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Midterm Election Races Examined; British Banker Accused of Double Murder; Interview with Senate Candidate Greg Orman

Aired November 04, 2014 - 08:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, talk has become action. Cast your vote, the fate of Congress is in your hands today. Republicans need six seats to control the Senate, but polls are only guesses. And we will explain why there may whether no clear answer after today and for many days to come.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And neck and neck, so many races this morning are dead heats. We're looking at the tightest races in states that matter most. What the outcome means for Congress tomorrow and for 2016.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Shocking murders, an investment banker charged in the violent deaths of two young women in Hong Kong. Their bodies found amid a bloody scene in the banker's upscale apartment. New details ahead.

CUOMO: Your special edition of NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: It's Election Day. You know that. However, first item of the day, you got to get out and vote. It matters. It matters not only will it turn everything upside down because nobody really knows what is going to happen, but it matters to you. There's too much that's undecided. Please, do it early. Get there after work. Do what you have to do. And good morning to you. Thanks for being with us here on Election Day.

CAMEROTA: I'm Alisyn Camerota along with Chris Cuomo. Right now polls are open in more states as midterms get into full swing. Tight Senate races across the country will of course help determine the power in the Congress and the Senate. Polls are pointing to the GOP advantage at this hour, but as Chris said, voting changes all that. Democrats say not so fast. They thing the turnout could swing the results in their favor.

CNN has this critical midterm election covered like no other networks can with reporters live on the ground in every state where there is a key race, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Alisyn, thank you very much. Let's bring in our pro Dana Bash, CNN Chief Congressional correspondent in Washington. And we have people situated where we need to be, watching these super close races. Correspondent Martin Savidge is in Georgia. Ana Cabrera in Colorado, Brian Todd in New Hampshire, somehow got himself into a polling facility. He's sneaky. But that is very important, crucial Senate battles taking place.

Dana, let's start be you. Beautiful metaphor for you this morning. Usually you're sitting in front of the capitol. But the fact it's under construction, it shows what's going on metaphorically down in Washington. How will it be rebuilt? A big role this morning as we're watching voting will be early voting. Tell us about it.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We talk a lot -- I talk a lot just based on anecdotal evidence on my travels about the dissatisfaction and the disillusionment of voters out there. But when you look at early voting it seems to contradict that because it's actually up.

I'll just gave you two examples. North Carolina, that is a state where this midterm election year voting is up tremendously, about 35 percent higher than the last midterm election year 2010. Remember, that was a Republican wave. That was a big election, midterm election year.

So what does that tell us? Well, the Democrats are doing better, but historically they have to do much better in early voting. They're just better at it. That is why I was told over the weekend that Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, got a call saying that he was likely to become the majority leader. It was the modeling of the states like North Carolina based only early voting that gave him the sense. Then Colorado was just another quick example. Early voting is also much higher. The problem for Democrats is that Republicans have an eight percent lead there.

CUOMO: Quick take. What's going on with early voting, why are we seeing more? Technological advancement? People more comfortable with it, culture shift, what is it?

BASH: I think it's probably all of the above, but, you know, it could be that voter disgust is driving people to the polls.

CUOMO: Angry early.

BASH: Exactly. Disgust actually outweighs disillusionment. In a state like North Carolina they have actually had fewer days. They changed the law there. They used to have 17 days for early voting, now they have only 10, and they still have more people.

CUOMO: Iowa is a big race. Now we have the outgoing senator Tom Harkin there. He said something that's getting picked up so we have to play it for you so you can judge. I'd put it in the category of non-troversy, but it's not for me to decide, it's for you. Take a listen to what Senator Harkin said and then we'll discuss.


SEN. TOM HARKIN, (D) IOWA: I don't care if she's as good looking as Taylor Swift, or as nice as Mr. Rogers. But if she votes like Michele Bachmann she's wrong for the state of Iowa.



CUOMO: Offense was taken, Dana Bash. Why, and what will it mean?

BASH: That's right. The Republican candidate Joni Ernst said she was going to make like Taylor Swift and shake it off. But the reason -- first of all, I love that term, non-troversy.

CUOMO: You can have it. Michaela gave it to me.

