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CNN Live Event/Special

GOP's Youngkin Opens Big Lead In Virginia Governor's Race; CNN Projects Eric Adams Wins New York City Mayoral Race; Race Tightens For New Jersey Governor. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 21:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: The math, at the moment, looks bleak, but a lot of votes to count still.


Voting is about to end in New York, where the next mayor, of America's biggest city is being decided tonight. Who will replace Bill de Blasio? Let's get a key race alert now.


TAPPER: The polls just closed, and it is too early to call the New York mayor's race, between Democrat Eric Adams, and Republican Curtis Sliwa. We are awaiting the first votes in this high-profile race. We will bring that to you as soon as they come in.

John King, I'm coming right back to you, at the Magic Wall. You want to go back to Virginia?

KING: Let's do it.

TAPPER: So here's a question for you.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Let's go to Fairfax County, for a second, OK?

KING: OK, here we go.

TAPPER: Fairfax County, Terry McAuliffe is up with there's about 220,000 votes cast. That means about 440,000 total have been cast. The big question, right now, for a lot of Democrats is did Democrats vote? Did they turn out to vote?

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Are they depressed, because the Democrats, on Capitol Hill, have not been able to get their legislation through, because prices are high, because gas prices are through the roof?

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Because of inflation, because they're disappointed, whatever, are they depressed? So, if we are estimating about 440,000 people--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --voted in Fairfax County, this year, how many voted last year, or in 2017?

KING: Well let's go back to the governor's race, because that's a better comparison. There, if you look, 255,000 for the winner, so we're not quite there. We expect turnout to be higher. But you're raising a key point. We expect turned out to be higher across the state.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: The question is, is it by proportionally, is it higher, is it much higher, in some of the rural areas? I can show you a few of those in a minute. So, you're looking at 255,000 votes here, for the winner.

TAPPER: So, more people did turn out.

KING: At 68 percent.

TAPPER: More people did turn out, this year, in Fairfax County, than they did, estimated--

KING: It's on track to.


KING: It is on track to--


KING: It is on track to have more. And the question is, it's on track to have more, and then you see that 68 percent margin, if you round up, the question is can McAuliffe hold it, because that would be essentially exactly what happened four years ago.

And then the question becomes, if it's exactly what happened four years ago, is it good enough, because the rest of the state is not going the same way for Terry McAuliffe.

So, let's come back to 2021, and let's pull it out. Let me show you what I mean. Just one example, I just want to pop down here. You look at these smaller counties, and you think "Well, this doesn't matter." Every vote matters in a close race.

So you're in Wythe County here, right? You see the 9,442. We're almost fully counted there, right?

TAPPER: Right.

KING: 82 percent of the vote. If you go back in time, Ed Gillespie, 60, so it's 3,000 more votes essentially than four years ago for the--

TAPPER: And that adds up.

KING: --for the Republican candidate. 3,000 votes there, 1,000 votes there, 800 votes there, it just helps. It helps.

It takes a lot to offset the giant there. So, you can't be just that. That is not going to be enough to offset Fairfax County. But it helps when you're also doing this. When you come back to 2021, if you were watching in 2017, this was Blue. Now it is Red.

This is the suburbs, Chesterfield County, South of Richmond, 20 years ago, reliably Republican. The last 10 years, Blue. Glenn Youngkin, with half the vote counted, with a 10-point margin, in the suburbs, to the South. Margins matter.

Go back in the race, four years ago, very close, but the Democrat won, right? Very close but the Democrat won. Right now, not as close, and the Republican, leading, a ways to go.

Henrico County, right, again, the suburbs to the north of Richmond, right now, McAuliffe, at 54 percent, Youngkin at 45 percent, if you round up, if you, go back, before, more of a -- more of a margin.

TAPPER: Look at that.

KING: The margins matter. Glenn Youngkin is making up votes, in places like this, compared to four years ago. And so, if the margins in the traditionally Blue counties are smaller, and then you are running it up, in the Red counties, you're putting yourself in play.

And one more place, I'm going to keep mentioning, because this right now?

TAPPER: It's huge.

