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CNN This Morning

House, Senate Control Still Hang in the Balance After Midterm Election Day. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 05:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Election night. What an election morning in America. CNN's special coverage has been following all the historic wins, major upsets and some races that could take days if not weeks, to crown a winner.

This is the state of play right now. OK. We're going to get the balance of power in the House. Control of the House is up in the air right now. 218, that is the magic number this morning. That's how many seats both parties are hoping to win, OK?

So let's take a look. Closer look now. Democrats on the defense. 178. Republicans leading with 198. These results not stopping House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from claiming victory despite many undecided races.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Now let me tell you, you're out late but when you wake up tomorrow, we will be in the majority and Nancy Pelosi will be in the minority.


MCCARTHY: The American people are ready for a majority that will offer a new direction, that will put America back on track. Republicans are ready to deliver.


LEMON: He may be right, but he's a little bit ahead of himself. Everything is not decided yet. Let's look at the Senate side, though. The chamber still hangs in the balance. Republicans still hoping to gain control at this moment. We are watching four key races here in Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia, and CNN has not made any projections in these states at this hour. And you can see many of them very, very, very close.

In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt inching ahead here. This race is very close. His opponent Catherine Cortez Masto was ahead earlier. In Wisconsin, you see there Ron Johnson who is the Republican hanging on to a lead. The Democrat Mandela Barnes trailing 49.3 percent, 50.5 percent for Ron Johnson. We have 94 percent of the vote in right now. Let's head to Arizona. They are doing reporting. Their votes are --

reporting the votes in the biggest county. Maricopa County until later tonight, OK? So they still have some work to do there, but there's a lot going on. The elections office is moving on to the early ballots there. Victor Blackwell reported that just moments ago here on CNN. As it stands, though, the incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is in the lead there. We'll keep a close eye on that. 67 percent of the estimated vote in there.

And in Georgia, Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael -- Warnock, I should say, excuse me, locked in a very tight race there. Could this head to a runoff? The secretary of state is saying it will. CNN has not projected that.

Our coverage has people all over the ground. We're all standing by here. So let's take a look here. We have all of our folks standing by, our reporters, our correspondents, our producers, crews, all in the field.

Now to Mr. John Berman. John, there's so much to get to. Did you see all those faces, all those people out there?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of faces out there.

LEMON: There's a lot of people out there. And they are ready and John Berman is as well. Where do you want to start?

BERMAN: So right now if it were to end right now, the Senate would be tied 50-50. However, I want to point out, there are four races we have not called. Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona. This will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Let me run you through where we are very quickly. In Wisconsin, the incumbent Republican Ron Johnson has a lead of about 1.2 percent. That has held fairly steady. There are still votes to be counted in Milwaukee, just 82 percent in. Mandela Barnes has a huge lead there. Will the remaining 18 percent counted there be enough for him to make up this 32,000 vote margin? It will be tough. It will be tough. But let's see what happens there.

Now let's head out west in Arizona. We've just received some new counting there. Mark Kelly, the incumbent Democrat, is ahead by 110,000 votes. His margins are shrinking. He was ahead by more earlier on. We've seen this in Arizona before as more of the vote gets counted there. The Democratic vote tends to get counted earlier for whatever reason. Republicans close the margin there.

Maricopa County, by far the most populous county there. 67 percent of the vote. He's holding on to nearly an eight-point edge there. Joe Biden won that by two points, 2 percent, so he's outperforming Biden for now. All the election day vote has been counted there, according to our colleague Victor Blackwell. Only mail votes. However, some of the late arriving mail vote in Maricopa County, we've seen before can be more Republicans so we'll have to wait and see how to read into that. Let's go next door to Nevada. This is the incumbent Democrat Catherine

Cortez Masto. She trails by 22,000 votes to Adam Laxalt with 80 percent in. You can see the sea of red. Everywhere but Clark County where Las Vegas is. Now there's 84 percent reporting in Las Vegas.


All the remaining vote in Clark County is mail-in vote. Now in Nevada we know that the mail-in vote tends to heavily favor the Democrats. Are there enough mail-in votes in Clark County to make up this 22,000 vote difference? Also let me point out Washoe County, another key swing county. Joe Biden won this by 4.5. Right now Adam Laxalt is leading in this swing county. If a Republican wins there, usually you will see them win in the state. We'll watch this closely. Just 64 percent in. A lot of mail to count there.

LEMON: That flip says we're on since we've been on the air.

BERMAN: Yes. Washoe had been leading toward Catherine Cortez Masto. Now Adam Laxalt is in the lead. Just 64 percent in. And again, I suspect there's a lot of mail vote to count there as well.

LEMON: Well, I just meant overall it changes.


