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Undecided GA, NV, WI, AZ Races Will Decide Control Of Senate; 25-Year-Old Florida Democrat Wins Gen Z's First House Seat. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 07:30   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The county officials actually apologized for it but said every single vote will be counted -- just be patient -- Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that is good advice. Thank you very much, Sara Sidner. Appreciate Sara joining us from Arizona.

The Democrats -- they may be feeling -- she said optimistic. But not so fast.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right, exactly. Very quickly here, you can see Mark Kelly with a lead of about six points right now. In the gubernatorial race, you have Katie Hobbs -- less of a lead there -- about not even two points.

But as you were saying, there is more votes to come in. We learned a lesson in Arizona two years ago. Let's look at the presidential race.

You know, I'm going to write this down right now. This is Mark Kelly. This is D plus what -- D plus about six? D plus six right now.

Let's go to the presidential race from two years ago and I want to wind the clock back, OK? When there was 72 percent in, Joe Biden had a lead of some 218,000 votes. That was the first votes on election night. By the next morning, where we are now, that lead had been cut to 130,000 votes. By Wednesday, which is where we are at noon, down to 93,000. You can see that it keeps on shrinking.

Thursday, just 68,000. Sunday, it was 18,000. And then, ultimately, a week after Election Day, 14,000. And by the time it was all done it was just 11,000. So the lead got smaller and smaller and smaller.

Kelly's at .6 now. You can expect it to shrink. Does he have enough of a pad? That's what we're going to have to wait and see, Don.

LEMON: You say Arizona is different, especially when it comes to mail-in ballots, right?

BERMAN: It can be. So, in Maricopa County, which is 61 percent of the vote right now, we know all the Election Day vote has been counted. Only mail vote left to count. One of the things we did see -- while mail vote tends to skew Democratic around the country, in Arizona, some of the mail-in ballots that are actually brought in on Election Day or mailed and arriving that day can be more Republican than in other parts of the country.

LEMON: All right, John Berman. Thank you very much.

We have been focused on the Senate but the House is still undecided this morning. That is significant since so many predicted an early red wave. Make sure you stay with us because this is CNN's special election coverage.



LEMON: So, overnight, the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy thought that he'd be waking up with the Republicans in the majority in the House, but the race for control of the House not over yet. Republicans have won 199 seats, still 19 seats away from that 218 that are needed. So right now, Republicans are leading in just 21 competitive seats. The Democrats playing defense. They lead in 24.

To Mr. John Berman over at the magic wall to help us make sense of the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

BERMAN: All right, just to reiterate what you said, right now, we -- these are the races where we've already projected winners. Republicans at 199, Democrats at 178. You can see we have projected winners in 14 competitive seats for Republicans, 23 for Democrats.

In terms of the competitive seats, Republicans need to win 30 competitive seats to take control of the House. Democrats need to win 53 to maintain control. So Republicans need to figure out a way to get 16 more seats here.

Now, where are they ahead? They're ahead in enough of them. They're ahead in 35 of the remaining seats, which would give them 221 -- a majority. But nowhere near the majority I think that Kevin McCarthy was hoping going into yesterday -- into Election Day.

I want to put a different filter on here and take a look at the competitive seats in the country right now and really focus in on a couple of things.

Actually, let's start with Colorado because I think this is fascinating. This is Lauren Boebert's seat here -- not even a seat that we considered to be competitive leading into Election Day. Lauren Boebert is trailing by about 3,500 votes.

Lauren Boebert is an election-denying, very conservative Republican. The Democrats would love to unseat her. I'm not sure they thought they had a chance to. They have a chance to unseat her.

Ninety percent reporting -- let me just look at the counties here so people can see where is the remaining vote here. Let's go down to 90 percent. These are the places that have more than 10 percent left.

This is Garfield County. This is a Democratic-leaning district, very slightly. Only 86 percent in.

Down here, not a very big county -- Montezuma County. This is a Republican district. You have 88 percent.

There's not a ton of vote left. We'll have to wait and see if she's able to make up that margin and maintain that seat.