KING: If you look down here, if you look down here, this is the race, four years ago. It's all Blue. This is the presidential race in 2020. You got to click another button to get to Presidential. It's all Blue. And so, Glenn Youngkin had to flip some counties--


KING: --to change the map. There's no guarantee they will end up this way. We're still counting votes, in some of these places. Let me just take you there. Virginia Beach, half of the vote in.

TAPPER: But he's winning it handily.

KING: He's winning it handily. Chesapeake, 29 percent--

TAPPER: So, anecdotally, a Republican official told me, this morning, that keep an eye out, for the Virginia Beach area, he said.

KING: Right. TAPPER: Because it took a little longer, but the school issue, in this Virginia governor's race, the education issue, and how much local -- how much parental input there can be in schools, was a big issue, combined with a lot of other--

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: --divisive social issues, having to do with education. But, he said, keep an eye on the Virginia Beach area, because the issue caught on there, later, than it did in Northern Virginia.

KING: That's an excellent point to make. And also, again, you got to be careful not to over-generalize. But where are we, right?

This is the North Carolina border. You're moving into this, the Northern Virginia suburbs, Washington D.C., it is more liberal. It is more traditionally Democratic. This has been Democratic, of late. But this -- this has a Republican -- this has a Republican pedigree in more recent times than up here, in Northern Virginia as well.


So, you mentioned the school issue could catch on. A Republican candidate, catching on down here is not as big a surprise, as a Republican candidate, if he were turning -- if Glenn Youngkin were turning some of these counties.

But even still, if you come up here, again, this is a -- this is your Washington suburbs, exurban areas, moving out now, to where it gets more--

TAPPER: Wow! Fauquier County, look at that!

KING: Look at that. 72 percent of the vote. And again, Ed Gillespie, margins matter. You're over-performing the last Republican candidate, while the Democratic candidate is underperforming, the last Democratic candidate.

TAPPER: And one of the things that's so interesting, people who are not from the Washington D.C., or Virginia area, or people who are not political junkies, Ed Gillespie -- go back to the 2017 map, if you would, for one second?

So Ed Gillespie, who lost in a round, right?

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Ed Gillespie ran a race that Republicans worried was going to bring out the vote, in this part of Virginia, Southern Virginia, Central Virginia--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --and alienate the suburbs.

KING: Right. TAPPER: Remember, his last few ads, as I recall, and this is just shaky memory of a middle-aged man, his last few ads were about MS-13, and the threat of gangs, potentially, potentially racially incendiary, in the views of some voters.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: Turning off people in the Northern Virginia suburbs. So, the challenge, for Ed Gillespie successor, Glenn Youngkin, was--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --how do you get these people, while not alienating those people, in the Northern Virginia suburbs?

And go back to Henrico -- Henrico County.

KING: Henrico County here, this is 2017. Again--

TAPPER: So, this is 2017.

KING: --61 percent of the vote, to 38 percent, for the Republican. And you come back here--

TAPPER: And he's--

KING: --margins matter. Every vote matters.


KING: Margins matter in these counties. So Glenn Youngkin, we talked, earlier, he's not going to win all of the suburbs. But he's more competitive, in the suburbs. And that's where they're growing.

TAPPER: But he's -- he has been, as a candidate, more agile. He has been, as a candidate, more deft.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: He has been able to get these people, while not alienating the suburbanites--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --in Northern Virginia, and then in the Virginia Beach area. In fact, he's -- it's early yet.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: But he is competing very, very well, in those Virginia Beach suburbs.

KING: Ed Gillespie did not want Trump to come to Virginia. They had a foul relationship. Glenn Youngkin did not want Trump to come to Virginia. Somehow, he has managed to be repeatedly endorsed by Trump. Trump has told his voters, "Flood the polls," Donald Trump telling his

voters, "Flood the polls," the Donald Trump, who questions the election system, all the time, telling his voters, to flood the polls.

Indications are, is it all Trump or is it just Youngkin's appeal? We could argue that for days. But what is happening, down here tonight, is very strong, very strong, exceeding 2017 Republican turnout. So, you have--

TAPPER: He's not just holding Trump votes. He's winning--

KING: He's--

TAPPER: --new voters.

KING: He's winning the votes. Certainly compared to the Republican candidate, for governor, four years ago, Glenn Youngkin is doing fantastic, down there.

