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Undecided Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona Races Will Decide Control of Senate; House, Senate Control Still Hang in the Balance; Georgia Senate Race Appears Headed for Runoff, Among Four Still Undecided. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 07:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Good morning to you, I'm Don Lemon. It is the morning after election night in America, and the votes, they are still being counted. And control of Congress hangs in the balance.

First, the House Republicans and Democrats both hoping to hit that 218 number to clench the majority. Democrats have won 178 seats, Republicans have won 199. And right now, Republicans are leading in just 21 competitive seats, Democrats playing defense here, they lead in 24.

Same situation for the Senate, Democrats and Republicans both have 48 seats this hour. It is too early to call some of those key races but we're going to talk about Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada. CNN has not made any projections at this hour in those Senate races.

In Georgia, Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock are neck and neck. If no one hits that magic number of 50 percent plus one, we could be in for a runoff. In Wisconsin, Democrat Mandela Barnes Democrat trails Republican Ron Johnson. As it stands in Arizona right now, the incumbent Democratic senator, Mark Kelly, is leading. And in Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt inching ahead of Democrat incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto.


SENATE CANDIDATE ADAM LAXALT (R-NV): We are exactly where we want to be in this race. We have a lot of our votes coming in all across the state yet to be tabulated. We are going to win this race.

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-NV): We are not done yet. Here is one thing I know, our positive energy got us to where we are today and we are going to make sure that positive energy continues to flow this week. We are going to get this done.


LEMON: John Berman joins us now from the magic wall. No gloating, everyone urging restraint.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, that's because nothing is decided in the U.S. Senate, right? As it stands it's 48/48, four races that we have not yet projected. They are in Georgia, in Wisconsin, in Arizona and Nevada. How do you like this trick when I did it before? Let's see who's ahead in each of these states. Oh my goodness, if it ended right now with whoever is ahead, it would be 50/50, which is actually how we woke up yesterday morning, a 50/50 Senate, Kamala Harris would break the tie, Democrats would maintain control.

Let's quickly sweep through each of these contests. I'll actually start with the one I didn't show there, which is Pennsylvania. If you went to sleep early last night, you may have missed it. CNN projects that John Fetterman will win the race, which we have thought might be decisive here. It turns out these other races may be the ones that tipped this. But this was a Democratic pickup. And if you're curious, John Fetterman did well just about everywhere here. This is where he outperformed Joe Biden, Joe Biden's last election there, almost everywhere, a really strong campaign from John Fetterman leading right now by 2.5 points.

Let's go around the country, to the other races, in Wisconsin right now, you have the incumbent, Ron Johnson, leading there by about 1.2 percent, 31,000 votes. There are still votes to count in Milwaukee, just 82 percent in. Mandela Barnes, lieutenant governor, the Democrat has a large lead there. Hard to know whether or not he can make up the 32,000 vote margin with Milwaukee.

LEMON: You heard Ron Johnson coming out just a little while ago saying, hey, listen, we think that we're in a good spot, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we're pretty sure that it's over.

BERMAN: You'd rather be Ron Johnson now than Mandela Barnes with a 31,000 vote lead in Wisconsin, but more votes still to count there.

Keep going around the country, in Nevada, and we did hear from Adam Laxalt there as well, he is leading by 2.2 percent, 22,000 votes right now in Nevada. You can see all the red here. He is leading every county but Clark County. Clark County by far the most populous with 75 percent of the vote. Let me just show you some of the margins enjoyed by Adam Laxalt in the rural counties here, Lyon County right now, he has got a lead of 50 percent. I mean, granted that's only 8,000 votes. But these rural counties, he has got huge, huge leads there, running up the score there.

It will come down to Clark County, the most populous county, 84 percent reporting right now. The remaining vote is mail vote. All the Election Day vote has been counted. The mail vote tends to favor Democrats in Nevada, only mail vote left to count. It can be -- as long as it's mailed by Election Day, it can be received today, tomorrow, Friday, counted by Saturday. We don't know how much mail vote is left. So, watch this space, Nevada still very much up for grabs.

[07:05:00] Arizona, next door, the incumbent, Mark Kelly, ahead by 105,000 votes with 67 percent reporting right now, that lead has shrunk. Blake Masters has closed the gap overnight. Kelly was initially ahead by more votes as more is counted. Masters is making up some of that margin.

Maricopa County, Mark Kelly enjoys a lead of about eight points there. Joe Biden only won this county by 2.2 percent. It is a swing county. So, Mark Kelly right now is overperforming Joe Biden. All the Election Day vote has been counted here as well, only mail left to count. Maybe it favors Democrats, some of the late arriving ballots in Arizona tend to be more Republican in other parts of the country. So, again, we're going to have to wait and see.

