garbage, this personal stuff. They're going to accept Trump. They'll, basically, accept anything on Trump. When you add in the personal stuff, the orgy talk, all this garbage that just kept coming and coming and coming, Republican voters said, you know, let's go with Chuck Edwards. He was endorsed by Thom Tillis. He was endorsed by the head of the North Carolina Senate on the Republican side and in the House -- lower House there.
So the fact is, Cawthorn lost, but I don't think this has anything larger about Trump, except perhaps maybe, you know, he should be more careful with his endorsements, because he endorsed a loser in this case.
LEMON: Well, I want to bring in some of the other folks who are in the room with me in, because we were having this conversation, guys, before we got to, actually, the break. This is not the end of Madison Cawthorn. Is it? Of this political career.
SELLERS: No, I mean, listen, Madison Cawthorn will be a political commentator at CNN -- I mean, at FOX News, excuse me. He'll do that. Can we do another take? That was a slip.
I mean, he's going to replace Charlie Dent. Welcome to our new president. No.
So he's going to be a new political commentator at FOX News. I mean, he's going to have -- I mean, it's Charlie Kirk. It's Ben Shapiro. It's Matt Gaetz. It's Marjorie Taylor Greene. It's this new wing of the party that he speaks for.
LEMON: Charlie said no way. It's never going to happen.
SELLERS: I mean, Charlie is here with me now. This is -- this is where we are.
But we also -- let me just say this. The No. 1 rule of fight club is that we don't talk about fight club. And Madison Cawthorn broke all those rules.
And it was very obvious from the beginning that the Republican Party was out to get him. And all I say is that you saw what happened with Madison Cawthorn. The Trump endorsement only goes so far.
STEWART: Well, there are many rational Republicans across this country that are saying, thank goodness, this was the way that this race ended.
And thank goodness for Thom Tillis for putting the money and the message behind getting rid of someone that really is a black eye on the -- on the Republican Party.
To Bakar's point, he not only went after his colleagues in -- in the House by saying they had orgies and were doing drugs, he also turned on the voters in his district, certainly by doing embarrassing things, saying a lot of outlandish things. District shopping: He was running in the 11th and in the 13th, back in the 11th. He really turned his back on the people of his district.
Look, he needs to go away. I think he'll probably get some television gig. I think he's young. I think he's -- certainly, has a lot of growing up to do. We have not seen the last of Madison Cawthorn. But hopefully, we've seen the end right now of the damage that he can do in the House right now. And it's time to get in some new blood. And I think Edwards is a good person to do that.
LEMON: Ron, I just want to ask you before I get to the Democrats on the other side here, I mean, Madison Cawthorn has obviously gone through a lot, just having an accident when he was 18 years old. I mean, he probably needs more than just to go wake up. He has issues that he needs to deal with. BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I mean, we're watching someone, you know, kind of
deal with their own personal demons in the modern media environment and political polarization.
I mean, you know, it's kind of frightening and horrifying to watch, as well as, you know, all of the -- all the points that Bakari is making about how he's kind of immediately inserting himself in kind of the celebrity, conservative provocateur wing of the Republican Party.
Like, beneath all of that is an actual person who is obviously, you know, having some serious, serious issues that are playing out under the brightest spotlight imaginable.
LEMON: Gentlemen, stand by.
Stand by, folks here in the studio with me, as well. We're going to talk about the Democrats on the other side and so much more. Don't forget, Pennsylvania Senate, GOP Senate race. Dr. Oz, Dave McCormick. I mean, wow, 637 votes right now separate the two men. We've got a long night ahead of us.
LEMON: Back now with CNN's continuing election coverage.
CNN projecting Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has won Pennsylvania's GOP [SIC] Senate primary.
Back with me now, Charlie Dent, Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, and Mark Preston.
I said we were going to talk about the Democrats. Bakari Sellers, here's your chance. What do you see? Fetterman -- Fetterman winning from hospital bed.
SELLERS: Fetterman won from the -- from the beginning. I mean, Conor Lamb ran a campaign which was -- it left a lot of questions, from when he got into the race to what he was actually doing in the race. And Connor Lamb couldn't even tell you why who is running today.
He is a great candidate, right? I mean, I think that we saw the fact that he won that Trump seat. He's a great candidate, can be. But he never really carved his -- his way or his lane. I think he thought that he was supposed to be ordained.
LEMON: Yes. Wasn't he the chosen one?
SELLERS: Yes, well, he thought he was. You know, Malcolm Kenyatta ran a great race. And I said it off air, and I'll say it, and I can't wait for my phone to blowup.
I mean, the Republicans are going to try to paint Fetterman out to be Bernie Sanders. That ain't going to work. Futterman is a great candidate for rural, white, Democratic voters. Those voters who have left the Democratic Party.
I mean, we have this obsession with those diner voters. You know, we do all of those one-offs where you go to a diner and find those people who voted for Barack Obama and then voted for Donald Trump. Fetterman is going to get those people.
The question is, can you pull a gun out on a black kid and still get votes in Philadelphia as what is a stain on Fetterman's record?
He is going to have to figure out, and he has not proven himself to be someone who necessarily listens to this. But he is going to have to ingratiate himself and spend time in communities in and around black communities in Pittsburgh. But definitely in Philadelphia. And figure out why what he did -- he can't even apologize.
There is a scene in the debate, and don't ask me why I'm watching debates between Pennsylvania Democratic primary candidates.