LEMON: Because she was leading in the state.

BERMAN: Yes. She was leading much in the night. Now he is.

Let's go to Georgia. This right now, Raphael Warnock is in the lead but the key here is he's at 49.2. The number is 50, 50 percent. If no one gets to 50 percent plus one vote there will be a runoff on December 6th.

Why does that matter, Don? I'm going to switch screens here to show you why that matters because it's so interesting. Let's go the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. These are the four seats that we have not projected yet. You can see 48, 48. Republicans need 51 to control the U.S. Senate. To take control Democrats just need 50 because Kamala Harris, the vice president, would break a tie.

Let's allocate these races right now. Ron Johnson if he maintains his lead in Wisconsin, that would give Republicans 49. If Adam Laxalt were to prevail in Nevada, that would give Republicans 50. They're close. But Mark Kelly leads in Arizona. Democrats have 49. And then what are you left with? You're left with a runoff in Georgia.

LEMON: Georgia.

BERMAN: So you won't know who controls the U.S. Senate until the runoff on December 6th. Now if for some reason Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent, in Nevada can retake the lead there, and it's not impossible, there's a lot of mail to be counted in Clark County, it's possible, then Democrats would already have what they need. And the runoff in Georgia would not determine the outcome of who controls the Senate.

LEMON: Can we leave it here at Nevada? There's a reason.

BERMAN: Go back to Nevada?

LEMON: Let's go back to Nevada, and there's a reason for that because both of us are going to be interested in this, and you're going to be interested as well, because I just want to turn real quickly and bring in Tabitha Mueller, a political reporter with the "Nevada Independent."

And John, you can talk to her as well.

Thank you so much for joining us, as we're looking at what's happening here, and I'm sure as you're hearing what we're reporting, is there anything that stands out to you, Tabitha? What can you tell us?

TABITHA MUELLER, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEVADA INDEPENDENT: I think it's really important to note that we still have tens of thousands of ballots left to count here in the Silver State, right. Officials in Washoe and Clark County, which are the two most populous counties here, said they wouldn't be counting mail-in or drop off ballots last night. So those are still waiting. And as you've noted earlier, mail- in ballots typically do favor Democrats. However, there was a big push for Laxalt especially in the rural areas. He swept through those so far.

BERMAN: Yes. We could see. I can actually point out here, you know, Lyon County here. Is it Lyon or Lyon or Lyon County?

MUELLER: Lyon. Lyon.


LEMON: Lyon.

BERMAN: Lyon County is the third largest country. Third most populous county in all of Nevada. It's only 1.8 percent of the overall vote. But you can see Adam Laxalt leads there by 51 percent. An 8,000 vote margin. And there is more vote to count there. You go nearby to Douglas County, it's a similar story. He leads by 35 percent, about 8,000 votes there. So running up the margin in the rural counties is -- and it does look like, Tabitha, there is still more rural votes to count as well?

MUELLER: Yes. Yes. So all of the numbers that have been reported are what they are for right now. But we're expecting another dump of ballots and kind of tallies later on Wednesday, probably sometime in the afternoon, and those might give us a better indication and people might be able to make some race calls at that point in time. But we are still kind of waiting for that to happen.

LEMON: Is there enough, do you think, Tabitha, to make up the difference as you talk about Clark County, I mean, that is the most populous part --

BERMAN: Seventy-five percent of the vote.

LEMON: Seventy-five percent of the vote.

MUELLER: I was actually just looking at the numbers, and I think there is enough to make a difference, right. It's going to all come down. And here's a thing. We don't know how many mail-in ballots are out there, right. That's something that we're just going to have to wait because some people put them in the mail. Some people dropped them off. And so I think there is enough depending on how many are out there, but I mean, Jon Ralston, who is the CEO Of the "Nevada Independent" said that Catherine Cortez Masto could still eke out a win here.

BERMAN: Yes, just to be clear. Explain to us what the law is in terms of that mail vote. How -- it has to be postmarked by, I guess now yesterday at this point, by Tuesday, but if it's postmarked yesterday it can arrive until when?


MUELLER: It can arrive until Saturday. And that's when they will continue counting those votes up to. And then two days after that, that's when signature curing happens so just verifying that signatures are correct, if something seems off or someone forgot to sign something. In total, election officials have about 10 days after the election day, so the 18th, to get everything counted and put out there.

LEMON: Here's what's interesting because you mentioned, and Tabitha, you can speak to this as well. John, you had said mail-in ballots voting typically -- you know, is more positive for Democrats. But in this new environment we don't know. But late mail-in ballots they favor --

BERMAN: That's Arizona. There's a tendency --

LEMON: It's in Arizona. It's not necessarily in Nevada.