Our Victor Blackwell reports we're not going to get more numbers from Maricopa County until tonight. So, it could be some time before we know more there.

I want to end this little wrap up around the country in Georgia.

LEMON: Georgia, of course. All roads lead to Georgia, right?

BERMAN: Raphael Warnock right now leads by 18,000 votes but the number to look at is this one. I mauled my circle there. He's only got 49.2 percent. The key number here is 50. If no one gets 50 percent, there will be a runoff on December 6th, the first week of December. That runoff could very well determine control of the Senate.

If you're curious about whether or not Warnock can get to 50, hard to know, right, hard to know. You can see 96 percent reported, where is the remaining vote in Georgia right now of that 4 percent? The bigger and bluer the circle, the more vote left there. So, it's in an area around Atlanta, which does favor Raphael Warnock, but hard to see it being enough to get him --

LEMON: There are a lot of small red dots.

BERMAN: A lot of small red dots. The secretary of state's office says it believes there will be a runoff there.

And in terms of why that matters nationally, again, if I take this out, imagine that, you know, Georgia doesn't exist, the Democrats go down to 49, and Republicans have 50. If you have a runoff here and Republicans win here, they would control the Senate. If Democrats win in the runoff, they will control the Senate. So, as things stand, Georgia, Don, could be decisive.

LEMON: Hang on to Georgia because we want to head down to Georgia, John, and I want to get to my colleague, this closely watched Senate race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker. Our Jeff Zeleny is there. He has been following things for us. He's been in Georgia, specifically in Marietta, Georgia.

This race is likely headed for the runoff. We're not projecting that. That's what the secretary of state's office is saying, likely headed to a runoff. Good morning to you, Jeff. JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Don. As daybreaks in Georgia, both campaigns are planning for a runoff. We will wait and see as these remaining 4 percent of the votes are counted, as John was just saying there. But the campaigns are not waiting. And party officials from the Democratic Party and National Republican Party are not waiting either. The next four weeks could be critical in terms of who controls the U.S. Senate.

Now, looking at these numbers overnight, here in Cobb County, just north of Atlanta, this is a critical area that really tells the story of this race. And it tells the story of the underperformance of Republican Herschel Walker. The governor's race in Georgia was called early. Republican Governor Brian Kemp had a commanding lead and defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams. But Herschel Walker underperformed Governor Brian Kemp significantly by more than 160,000 votes. So, as the rest of the votes are counted, both candidates overnight had this message for their voters.


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK ()D-GA): We know that, once again, the people of Georgia showed up and said loud and clear that you want a senator who's going to do the work for Georgia. You want someone who every day is going to wake up and work for all of Georgia. And that's the work I have committed myself to doing from day one. Somebody who understands that we, in the words of Dr. King, are tied in a single garment of destiny, caught up in an inescapable network of mutually that what affects one directly affects all indirectly.

SENATE CANDIDATE HERSCHEL WALKER (R-GA): I'm like Ricky Bobby. I don't come to lose.

If you can hang in, hang in there a little bit longer. Just hang in there a little bit longer, because something good it takes awhile for it to get better, and it's going to get better.


ZELENY: So, Herschel Walker is saying something good takes awhile to get better. But the reality is he is trailing Senator Warnock now. So, heading into the next four weeks, again, the votes from last night must be counted first and they will be counted. But officials here are not saying that or expecting that there's enough for either side to determine a winner.


But more importantly, before we declare this a runoff, let those votes be counted. But the campaigns are not waiting. They are preparing for this as though control of Senate depends on Georgia, and it well might. But it's pretty ironic that the very beginning of this election cycle, think back to January 2021 when Raphael Warnock won in the first place in the heels of President Biden narrowly carrying Georgia, it is now ending in Georgia likely as well with both parties now turning all of their attention back here to Georgia. Don? LEMON: You got to give it to him for that Ricky Bobby reference there. So, thank you very much there. I appreciate it, Jeff Zeleny in Marietta, Georgia, for us this morning.

Kaitlan, listen, there's a lot to discuss, there's going to be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking about what happened. And, look, also in Georgia, this could go to runoff so it's not over yet. we won't know for weeks.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it could potentially be weeks. That's something people have been bracing for. At least it won't be in January. It will be actually in December this time.

So, who better to discuss all of this than Geoff Duncan, the lieutenant governor of Georgia. What do you see? Do you think a runoff is going to happen?

