Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Balance In Limbo As House, Senate Too Close To Call; GOP Lawler Beats Democrats In Charge Of Getting Dems Election; Senate Races in Arizona and Nevada Too Close to Call; Georgia Senate Race Going to Runoff; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Interviewed on Democratic Party's Performance in Midterm Elections. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 10, 2022 - 08:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So where do Republican and Democrats come together after that election? We will ask Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar when she joins us live. But first, we're going to go to Don and John Berman at the magic wall.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so let's bring in our John Berman now for a closer look at these races, all still undecided, a lot of them. Hello to you, sir.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I bring you magic math and bad handwriting this morning, Don.


BERMAN: This is where things stand in the house in the races that we've called, 209 for Republicans, 191 for the Democrats. There are -- I'm going to write in small letters -- there are 35, 35 races that remain uncalled. Of these Republicans would need to win nine and Democrats would need to win 27 if they wanted to take control. And the question you're getting a lot from the press this morning is, is there a chance? Is there a chance that Democrats could do this? Well, look at the uncalled races. Democrats actually lead in 24 of them, Republicans lead in 11. So Republicans have what they need. But if you're a Democrat, you're saying we're close, it's close.

Let's take a closer look at some of these races to see if in some of the races, and these are the uncalled races where Republicans are leading, if Democrats have a chance. In California, California counts slowly. A lot of mail vote there. And a lot of the races there are very close. You can see in California's 13th district, just 203 votes separate them, it's only 40 percent reporting. So this could go either way. You go a little south to the 22nd district. David Valadao is a Republican who voted for impeachment. He's an incumbent who has done well. This is a D plus 12 seat, but still only 30 percent reporting. Could there be room to grow there?

You go all the way down here in California, it's sort of the same story. This one's a little bigger of a margin, Young Kim, 55 percent in there. And here you can see only 52 percent. And so Democrats maybe, maybe could make up some ground there. So it isn't over in the House, even though Republicans have a clearer shot, but there's still a lot of counting to do.

LEMON: But listen, when it comes to these very tight races, it's all about where the votes left to be counted are, where they're coming from. That's going to make the big difference.

BERMAN: In California that's hard to tell, again, because there's so much mail coming in. We're just going to have to wait there. The Senate situation, again, the Senate situation, three races undecided. Georgia we know is going to a runoff December 6th. What we don't know yet is Nevada and Arizona, and the situation in these two states has changed some overnight. Quickly, in Nevada, Adam Laxalt, the Republican, leads the incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto by 15,000 votes. But this margin changed overnight. When some people went to sleep, Adam Laxalt was ahead by 23,000. They counted some of the mail vote in Clark County and also in Washoe County up here, and that tightened. There's 110,000 mail ballots left to count. And if the margins that Catherine Cortez won those two ballot batches last night, if she maintains that marge, 60 percent, she could overtake Adam Laxalt in the next few days. So watch that closely.

LEMON: You've been saying, you said, listen, you take Georgia off the board. You put your hand over and you said if you take Georgia off the board and you look at this, Nevada is that -- is that for all the marbles right there, possibly?

BERMAN: Both are for all the marbles.

LEMON: Both.

BERMAN: So right now, in terms of where they're leading, the reason I put this up here, Georgia right now, if you take it off the board is 49 seat for Republicans, but if both of these are blue, it would give Democrats 51. If both of these are red, it would give Republicans 51. So we could know control of the Senate in the next week, or it could take until December.

I want to quickly show you Arizona also. Mark Kelly leads by 95,000 votes. They have at least 560,000 votes left to count in that state. We got some new count overnight. His lead grew from the 80,000 region to about 95,000. That came from mail ballots they counted that were received before Tuesday in Maricopa County and Pima County. Again, Blake Masters has the runway to overtake this margin, but he has to do well. He'd have to get about 58 percent of the remaining vote to overtake Mark Kelly. Not impossible, but a steep hill to climb.

LEMON: Interesting. All right, thank you very much. I want you, John, to stand there because I want you to help me out with this interview. I want to bring in now the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Bill Gates. We spoke to him overnight as the ballots were coming in and being counted. Maricopa County is the most populous county in Arizona where there were an estimated 400,000 remaining ballots left to count as of Wednesday night. Good to see you. Thanks for joining us. Can you give us the exact number of votes left to be counted, sir? BILL GATES, CHAIR, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Yes, well,

thanks for having me. That's right, we're right there between 400,000 and 410,000 ballots left to count.


LEMON: It's 400 and 410 ballots left to count. And do you know specifically, usually they say that means if it's mail-in ballots, what have you, it leans Democrat, or we don't know if it -- what happens in the state because that has all changed since COVID. Can you give us some direction on that?

