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House And Senate Control Still Hang In The Balance; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Wins Despite Trump's Attacks. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There are still votes to count. She could make up that margin. But a tight race for Lauren Boebert there.

Another race I want to point out is -- I was just in New York. I was telling you about the problems Democrats are having in New York. Let me just go back there for one moment.

This is the seat held by Sean Patrick Maloney, New York's 17th District -- Westchester and other counties nearby. He's trailing by about a point, by 3,000 votes -- 98 percent in. There is still more votes to be counted.

Republicans would love to defeat him here. This would be a symbolic victory for them, taking out the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, part of what could be a good night for Republicans running in New York State.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: In a redrawn district, by the way.

BERMAN: All the districts have been redrawn. He was largely in charge of trying to get a positive map for Democrats in New York State. Didn't -- he overreached --


BERMAN: -- and Democrats ended up with a worse map, and he may be suffering for it there.

Let me look at -- there are some places where Democrats could still flip seats that they're trailing in right now. When I say flip I mean they could overtake the Republican there.

Illinois -- a Democratic race. We see four competitive districts here. Two years ago, four of those would have been Biden.

Right now, Democrats are trailing in one. This is Illinois' 17th Congressional District, largely redrawn. This would have been Cheri Bustos' seat -- she retired there.

You can see the Democrat trailing by almost 3,000 votes. But when you dig down at the county level you can see Moline here, which is Rock Island County, which is a Democratic plus-12 county. There are no votes there.


BERMAN: So while this district right now looks red, you could see it go blue sometime in the next several hours.

LEMON: You're very fancy because when I lived there we would call it Moline.

BERMAN: Well, I'm sorry.

LEMON: No, you're right -- you're right.

BERMAN: Moline.

LEMON: You're right.

BERMAN: But again, we are watching this as the night goes on, or I guess we're now in the morning. Republicans stand. It looks like they may gain control of the House, but not the night they were hoping for.

LEMON: Yes, certainly not.

John Berman, thank you much. We thank you very much for standing by at the magic wall.

We're standing by for a lot of things. This is not over yet -- not by any stretch of the imagination. We're going to stand by as we await more votes in these key Senate races. We're going to compare the performance of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump as they could be on the verge of a 2024 matchup. We're back in moments.



LEMON: Good morning, everyone. Don Lemon here.

The 2022 midterms may be giving us a big clue about the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Our Harry Enten is at the battleground desk. And we talk a lot about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. What say you, sir?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes. So, I mean, look, I think the big thing that's coming out of this midterm is that Democrats did so well and I'm kind of going OK, why did Democrats do so well despite the fact that Joe Biden is unpopular?

Let's take a look though at the national polling that essentially looks at those who have a favorable view of only Biden, only Trump, Biden and Trump, neither Biden nor Trump. Look at that. Only 38 percent of voters had only a favorable view of Trump. When you add in that one percent that had a favorable view of both Biden and Trump, Donald Trump's favorability nationwide just 39 percent.

Now, I want to zone in on that 18 percent, right, that did not like Donald Trump nor did they like Joe Biden. And what you see is that the Republicans were able to win there by 17 points in the national House vote. But historically speaking, if you had an unfavorable view of the incumbent -- the presidential incumbent, that margin should be much, much wider. So it does seem to me that Donald Trump being in the minds of voters very much cost Republicans, at least when it came to the House nationally.

Now, Trump may be unpopular but what about Ron DeSantis, who easily overwhelmingly won reelection? Look at his approval rating in the state of Florida -- 58 percent, significantly higher than Donald Trump's favorable rating nationwide, which totaled up to 39 percent.

And when it comes to actually running in 2024, let's take a look there. And what we see is that yes, 45 percent of Florida voters, in fact, do want Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024. The majority say no -- 53 percent. But that 45 percent -- compare that to Floridians' views of whether they wanted Donald Trump to run for president. And this, I think, gives you a real understanding of why Ron DeSantis is so strong.