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): Well, statistically, it certainly looks like a runoff. There's only a handful of votes left, I think 4 percent heavy inside the metro area. So, yes, it does feel like it's going to go to a runoff.

COLLINS: You said not that long ago that you were not going to vote for Herschel Walker or Raphael Warnock. Does that change if the balance of power in the Senate depends on this race?

DUNCAN: So, my actually answer was I didn't respect Herschel Walker yet and he had not earn my vote and I was not going to vote for Raphael Warnock. So, we still have four more weeks. But I think a lot of Republicans like me are waking up this morning going, what could have been. What could have been if we would have picked a better candidate that could have won with a margin like Brian Kemp, that would have been able to put real leadership on display, real ideas on display, win the hearts and minds of Georgians and get the state back to being fully red.

COLLINS: And Brian Kemp had this resounding victory despite the fact that Trump had once predicted he was going to go down in flames at the ballot box. He defeated his Trump-backed opponent in that primary. And then, of course, he had a big victory last night. What message does that send, do you think?

DUNCAN: I think it sends a message to the country, along with some other states, that this is truly a pivot point for the Republican Party. This is a time that Donald Trump is, no doubt, in the rear view mirror and it's time to move on with the party, it's time to move on with candidate quality. It turns out Mitch McConnell knew what he was talking about candidate quality. We have seen it in Georgia and other places around the country, where if they would have just woke up 12 months ago and stop taking his lead and took the lead of what real Republicans, real conservatives meant and mattered, we'd be in a different place.

COLLINS: We're still waiting to see what happens with the Senate, of course, and with this runoff. We're also still waiting to actually to see who controls the House. It seems like it's going to be Republicans. That remains to be seen. Do you think Trump had the worst night though by far of anyone else last night?

DUNCAN: I wouldn't want to be the one delivering him the news last night or this morning as to what the results were of the candidates they supported and poured money into. But it's time to turn the page. I'm ready to move on. And who knows? I think Donald Trump is moving from a movement to a distraction for the Republican Party now.

COLLINS: We'll see if others agree. Obviously, he had a hold on those primary voters, just not the general election voters.

He was not in Georgia in the last several weeks for this race, neither was President Biden noticeably. Do you think that changes if there's a runoff in the state? Will we see President Biden or former President Trump in the state?

DUNCAN: Actually, it was months. From my recollection, I mean, it was months. I don't think there was any campaign that wanted Donald Trump to show up or Joe Biden for that matter. I mean, they were both toxic down the stretch.

Look, I can't imagine anybody would think Donald Trump would be a tailwind to Herschel Walker's campaign in a runoff scenario. I can't imagine anybody doing that calculus, except for one person, and that would be Donald Trump.

COLLINS: Yes. It's fascinating to see who is going to potentially control the Senate because of this if there is going to be this runoff that they have been hoping to avoid and whether or not Kemp not being on the ticket if there is a runoff, if that affects how Walker does.

DUNCAN: Yes. There was 200,000 folks, by quick math, this morning that were ticket splitters that voted for Brian Kemp and specifically voted for Raphael Warnock and not for Herschel Walker. And I think there's some time to still tell if this isn't the balance, right? This runoff could be two separate scenarios. If it is the balance of the Senate, it's a national race again, hundreds of millions of dollars pour in. If it ends up not being in the balance and it's back to small dollar donations and barbecues seven times a day and good old fashioned runoffs.

COLLINS: When I asked Governor Kemp if he had heard from voters who were splitting their tickets voting for him but voting for Warnock, he said he would leave that up to the focus groups to determine what the thinking was there.

Geoff Duncan, thank you for joining us on this.

DUNCAN: Absolutely.

COLLINS: Don, we're waiting to see what is going to happen in Georgia, but also the White House is watching very closely what is happening in that Nevada Senate race as well, also, of course, Arizona, the races there when it comes to Kari Lake and who is going to actually be the governor of Arizona.

LEMON: Yes. And Republicans around the country are watching and they're listening to things like what the lieutenant governor had to say about the former president getting into this race and exactly what he means going forward for the Republican Party.


So, thanks to both of you.

So, we have talked a lot about Democrat strategy, funding election deniers here. Harry Enton, did that pay off?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I think it did. If you look across the board, we look at a bunch of races where Democrats decided to fund these election deniers and they pretty much went all in and undefeated.

So, let's start in Pennsylvania governor, right, which I think is one of the marked key races. Look at this margin, Josh Shapiro over Doug Mastriano, nearly a 13-point margin.

