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Ohioans Head to the Polls in Consequential Midterms; Voters Head to Polls across U.S. in Midterms; States Observance of Election Day. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 08:30   ET




MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Ten friends of yours are going to hear from you tonight or tomorrow morning. And here's the question you're going to ask. Are you ready?


OZ: Are you happy with the way the country's headed?

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I need every one of you - I need every one of you to get out the votes so I can get to D.C., so I can fight for every one of you.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And in terms of here in Bucks County, the fourth largest county in the commonwealth, we spoke to a Republican county commissioner, who was very helpful in giving us kind of the latest lay of the land as they see it in this county and how voting is going to go. They have about 90,000 mail-in ballots that they believe that they're going -- they need to be going through. And they are hoping at this point to be pretty much done with counting between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That's a lot of counting late at night.

Kate Bolduan, we will be making sure that we are tracking that closely.

We are also now hearing from one of the candidates in the key Senate race of Ohio. We'll tell you what Tim Ryan is saying as he is going to cast his own ballot.

This is CNN's special live coverage.



REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: We had the xBox set up in the back of the bus.




LEMON: Just moments ago, you're looking at John Fetterman arriving at his polling place in Pennsylvania. You saw Mehmet Oz arriving at his polling place in Montgomery County just moments ago. And now you've got John Fetterman, his opponent, going to vote. You can see, a couple of hugs there. And we will listen in on this one to see if he comes out once he casts his ballot. That was just moments ago. If he comes out and if he speaks, like Mehmet Oz did, just a short time ago.

COLLINS: I was trying to see if he was wearing shorts. You know, everyone says John Fetterman always wears shorts, even at weddings, anything like that.

LEMON: Yes. He's got the sweatpants.

COLLINS: It's not just Pennsylvania where they're casting ballots. Ohio as well. Tim Ryan, who is, of course, running against JD Vance for that open Senate seat there, he was just voting as well. This is what he told those who were on hand.

Not a lot - didn't have much to say.

LEMON: He's at a loss for words. Tim Ryan awfully quiet. At a loss for words.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It happens sometimes.

LEMON: That was a little glitch.

HARLOW: We'll try it again.

COLLINS: Yes, that's the video of him going to cast his ballot. Obviously, we're going to see a lot of these candidates going and voting in person.


COLLINS: It's often a way for them to go and shake hands with voters.

HARLOW: That's what I love about today. Today is about the people. It's about your vote. You know, you hear from folks as they go vote and then see what all happens tonight.


COLLINS: And we've been talking so much about these races. We have been talking about them all week long. And now it's finally, we get to see what is actually decided.

HARLOW: Yes. COLLINS: What it means. These critical races that could really up end how things are and how they've been in Washington for the last two years.

HARLOW: Totally.

LEMON: We don't have Tim Ryan, but we will have him shortly in Ohio. But we're going to head there anyways because we are now just hours away from the first midterm election results. But one of our next guests is already bracing for bad news for Democrats. So, joining us now -- we'll talk about that in a little bit.

OK. So, Melanie, sorry, something else was in the teleprompter. So let me -- I said we're going to Ohio. Let's go to Melanie Zanona. She's joining us from Ohio this morning.

Folks are heading to the polls. Take us -- what are the folks saying in these last minutes of the election?


As you said, the polls just opened here in Ohio. Tim Ryan already went in and voted. You also had JD Vance tweeting out, encouraging people to vote and also saying, today is the day we send a message to Joe Biden.

And really that has been a central theme of his message and campaign. He's trying to make this election a referendum on Joe Biden and the Democratic agenda. That was also a theme we heard last night at the JD Vance rally, which featured former President Donald Trump. And another strategy of Vance's has been really trying to tap into the Trump base and trying to enthusiastically gin up that base. He sought out Trump's endorsement in the primary and he's hugged him tightly ever since.

And then, meanwhile, you have Tim Ryan, who has really tried to portray himself as this independent, no nonsense fighter who's going to stand up for his own party. He's also had a very consistent economic message since the beginning of his campaign. He's trying to make an appeal to these working white collar voters. And he's also been trying to portray JD Vance as a sycophant of Donald Trump. Obviously, that's not something JD Vance has shied away from.