Look at that -- just 33 percent of Floridians wanted Donald Trump to run for president. The vast majority said no. So, in Florida, where the voters know each of those candidates equally well, Ron DeSantis is much higher up when it comes to 2024.

LEMON: You know he's not going to like that.

ENTEN: No, no, no, no.

LEMON: Donald Trump won't like it.

ENTEN: Yes, he not going to like that.

LEMON: Not very much.

Harry Enten, appreciate it.

ENTEN: Thank you.

LEMON: So, Poppy, listen --


LEMON: You guys have been talking in your group about this a little bit. My question is why, then, do Republicans still keep hanging on to Donald Trump? I don't understand it.

HARLOW: Well --

LEMON: Because if you look at what's happening now, the very vocal part, right, of the Republican Party but not necessarily in general -- the part of the Republican Party that is --


LEMON: -- winning elections. HARLOW: I think it's the question of the morning outside of, by the way, who is going to take those four Senate seats --


HARLOW: -- where the House is going to go.

Let's ask our team. Alice Stewart, to you. Money talks and you're hearing from big Republican donors about where the money is going. What does that tell you about DeSantis? Is Ron DeSantis the next Republican nominee for President of the United States?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's certainly rising in stature after tonight. And big-money donors are telling me tonight they are ready to turn the page on Donald Trump. They now see he is an anchor on the party. And this is not just people that have not been supportive of Trump. These are Trump allies that have put big money into the party.


HARLOW: That's a critical difference.

STEWART: It's a -- it's a big difference. They're realizing -- look, under Trump, we lost the House, the Senate, and the White House.


STEWART: And now, we're in a critical midterm election and his appointed candidates have lost significantly.

The key thing with the DeSantis-Trump numbers that we saw tonight, that is imperative and it's good for DeSantis and not good for Trump. That's a snapshot in time.

I always like to look at the trends. And you look at the RealClearPolitics trends over the last few months -- Donald Trump has lost in his numbers and DeSantis has gained. And we're looking at Trump has lost about five points over the last three months; DeSantis has gained. And so, if that trend continues that levels out.

And part of it is because DeSantis has been a proven leader. He's a good fundraiser. And now, he has risen to the stature of earning a nickname from Donald Trump. And that right there --

HARLOW: DeSanctimonious.

STEWART: -- says a lot -- yes.

HARLOW: Maria --


HARLOW: -- I want you to talk about the Latino vote because you've been very dialed into this, both nationwide and in Florida.


HARLOW: And the fact that our exit polls show that DeSantis won Latino votes in this election by 13 points. And contrast that with the fact that in 2020, Trump trailed Biden --


HARLOW: -- on the Latino vote by seven points.


HARLOW: That is a huge -- that is a 20-point spread.


HARLOW: That's a huge spread.

CARDONA: No, absolutely. And I think -- again, like I said before, the Democratic Party has a lot of work to do with the Latino vote in Florida.

And DeSantis should be given kudos for that, right -- for reaching out to Latinos in Florida, very specifically underscoring that the Latino vote is not monolithic. It's very different in Florida than it is everywhere else. Very, very heavy Cuban-American, which traditionally has been conservative Republican. I think that was a big part of what happened.

But they also -- DeSantis also got a lot of Puerto Rican voters --


CARDONA: -- and that is traditionally a Democratic --

HARLOW: It's Cuban, yes.

CARDONA: Exactly.

But I want to say something about what Alice said. She talked about, really, the big donors, and that's important. But I think the challenge for the Republican Party is Donald Trump may not care about the big donors because he has this list that is like a gamillion people --

HARLOW: Gamillion -- that's a new one. Those are the words that come at 5:30 --

CARDONA: There you go.

HARLOW: -- in the morning.

CARDONA: Exactly -- that give him $5.00, $10.00 --


CARDONA: -- $30.00, $100. And as long as he has that, I don't think he's going to feel really all that beholden to these big donors.

