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Ballots in Some Midterm Election Races Still being Counted; Republican Party Likely to Win Majority in House of Representatives but Democrats May Maintain 50-50 Split in Senate; President Biden Congratulates Democratic Winners in Midterm Elections including John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 08:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. So glad you could join us. I'm Don Lemon. So while you were sleeping, a huge midterm election night. CNN's special coverage following all the competitive races. Here we are. Republicans predicted a red wave. That did not happen. It was more like a ripple. And it's still playing out, so we're going to see. The chances of Democrats keeping the Senate, that is still a real possibility.

So here's where we are right now this morning. The battle for the House majority down to the wire here. So far Democrats have 178 seats. The magic number for them to keep control is 30. Republicans leading with 199, the magic number for them to take control is 16. So the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy already claiming victory being even though ballots are still being counted.

And in the Senate, the chamber still hangs in the balance. Republicans hoping to gain control. Here are four key races that we are watching. We're watching Nevada, we're watching Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia. CNN has yet to make any projections on those. In Nevada, though, Republican Adam Laxalt inching ahead. The race is very, very close there. And then in Wisconsin, the Democrat, Mandela Barnes, trails Republican Senator Ron Johnson. In Arizona incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly currently in the lead right now, but we're watching it very closely, so hang on for that. And in Georgia, Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock locked in a very close race. It appears a runoff next month is likely on the horizon there.

We have CNN team coverage on the ground standing by everywhere. But first we want to get straight to John Berman. He is at the magic wall for us. John, hello to you. Thank you so much for joining us. Where are we as far as the House of Representatives now?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just very quickly, to reiterate what you said, in terms of the races where we have projected a winner, Republicans now with 199, Democrats at 178. In terms of where Republicans are ahead, they're ahead in 221, and Democrats ahead in 214. This would give Republicans control, but barely. Not the night they were hoping for. Again, we have a lot of races still left to count, we're watching the results come in.

Let me switch over to the Senate, because this is something right now. In terms of races that have been called, it's tied 48 to 48. The races that have yet to be called are Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. And again, if I tell you who is ahead in each of these states right now, that would mean we would be at a 50-50 Senate, 50-50, which would be OK for the Democrats because the Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie.

But let me walk you through each of these states, starting with one I didn't show you. Again, Pennsylvania, actually, John Fetterman's lead has increased in Pennsylvania over the last several minutes. Some new votes must have come in in Pennsylvania. He was ahead by two-and-a- half points. He's now ahead by 2.8 points. CNN has predicted that John Fetterman will win the race in Pennsylvania. We thought this might be the decisive Senate race there. He ran an amazing race in terms of where he outperformed Joe Biden two years ago almost everywhere. You can see John Fetterman did particularly well in some of the red areas there. Quite a race for him. This is a Democratic pickup, which changes the overall landscape and makes it slightly easier for them to maintain control.

Let's look at Wisconsin. As I said, Ron Johnson is ahead there, the Republican incumbent, he's ahead by about 1.8 percent. We haven't seen that many more vote counted lately. We are waiting on Milwaukee in Wisconsin, the most populous of the counties. Mandela Barnes has a lead there, just 82 percent in. Of remaining vote, would it be enough to give him 31,000 votes to make up that margin? It would be tough. It would be tough for him to do that.

Let's go out to Nevada right now. You can see in Nevada, 80 percent reporting. Adam Laxalt right now with a small lead of 22,000 votes over the Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto. This switched --

LEMON: Flipped overnight.

BERMAN: -- overnight. If people got some sleep -- we didn't -- if people got some sleep, they may have gone to sleep with Masto ahead, Cortez Masto ahead. Now she is trailing. Importantly, Clark County, the most populous county in the state, 75 percent of the vote, 84 percent in. They have counted all the Election Day vote in Clark County. It's the mail vote. We don't know how much mail vote is out there. Is there enough to mail vote for her to make up the margins in the state overall, 22,000 votes?

LEMON: We saw Sara Sidner there earlier, and she's on the ground.


She is saying Democrats are feeling optimistic about that because it is Clark County and it typically leans Democrat. But those mail-in votes, as you say, Arizona, can be different.

BERMAN: This was a county that Joe Biden won by nine points --

LEMON: Nevada, excuse me. BERMAN: -- in Nevada, this is a county that Joe Biden won by 9.4 percent. Rosa Flores was there. Democrats are feeling good. She's underperforming against what Joe Biden did in Nevada. So, again, we'll see if the mail-in ballots skews Democratic, as it tends to, maybe there is enough remaining vote for her to make up the margins there.