But in talking to Tim Ryan, it is very clear that he views himself as an underdog and that he thinks this race has been largely overlooked, including by his own party. And to be clear, this race is a lot closer than people expected it to be, especially considering it's a red state and a - a Trump-won state from 2020. But it is still a very tough political environment for Democrats. So, we'll have to wait and see.

LEMON: So, Melanie, look, there are issues and there are issues. Some of them, obviously, more important than others. And they are issues that are drivers, right, that just drive people into the voting booths. What are you hearing?

ZANONA: Yes, well, we've talked to some voters on the ground here and a consistent theme that we have heard is the economy and is how difficult it is to pay for things like everyday groceries. And we talked to one undecided voter who said they actually don't know who they're going to vote for today. This is someone who said they are heading to the polls and it's going to be a game-time decision, but that the economy is top of mind. And that's why you do hear JD Vance and Tim Ryan harping on this message so much. And they recognize that that is probably going to be the number one driving issue in the midterm elections today.

LEMON: All right, Melanie, thank you very much.

And speaking of Tim Ryan, let's hear now from Tim Ryan at that voting place where he went to cast his ballot. And here it is.



REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, I mean, when you grow up here, it's always, you know, it's home. It's home. And the best part of the campaign really has been meeting people who are just like us. Different town, names, you know, different cities, different jobs, different names, but the people are the people.


I mean they're the same. They're gritty. Ohio is filled with just gritty workers. Good people, you know, who just want a government that works for them. And, you know, it would be an honor to serve them.

But coming from the valley, having the last rally here last night, having Bernie Kosar, you know, doing robocalls and commercials and, like, lifelong hero of mine, from the valley, and the texts we're getting and the texts Bernie's getting from his, you know, from his commercials and robocalls about people really wanting to have an opportunity to understand that somebody from the Mahoning Valley can be in the United States Senate, one of 100 people, you know, that would be great -- great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An assist there.

RYAN: Oh. Yes. Yes, yes, yes.


LEMON: So that is Tim Ryan just moments ago as he -- I'm not sure if it was before or after he cast his ballot. But you -- as you know, Kaitlan, Tim Ryan has been - he run as a Democrat, but really running as an independent in this, trying to appeal to Republicans in that state. We'll see if it's going to work, but his message was broader than what a Democrat would normally have, obviously running against the Trump-backed supporter, JD Vance.

COLLINS: "The New York Times" had a headline that I really can't get out of my head, which was, Tim Ryan was running as a Democrat, but the "d" is silent because he was --

HARLOW: It was a great headline.

COLLINS: He was distancing himself so much from his party. He said that to us last week when we talked to him, saying, you know, he believed national Democrats -- he didn't understand the choices they were making, but he talked about how they were fundraising on their own.

You know, it's still going to be a tough day for him. He's running against JD Vance. It's a state that Trump won in the last election. He won, obviously, in 2016 as well. So, it would be a really big political shift if Ohio does elect a Democrat to the Senate, but we'll see what happens.

HARLOW: I just keep wondering if more Democrats had run on the economic message that Tim Ryan is running on, would they have a better chance tonight?

LEMON: And it's what we talked to Tim Ryan about, if they had giving him a little bit more money. If they had given him a little bit more money.

HARLOW: There's the music. Go to break.

LEMON: That's OK.

HARLOW: I know. This is what they're telling - OK, I'm going to do it for Don.

LEMON: We're live -- we're live - I'm just saying, I'm just being defiant, a contrarian.

We're live on the ground as voters head to the polls. We're expecting other big candidates in key states to arrive to cast their ballots. So, make sure you stay with us. This is CNN's special live coverage, Election Day in America.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE, WISCONSIN VOTER: I think it's always important to vote. It's our responsibility in a democracy.

You know, I actually think it's a good thing. I think it's good that people have different opinions. And I have a lot of friends that have different political opinions than me and I respect that. And I appreciate the fact that in Wisconsin we can have our own opinions and we can have discourse and really thrive as a result of some of the, you know, differences that we have.


LEMON: Boy, it would be great if that resonated across the country. That's voters in Wisconsin speaking as they cast their ballots.

Let's discuss more about what's on voters' minds and political folks as well. CNN political commentator, democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, Republican strategist David Urban.