But it's not the only one. Let's go to Michigan 3. Michigan 3, I think, is a fascinating race because Peter Meijer was the Republican incumbent there and he, of course, voted to impeach Donald Trump. And there was a lot of people thinking, how could you do that? How could you basically get at this guy who is kind of working towards the middle? But it seemed to pay off because, look at this, John Gibbs, the Republican candidate, losing by 13 percentage points.

Let's go to New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Senate race. This is another one. Look at this margin, Maggie Hassan up by ten points. I honestly thought this race was going to be close, some of the late polls had it close. It wasn't close at all, Maggie Hassan with a double-digit victory.

Let's go to the one race where perhaps it didn't necessarily work as well, and that is the Arizona governor's race, where we have not called anyone. Kari Lake is only about two points behind Katie Hobbs with a bunch of votes to get counted, but that was really the exception to the rule.

So, let's go back to New Hampshire, the second district there. This is, again, a race that just is not close at all. Look at Annie Kuster. I'm from that district or I once lived in that district, I should say, went up to college in Dartmouth. And you could see right here, Annie Kuster with a large lead over Robert Burns, double digits yet again.

Let's go down to Maryland's governor race, because this is a race in which -- Maryland is a very blue state, but, obviously, Larry Hogan, the incumbent Republican governor, much more towards the middle. Republicans decided to go in a different direction with Dan Cox. Look at this margin, Wes Moore, over 20-point margin.

Finally, let's shoot over to the Midwest. We'll go over to the Illinois gubernatorial race and what we see here is, again, a very wide margin in that race, J.B. Pritzker double-digit margin over Darren Bailey. They basically picked Bailey out of the Republican field. It seemed to pay off. So, across the board, it does seem that the Democratic strategy worked despite a lot critics, especially those some in the media. Don?

LEMON: Yes, there was a lot of consternation about that. Thank you very much, Harry Enten.

Poppy Harlow, speaking of strategies, both Democrats and Republicans are going to be trying to figure out how do we do better next time. What is next time going to be like?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And to Harry's point, let's bring in the panel. I mean, let me just go to you, Tom. It worked, okay? Harry showed us it worked. If it worked, does it make it right and should Democrats keep doing it?

TOM NICHOLS, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: I think it was a really dangerous gamble. I'm not sure that we have all of the results. I mean, Arizona is still out. I think there are a lot of Democratic candidates in state and local offices that needed help. I mean, this is a gamble now and then, this is like going in and, you know, putting all your money on red, spinning the wheel and making it and saying it was a smart bet. The best you can say is that it worked out.

HARLOW: This time?

NICHOLS: This time.

HARLOW: Michael, you liked it?

MICHAEL LAROSA, FORMERS SPOKESMAN AND PRESS SECRETARY TO FIRST LADY JILL BIDEN: I did. I liked it. I thought, it's risky, of course, but all strategies are risky. A couple years ago, Senator Claire McCaskill ran for election in 2012 and did the same thing in her contest with Todd Akin. She got the candidate she wanted. It's smart politics. Nobody was complaining back then.

HARLOW: What do you think, Sarah?

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes. I mean, it's a gamble and it seemed to pay off for Democrats so far in the races called. But at the same time, I think it's extremely irresponsible.

HARLOW: You're someone who left the Trump White House because of the lies, because of the election denialism that led to violence and death at the insurrection and the president not standing up to it. So, to see candidates perpetuate those lies propped. It doesn't matter from folks from either party.

MATTHEWS: Exactly. And I think I didn't want to see election deniers win and I'm curious to see what the results will be in Arizona. But Democrats have been saying, you know, this whole campaign in 2022, that democracy is at risk. But then they took the chance of backing some of these election deniers. And I just think that's irresponsible but it seems to have paid off.

HARLOW: Very quickly, yes. NICHOLS: To Michael's point, I think it's one thing to do that when there's the kind of the political breathing room to do it in a year like, say, 2012 when democracy is on the ballot, when you have people that are running on a platform of attacking the Constitution.

LAROSA: So, it was very risky for Claire McCaskill. She was running in Missouri, which is hardly a Democratic state in a year that Obama was at the top of the ticket. And her opponent was, you know, calling it legitimate -- calling legitimate rape. And now we've seen the consequences of having pro-life senators, confirmed pro-life judges that have a lot to do with that in this election.

HARLOW: Abortion was clearly a big driver too in these races, right?


Don, let me get it back to you.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that, I appreciate it, Poppy.

So, the big headline this morning, control of Congress up for grabs, the House undecided, the house and Senate undecided. Votes are still coming in. This is election morning a morning after on CNN.