Where could the control of the House be decided? What if I told you that New York State -- this very blue state --


BERMAN: -- may be what control -- where it all comes down to right now. There are 10 competitive districts, we think, in the state of New York. Right now, Republicans lead in eight of the 10 competitive districts.

If you go back two years, Joe Biden won in eight of these districts. So it's almost a polar opposite of what you might think going into Election Day. Democrats trailing in so many of these districts, including Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Right now, he's 3,000 votes or so behind. It's very close, but 98 percent reporting. We'll see if there's enough votes for him --


BERMAN: -- left to make up that margin.

But can you imagine if control of the U.S. House of Representatives came down to New York State?

LEMON: Came down to usually blue New York State.

Thank you, John Berman. We'll check back in just a little bit.

Kaitlan, there's lots to discuss this morning.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, there is and John Avlon really wants to talk about what John was just noting there, which is, of course, the pickle that Democrats have gotten themselves into when it comes to New York, and something that we've been talking about for a while here, which is what that map looks like.

And the big question, though, is on the other side for Republicans -- is if the margin is smaller than what Kevin McCarthy thought it was going to be last night, how much more difficult does it make his life going forward?


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Much more difficult. And let's get real -- the benchmark for elections where the president is below 50 percent approval rating in the midterm is a 46-seat gain by the opposition. That's the historic benchmark going back to 1982. And Joe Biden is definitely below 50 percent approval rating.

So that's not going to be where Republicans are. This is going to be much tighter. And that's going to make the loudest, most extremist members of his caucus more powerful because he's going to need every vote he can get.

The other thing to keep in mind is it's those very extremists and the election deniers that were on the ballot because of Republican primaries and Trump's endorsements that end up making, I believe, Independent voters swing for Democrats narrowly over Republicans, which is unheard of in out-year elections.

So, it's going to also come down to these states where there's redistricting. Where Republicans have effectively redistricted in Texas, and Florida, and Ohio. But Democrats tried the same thing in New York, overreached, got blowback, and that's why those districts are competitive right now. Non-extremist candidates and a map that's more fair and therefore is favoring Republicans today in New York.

COLLINS: And so, what does that look like if that is it? Because the hurdle is not just what -- getting people in line for policy initiatives and whatever they're going to be doing with the Republican majority if they get it, it's first getting over the hurdle of becoming House speaker for Kevin McCarthy if that's the case.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's going to be a messy process, I think, because you're going to have some of the loudest -- what used to be sort of a tea party caucus, which is now sort of a -- I mean, I don't want to say crazy caucus but it's like the Marjorie Taylor Greene wing of the party. They are going to be trying to wrestle power -- wrestle, sort of, the microphone from the more moderate folks in the party.

I do think one thing that we'll see is lots of investigations into the Biden administration --


HENDERSON: -- into the origins of COVID, into the last days of Afghanistan. And I think the question for Republicans is that's certainly something that their base wants, but do they risk overreach, right? Do they risk --

AVLON: Let's just answer that question.

HENDERSON: -- again highlighting, sort of, these niche-base issues that again, Independent voters don't really care about. Moderate voters don't necessarily care about that. So does that, in some way, sort of enhance Biden's standing as a kind of moderate if you've got a more kind of extreme wing of the Republican Party launching all these investigations when Americans are caring about bread and butter issues?

COLLINS: And I read through the issue -- the statement that Marjorie Taylor Greene issued saying that she was going to make sure she holds her party accountable. So we can expect her to be a vocal voice as well.

Don, these are going to be critical decisions -- critical decisions by the voters that really determine what a potential Republican majority in the House could look like.

LEMON: Right on -- and someone we can talk about that with is Mr. Mark McKinnon. He's a former senior adviser to George W. Bush -- President George W. Bush and McCain campaigns, or President George W. Bush -- actually, President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain's campaign. Also, the creator and co-host of "THE CIRCUS" on Showtime. Mark, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Let's talk about election deniers. You and I have talked about that a lot. What kind of a night was it for them?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, GEORGE W. BUSH AND MCCAIN CAMPAIGNS, CREATOR AND CO-HOST, "THE CIRCUS" ON SHOWTIME: Well, good morning, Don. With you all, I am sleepwalking confidently through uncertainty this morning.