Good morning. So good to have both of you.

I want to talk about closing messages. Let's start with you because you -- I know that you believe that Democrats aren't particularly paying attention to what that voter just had to say there.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Although Tim Ryan is, you know.

LEMON: Tim - yes.

ROSEN: That was -- I think you guys were exactly right in that last segment.

Look, we -- we were always, you know, a couple of steps back and it's a midterm. We were going to lose seats. That's inevitable. Once in 20 years did that not happen. So, there's just no question that this isn't sort of Democrats' fault that we're going to be in this situation.

But I do think that we've lost an opportunity. I think the Senate being so close when we have really stronger candidates, better candidates, I think this is a - I think this is a problem. Voters have told us all year what they care about. And I think we have focused on other things. And I think the president's closing message last night about democracy is on the ballot again is frustrating to people like me who, you know, don't want to see half the voters in America alienated or saying -- being accused of aligning with fascists because they're voting for their pocketbook. That's just not where we want to be.

We want these people. We want them back in 2024. We want them to feel good when they go to the ballot. We have a story to tell.


ROSEN: We have a really good economic story to tell. The last time the Republicans were in charge, what was their economic plan? They gave away tax cuts to rich people and corporations.


LEMON: I was just going to say, you had -

URBAN: I was with Hilary -- listen, she had me until like that last sentence.

LEMON: I was - I was going to say, until the last thing.

URBAN: I was going to start clapping and going, go, Hilary, go.

COLLINS: Yes, that's how Hilary does it.

URBAN: And then she's like - and then she like start getting -

LEMON: I was going to say - I was going to say David is sitting there just nodding his head.

URBAN: Started getting nasty. I'm like, come on, Hilary.

Listen, nobody was enthusiastic about Joe Biden this entire election cycle. Did you have any - there's no energy. The guy's a terrible messenger. Hilary's right, no message, right, they had no message. People are telling you, poll after poll, here are the things that are important to us, the economy, crime, resonating big, and they continue to -- Democrats continue to message on things that people really didn't care about that much.

And having Joe Biden as your lead messenger, tough, right? It's really tough. You're swimming against the current to begin with and you've got a bad messenger, you're going to have a bad outcome.

LEMON: David - but you're not saying democracy isn't important, you're just saying it's not resonating?

URBAN: No, no, listen - no, no, it's -- I'm saying if you look at what the polling numbers were, right, I mean, it was the economy, crime, kitchen table issues, like Hilary is saying. You know, abortion, you know, voter integrity, democracy, all those things poll, but they poll lower, right? People are - people are concerned about paying their bills. That -- you don't have the luxury, right, of worrying about all those other issues if you can't pay your rent.

COLLINS: What about, Hilary -

ROSEN: Yes, it's not - and it's not that - sorry, go ahead.

COLLINS: Well, and, to your point about the fact that it is closer than it even normally would be for Democrats. The fact that it's even competitive for Democrats, what does that say about Republicans and the candidates that they picked?

URBAN: Listen, I think that candidates matter, obviously, right? And it's personality driven. Some of the candidates are doing - outperforming, right? People said Herschel Walker is dead on arrival, right? Herschel's done a really good job. He's run a really tough race here against Raphael Warnock, who's a pastor, a very smooth, great orator, right?


So, I'm not so sure that, you know, there -- there are -- each race is race by race and people do vote on the candidates, but I don't think you can just make a blanket statement that Republicans (INAUDIBLE).


ROSEN: Yes, and, by the way, you can't -- you can't really just put this at Joe Biden's feet. I mean we've got - the state where we were having -

URBAN: He's the president. He's the leader. ROSEN: Yes, but the states where Democrats are really struggling right

now for these Senate races have really strong Republicans running for governor, right? So that top of the ticket matters. It matters in Arizona, where Kari Lake is way ahead. It matters in Georgia where Brian Kemp is way ahead. It, you know, it matters in Nevada.

URBAN: How about Pennsylvania? Your thesis goes down the drain in Pennsylvania.

ROSEN: The only one, right, which is why Fetterman, I think, is still really competitive. And it will help him, I think. And so there - there is this kind of notion of who's bringing out their voters? Where is turnout? You know, we still have -- Democrats are much stronger in early voting. Republicans are depending on everybody getting to the polls today. That's a risky strategy.