And again, you talk about, margins matter. Just to come in here, you mentioned -- let's start with 2017, to see the difference. If you come in here, Loudoun County, Ed Gillespie, 40 percent of the vote -- 40--

TAPPER: 40 -- 45 percent of the vote.

KING: 45 -- 45 percent of the vote, in a place where there are a lot of people. So, that's thousands of votes. When you go from 40 percent to 45 percent, you're doing thousands of votes.

Even in Fairfax County, right now, we're missing the votes, right now, this one looks more, like four years ago, if you look at it there, 31 percent, four years ago, to 32 percent, right now. This one looks a lot more like four years ago.

So, if Fairfax, which is the biggest basket of Democratic votes up here, number one, of the 133 counties, 14 percent of the statewide vote, if Democrats are holding their own here, what happened?

Well, in a lot of other places that matter, Glenn Youngkin is over- performing the Republican candidate, from four years ago. Again, we're up to two-thirds of the vote. He's back above 200,000.


KING: I think you're starting to say then, we have -- so we're just shy of a million more votes to come in. Is it mathematically possible? Yes. You talked earlier about that inside straight flush.


KING: Terry McAuliffe is, you know?

TAPPER: He's--

KING: Praying for the -- praying for a good-dealer.

TAPPER: Show me my beloved Spotsylvania County, if we could, for one second?

KING: Where are we?

TAPPER: It's right there.

KING: That is down here.

TAPPER: Right?

KING: Yes, it is.

TAPPER: So, OK, Spotsylvania County, so Glenn Youngkin has 62 percent of the vote--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --to Terry McAuliffe's 37.3 percent of the vote. How did Gillespie do four years ago?

KING: So, you go back in time, 56 percent.

TAPPER: So, look, it's the margins.

KING: Again, again, the margins--


KING: And -- margins and turnout, right? We focus on margins a lot. It's not just the percentages. It's raw math matters in politics. In the end -- in the end -- we say this is complicated, so we can keep our jobs. In the end, it's the simple arithmetic, we learned, right?

You add that up, 20,000 votes, for Ed Gillespie, there, four years ago. You come up here now, with more votes to be counted, Glenn Youngkin is already there.

TAPPER: He's going to exceed it.

KING: Yes. He's already at the 20,000, with another third of the vote, yet to be counted.

TAPPER: He's going to exceed it.

KING: So, he is surpassing Republican turnout, from the governor's race, four years ago, in all of the Red places, running it up, where he has to.

TAPPER: No. And I am--

KING: And being more competitive in the Blue area.

TAPPER: And I have to say, as somebody, who drives around that part, of the state, on occasion--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: You would see Youngkin signs everywhere.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: You say that to somebody, a Democratic senator, "I've seen Youngkin signs everywhere," they would say "Signs don't vote."

KING: Right.


TAPPER: Maybe not, I mean, definitely not.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: But, by the same token, they can be a measure of enthusiasm.

KING: They can be a measure of enthusiasm. And again, if you think of the history of this state, one year ago, Joe Biden, plus 10. Four years ago, and this Ralph Northam, plus 8, or plus 9--

TAPPER: Plus 8.

KING: --depending on--


KING: --how you want to round up there. You have to go back to 2009, to the last time the Democrats won statewide, we're focusing on this race, right now--

TAPPER: Republicans.

KING: --it's not over.

TAPPER: Last time, Republicans--

KING: Yes. Last time, I'm sorry, last time, Republicans won statewide, was back in 2009, which foreshadowed 2010, which was a miserable midterm year, for the Democrats. That will be the fear, if this holds up. We have to say "If." We're still counting votes, as they come in.

But we haven't looked at them, yet tonight, but the Republican candidates, for lieutenant governor, attorney general, are also leading in Virginia, at the moment, pretty much by the same margins.

TAPPER: Is that right?

KING: So, yes. And so, if you look at them, if you just look through, here's the lieutenant governor's race, 54 percent.

TAPPER: Look at that.

KING: 54 percent, 45 percent. And here's the attorney general race, 54 percent, 45 percent, so.

TAPPER: And let's just explain, for one second, why that's important. KING: Right.

TAPPER: And then, we'll get back to. We have to take a quick break.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: But that is one of the things that Democrats said, is keep an eye on all three of the races. If Terry McAuliffe loses, but the Democratic candidates, for attorney general, this is the incumbent, right?

