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Big GOP Wins in Governors' Races; Trump's Effect on the Election. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 06:30   ET



AL SCHMIDT (R), FORMER PHILADELPHIA CITY COMMISSIONER: I know Michael and others have said it's not just not living in Pennsylvania, it's living in New Jersey.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is a whole different matter.

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And - and sort of not being a man of the people, right? That's what Fetterman and his hoodies and his - with his tattoos, I think, exuded for so many people. And even the stroke made him more human. And I think voters were very empathic with his struggles.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And the enormous risk he took in participating in that final debate where he hung a lantern on this problem and people thought it would really hurt.

But, you know, -- and I think there's a lot to be taken from sort of a populous Democrat reaching out to white working class voters, or just working class voters in general, playing outside the base. And, again, someone not living in a state for most of their life, you'd think rationally that would hurt. And the deal that Oz made with Donald Trump to get this.

But the other national thing to look at is, actually Republicans narrowly won the suburbs. So, Democrats won independents narrowly. Republicans narrowly won the suburbs nationally. That may be more evident in places like New York than in Pennsylvania apparently. But that's a fascinating undercurrent to this election.

COLLINS: Yes, and that's something we'll be tracking closely to see, you know, what does it means for what 2024 looks like. That's been a big question with the implications there.

Thank you all. Stand by. We have a lot more to look at.

We still are waiting on some really key Senate races this morning. These are some undecided races. They could determine which party controls the fate of the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, I guarantee you, are watching both of these very closely. We will have the latest for you here on CNN's special live coverage. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



GOV. Gretchen WHITMER (D-MI): We are thrilled - thrilled at the unexpected high turnout. We are thrilled that the three ballot initiatives got passed. And I never thought I'd be so happy about Fox News, but I'm glad they called this election too.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All smiles there in Michigan.

Democrats managing to outperform in some races for governor across the country. There you saw in Michigan with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer winning her re-election bid against Trump-endorsed Republican Tudor Dixon.

Democrats have flipped two gubernatorial seats so far. One in Massachusetts, with an historic win by Maura Healey. She will become the nation's first out lesbian governor. And the other in Maryland, where Wes Moore defeated far-right Republican Dan Cox to become the first African American elected governor there. Moore will join CNN this morning a little bit later on.

So, overall, though, the GOP still holds the top job in the majority of states with a history making victory of their own in Arkansas. That's where Sarah Huckabee Sanders is projected to become the first woman elected governor, following in her father's footsteps. He was the governor of that state once as well.

Republicans also winning a few other big races. Florida's Ron DeSantis, Georgia's Brian Kemp, Greg Abbott in Texas, all defeating Democratic challengers.

Headed over to the man of the hour, Mr. John Berman, to take us through where we are right now.

Where are we standing, John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to focus on two of the governors' races out west.


BERMAN: In states that were also focused on the Senate race. Nevada, right now. Joe Lombardo, the Republican, is leading the incumbent Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak. He's got a lead of almost 5 percent, 39,000 votes there, 80 percent in. It's the same situation as the Senate race. Let me just show you in the Senate race. It's a much smaller lead for the Republican, Adam Laxalt.

So, Sheriff Joe Lombardo is outperforming Adam Laxalt there by about 18,000 votes. Obviously, we're still going to have to wait for Clark County, where all the mail ballot that has been received yesterday and then going forward will have to still be counted.

In Arizona, it's kind of a similar story. You have Kari Lake, the Republican there, trailing Katie Hobbs. The reason I say it's a similar story, she's behind with about 607 percent in.

LEMON: Not by much, though.

BERMAN: About 30,000 votes. But she is over performing the Republican Senate candidate, Blake Masters. You can see, he's at about 46 percent. She, at 49.1 percent. She is running ahead of Blake Masters. And that 3 percent difference may very well make the difference in Arizona.

LEMON: John Berman, we've got a lot of road behind us but we have a lot in front of us as well. So, thank you very much.

John will be checking in on the numbers throughout the hours here on CNN.

We're getting in more votes in the undecided Senate races that will decide control of the chamber.