BASH: But the reason why I think it is a potential issue there is because it speaks to what I saw on the ground and what is a big issue nationwide, which is the female voter. Democrats really need female voters to get out, particularly younger voters, single voters. That is part of their core base. But in the state of Iowa, they have a female Democrat -- excuse me a female Republican voting. There is a flip gender gap in that Joni Ernst is doing better among men, Bruce Braley, the Democrat, is doing better among women. But the concern among Democrats is that Joni Ernst is coming across as somebody who is more palatable. That's why what Tom Harkin said matters.

CUOMO: Taylor Swift, Mr. Rogers, could be worse comparisons. I don't know, Dana. We'll back to you in a little bit.

All right, Martin Savidge in Georgia, tell us, why is it so close there? What are you hearing about early turnout?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reason it's so close is that you have got two candidates both of whom who are well known, at least their families are. Michelle Nunn, the Democrat, she's done surprisingly well, raised a lot of money, and she also has done well in the polling. David Perdue, another name that is familiar to many Georgians because of their families, not because of the candidates themselves.

So there's no incumbent here and both of them are running on what they said they did in the past. You have Michelle Nunn who works for a charitable organization, David Perdue is a self-made millionaire. So those are the two issues that are coming to the forefront. You have the Democrats who say, look, David Perdue is only looking out for the rich, and those who will knock Michelle Nunn and say, well, she is just President Obama, at least a surrogate in this state.

It is very close, four percentage points divide them. That's the margin of error in most polling. Early voting has been heavy here. Almost a million Georgians have cast their ballots in advance. You break down the demographics, that would seem to favor David Perdue at this point. So the turnout today is key. Weather is beautiful. There's no excuse. There shouldn't be a large turnout, but lately here it's been quite light.

CUOMO: We'll keep checking. Martin, thank you very much. To Ana Cabrera now, she's in Colorado, sun just coming up on the NEW DAY, big day there especially. How is it shaping up there?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a close race. Both sides saying they like their chances going into election night. It was interesting that Dana mentioned voter turnout and that in fact Republicans are leading that voter ballot return here in Colorado where it's a mail-in ballot system. So we now know that 1.4 million Coloradoans had already cast their vote before yesterday, in fact. That was the number we got yesterday morning, waiting on the latest number for today.

But interesting in Colorado, the fact is that Democrats tend to vote later here. That's what we're hearing from election officials on the ground. So nothing is out of the ordinary in terms of what we are seeing at this hour. However, it's interesting to note in Colorado one-third of the electorate is independent. So that's the group that could really make or break either candidate tonight, Chris.

CUOMO: Strong point. Also, Colorado falls into the little trifecta there with Alaska and Louisiana of states tough to poll. Tough to know what's going on there exactly and that's why today matters so much. Ana, we'll be back with you.

And then there's Brian Todd. Somehow he has found his way inside a polling facility. I don't know how he did it, I don't even know if it's legal, but he's there, and that's good for you watching this morning. You're in New Hampshire, important place, known for being strong on the independent side. The race shapes up. They have somebody being painted as the status quo. You have Scott Brown coming in who's almost a carpetbagger there depending on how you want to define it. How is it looking there and what's the robustness of voting like by your shoulder?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, to say that this state is pumped up about the vote is an understatement. We have had a steady stream of voters coming in here since the polls opened two hours ago. This is the busiest voting station in the biggest city in New Hampshire. Ward one here in Manchester, this is Webster Elementary School. People come and line up. They register here, sign in here. They get their little poker chip, then they go over and get their paper ballot.

CUOMO: Old school.

TODD: Then they go into the booth and vote, totally old school. Then their votes go into the tabulator box at the other end of that row. So it is old school, and there's no early voting here. This is all show up and vote the day of. And that's why we're expecting a pretty good turnout. Secretary of state's office told us they expect up to a 54 percent turnout rate here. Also you talked about the independent voters in other states. There are more than 300,000 undeclared voters in New Hampshire. Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown have been going after those voters with a fever. And it is as tight of a race could be, race. Depending on the poll you look at, Jeanne Shaheen is ahead by two points, another poll shows Scott Brown ahead by two points. The Republicans see this as a real chance to pick off a Democratic seat. CUOMO: It all comes down to the urgency that's behind you. Look, I'm

no expert, Brian, but I think some of those voters look a little young behind you there. I'm looking at kids there, got to be eight or nine years old going into the booths. You may have an investigation on your hands. I'm just giving you a little tip reporter to reporter.

TODD: We just might. We just might. There's a young guy here with his mom showing up. It's a great family event here in New Hampshire.