LEMON: Good morning.

MCKINNON: Listen, the one net takeaway that I have this morning is that democracy was on the ballot and democracy won because almost across the board, Don, election deniers lost. And in a lot of cases, like Mastriano in Pennsylvania, lost big.

So a bad night for election deniers, bad night for Donald Trump.

Pretty good night for Joe Biden. I was reporting from the White House last night. It was clear even midway through the evening that they were feeling good about the -- at least the possibility of holding on to the Senate, which didn't even seem like that was even possible a week or so ago.

That abortion turned out to be a very relevant issue -- that it hadn't lost its steam. It had a lot of heat. And that in the state -- the blue states that Joe Biden went into, they did well. So, Joe Biden -- you know, there was -- there was a little bit of wind that Joe Biden brought to the table.

LEMON: All right, stand by.


LEMON: Let's bring John in. John, let's talk about -- before we get to Joe Biden, let's talk about the election deniers part of this.

BERMAN: Here is Pennsylvania --


BERMAN: -- what Mark was just talking about there. Doug Mastriano -- he had his clock cleaned by Josh Shapiro here in Pennsylvania. You know, and Josh Shapiro may have had coattails in the Senate where John Fetterman beat Mehmet Oz. Not exactly an election denier but a Trump- endorsed candidate in Pennsylvania. You can see the difference that made there.

Look at -- let's look at New Hampshire. Again, let's look at the New Hampshire Senate race -- Don Bolduc. A lot of people thought oh, maybe he had a chance heading into Election Day. An election denier, and then he kind of switched and then went back to it.

Maggie Hassan, the incumbent Democrat -- again, it's a clock-cleaning right there -- a 10-point margin in New Hampshire. Election denying didn't do it. Mark's right.


Let's talk about the president. The president, I mean, visited New York, right? It's close -- I'm not sure how well New York did but the governor pulled it off in the state. There's still yet to be determined about some other races here in the state as well.


BERMAN: Right. The governor's race in New York -- yes, a narrow victory for Kathy Hochul -- much narrower, by the way, than four years ago. You can see Andrew Cuomo won by 23-24 points. Now you have Kathy Hochul very narrowly ahead.

Mark was talking to you -- I don't think there's any state that Joe Biden went to more than Pennsylvania --


BERMAN: -- right? I mean, Pennsylvania -- he was there all the time over the last two years and a lot over the last few weeks. Again, Josh Shapiro with a convincing victory there. And as Mark was saying, John Fetterman as well.


Hey, Mark, can you weigh in on New York? I mean, it's surprising that in blue New York you have in the governor's race -- and listen, I know that she did win. People thought it would be even closer than that because of the polling. I mean, something has shifted. The ground has shifted here in New York State.

MCKINNON: Well, I -- listen, I think there's a lot of lessons across the board for both Republicans and Democrats. I mean, the Democrats are suffering from a lack of strategy in the gerrymandering that went on in New York and we're seeing the results of that.

But it also shows that the Republicans saw a scalp and Sean Patrick Maloney went after it and spent a ton of money. And they may walk away with -- you know, they went across enemy lines for a general and they may get him.

So, there -- you know, that's one of the few bright spots for Republicans today is in New York, which is so counter to conventional wisdom.

And by the way, the thing I love about this morning is that so much was wrong about what we all thought and the media thought was going to happen today which, of course, makes this morning so interesting and elections so dramatic and entertaining.


BERMAN: You know, Mark, Donald Trump, right, had a bad night -- not just to the election deniers -- the people he endorsed did poorly -- but Ron DeSantis, in Florida, who may run against him in a primary. What do you credit just the enormous victory that DeSantis had there, too?

MCKINNON: Well, if you've spent any time down in Florida, it's really clear that -- I mean, the sort of -- the notion about Ron DeSantis is that he's -- that he's sort of a strategic Donald Trump. He has a really good instinct for the cultural pulse of the country in the Republican Party. And he went after Disney -- just left and right across the board. And he's one of the first guys to really put a -- put a spear into the COVID situation down in Florida and opened up a lot earlier than other governors.