KING: Mark Herring, right.

TAPPER: The attorney general, and lieutenant governor, who is elected on a separate ticket?

KING: Right.

TAPPER: If they do poorly, too, this is more significant for Democrats. But if it's just Terry McAuliffe, that does poorly, and the other two Democrats do well, that might just be candidate-specific.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: So this, again, the votes are still coming in. But reading the tea leaves, this is something that is a message to the Democratic Party, in a state that Joe Biden--

KING: Commonwealth.

TAPPER: --a Commonwealth rather that Joe Biden won, by 10 points, one year ago.

It's still too early to call, the race of course, in Virginia or New Jersey, or the New York City's mayor's race. When will we be able to make those projections? Stay right here, to find out. We're going to squeeze in a quick break. Stay with us.




TAPPER: Bringing you another key race alert, right now, let's take a look at the wall, and talk about where we are, in terms of the actual vote count.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 71 percent of the vote in, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has 1,228,830 votes. He is at 54.3 percent of the vote. He is up ahead, of his Democratic challenger, by 208,848 votes. Democrat Terry McAuliffe, trailing, with 1,019,982 votes, 45 percent of the vote. A very healthy 9 percentage point lead, for Glenn Youngkin, with 71 percent, of the estimated vote in.

In New Jersey, Democratic incumbent Governor Phil Murphy with 281,130 votes, with 18 percent of the vote in, he's up with 55.9 percent of the vote, roughly 63,550 votes ahead, of Republican Jack Ciattarelli, who has 217,577 votes. With an 18 percent of the estimated vote in, Murphy, up 55.9 percent of the vote, to Ciattarelli's 43.2 percent of the vote.

And now, I'm walking over to the Magic Wall, again, because John King and I find this Virginia gubernatorial race, eternally fascinating. A Commonwealth that Joe Biden won by 10 percentage points, and Glenn Youngkin, 71 percent of the vote in, it's not over yet, but he is so far--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --doing quite well.

KING: He is exceeding his metrics, just about everywhere, on the map, including the Red, you see, in the Republican counties, in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin is exceeding his metrics, exceeding the performance, of the Republican candidate, four years ago, and turning out Trump voters, in Trump country.

And in a lot of these areas, even though they're Blue, he is doing better, than Republicans have, in quite some time. Here -- that's one way to look at it.

So, what do I do constantly, when we get to this point, right? A lot of people are saying at home, "Why haven't you called it?" Well, we're conservative. And we know there are still hundreds of thousands of votes to be counted. And we know we live in volatile times. So, we will wait to count.

But you start to look at this point, you're thinking, "OK, Glenn Youngkin has got a pretty healthy lead. Are there more Democratic votes out there?" So, you look everywhere.

So, you come down to the City of Norfolk, it's the seventh largest of the 133 counties. So, that's a lot of votes, right? But, again, even if you double that, right, you were doing math earlier, even if you double that?

TAPPER: That's 8,000 votes.

KING: Yes, add another 8,000, say 10,000 votes, to Terry McAuliffe's lead, is that enough?

So, you move over here, you come over to Portsmouth. Again, it's the 20th, right? So you could -- you could add a third to that. You're starting to get into an area, where there's thousands of votes, thousands of votes, right?

So, could Terry McAuliffe turn these back Blue? These have been Blue, in the last presidential elections, in the last gubernatorial elections.

TAPPER: Right. It's only--

KING: A third of the vote.

TAPPER: --it's only third -- it's only a third of the vote, right.

KING: The question is, though, if you flip it, are you going to dramatically flip it? Is everything out?


KING: Is everything out Democratic, or do you come back to 50-50?

TAPPER: Right.

KING: If you come back to 50-50, there's no net gain, right? That's the problem. Terry McAuliffe now needs net gain.

So, you look where the votes are still out. And you think OK, about 40 percent of the vote, here. Again, conceivably, you could catch up, in an area that's been Blue before. But can you catch up and cut? How much do you -- how much do you cut into the lead -- to catch up, sorry

TAPPER: And just -- and just to remind people, I'm sorry to--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Just to remind people, these counties were Blue last year.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: And they were Blue, four years ago, right?