CUOMO: Make sure they go into the same booth, not different booths, Brian. It will be a huge fiasco.

TODD: I will. I'll be all over it.


CUOMO: We'll check back in with all of you. These polls are going to be very, very tight here. That's why the voting is so important. Get out and do your duty today. Michaela?

PEREIRA: Indeed. And of course we'll get back to our Election Day coverage in a moment. But let's give you some of your headlines now.

A gruesome double murder has Hong Kong residents on edge this morning. Over the weekend a British investment banker called police and asked them to come to his luxury high-rise apartment. What they have found inside has neighbors terrified. Anna Coren is tracking the latest developments from Hong Kong.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Hong Kong continues to reel over the violent deaths of two Indonesian women allegedly at the hands of 29-year-old investment banker Rurik Jutting, the father of one of the victims has spoken out. Ahmed Kaliman, whose 25-year- old daughter Sumarti Ningsih was discovered stuffed in a suitcase, her body decomposing on the balcony of Jutting's apartment, has spoken to the media, saying "I want the murderer of my child to be sentenced to death."

Hong Kong however does not impose the death penalty. He also pleaded for the governments of Indonesia and Hong Kong to return his daughter's body as soon as possible, saying "I want her to be buried in Indonesia." The Indonesian consulate is already making arrangements for bodies to be returned.

Police have also released the name of the other woman found in Jutting's 31st floor apartment. And 29-year-old woman Sanay (ph) Wojeosi (ph) was found on the floor with her throat slashed. There were also cuts to her buttock. Officers described the scene as gruesome.

Jutting has been charged with two counts of murder. He did not enter a plea but will appear in court again next week. Until recently he worked with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. But when we spoke to some of his former colleagues, they described him as normal, smart, and good at his job, and they are completely shocked to learn that he has been charged with committing these violent murders. PEREIRA: All right, Anna Coren reporting there, thank you so much.

Iraqi forces with U.S. helpers are said to be training thousands of soldiers for a major counteroffensive against is in the coming weeks and months. The main goals are retaking Mosul in the north and winning back territory in Al Anbar province, the critical western approaches to Baghdad which the U.S. has vowed to keep safe.

Two more nuclear commanders fired by the air force with a third now facing disciplinary action. This is the latest evidence of lapses in leadership in America's nuclear missile core. The most senior office to be relieved is Colonel Carl Jones, the number two commander of the 90th missile wing in Wyoming. The Air Force says he was dismissed because of a loss of trust and confidence.

Only about 200 former players and relatives of deceased players have opted out of the NFL $765 million concussion settlement. That's less than one percent of the thousands who are covered. Those who opted out are free to pursue lawsuits separately. The average award for players suffering from Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease, and dementia is expected to average about $190,000.

That's a look at your headlines. Election Day, here we are, here we are.

CAMEROTA: We're right here. Let's talk about the neck and neck Senate race in Kansas. So many people are watching that. Polls show that Republican Pat Roberts is virtually tied with independent Greg Orman. So can Orman beat the incumbent, and if he does, which party will he caucus with? Siding with the Democrats could help keep them in the majority. That's part of why it's so important. Let's ask the candidate himself these questions. Greg Orman joins us from Kansas. Good morning, Mr. Orman.

GREG ORMAN, (I) KANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: Good morning. Good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: Good to have you. How are you feeling this morning?

ORMAN: You know, we feel great. We have I think over the last five months we have run good campaign. We have been able to talk to voters from around the state. And we feel confident. Voters obviously are attracted to what we're trying to accomplish. They realize Washington is broken and that ultimately we're not going to solve the problems in Washington by sending the same people back there.

CAMEROTA: As you know, Democrats and Republicans are anxious to learn which party you would side with, which party you would caucus with if you were to win. Can you give them an answer this morning?

ORMAN: Well, you know, I think I have been clear about that from the beginning, which is I'm not going there to represent the Democratic Party or represent the Republican Party. I'm going there to represent Kansans. And my goal is really to get Washington back in the business of solving problems for the people of Kansas. So, you know, we're going to end up working with senators from across both sides of the aisle and really work with anyone who wants to solve problems. That's in fact what it's all about.

CAMEROTA: And obviously your position has resonated with the constituents there because your poll numbers are high. And it is refreshing to hear a candidate say that they're going to put aside partisan politics and just sort of go with common sense. A lot of people respond to that. But some of your critics say it's just the worst kind of equivocation and it's political waffling not to be able to commit on Election Day. What do you say to that criticism?