URBAN: Come out, Republicans, come out, hurry up.

HARLOW: David, I'm interested in even beyond what happens tonight and what it means for 2024. I mean those Wall Street -

URBAN: Sure.

HARLOW: That "Wall Street Journal" reporting this week that Republicans have been really successful in getting many more black voters on board, 17 percent voting, you know, for Republicans, up from 8 percent for Donald Trump, and Hispanic voters. Why do you think that is?

URBAN: Sure. Well, listen, because we have a message that resonates, right? People -- voters aren't monolithic, right?


URBAN: Shocking, African Americans and Hispanics care about the economy as well, right? Also, this current crop, Kevin McCarthy, Tom Emerson (ph), did an incredible job at recruiting candidates, 33 Latinos running for Congress, over 30 African Americans, two of my friends are going to be congressmen tonight, John James and Wesley Hunt, West Point graduates, proud to say, going to be in Congress, 13 Asian Americans. So, Republicans are creating a more diverse party in our own - in our own party.

LEMON: Let me give you the cliff notes of what David is saying. Donald Trump is not on the ticket. That's why. Donald Trump turned off so many African American voters and so many Latino voters, I think that now people who are actually conservative will say -

HARLOW: Is that your cliff notes?

URBAN: Well, listen, I'm not -

LEMON: I can - I can lean into the Republican Party if there is no Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

HARLOW: All right. ROSEN: Yes, but, you know, I think we see these working class voters have as much in common as white working class voters.

URBAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. That's my cliff notes.

ROSEN: And that - you know that is where they have (INAUDIBLE).



LEMON: Thank you, Hilary.

Thank you, David.

And thank you, everyone, for watching.

The question is, which five states consider Election Day a public holiday? This morning's number is next.



COLLINS: All right, Election Day may not be a federal holiday, but there are some states that do recognize it as a public one.

Here with this morning's number is our CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten.

Harry, are we in one of those lucky states here in New York, and what are the other states that do let people go and vote today?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, so there are five states, five states that recognize Election Day as a public holiday, as well as giving employers - employers are -- five employers are required to give employees time off to vote. Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, West Virginia.

But I think there's also this question, OK, when did Election Day even become a thing? And as it turns out, Election Day has not been through our entire history. You have to go all the way back to 1845, I believe, is the first day in which Election Day was, in fact, a universal day. And it actually correlated with the invention of the telegram because the idea was they didn't want some states being able to communicate with other ones to know what their voting patterns were.

Now, I think there's almost this question, though, OK, why is it an early Tuesday in November, right? This seems to be quite strange. Well, it's a Tuesday because a lot of people went to churches on Sunday and on Wednesday it was sort of the day you would go into town to sort of sell your goods. And it's in early November because it is after the fall harvest and it is before the harsh winter.

The last -- I know, it is amazing. The -- and then there's one little last nugget which in all honesty my

mind is - is sort of forgetting, if we could put up the graphic I'll remember it here. The last - the last sort of nugget is -- graphic people, please, I'm begging you. There we go. The reason why that I wonder if it truly is an Election Day still at this particular point is because so many people are voting early and are voting before Election Day even begins.

COLLINS: Yes, 40 million.

ENTEN: Forty million. Sixty-nine percent of voters last time voted before Election Day either by mail or in-person. So maybe the idea of an election --

COLLINS: Should we call it something different?

ENTEN: Maybe it's the election sort of end. It's sort of like the end of the fiesta.

LEMON: Yes. That - more -- everything you just said is more proof that we need election reform. We're still talking about what started in the 1800s. Not necessarily applicable in this day and age.

Thank you.

HARLOW: I think - I think the graphic people did -- did a nice job.

LEMON: Thank you.

ENTEN: I thought they did.

LEMON: Thank you, Harry.

HARLOW: Harry, thanks.

LEMON: Thanks, everyone, for joining us. We really appreciate it.

COLLINS: Harry, thanks a lot.

LEMON: Anderson Cooper picks up Election Day coverage right after this.

Voters having their say right now. This is Election Day in America. Stay tuned.