GATES: Yes, that is really tough to predict where these might lean. And obviously that's not our focus anyway. Our focus is simply on counting these accurately.

But as we've seen in the last couple of elections, the mail-in ballots tend to lean Democrat, but as you get closer to Election Day, we know the Republicans are really turning out in big numbers. So we're now getting into what we call late earlies. These are early ballots that would have been -- that we would have received like over the weekend or in, specifically 290,000 that were dropped off on Election Day at our vote centers.

BERMAN: OK, that was going to be my next question. So 290,000 is Election Day, OK?

GATES: That's right.

BERMAN: So that leaves 110,000 that were received before Election Day?

GATES: Well, a little bit less than that because we also have 17,000 ballots yet to be counted that were in that box three. So these are ballots that were attempted -- you know, were not red by the tabulator on Election Day, so those are people who came in to vote in person.

LEMON: That was on election -- just to clarify so people know, that was on Election Day there were certain ballots put in a special box because of a printer error, correct?

GATES: That's correct. Almost all of those. We call them box three. It for whatever reason those ballots were not tabulated. They were not read by the tabulator. Most of them are going to be that situation that you described.

BERMAN: Got you. So north of 90,000 received before Election Day and some of the others were those segregated votes.

Can you give us a sense of each day how is this going to play out? How many of these votes are you going to count each day? And of these differences, which votes are counted next? Will we know from the votes that arrive before Tuesday next, or will it be the votes that were handed in on Tuesday?

GATES: So we can't really zero in on that with specificity. They would tend to be probably those that we received earlier first and then as we move on, we're getting into more of those Election Day, the mail-in ballots that we received on Election Day that people dropped off. But here's the issue. It's adjudication, OK. If for some we have ballots that were dropped off, that there is some reason, let's say maybe on one of those races the voter marked both candidates, let's say, in the Senate, and maybe they circled one of them and said, no, I mean this. That goes into adjudication. We have boards of one Republican, one Democrat, they look at those to try to determine what the voter's intent was.

So that's a little thing that might impact which votes are being counted on what date. But generally, as we move forward in the count, we're getting closer and closer to Election Day.

LEMON: Bill Gates, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. We appreciate it. We know it's a busy time for you, 400,000 is not an insignificant number.

BERMAN: No, no, it's a lot. Like I said, there's a lot of runway there. If Blake Masters can hit about 58 percent of the remaining vote, he would have enough to overtake.

Here's the thing, though. It's about 110,000 before Tuesday, but it's about 90,000 before Tuesday. Some of those were released overnight and we saw Mark Kelly winning 55 to 60 percent of those. So he actually is doing better than Blake Masters in the batch that would be down here. You might expect Masters to do better up here, but is it enough? Is it that 58 percent? Hard to know.

LEMON: John Berman, appreciate it.

Democratic candidates rode a blue wave in places like Minnesota on election night, not so much in deep blue New York, though. Why is that? We're going to ask Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. She's going to join us next.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Republicans are on pace -- we don't know yet, but they're on pace to hold a slim majority in the House in the next Congress, but control of the Senate may come down to Georgia again as Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenge Herschel Walker begin campaigning today ahead of a one-month sprint to the crucial December runoff.

Let's talk about everything that happened, the red wave that wasn't, lessons learned. Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar joins us. Thank you so much. I don't think there's snow on the ground at home yet. But thank you for being here.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN): Not quite, not quite.

(LAUGHTER) HARLOW: You're wearing blue, celebrating. Look, you talked yesterday, Senator, about Democrats defying the tides of history. How do you think your party got it done?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, as you know, first of all, the average year in a midterm election since 74 we lose -- each party loses about 23 seats at least. And in this case -- sometimes 50, in the 40s, the party that has the presidency. In this case, as you know, there's still a chance we keep the House, but even if the Republicans take it, it is going to be a very narrow margin.

How we did it? First of all, candidate quality. We had some incredible candidates in the Senate and the House. Number two, when you have a situation that defies the tides of history, it's got to be something monumental going on, and in this case, it was a rejection of the orthodoxy of the Republicans' positions. You have so many of their candidates basically wanting an abortion ban put in place. Every state that considered that this cycle, every single one basically rejected that idea or actually advocated for codification of Roe v Wade in referendums.

You have economic policies that while everyone knows people are going through tough times, costs have gone up, and the like, which party had people's backs? And in this case, the fact that at the very end the Republican leadership was raising changes to Social Security, changes to Medicare I think was a huge mistake because that mess with people's economic stability.


And finally, democracy was on the line. If the Republican Party wants to keep allowing Donald Trump to pick their candidate, you're going to see the kind of results that you're seeing in red states, blue states and purple states.