ORMAN: Well, you know, I'm more concerned what the voters in Kansas think. And the voters in Kansas have been clear from the beginning. They think Washington is broken. They think both sides have gotten far too extreme and have drawn childish lines in the sand.

And ultimately, they want -- they want people in Washington who are going to try to solve problems and not play partisan games. So, for the voters in Kansas, I think our campaign makes a lot of sense. I think they want someone to go to Washington and genuinely be concerned about solving problems and not concerned about playing political games.

CAMEROTA: Do you worry that voters will feel betrayed if say Democrats come out and vote for you and then you end up getting to Washington and siding with Republicans?

ORMAN: I think we have gotten a broad base of support from Republicans, Democrats, independents alike, and the folks who are going to vote for me today realize I'm going there to solve problems and I'm going to use my best judgment on the best way to do that. So, I think every voter has said, Greg, we love your independence, we want you to maintain it regardless their own personal political affiliation.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, let's talk about the issues. Which issue do you believe you most differ from your opponent on?

ORMAN: Well, you know, there's a whole range of issues. My opponent has been in Washington for 47 years and during that period of time, the dysfunction has only gotten worse. And, you know, if you look at his record, he doesn't come back to Kansas. When he's in Washington, he doesn't attend committee meetings and when he's there, he tends to vote against the interests of Kansans.

The U.N. Treaty on Disabilities, which was something that was championed by Bob Dole, is something that Senator Roberts opposed that I would have supported.

The Farm Bill which is so critical to our farmers and particularly in Western Kansas, but all over this state that contain the crop insurance provisions in it. Senator Dole voted against it, I would have voted for it. Senator Dole didn't -- I'm sorry, Senator Roberts voted against it, I would have voted for it.

Senator Roberts didn't have the ability to show up and vote on the V.A. reform bill. We have so many veterans in Kansas who are -- who rely on the V.A. for their care and Senator Roberts just didn't have the courage to go back to Washington and vote on it. So I think there are a lot of areas where he -- Senator Roberts and I differ.

CAMEROTA: And we should mention to our viewers that we did invite Senator Roberts on to NEW DAY this morning, but we never heard back from his campaign.

Greg Orman, thanks so much for taking the time for us this morning. And best of luck and thanks a lot. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

ORMAN: My pleasure. Happy to be here.

CUOMO: It will be interesting if he is the man picked. I think he's greatly underestimating the importance of his decision, because if there is actually a tie, he can't bounce back and forth. There's pressure on him to create some kind of order down there.

So, I think it's a little -- it sounds a little bit better than the reality is. I'll work with everybody.

CAMEROTA: Right. It sounds refreshing, and, obviously, that's what voters are looking for, but our political panel said that the Senate rules don't allow for you to float back and forth really. But it's working at the moment for him. He's neck and neck.

CUOMO: Yes, he's got a bigger challenge. He's got to get through the race and he can figure out what to do with the mantle of power.

Now, we have been telling you it's all about you, because it is. You have to vote. I will say that on a day like today, the weather can be as big a player in an election as anything. Because folks have to decide whether or not they want to or can get out to the polls.

So, let's bring in meteorologist Indra Petersons.

What do you see out there, my friend?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think the temperatures are mild today.

CUOMO: Nice.

PETERSONS: Temperatures themselves, they've been warming into the Southeast, but we started off with frost and freeze warnings just yesterday. You can see those temperatures are rebounding.

The middle of the country looks good. A lot of 50s out there. I think the biggest thing we're contending with on the Election Day forecast is the all weather happening in the middle of the country. We're looking for showers today in the Ohio Valley and back into Texas.

And also in the Pacific Northwest, they're still talking about another system making its way in that will bring in some showers there as well. Now, the heaviest amounts of rainfall are going to be in the South, and reason for that is we have the hurricane way down to the south of us, all that moisture will be streaming into the south. So, for that reason, they're going to see some strong rain totals,

anywhere from two to four inches. Texas and Oklahoma and places like Arkansas. By tomorrow, you will see this moisture streaming farther to the north. Heavier rain bands extending farther as this slow- moving system still hangs out.

Keep in mind by the time we get to Thursday, the same frontal service will bring showers into the northeast. That's the bull's-eye by Thursday. But, yes, warm temperatures but definitely some showers are out there.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much for that.