Let's go to Arizona. Mark Kelly, the incumbent Democrat there is leading Blake Masters 68 percent, 100,000 vote margin. However, that margin has been shrinking. As more and more vote comes in, Master edges closer and closer to Kelly. We saw this in the presidential race two years ago with Joe Biden who ultimately, I should say, only won by 10,000 votes. A victory is a victory, right. He had a larger lead earlier in the week as the week progressed and more votes counted, Donald Trump got closer. But ultimately Biden prevailed. That's what Democrats hope will happen in Arizona, that Mark Kelly will be able to hang on.

Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state, 68 percent reporting, a county that Joe Biden carried by two points, you can see Kelly ahead there by about eight points. We've been told all the election day ballot has been county. All that's left is mail-in ballot, a lot of mail-in ballot. Again, will that skew towards the Democrats? We don't know.

Let's finish in Georgia as we have been. Why? Well --

LEMON: There's why.


BERMAN: There's why. Right, we may not know what happens in Georgia for some time. Right now Raphael Warnock is ahead. He's got 49.2 percent of the vote. But the key number in Georgia is 50. You need to get to 50 percent plus one vote or it goes to a runoff. That runoff will be in December, the first week of December. The secretary of state's office, we just heard from the lieutenant governor of Georgia, it looks like this going to a runoff. The campaigns, our Jeff Zeleny is reporting, are already preparing for the runoff in Georgia. They think that is where this is going to go.

There is still some vote to be counted, just 96 percent in. Where is that vote? It might be interesting to see here. The bigger and the bluer the circle, the more the vote. So there is a lot of votes for Democrats around the Atlantic area, but the experts we're watching say they don't believe it will be enough to get Warnock to 50 percent.

WALKER: Yes, 50 plus one. I'm getting my Arizona and my Nevada --

BERMAN: Yes, and again, the reason that that matters here --

LEMON: Close proximity.

BERMAN: If you take out Georgia here, then Democrats are only at 49. I'll write "49" here. If you take out Georgia, right? But if they have the runoff and they're able to win Georgia that, would give them the 50. Kamala Harris would break the tie, they control the Senate. LEMON: Didn't we warn everyone, they weren't going to know? This is

going to take some time.

BERMAN: You may not know. However, look, if for some reason Mark Kelly is able to hang on in Arizona and Catherine Cortez Masto is able to retake the lead in Nevada, then the runoff would not matter in terms of control.

LEMON: All right, I want you to stand by on this magic wall, John Berman, because we're going to get to Victor Blackwell. He's at the voting desk with news coming out of Arizona and Nevada. We've been covering it all morning since 2:0 a.m. Close in proximity, and the situations are fairly similar as well, Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, similar between what we're seeing in Maricopa County, also in several counties in Nevada. Maricopa County, they are going now and checking those signatures on the drop off ballots that have been sent into those offices.

Listen, we're going to be in a posture for several hours where we are waiting for those votes to be tabulated, the ones that have been dropped off. I think we have video of them being scanned, those signatures on those ballots. They're going through. They're going to determine if the signatures on these ballots match the signatures that they have on file. There we go. This was tweeted out by the elections department there in Maricopa County. And then those will be added. We're expected get these added sometime this evening, so at 8:00 eastern. We have got quite a while until we get the votes added from the largest county there in Arizona.

In Nevada, these are the drop boxes. And again, in these two states, when John says that we don't know how many there are, that's because the elections departments in these states, they have not told us exactly how many of these ballots can be added and how just a few thousand votes one way or another can really change the direction of these races. But these were not counted on Election Day. They're getting these out and going through the process with these ballots as well.

So while in these counties we have seen the Election Day votes being added, we're still waiting for these other votes in both Maricopa County, the largest county there in Arizona, and in the largest counts in Nevada, Clark County, Washoe, Douglas, a smaller county there, those to be added as well.


So it's going to take some time. I've been saying it since 2:00 a.m., Don, you say we've been sitting here. Be easy. It's going to take a little while, but the process is working smoothly. We're not seeing any hiccup. There were challenges in Maricopa County on Election Day. Officials said that there would not be any disrupting in the counting, so that is happening as it should, but it's going to take time to get these drop box and the drop off ballots counted in those two states.

LEMON: I've got to tell you, we have the magic wall here, but John and I were both fascinated by the video you just ran that was tweeted out to watch those ballots being counted.

BERMAN: It looks like a cool robot.

LEMON: It is fascinating, because, I mean, just look.

BLACKWELL: It is the figurative and literal machinery of the vote. This is how it happens.

BERMAN: And it's how it's supposed to happen. That's what's supposed to happen in Arizona. And as Victor was saying, in Nevada, what's supposed to happen, the law in Nevada is the mail-in ballot just needs to be postmarked by yesterday, by election day. It can actually arrive today, tomorrow, over the next few days, counted by Saturday, so we really just don't know how many mail ballots are left to count here.