HARLOW: So I want you guys to look at this. Katronem (PH), if we could pull up on the screen what Scott Jennings, who is a CNN contributor but also a Republican strategist very close to Mitch McConnell, tweeted tonight. "How could" -- this is what he writes. Quote, "How could you look at these results tonight and conclude Trump has any chance of winning a national election in 2024?"

Mia Love is a Republican former member of Congress. What do you think?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER UTAH CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, I've been -- I've been saying this -- I have been saying this over and over and over again, and this is just from facts and evidence that you have seen play out.

One of the things that Ron DeSantis has done is that he has spoken -- he's actually taken a cue from the Glenn Youngkin book -- playbook. He is all about Florida all the time, every time you see him. It's all about the local politics. All about caring more for the people you represent than the person that you think represents your party.

It is, again, follow -- people put way too much credit and effort into a person because they think that that's the leader of the party. Why not hold Trump beholden to the principles and the platform of the Republican Party?

HARLOW: One of the things, Paul, that I do find interesting though to me at this point, and it might be a little bit counter to it, is the fact that Ron DeSantis has also really capitalized on culture wars that make national headlines. For example -- look at the fight with Disney, for example -- right? That's just one of them.

At the same time, leading through the last hurricane --


HARLOW: -- has also shown when you can -- has shown the country what he would be like as a leader of the nation in a crisis like that.

BEGALA: And I think most Floridians think he did a good job during that hurricane. By the way, he worked with Joe Biden.


BEGALA: Oh, the Republicans all hate Joe Biden.


BEGALA: No. He said I owe --


BEGALA: -- Florida first. So I think he did a very good job there and it helps. But DeSantis has done something that Trump has never done. He got more votes than a Democrat, twice. He won very narrowly the -- in 2018. He won a landslide today.

Donald Trump ran for president twice and never once got more votes than the Democrat. He's the only president in 90 years who has lost his party -- the White House, the House, and the Senate -- all in just four years. There is a word for that in my business -- loser. He's the biggest loser in American politics.

Now, Republicans have to decide.

CARDONA: That's right.

BEGALA: If Mia and Alice -- they want their party again to be a coalition of ideas and about policies. But right now, it is a cultive personality and it's politically killing the Republicans.


LOVE: It is, and I don't see why --

CARDONA: You know -- but you know else I think is the challenge for DeSantis? When is he going to announce? If Trump is going to announce on the 15th, DeSantis just won the governorship.

HARLOW: Well, I wonder if --


HARLOW: -- tonight changes the 15th. I don't know.

CARDONA: He'll do it tomorrow then.

HARLOW: Well -- all right, stand by, everyone. Thank you all. We'll get back to you very soon.

We are getting the results on several ballot measures across the United States -- big issues like marijuana legalization, abortion rights, minimum wage. We'll be back with that. This is CNN's special live coverage.




SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We've looked very closely at the numbers. We feel very confident that there's no way that they can really make up that gap. But I'm not -- I'm not going to declare victory until all of the numbers are in. But I just want to give you guys the sense that this race is over, you know. I think -- I -- quite honestly, I think anybody looking at the numbers would have to admit that fact, but whatever reason, they're not willing to call it.


LEMON: There is Ron Johnson there in Wisconsin. Not exactly claiming victory there but just enough to keep the supporters happy there. So, we're going to talk about what's happening in Wisconsin.

But let me just reset for you here four key Senate races still undecided at this hour, including the one in Wisconsin between Mandela Barnes and Ron Johnson. You heard Ron Johnson saying hey look, we looked at the numbers. Not yet sure. We don't believe right now that they can make it up, but I don't want to declare victory right now.