BERMAN: There's a tendency for the late-arriving ballots to skew more Republican. In Nevada I'm not sure we've seen enough to know whether that's the behavior, Tabitha, have we?

MUELLER: Yes. We don't know for sure, but what I will say is, you know, I was out at voting sites today and a lot of Republican voters were dropping off their ballots in person. So, you know, I think some people didn't want to mail it in. Some people didn't have time to cast their ballot on one of the voting machines, or, you know, they don't trust them even though it's shown that the voting machines are fine here and they're accurate, and they can't be tampered with, they did drop them off. So that may be something that we will see especially in the rural areas of the state.

LEMON: All right. Tabitha Mueller from the "Nevada Independent," we appreciate your time. I know it's late or early depending if you've gone to bed or just waking up. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.

MUELLER: Well, thanks for having me.

LEMON: Absolutely.

So up next, the other big story is the undecided race for control of the House. Also the results of governor's races.

This is CNN's special live coverage.



LEMON: And we're back. I'm Don Lemon. At this hour neither party has won control of the House or the Senate. Nail biter races all across this country and votes are still coming in.

I want to get back now to my colleague Harry Enten. He's at the CNN battleground desk.

So, Harry, I just want to see how election deniers did overall in these midterms, although everything isn't in yet. How did they do?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So let's look specifically at gubernatorial races, right, because they're at the top of the ticket and obviously elections are state run exercises. So let's start off in the state of Arizona which is really the only state where a full blown election denier on the Republican side is actually competitive. Kari Lake right now only down by two points, obviously as you and John have been talking about a lot of vote is still left to be counted.

But beyond Arizona it was a very bad night for election deniers at least in the gubernatorial races in blue and swing states. So let's go to Massachusetts, right. This is a state you say, OK, it's a really blue state but, remember, it had a Republican governor for a long time in Charlie Baker, but here Geoff Diehl got blown out, got blown out, losing by nearly 30 percentage points. It didn't sell in Massachusetts.

How about Michigan which of course is a perennial swing state? What happened there? Tudor Dixon losing by eight points to Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic candidate. Again election denialism did not sell in a swing state like Michigan. How about Maryland which of course is a blue state but of course one that had a long-time Republican governor? What happened here? Dan Cox getting blown out, 22 points.

Down to Wes More, easily winning the Democratic candidate. And of course in Pennsylvania which we've been talking about all night long in that gubernatorial race, what happened? Doug Mastriano, one of the most full-blown election deniers, getting blown out in the state, losing by nearly 13 percentage points in a state that Joe Biden won by just over a percentage point.

Election denialism in blue states that had previously elected Republican governors and in swing states for the most part it just didn't sell -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much. We're going to say we're going to have Wes Moore on CNN this morning on Thursday. So make sure you tune in. Again, our thanks to Harry Enten. Harry, we'll get back to you.

Kaitlan, people are going to be analyzing this election for weeks and months to come, probably into 2024.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And particularly what Harry was just talking about there, which was this Democratic strategy when it came to boosting these election deniers, essentially arguing that they would be easier to beat tonight, and this is something they took a lot of heat over because the argument was, are you being hypocritical by saying democracy is at stake here, look what's on the line, you need to go out and vote Democrat, but then, you know, previously helping boost these candidates.

But for these people, the ones that Harry just laid out in New Hampshire, in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, it seems to have paid off as a strategy at least.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think it's important to say that first of all while Democrats were hypocritical to push these candidates that they were riding a wave within the Republican primaries themselves. Right, I mean, this was not a total creation of Democratic outside spending. This was Donald Trump backed candidates for the most part because there was an election litmus test within the Republican primary and the question was in this out year election could that be enough where they might win a general election?

Because it's a dangerous game Democrats were playing there and Republicans, too. It looks like at least in that northeast quadrant of the United States the answer is a definitive no. And one of the most fascinating stats for me and, you know I'm obsessed with this as independent voters. Independent voters went 49-47 for Democrats this year in an out year midyear election. That is unheard of.

COLLINS: Why is that unheard of?

AVLON: Because typically independents will swing against the party in power usually by double digits. It's what we saw in 2010 and 2014 where independents went Republican to counterbalance the Obama years. In 2018 over 10 points towards Democrats. But this time they went narrowly for Democrats this year and suburban voters by the way stuck Republican, that is fascinating.


And I wonder if in part it's independent voters saying I'm not going to follow that election denier kind of crazy into a general election.