LEMON: You know what that means, Kaitlan. You know how candidates are. They hate to concede. They're saying, so there's still a chance?


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Let's see if we can speed that machine up any more.

President Biden watched the returns come in late into the night last night as he was also making congratulatory calls to at least 30 Democratic candidates. One was a text that he sent to John Fetterman given his race was called so late into the night. The White House, though, is still waiting to see which party is going to control the House, which party is going to control the Senate, given a GOP majority in the House will undoubtedly make Biden's presidency more difficult. M.J. Lee is at the White House. M.J., what are you hearing from officials this morning?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you that one race, and one man that the White House is in an especially good mood about this morning is John Fetterman. This is a candidate, of course, that has now allowed Democrats to pick up a Senate seat by defeating Republican candidate Mehmet Oz. And as you said, the president did text Fetterman overnight, and White House official notably told my colleague Phil Mattingly overnight, quote, "The president had a great time with the senator-elect on Saturday."

So Kaitlan, this is a not-so-subtle reminder from this White House that the president did campaign with Fetterman at the very end, and that ended up standing out because, remember, at the very end he ended up going to a lot of these blue or easier areas like Maryland, New York, California, and it was rare to see the president actually physically campaigning alongside some of the most vulnerable candidates. Fetterman ended up being an exception to that. So it won't be a surprise if later today we see White House officials, the president himself, trying to take credit for what was a very important win by Democrats.

COLLINS: Yes, nothing on Biden's schedule yet. We will see if that changes. M.J. Lee, thanks for that update. And up next, we are going to speak to Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace. She won her reelection bid last night. That only came months after Trump had endorsed her challenger in the primary. We'll wait to see what she has to say about what the takeaways are from last night.



COLLINS: All right, back to our special coverage of the Midterm Elections. Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace from South Carolina is heading back to Capitol Hill for a second term. She defeated her Trump-endorsed challenger in the primary and took on Annie Andrews, a Democrat last night, and won. This was a competitive race in South Carolina's first congressional district which represents the Charleston area. The district has been seesawing in recent years between Republican and Democrat. So, joining us now is Congresswoman Nancy Mace. First, you know, coming into last night, what were the expectations were coming out of that? It is not the red wave that some had been predicting. So, I wonder if you were surprised by that.

REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): I was actually surprised by the outcome of our own election. South Carolina's first congressional district is a swing district. It's a place where Republicans are outnumbered two to one by Democrats and Independents. And I will tell you, my polling had us down in single digits leading into the final couple of days of the race. We worked -- we worked really hard in the last two weeks to get a message to talk about inflation, talk about crime, and also to talk about abortion. That was a top issue for us in this election when Roe v. Wade was overturned. I didn't turn away, I leaned into it, and talked about my experiences as a victim of rape. And I think those messages and seeing the outpouring of support yesterday at the polls was huge. I mean, we won by a double-digit margin, we outperformed every poll we had out in the field, we outperformed 2020 by huge margins, because I only won this district by one point only two years ago.

COLLINS: Yes, I remember that well. And so, what do you have to say about your other Republican colleagues? Did you expect them to perform better across the board than they did last night?

MACE: I did. Seeing the turnout that we had, I thought that's the way the rest of the country was. But I see my district as a bellwether. And I worked hard to let people know that I stood with my party on most things. But I also stood against my party on other issues. And it's important in Bellwether districts or swing districts to really showcase your independence, your independent streak. And we did that in the months, not only in the primary, but also in the months leading up to the general election. And what was overwhelming last night to see that message and the examples of being an independent voice that really resonated with voters, not just on the Republican side, but on both sides of the aisle last night.

COLLINS: We're waiting to see if there is going to be a Republican majority in the House and what that majority is going to look like when it comes to the margin. Will you support Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker if the Republicans do take the majority?

MACE: Right, I already have given my commitment to Kevin McCarthy as speaker for our conference. I am cautiously optimistic. I do think Republicans will have a majority. I've been very cautious on our majority because I represent, again, I think a snapshot of the rest of the nation. And I really hope that, you know, when we get into the next legislative term, we look at what is going to bring our nation together. We are so divided right now. Political violence is real, the divisiveness is real. And I want to see us work together on issues that matter like inflation, like the supply chain, figuring out how we protect women's rights and the right to life, how do we do that together on both sides of the aisle? And I'm someone that has reached across the aisle and worked with Democrats on a number of issues, I've passed a lot of bills working together, and my door is open, and I'm willing to work with anyone who's willing to work with us.


COLLINS: Congresswoman, I didn't hear you mention impeachment there. As you know, there are some of your Republican colleagues who want to pursue that for some members of the Biden administration, maybe even President Biden himself on day one. What do you think of that?