So he's got a -- you know, he's the guy that a lot of Republicans are putting their money on. And then, that equation has changed a little bit with Trump, starting with Mar-a-Lago where people -- the Republicans kind of rallied to Trump.

But I'd say the very net takeaway from last night was Donald Trump had a terrible night and Ron DeSantis had a great night, and that's the equation that Republicans are talking about a lot this morning.

LEMON: Listen, I've got to run but, you know, we talked about election deniers. Real quickly, was it a good night for Trumpism or a bad night, or to be determined?

MCKINNON: No, a bad night -- a bad night. It's a bad night. I think a lot of people are saying that we -- it's time to put Trump in the rearview mirror.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Mr. Mark McKinnon. We appreciate that.

So --

MCKINNON: Kick it, Don.

LEMON: All right, kick it as well.

He made history last night and this morning. He is talking about his big win. We're going to talk to the first member of Gen Z who is heading to Congress. That's next.


[07:52:40] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it was certainly a history-making night last night. Twenty-five-year-old Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost has become the first member of Generation Z to win a seat in Congress, beating Republican Calvin Wimbish in Florida's 10th Congressional District. He will be the youngest member of Congress who will also serve as the first Afro-Cuban member of Congress.

And Mr. Congressman-elect Frost joins me now. Good morning to you. Congratulations -- a whole lot of history made there.

And as I understand it, not long ago you weren't even going to run, and then a call to your biological mother changed everything. Is that right?

MAXWELL FROST, (D) CONGRESSMAN-ELECT FOR FLORIDA-10 (via Skype): Yes, 110 percent. Thank you so much for having me on.

Yes. I was asked to run early last year by some organizers here in Orlando. The first thing I said was no. But communicating with people and talking with folks in the district, people were excited about it. And I was at a crossroads and didn't really know what I wanted to do. And connecting with my biological mother and hearing about her story -- hearing that she had me at the most vulnerable point in her life -- really affirmed what I believe in and why I ran for Congress.

HARLOW: President Biden called you and did Speaker Pelosi. I wonder what the president said.

FROST: Well, the president brought up -- you know, when he was elected to the Senate he was actually too young to be sworn in and just a few days before, on his birthday, was able to go in. And he asked me if it was the same situation. I said, no, Mr. President, you have me beat on that. I'm already old enough to be sworn in on January third. And so, it was -- it was great to talk with him. And he was elected at a very young age, too, and so he understands that experience.

HARLOW: A big issue you ran on is guns. I mean, you've called your generation the mass shooting generation -- obviously, representing Orlando and that area following Parkland, following the Pulse nightclub shooting.

What specifically will you push for in Congress on gun legislation?

FROST: Well, there's a lot that we need to do, right? I mean, just a few months ago, the leading cause of death for children went from automobile accidents to gun violence, so our children are literally on the front lines of this issue.

Something that is universally accepted that people are excited about is universal background checks -- very simple. Most Republicans and most NRA members are for universal background checks. And so, for me, it feels like the new -- the new purpose of bipartisanship. And what people call bipartisanship as far as gun violence is concerned is what the NRA accepts --


FROST: -- and that's not what it should be. It should be for what the people are for, and universal background checks is --



FROST: -- something that we need to pass.

HARLOW: Let me ask you this, finally. You talk a lot about, in your words, changing Florida. We just saw you win your district. We also just saw a resounding victory by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. What do you make of that victory, and can you work with him together? Does changing Florida mean working with him?

FROST: Yes. Well, look -- I mean, a lot of -- what we saw was not a red wave. A red wave is when there is more and more turnout than there's ever been. What we saw is that there was a blue deficit. Democrats did not turn out in the way that they needed to.

And I think as Democrats, we need to have year-round organizing. That's something my campaign is going to do every day starting in January. Knocking doors not just to get people out to vote, but to build power. So that way, when election time comes around you're not persuading people that it's important to vote, you're just reminding them about it.

If folks want to help with that, they can go to And I really believe that year-round power-building is how we're going to win this state and I'm excited to do that work.

HARLOW: Twenty-five years old. Mr. Congressman-elect, thank you.

FROST: Thank you so much for having me.

HARLOW: All right, and we'll be right back.