HARLOW: To get more stuff done for the American people you guys are going to have to work together even more. And I was reading our hometown paper this morning, the Star Tribune. Let me show you the editorial board headline here. I'm sure you've already read it. Because we saw a blue wave pretty much in Minnesota, but they still write, one Minnesota is still job one. Fresh off a stunning election, Democrats have to do more work to united, divided Minnesota.

Doesn't that apply nationally too for you guys?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, of course it does. Because I think the message from this election was a number of people, despite their party affiliation, voted against extreme candidates on the right. So, what they're voting for is not that they buy every single thing that a Democrat says. What they're voting for is getting things done, civility, working across the aisle when that happens. And in our state as you know, Poppy, we have one of the biggest surpluses in the country.

That's going to be number one for the governor is to make sure we spend that wisely. Number two, in Washington, we have a bunch of things on our plate, including getting the defense bill done with Ukraine right before us and the strides that Vlad -- that Zelenskyy is making against Vladimir Putin on our plate is the end of the year budget bill to make sure we get that right as you know the Electoral Count Act, an effort that I'm leading with Susan Collins and Joe Manchin and others.

So we don't have January 6 happen again. All of that is immediately when we get back. And Senator Schumer has made it very clear that he wants to get a lot done before the end of the year. And so, that's our plan. And from there, I always believe that, you know, courage in Washington is not standing by yourself and making a speech. It's whether or not you're willing to stand next to someone, you don't always agree with for the betterment of this country. We have a lot to do.

LEMON: I'm exhausted just listening to what's on your -- on your plate. But I've got to ask you, look, what -- if things turn out the way, it looks like it's gone. We don't know. I'm going to preface it by saying we don't know. It's going to be a divided government. Right? So then how do you get all of those things done that you are wanting to get done when there's already were -- there was gridlock before this election?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, the things I was talking about were things we literally have to do in the next two months, including, by the way, our plan because we believe we have the republican votes to codify marriage equality into law. Then you go into next year. I think the focus should be on costs. I think we should do more when it comes to funding law enforcement and helping out and so many of our localities are having issues.

I think that we have to do things like even though we got to start on bringing down pharmaceutical prices, there's even more we can do on that front.


LEMON: But how you do it with a divided government?

KLOBUCHAR: Oh, you do it by finding common ground. And by the way, with the president's leadership with Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi leadership, let's -- look, what we did on a bipartisan basis, gun safety law, Sweden and Finland into NATO, making sure that we have got the semiconductor, the CHIPS Bill done. That was leader Schumer working with Todd Young, making sure that we got the Infrastructure Bill implemented and didn't just talk about it.

We passed a Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. So yes, that was with barely thin, thin margins. But in the Senate that required in -- a bit in the House, that required in the Senate. Every single one of those bills I just mentioned, Don, was bipartisan. So, we clearly have shown we can do it. And we can do it if we have a divided government. And I liked those numbers coming out of Nevada last night. It's gotten much closer with many, many more ballots to count.


KLOBUCHAR: So, to me, the chances of keeping the Senate seemed good.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We are watching that very closely in Nevada, we've been tracking the magic wall almost every hour this morning. Another question about what's facing congress is of course big tech and how they will handle that. I wonder what you think about how Twitter and whether or not you like the direction that Twitter is going under the new leadership of Elon Musk?

LEMON: See, that's final.

KLOBUCHAR: I have expressed my concerns about this multiple times because there are three things we have to do on tech, and this goes beyond Twitter. Number one, we need a federal privacy law. We're one of the only developed nations it doesn't have that. That's crazy. Number two, we need to do something about monopolies. This is a much bigger issue and this deals with companies like Amazon and Google and the like where they're self-preferencing their own products.


And many countries are working on this. We haven't done anything on it except got the bill I have with Senator Grassley to the floor, and we need a vote. The third thing is what you're getting at. The misinformation and having some rules of the road. One of the things we should look at is getting rid of the immunity that these companies have from liability when they amplify hate speech or lies.

It's not just that someone posts on it. We get that's going to happen. It's when they're making money off the amplification. And these are tough issues. But there is bipartisan support for a number of them. And we need to take the time and move forward when it comes to tech rules.

HARLOW: Section 230. It's critical what you're talking about and what it could mean here with Twitter in the direction. Senator, thank you very much.

LEMON: Thanks, Senator. See you later. Stay warm in Minnesota.


LEMON: I was--


KLOBUCHAR: -- on your new show. I can't wait to see on in person.

HARLOW: Have some walleye for me.

LEMON: This is going to say, I enjoyed listening to you to Minnesota and talk.