MACE: Well, that's not something that I support at this juncture without a heavy investigation. Impeachment has been weaponized over the years. And we've seen that in the last five years or so. We need to really focus on economic issues, inflation is killing us. I'm still paying -- we're all still paying a lot for a gallon of gas right now, at the grocery store prices are sky high, we have a scarcity in marine diesel at our port in Charleston, they're all along the eastern seaboard. That's only going to make prices go up. And so, we need to focus on the supply chain, focus on the economy, focus on jobs, focus on crime, crime is a huge issue. But also, when it comes to life after Roe, how can we all work together to get us in the right place where the majority of Americans want us to be? And that message of working together is what has resonated in our district and the swing districts across the country last night.

COLLINS: If it's a smaller Republican majority, do you think it's going to make it tougher to govern in the way that you'd like to see a Republican majority do?

MACE: I think right now with the divisiveness in our country, until we're willing to take a stand and reach across the aisle, it's going to be difficult for anyone to govern. We've seen a lot of partisanship, I've seen it on both sides of the aisle, partisanship. And so, that's something that as a nation, our elected leaders at the federal, state, and local level, we have to get beyond that, we have to get beyond Twitter. And we have to work hard and deliver for our constituents. And when you have a diverse district, diverse with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans like mine, that means we got to reach across the aisle even if we get threatened, even if we get attacked on social media. We need to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

COLLINS: Trump endorsed your primary challenger back in the primary, you obviously defeated her and went on to win and win last night. Some of the other candidates that Trump endorsed also did not have successful election nights last night. What does that say about the power of a Trump endorsement in the Republican Party in 2022?

MACE: I've always marched to the beat of my own drum. I've always had a very much an independent streak. And you're seeing that at another race as we saw that with Brian Kemp and Raffensperger last night, we've seen Ron DeSantis, he had enormous gains last night in Florida. I think South Carolina's first congressional district is a lot like Florida, in terms of the issues that were addressed in the elections, the diversity of the population there, the migration and the movement and growth that the -- both states have had. And so, when you look at those that really have worked to be centrist in a lot of issues that are important to Americans, that were -- that's where we saw big wins last night, and I'm excited about what the future holds, and what the majority will look like next session.

COLLINS: We'll be waiting to see what it looks like as well as addition to who has that majority. Congresswoman Nancy Mace, thank you for taking time to join us this morning to talk about all of these important issues.

MACE: Thank you.

COLLINS: The votes are still being counted as we said. Right now, in Arizona, it is still underway. Poll workers in one county had to move fast to fix a problem with the polls there. We'll talk to the man in charge of those issues, next.




KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Are you tough and strong? Are you willing to continue this fight? Are you willing for incompetency to play itself out and the victory to come at us?

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I know that we're all eager to find out who won each of these incredibly important races. But we need to be patient and wait for every vote to be counted.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Gubernatorial candidates there from Arizona. Maricopa County in Arizona experiencing glitches with some tabulation scanners malfunctioning at about 20 percent of their polling stations. State election officials say that the issue was resolved, resolved swiftly pointing to a technical problem with printer ink. Officials were able to resume the count and say the issue did not compromise the integrity of the election, and yet, Republican candidate for governor of Arizona in Arizona Kari Lake questioned the process there.

So, listen, let's discuss now with someone who knows about it. Joining me now to talk to us more about what happened is Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates. Chair, thank you so much for joining us. Good morning to you. Don Lemon here as well as John Berman. We're both going to ask you a couple of questions here. I just want to know, should voters there in Maricopa County, should they be concerned about their votes and whether their votes will be counted?

BILL GATES, CHAIR, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Well, thanks for having me. And no, they should not be concerned, as you just mentioned there, because of the great work of our poll workers and our technicians to determine what the issue was. We were able to get those tabulators back online. And you're right, the issue was with the printers and with the ink. But here is the bottom line for everyone, everyone who showed up yesterday with a valid ID, because we have a Voter ID Law here in Arizona, they had the opportunity to vote a ballot, and that vote is going to be counted. And here's what we know now, now that we've looked at the numbers, about seven percent of the ballots that were voted yesterday on Election Day, went down into what we call Box 3, so they were not run through the tabulator there at the vote center, but they are secure and they will be tabulated in our central count facility.

BERMAN: OK, can you clarify that? Because we had heard there was a tweet from Maricopa County that we saw that all Election Day vote had already been processed. Is that different than being counted? Has all Election Day vote been counted at this point?

GATES: Yes, not all election votes have been counted. We've had a little bit somewhere around 210,000 or so but those 17,000 have yet to be counted and we will be starting that process today.