Let's go now to CNN's Lucy Kafanov. She joins us now from Milwaukee with the very latest. So we heard from Ron Johnson. What are you hearing there as you're on the scene in Wisconsin?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a fascinating night in a deeply divided truly purple state. We have two-term incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in a challenge -- facing off a challenge by the lieutenant Democratic governor, Mandela Barnes in a race that is -- was incredibly competitive. With 94 percent of the vote in, though, Johnson ahead by something like 33,000 votes, which is a significant number in a -- in a state where races often come down to the wire.

And as you heard in that sound bite there, Johnson not declaring victory but basically declaring victory. We have yet to hear from Barnes. We've also yet to have the race be officially called.

But keep in mind, that Wisconsin was considered the Democrats' best chance of flipping a Republican seat. Johnson was not particularly popular here and Mandela Barnes initially had a slight lead in the polls in the initial months. But we saw that lead evaporate in a barrage of negative advertising throughout recent weeks.

But, of course, it's not all bad news for the Democrats here in this state. Governor Tony Evers has won his reelection bid -- that is at least according to CNN projections -- against his Republican challenger, preserving the Democrats' veto power in a state where the legislation was seeking veto-proof supermajorities.

And if the race is actually called for Sen. Ron Johnson, this would be the first time in 24 years that we've seen a split ticket here in Wisconsin -- guys.

LEMON: Before I let you go, pardon my manners. I should have said good morning. My mom is at home going don't be rude. Say good morning. I raised you better than that. Good morning to you, Lucy Kafanov.

KAFANOV: It's still night here for us.

LEMON: But good morning, anyways.

Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Let's head over to -- speaking of good morning, good morning, sir. How are you? BERMAN: I was nervous you weren't going to say good morning to me. I was going to call you out. I was going to say don't you have something you want to say first to me?

LEMON: My mom would say I'm not the only one in here. Say good morning.

So, where are we -- where are we in this contest.

BERMAN: This is Wisconsin where things stand in the Senate race right now. You see Ron Johnson ahead by 32,000 votes -- about 1.2 percent -- 94 percent. And where is there still votes to be counted? Let me take this down to 90. I know you like when I do this.

LEMON: I do.

BERMAN: I do the slide -- the electric slide right there.

These are the counties that have less than 90 percent in. You can see this one right here, Dunn County -- a smaller Republican county. Ron Johnson could pick up some votes here but not very much. You're not talking about tons of votes there.

Rock County, down here on the border. Mandela Barnes has a small lead there -- 84 percent in. He might be able to pick up some vote here.

The biggie -- the biggie where the votes still are is Milwaukee County, or Mil-wau-kay as they say in "Wayne's World." You can see Mandela Barnes has a huge lead. He leads by 41 percent, which is outperforming what Joe Biden did there. He would need to pick up, essentially, in Milwaukee County alone, the overall vote total -- the 32,000 votes that he is trailing Ron Johnson. It's a tough order -- tall order to be sure.

This race has not been projected yet -- largely, I assume because Milwaukee is still out there. And as we just heard from Lucy,

CNN has projected that the winner of the governor's race will be Democrat Tony Evers. You can see he's 83,000 votes ahead so there is a difference between Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes. Evers, 83,000 ahead; Barnes, 32,000 votes behind.

LEMON: All right, John Berman. Thank you very much. And by the way, good morning.

BERMAN: Good morning to you.

LEMON: We're getting a little punchy here in Mil-wau-kay.

So, votes are still coming in. The balance of power in Congress still up for grabs. So stand by, everyone. We've got lots more. Our coverage continues right after a break.


[05:59:28] LEMON: Good morning, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.

Election night in America rolling into the morning. Here's the state of play at this hour. Control of Congress is hanging in the balance.

First, we're going to get to the House. Republicans and Democrats both hoping to hit that 218 -- that magic number -- to clinch the majority here. Democrats have won 178 seats. Republicans have won 198 seats. Same situation is happening over in the Senate. Democrats and Republicans both have 48 seats this hour.

It is too early to call some key races but we're going to talk about what's happening.