COLLINS: Yes. Nia, what stood out to you about this?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, I mean, election denialism is essentially Trumpism. Right, I mean, it's the same thing. These were hand-picked candidates by Donald Trump. He was on the phone at some point telling Blake Masters to lean into the election denialism. You saw some of these folks try to sort of airbrush their records from the primary where they're election denial folks and then they sort of -- I think the candidate in New Hampshire said, well, I have done a little bit more research and I don't --

COLLINS: Don Bolduc.

HENDERSON: Yes. Exactly.

COLLINS: Which Trump is criticizing him for on Truth Social saying --

HENDERSON: And saying this is why he lost.

COLLINS: If he had not done that, because what he did was he questioned the results of the 2020 election then he walked that back and then he walked his walk back, if you could call it that.

AVLON: It's an election denier two step.

HENDERSON: Yes. Yes. So listen, I mean, I think Donald Trump has had a really terrible night and we know that this is the way he wants to present himself should he run for reelection based on the big lie, based on, you know, Joe Biden being illegitimately elected a president. And we see in state after state that just a vast number of voters rejecting it.

AVLON: Which is a victory for reality. Let's say that. Because that was one of the real questions going into this election. Can election deniers win a general election? We knew they could win a primary. Could they win a general election? In many cases the answer seems to be a resounding no.

HENDERSON: Yes. And Biden gave two speeches on this in some ways criticized --

AVLON: Yes, he was.

HENDERSON: -- for focusing on it.

COLLINS: Definitely questioned it at least.

HENDERSON: Questioned, should this be something that's part of their closing message but, listen, it resonated with a lot of voters.

COLLINS: To two people still to watch, though, is Adam Laxalt who of course signed on to that lawsuit over the 2020 election, he is the one running against Catherine Cortez Masto for that Senate seat that we are still watching with John Berman closely following Clark County. Also of course Kari Lake to see what happens to her in Arizona. She was the one that when Trump was urging Blake Masters to keep pushing the election lies, he was like, well, look at what Kari Lake is doing. She gets asked about her family and Trump has said she would bring up 2020 election.

Stand by, we'll get back to you two for your analysis on all of this. Because we have a lot of key Senate races, especially that one in Georgia, a big question is whether or not it is going to be headed for that December runoff and whether or not former President Trump and President Biden will be campaigning there. Remember they were absent on the campaign trail in the last several weeks in Georgia.

We also have more projections in the race for control of the House, all of that is next.



LEMON: Welcome back, and good morning, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.

At this very early hour the balance of power in the House not yet decided, Republicans are leading by 20 seats, but still 20 away from that magic number of 218. You can see it up there on the board. Republicans have 198 right now, Democrats 178. Democrats picking up three spots there and Republicans picking up nine so far.

Let's head over now to Mr. John Berman at the magic wall.

John, you can keep us up to date -- bring us up to date on the balance of power in the House.

BERMAN: All right. As you just showed, this here the races that we've projected right now. The races we've projected Republicans control 198 of the seats, Democrats 178. Look at where Republicans are ahead, where Republicans are ahead right now this would give them control of the U.S. House. We're not there yet, we've got to count all the votes but if things keep going the way they are right now they would get control, but look at that margin.

It's barely anything. It's nowhere near what they were hoping for. It would be a good night for them in the sense they take control of the U.S. House, a disappointing night in terms of expectations.

I want to look at the competitive seats, 82 competitive seats in the country between CNN and Inside Elections project that. You can see Democrats are leading in 47, Republicans in 35. The Republican path, though, is much shorter. They only need to win 30 of the Republican seats. They are ahead right now in 35. So you can see they're doing what they need to do to take control, but not the night by any means that they were hoping for, Don.

Let me show you some of the states that are very interesting at this hour. Let's look at New York. OK? One of the things I've been pointing out all night long, we live in New York, right? Ten competitive districts here we consider. Two years ago -- right now Republicans are leading in eight of them. Two years ago eight of those districts were Democratic, just two Republicans. So Democrats, believe it or not, right now their margin in the House is because they're underperforming in New York state. Go figure. Blue state right now.

Another thing I want to show you is in Colorado. That's New Mexico which is near Colorado but not, in fact, Colorado. Let's go to Colorado. What I wanted to show you was that New Mexico is near Colorado.

LEMON: It's early.

BERMAN: In Colorado this is Lauren Boebert's seat. Lauren Boebert is a Republican fire brand, election denier. She is someone Democrats would love, I mean, they would just love to defeat her. And right now she is trailing, she is trailing by, you know, 4,000 votes, almost 5,000 votes with 88 percent in.

I do want to caution Democrats not to get overexcited. One of the places where there is still quite a bit of vote to count, there's 86 percent in, is in Mesa County which is the most populous county in the state. It's kind of her home base. She's got a healthy lead there, there's still more votes to count. She could make up that margin. But a tight race for Lauren Boebert there.