LEMON: Hey, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Here's the big news this morning, control of the House and the Senate still up for grabs right now. In the Senate, there are four undecided races, including two out west in Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is leading incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto. in Arizona incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly is leading Republican Blake Masters.

And we have reporters in both states. We're going to start though with CNN's Rosa Flores live for us in Las Vegas this morning. Rosa, good morning to you, thanks for joining us. What are you seeing and hearing on the ground there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, democracy is at work here in Nevada, Don. As you mentioned, this is a tight race.


We were all expecting for this to be a very tight race in the U.S. Senate, and that's exactly what we're hearing. Both candidates very optimistic still about their chances of winning here. As you know, Senate incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, she's the first Latina senator, the first female senator here in the state of Nevada, but also one of the most endangered Democrats here in Nevada in 2020. President Biden won only by 2.4 percent margin.

Her challenger, Adam Laxalt, the former attorney general here in the state of Nevada, he also led the failed attempt at overturning the 2020 election. He won the endorsement by former President Donald Trump. A lot of people very energized here that I talked to yesterday about voting here in the state of Nevada. I'm in Clark County, where more than 70 percent of the state's more than 1.8 million voters are located.

Now, this election is like no other, Don, because in 2020, Nevada imposed a universal mail-in ballot. That means that everybody got a ballot in the mail unless they opted out and decided not to. And so, so long as that ballot was postmarked by Election Day, that ballot is going to be counted until Saturday. And so here we are, Don, we're still waiting. More ballots still to be counted, democracy at work here in Nevada.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Rose Flores in Las Vegas, Clark County, as a matter of fact.

John Berman joins us from the magic wall. She's right down there.

BERMAN: She's right down here, Rosa, right there, we'll put a yellow dot where she is.

I want to point out, Adam Laxalt ahead by 22,500 votes, he leads by 2.7 percent. Let's write that down, R plus 2.7 percent. Why do I want to show you that? I want to quickly compare that to the governor's race in Nevada. There's a competitive governor's race there. So, the Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Joe Lombardo, is actually ahead by almost 5 percent. So, the Republican, Adam Laxalt, is underperforming the governor candidate on the same ballot there. And the difference, that difference of about 2.5 percent, that could be decisive there.

I'm going to keep this up just for one second, this margin, Republican by 2.7 percent. I want to compare it to the presidential race two years ago, Joe Biden won by 2.4 percent overall. So, there's the difference that was Democratic plus 2.4, now it's Republican plus 2.7.

Let's go back to the Senate race and look what matters most now. Clark County, where Rosa was right there, 84 percent reporting. This is where the Democrat, Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent, will need to make up the margin. She trails by 22,000 votes. All the Election Day vote has been counted. The mail-in vote is what needs to be counted now. Mail-in vote can be counted until Saturday, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much. We want you to stand by, Mr. John Berman, because we want to look at what's happening in Arizona. That's where Democrat Mark Kelly has a sizable edge so far in that Senate race against Republican Blake Masters. And that's where we find our Sara Sidner this morning live for us in Phoenix. Good morning to you, Sara.

Kelly took an early lead, and the question is, will Kelly be able to hang onto that with the mail-in ballots from Maricopa County when they're counted in the hours ahead?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is the big question. And it's not just Mark Kelly. We're also seeing Democrats ahead just slightly in the governor's race, as well as the secretary of state race. And there are folks that really argue that the secretary of state race beyond the Senate race is a very important issue because all of the Republican candidates from those three big races are all election deniers. In other words, they do not believe that Donald Trump lost in 2020. And the secretary of state, as you know, Don, is the person that certifies the election. So, in the next presidential election, that person, if Mark Finchem wins, would be in a position to say, look, I don't believe the results if they go against the person that he wants to win.

So, it is one of those things a lot of people are watching Arizona. The count has been going. We are just now over 60 percent of the count has come in. These races are close but, so far, the Democrats in all of those races are ahead. And they're feeling very good this morning. They are feeling very happy about what they're seeing. But, again, there's still a good number of votes that still need to be counted.

And as you likely know, that here in Maricopa County, this is the most populous county in the whole state and usually about 85 percent of people vote early, which is why you're being able to see some of these counts because these are the early votes coming in. A lot of people vote by mail, a lot of people vote by drop box, some people came in early. So, we are able to see results literally an hour after the polls closed.

There have been some issues here with voting equipment that happened.


The county officials apologized for it but said every single vote will be counted, just be patient. Don?

LEMON: All right, that is good advice.