CUOMO: Perfect day for voting.

CAMEROTA: It is. Yes. No excuses. Great point.

Expect some Election Day nail biters as Republicans try to take over the Senate. We'll run down the biggest and most dramatic heated races for you.

CUOMO: And did you know more states are voting today for a ballot initiative than really we have seen before, especially when it comes to legalizing pot in some states. Now, even if it is legalized there's still a hurdle. We'll break down the latest tug of war over marijuana for you.


CUOMO: With the skinny, what do you see down there, my friend?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I see as you noted ten, eight, nine, ten, closely contested races, that close governors races.

Forget the polls, forget the speeches, today is the day for you to vote and us to count. Let's look at the Senate, Chris, that's the big battle, control of the U.S. Senate. I have already assigned here for this hypothetical, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia to the Republicans. Even Democrats think that's -- those will be Republican pickups. That would leave you at 45-45. That tells you everything you need to know.

Control of the United States Senate is very tight, hangs in the balance. There are ten races left on the map when you look at this like this. Republicans have an advantage in seven or eight of them, so it tells you Republicans have the advantage.

But single digit leads doesn't mean anything. So, what do you look for, in Kentucky and Georgia, the polls close at 7:00 -- A, what's the turnout? B, what's the percentage of the African-Americans in this state here? Can Mitch McConnell keep his job?

Independents up in New Hampshire, the polls close there are 8:00, how are they breaking in this election? They tend if they break big that way they'll break that way across the country. Another big race, 7:30, North Carolina.

So, we'll have some early clues, Chris. But if this is a chess game if there's a wave we'll know. Then you'll have New Hampshire and North Carolina go to the Republicans and then I have a sense. But if it's the chess game and it's blue, red, blue, red, we'll be counting late in Colorado, we could be campaign for a couple of days in Alaska. Buckle up.

CUOMO: So, if we were to type if in all caps, the Democrats were able to keep power, how would that happen?

KING: If the Democrats, it's a tough one. Again, so the first -- the easiest way and I put that easiest in quotes because it's easy for the Democrats is to hold the blues. The president carried New Hampshire and Iowa twice and if Democrats can hold those and they're in play Republicans have the edge in a couple of those, but they're in play. That would get the Democrats to 49. Tehn, they would only one of the final six.

Even getting that one would be hard. Alaska, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia and Kentucky would be hard. Remember, Democrats only need 50, because they have the vice president who can make a break and Republicans need 51.

The map favors Republicans but if Democrats hold the blues they have a shot at it. More likely is they split them. Then you get into the area where if the Democrats need to win one of these down here, that's a much steeper hill.

CUOMO: Now, seeing those tied numbers down there makes Kansas loom all the larger. We'd just had Orman on here. He says, I'm going to work with both sides if I win, no big deal.

That doesn't make sense in terms of the rules of the Senate or in the realities of the political climate. How big could Kansas be and what do you think happens if he wins?

KING: You can work with both sides in the debates but the rules require you to pick a side when it comes to organizing the Senate. Who gets control of the Senate?

So, if Orman wins this race, it doesn't change the math because we didn't know his answer. Imagine a scenario you're at 50/50. I won't the time to go all through this. But we could be at a scenario where say, the Democrats have 49, and the Republicans at 50, and he gets to decide. What may not have to -- he may not have to make this decision, if this race goes to January 6th, he'll have a lot of time to think, which means he has a lot of time to hide from the phone calls trying to lobby him to pick the sides with.

He has to pick organize way. Sure, then he can go back and forth. He can be a bridge between the Democrats and the Republicans, but it's inconceivable whether it's Democrats or Republicans who control the Senate. We'll get some early clues, that's unlikely, but you know what, Chris, as you know full well, we have a lot of volatility and unpredictability in our election cycles in the last few years. So, I say it's unlikely but don't rule it out.

CUOMO: A lot of abilities, no question about that, John king. We must have the voting commence and be robust. We both encourage that. A lot of ballot measures of it there, too, that we'll change lights of people. So, we're going to be watching.

John King, please keep us informed.

KING: I'll be here.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, John.

We'll look at the closest Senate races. The surprises and upsets that could turn the control of the Senate upside down. Our political panel is getting seated. We'll be with them in a minute.

CUOMO: They seem wise.