Stand by, everyone. There's more news on CNN right after this break.




GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We made promises to the people of Florida, and we have delivered on those promises.

And so, today, after four years, the people have delivered their verdict. Freedom is here to stay!


LEMON: Ron DeSantis winning and declaring victory in front of a rousing crowd.

So, let's go to CNN's data reporter, our senior data reporter, Harry Enten, at the battleground desk.

So, here's the question, right? You saw what happened with Governor Ron DeSantis, won, right, resounding victory. So, did support for Trump cost the GOP votes?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I don't think there's any doubt that it did, Don. You know, Donald Trump, let's start off with just the straight fact. Donald Trump is not a well-liked politician. Look at how high his unfavorable rating is nationally. Look at this, 58 percent unfavorable, just 39 percent favorable.

And look how the people who -- voters who had an unfavorable view undecided to vote in this election. Overwhelming for Democratic candidates. Look at this margin, 77 percent to 20 percent just for the Republicans.

But I think there's another way to sort of look at this. And essentially let's say, who were the people that turned out to vote, right, and who did they say they supported back in the 2020 election? Normally you would expect high Republican turnout with a Democratic president. But look here, amongst those who turned out to vote, they said that back in the 2020 election they favored Biden 48 percent to Trump's 44 percent. That four point margin basically matches what we saw two years ago.

And if we look at those who said that they supported Joe Biden two years ago, how did they vote? How did they vote? It's a huge margin for Democrats, 92 percent to 7 percent. So, basically, those people who said they voted for Biden two years ago, stuck by the Democratic candidates for the House.

And this was despite the fact, look how unpopular Joe Biden was. He had just a 41 percent favorable rating. So, when you put it all together and you say, wait a minute, Joe Biden, the incumbent president, is quite unpopular, how did Democrats win? Well, or at least do better than expected?


Well, it's because Donald Trump was in a lot - in the minds of a lot of voters and they decided, hey, we don't like that guy either.


LEMON: Harry Enten, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Let's head over now to Poppy Harlow, my colleague.

There's going to be lots of Monday morning quarterbacking and lots of conversations happening about where do we go from here from both parties.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: For sure. And a big announcement pending from the former president on November 15th. And does this change any of that.

Let's bring back in our team of experts here. And, Sarah, let me just begin with you. Sarah Matthews.

You were - you worked closely with former President Trump. You were his deputy press secretary until you resigned on January 6th after seeing him not come out and condemn immediately the violent protesters.

So, when you see what we just saw and what Harry laid out there, what is your message to Republicans this morning that may -- that are considering, do we stand by Trump anymore?

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think last night was the biggest indicator that Donald Trump should not be the Republican nominee in 2024. He cost Republicans winnable seats by boosting poor quality candidates. I mean you look at the political environment, you have record inflation, increased fears over crime, the worst border crisis in history, an unpopular president and Republican performance was still underwhelming. And that was in large part due to the candidates that Trump backed. That they weren't up to quality. And so I think that this is lessons learned for Republicans that, a, Trump is not a national winner, and, b, that candidate quality matters and we need to like look more into that.

HARLOW: Remember, months ago now, when Mitch McConnell said candidate quality matters?

Tom, to you. You know, a lot of the focus, especially in the closing arguments from Democrats, and the -- President Biden chose to close on democracy. Democracy matters. He chose that over closing on the economy. A lot of pundits said, that might be the wrong closing argument, right? And we don't know who's going to take the House, but this certainly isn't a red wave. What does this tell you?

TOM NICHOLS, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, I think it dovetails with Sarah's point, that when you have somebody like Trump pushing bad candidates, the democracy argument actually starts to matter again. That I think it reminds people of what's at stake. You know, the - there were a lot of -- the president got a lot of -- President Biden got a lot of unsolicited advice about -- talk about the economy instead of talking about what's at stake and yet I would say the candidate who came out with the strongest message about that was somebody like Tim Ryan, and it just didn't really flying in Ohio. And I think that actually, between Donald Trump and the president making this kind of an argument, I think a lot of voters seemed to hear it.