But Malcolm Kenyatta asked Fetterman to simply apologize for what he did. And Fetterman couldn't do it. Like, that's not going to fly. I watch the primaries in Pennsylvania. And -- because I used to live there, but --
SELLERS: I watched the debates, I should say. Love the debates.
SELLERS: I just think that Fetterman is going to have to have, as we say, come to Jesus. And he's going to have to spend time in the AME Churches, in the black churches, and HBCUs and be able to, regardless of whether or not they are going to be able to paint him as Bernie Sanders, his biggest problem is whether or not black folk are going to trust him.
There is time. But right now, he has to be willing to do the work.
LEMON: You live there now. I used to. You live there now.
What do you say, Charlie?
DENT: I think John Fetterman is going to get crushed in these rural areas. It's a question by how much. Can he keep the margins down a little bit?
I mean, he's going to get destroyed there. I know he's spending time out there. But it's not going to get him a lot of votes.
PRESTON: What if it's Mehmet Oz?
DENT: What's that?
PRESTON: What, if in the end -- I mean -- how McCormick is --
LEMON: I forgot about Oz, but I mean -- DENT: I think that Oz is kind of a wildcard. I mean, if I'm a
Democrat, what I'll do to Oz is I'll hit him on the carpetbagger issue. Where have you been for 30 years? Your whole life, for that matter? That's going to be --
SELLERS: But, I mean, I hear you, but I think that McCormick is -- again, the only way I can describe him is a butterfly. He morphs into different things depending upon the season.
But Oz actually has been in our television screens for a very long period of time. I mean, you talk about from whether or not it's Oprah to "The Breakfast Club" and Charlamagne Tha God.
I mean, Oz is someone who has been there. Now, I think --
PRESTON: Name recognition.
SELLERS: But I mean, to Alice's point, and this is probably going to drive Alice crazy, I think he was pro-choice yesterday. I don't know what he is today.
But I mean, that's the problem with McCormick and Oz. The problem with the Republican Party and Donald Trump is that you end up with these candidates who don't stand for anything.
LEMON: OK. Hold that thought, hold that thought.
On the other side of the break, don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.
LEMON: We're back now, keeping an eye on all the races here.
Joining me now, Charlie Dent, Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, and Mark Preston. So as you were. You were talking about Fetterman versus McCormick, or possibly, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is, by the way, in the lead right now, 637 votes in the Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary.
STEWART: I think before the break, my friend Bakari talked about Fetterman and how he would be a good fit for Pennsylvania. He's got a few things to answer for.
First of all, he is a progressive Democrat. He has supported universal healthcare. He's supported the wealth tax, $15 minimum wage, legalizing pot. He is a very progressive candidate. I don't see that fitting people of Pennsylvania. It's a purple state, but it is not -- it is not that blue.
He also needs to answer to the incident that Bakari referred to, racial profiling an African-American young man and not apologizing for it; not owning up to it.
He's going to have to explain that, because that is going to be the first ad out of the Republican Party, is going after him on that issue.
And another thing, I pray that he's doing well in the hospital. He does need to explain exactly what happened and the timeline and have doctors come out and explain, you know, his condition. Here's how he's doing.
So he has a lot of things that he needs to explain to the people of Pennsylvania if he's going to make headway.
LEMON: A health issue, health burden?
PRESTON: The health issue? He was up by about 40 points in the polling going into it.
LEMON: I' take that.
PRESTON: Yes. I mean, I would take a couple days off from the hospital and go into election day with a 40-point lead, which -- which he did.
You know, I guess my question with Fetterman is -- and I did say to Bakari off the -- off the air. But I say it now. Is what happens to the African-American community? They're not going to back Mehmet Oz, or maybe they will. There're not going to back McCormick. And they wouldn't -- aren't they traditionally going to stay with Fetterman?
SELLERS: That's not enough, though. And so what has to happen is the community has to -- and I don't -- let me just also say this. I don't speak for all black folk. I mean, I just don't.
LEMON: You're not the African-American authority?
SELLERS: "That black guy speaks for everybody." I do not.
What I can tell you that African-American voters have to come out in bunches, in large amounts, in that Philadelphia five-county area for Fetterman to have a chance to win.
And your point, listen, the progressive bona fides that you named, like legalizing marijuana, raising the minimum wage, universal health care, that ain't going to scare nobody.
I mean, actually, if that's progressive, then put that title on me. I would wear it.
But the fact that he does have some issues in his past that he has refused and been too stubborn to acknowledge and apologize for, particular the incident with the young black man. And yes, I' m not beating a dead horse. This was an issue in the primary that he needs to say something about. That is an impediment.
beating a dead horse. This was an issue in the beating a dead horse. This was an issue in the primary that he needs to say something about. That is an impediment, too.
And I think Dr. Oz cuts into that more than the social butterfly who got himself --
LEMON: Dr. Oz has name recognition.
SELLERS: He has name recognition, and he has validators. Listen, I didn't expect to name drop Oprah, but he has validators. I mean, he has Oprah. He has Charlamagne.
I mean, and by no means do they speak for the African-American community, but he will have the ability to cut into a base that Fetterman --
LEMON: You think Dr. Mehmet Oz will cut into the base because of Oprah?
SELLERS: Or dampen -- or dampen the turnout.
LEMON: But Oprah doesn't support Dr. Oz.
SELLERS: It doesn't matter. My point is that that is the relationship that people understand him and know him from. That's my only point.
LEMON: OK. All right.
They are counting the votes in that Senate race in Pennsylvania. It is getting tighter and tighter. The latest results, that's next.