HARLOW: Thank you, Senator.

COLLINS: Thank you, Senator. HARLOW: OK. Well, coming up next. He knocked off the congressman in charge of getting democrats elected and he did it in deep blue New York. Congressman-elect Mike Lawler is back. Remember you saw him here earlier this week.

LEMON: Well, I think that made a difference, Poppy.

HARLOW: He won. He won and he's back.

LEMON: That made a difference. He appeared in this program and then he won hours later.

HARLOW: Thank you.



COLLINS: A GOP sweep across New York. Republican sloping four congressional seats and putting up a competitive candidate for governor in a traditionally democratic stronghold. Joining us now for a look at what is happening in the suburbs across the state is CNN senior political analyst John Avalon. John, you know, we were watching this so closely yesterday as these results were coming in. And New York was so fascinating. What happened there?

JOHN AVALON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's extraordinary. I mean, keep in mind, no Republicans won statewide since 2002. But while nationally, democrats exceeded expectations in New York. It was that red tsunami that had been predicted particularly in the suburbs. And the symbol of it is Sean Patrick Maloney who was the chair of the DCCC, in charge of congressional campaigns and he lost his seat.

That's almost unheard of in midterm elections, particularly ones that aren't wave elections. But you saw the story top down throughout the suburbs, north and east of the city redistricting crime and a lack of focus by Democrats on winning over suburbs at the expense of trumping up the vote in the cities.

COLLINS: Yes. And the suburbs on Long Island, we saw how that looks. But also, you know, New York saw basically way more competitive than what it typically had been when it even comes to the governor's race. Obviously, Lee Zeldin did not win that race, but he still came within about five points. And so, a big question was, did that cause a drag? Did Hochul cause a drag on the other democrats who were on the ticket with her?

AVALON: Well, here's what's clear. I mean, first of all, Long Island hasn't had four Republicans representing it since 1994, that Republican Revolution wave. And Lee Zeldin had been a congressman from New York's first district on Long Island, so that had a positive effect. But what I'm hearing from New York democrats is that Kathy Hochul really invested her money in getting out to vote in the cities and didn't pay as much attention to the suburbs, basically ceding those to Zeldin and the republicans. And that's where all these winds are coming in. Things that are going

to cause a real hangover. That as well as an ineffective response to concerns about rising crime, something hammered that, something clearly felt acutely in the suburbs that democrats didn't seem to have a strong response for and helped create in part by bail reform laws in New York that Hochul tried to amend but didn't really address head on and that hurt Democrats big time.

COLLINS: Yes. Some big questions going forward about what that's going to look like. How it affects following elections. John Avlon, thanks for following it closely.

One of the Republican wins that John was talking about is Mike Lawler. He defeated his democratic opponent who was the incumbent Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney who is also the chair of the committee that's dedicated to re-electing Democrats. In his victory speech, Lawler talked about the expectations that he faced early on in the campaign.


MICHAEL LAWLER (R), NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: What we were able to do in this time was truly remarkable. Because this is a district Joe Biden won by 10 points. And we were running against the chair of the DCCC. When I announced, a lot of people thought, oh, that's nice. Yes, he'll make it a raise but he's going to lose.


COLLINS: He did not lose. He, in fact, won. So, joining us now is Republican Congressman-elect Mike Lawler of New York. You were a rare, bright spot for republicans on Tuesday when they thought there was going to be a wave, there obviously was not. What do you think your victory says about Tuesday night? And what's the big takeaway for you?

LAWLER: Well, I think especially in New York, as I've said many times, this was the first time in our nation's history that democrats controlled everything in Washington, Albany and New York City. And voters in New York, especially, we're looking for balance and common sense restored to every level of government. And I think what we saw by picking up four congressional seats, and now sending 11 members of congress to Washington speaks volumes to that.

And, you know, the redistricting process certainly played a big role. I think democrats got very greedy in trying to gerrymander New York's maps. And when the courts threw them out and drew a fair map, it really gave us an opportunity to swing the suburbs back to republican.

COLLINS: When we talked to you last week before your victory, we asked you what kind of congressman you want it to be if you want. And you've often said you want it to be like Pete King, Peter King. And he was someone who, you know, has long supported former President Trump. There are big questions about Trump's role following Tuesday night. He said, "I strongly believe that he should no longer be the face of the Republican Party," saying the party cannot become a personality cult and saying that Trump's self-promotion and attacks on Republicans like Ron DeSantis and Mitch McConnell are largely responsible for republicans not having a red wave. Do you agree?

LAWLER: Look, I think the president is going to make a determination as to what he wants to do with respect to running. I would like to see the party move forward.