HARLOW: Michael, to you. Looking at - looking at Biden and the question of, you know, if it is McCarthy, and this is another question we'll get to with you, Sarah, whether, you know, if the Republicans take the House, if McCarthy can secure the gavel. But if that's the case, you worked in the Biden White House. You were special assistant to President Biden. You were the press secretary for First Lady Jill Biden. How can the two of them work together effectively? Can they work together effectively for the American people?

MICHAEL LAROSA, FORMER BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: You know, I think President Biden, whether you agree with the policies that he's pushed and passed, you cannot say that he hasn't been successful. I think in the first two years he's accomplished more - accomplished enough to last him two terms in office. He does not -- this shouldn't be about what President Biden does to govern. Right now the question is going to be about whether Kevin McCarthy can work with him. Can Kevin McCarthy corral his caucus and can they pass a -- can they increase the debt ceiling or are they going to hold --

HARLOW: And that is such a crucial question.

LAROSA: Yes, are they going to hold it hostage like they did before. Are they going to vote for a government funding bill? Those are the only two things Kevin McCarthy needs to do. And that is his test. It really doesn't have anything to do with President Biden. It is the responsibility of the - of Congress to pass those bills.

HARLOW: Well, Mia is smiling at me.

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just - yes, I just think that the real test, at least for Republicans, they desperately -- Republicans desperately need a leader.

HARLOW: So, who is that this morning? Is that still former President Trump? Also McCarthy.

LOVE: And that is, can Kevin McCarthy - see, and with all of the data it shouldn't be. With all of the evidence it shouldn't be. I mentioned every single gubernatorial candidate he endorsed lost. And the ones that he went after --

HARLOW: No, no, no, we don't know them all yet. We don't know Arizona, namely.

LOVE: Well, it's looking that way. It's looking that way.

HARLOW: We - we - we don't know Arizona. Go ahead.

LOVE: It's -- we don't know Arizona. But we do know that he went after Ron DeSantis and Ron DeSantis won big. We know that he went after Brian Kemp, and Brian Kemp won. We know that he rallied for Dr. Oz, and it didn't work out for Dr. Oz.

So, I'm - I'm just asking Kevin McCarthy, my friend, if he is ready to be the Republican leader that Republicans need.


And that will tell us how well he can actually govern and work with the administration to get the policies, the free market policies that Americans so desperately need.

HARLOW: We will get back to you guys very, very soon. Thank you, all of you.

We're standing by to get votes from four key Senate races. It was a night of historic firsts also for many candidates. We'll bring you some of them live right here.

Stay with us.


COLLINS: Not only did candidates win their races last night, many of them also made history. Republican and former White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is going to be the first woman elected governor of Arkansas after she won the office that her dad held for over a decade. New York Governor Kathy Hochul defeated Republican Lee Zeldin, becoming the state's first elected female governor. She had been appointed to the position last year.

[06:55:02] In my home state of Alabama, Republican Katie Britt becomes the first elected female senator from the state after she won the race to succeed her one-time boss, retiring GOP Senator Richard Shelby.

Twenty-five-year-old Democrat Maxwell Frost is the first gen z member of Congress after he won Florida's 10th Congressional District. He's 25 years old. He's going to succeed Democrat Val Demings. She vacated the seat to run for Senate, a race that she lost last night.

Democrat Wes Moore going to be Maryland's first black governor and only the third African American ever elected governor in the United States. In addition to that, Anthony Brown is going to be the first black person ever elected attorney general in Maryland.

In Massachusetts, Democrat Maura Healey is going to be the first openly lesbian governor in U.S. history and the first elected female governor in the state. Republican Mark Wayne Mullen is going to be the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in almost 100 years after he won a special election for the seat left open by the retiring Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.

And in Pennsylvania, Democrat Summer Lee is going to be the state's first black woman elected to Congress. She won the 12th Congressional District last night.

Not only history being made, we still have votes coming in for those four undecided races that are going to determine whether or not Democrats or Republicans control the Senate. And the House is also still up for grabs at this hour despite what you have heard from some lawmakers.

We will continue with the surprises as we are still counting the ballots here. That's coming up next.