KING: Just watch it there. Yes. If you go back first, so it's easier to do it this way, 2017, in the governor's race, they were Blue. And if you go back to the 2020 presidential race, you have to do two taps here, to get out of the governor's race, they were Blue as well.

You can even go back to the 2016. Let's take a peek, in the 2016 presidential race. Slide this up, and look, two of them were Red. That's what I told you earlier, you're closer to the North Carolina border. There is traditional Republican here.

This was, if you want to talk about the Trump effect, in the suburbs, right, suburban areas, down here, military retirees, rich military tradition down here. Traditionally, Republican communities that in the Trump years just became more and more Blue. That was one of the challenges tonight. Can Glenn Youngkin go into these areas, and turn them back? We're not done counting the votes here.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: But that would be a sign of potential success there.


One other way, to look at this, so, Joe Biden won by 10 points, one year ago. So, how is it that the Democratic candidate is behind? So, you want to look, right? So, how is Terry McAuliffe doing? Is he underperforming Joe Biden? Yes, just about everywhere, just about everywhere, in the State of Virginia. Even places where Trump won, even places where Trump won, Biden ran stronger, in these Red counties.

I will just come back, and show you that again. Just so you see? Not much change on the map, right? This is everything we know right now, just about everywhere, Terry McAuliffe is underperforming Joe Biden. So, you say, "OK, that's not fair. That's a presidential year."

Is he underperforming Ralph Northam? I began the night, saying, he can. Ralph Northam won by 8 points, 9 points.

TAPPER: The incumbent Democratic governor.

KING: Yes, the incumbent governor. So, Terry McAuliffe can underperform him, as long as he doesn't underperform him by a ton. This is your live vote right now. Where are there counties, where McAuliffe is underperforming Northam by more than 10 points?

TAPPER: Oh my God!

KING: By more than 10 points, he is underperforming.

TAPPER: Everywhere. Everywhere.

KING: Including some of the suburbs up here, you come up here, again, we're moving out, exurbs, this is more of the exurbs, as you move out here.

But, in strong Republican areas, where Joe -- where Ralph Northam, excuse me, a Joe Biden-like Democrat actually, a more -- considered a more moderate centrist Democrat, Ralph Northam, ran stronger in these Republican areas, than Terry McAuliffe is.

But again, down here, in Norfolk, in Virginia Beach, out here, even again, in parts of Trump country, where Ralph Northam, a more centrist Democrat, at least by reputation--

TAPPER: Right.

KING: --than Terry McAuliffe.

TAPPER: And just to remind people, so?

KING: Sorry. Let's leave that up. Go ahead.

TAPPER: Well, I was just going to point to the part of the -- how the Commonwealth--


KING: Let me get out of your way for you.

TAPPER: --Ralph Northam's come.

KING: Let me get out of your way for you. Yes, it gets complicated, well, yes.

TAPPER: So, Ralph -- if Ralph Northam is from here?

KING: Right. He's from the Eastern Shore.

TAPPER: So, one of the reasons to nominate him was to win that part of the Commonwealth.

KING: Back in 20s -- back in the 2017 race.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: That was one of the Democratic arguments that our state is trending Blue. Let's make it more Blue by nominating a more centrist guy, from this part of the state, a traditionally Republican part of the state.

TAPPER: But McAuliffe is of the Northern Virginia suburbs. And he is still doing worse--

KING: He is.

TAPPER: --in Northern Virginia.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Than a guy from the Eastern Shore.

KING: So, let's turn this up.

TAPPER: That's my point.

KING: Yes. And so, look, if this holds up and, to your point, let's just take a look at some of that, right?

This is Northern Virginia suburbs. Again, right in here, the most Democratic, most liberal areas, are just across the river, right, Arlington and Alexandria. Fairfax is the most populous, and Terry McAuliffe is holding his own, right there.

But the challenge for Youngkin was cut in, in these other, smaller but still significant suburbs, right? 52 percent, 45 percent, we're only about halfway there. Again, if you double that, McAuliffe picks up what? If it holds at that margin, 5,000, 10,000 -- 5,000, maybe 8,000 votes right there, if you go back to 2017, it's 61 percent. Margins matter in politics.

You come up to Loudoun County, Ralph Northam gets 59 percent. The Republican is getting 40 percent, if you want to round up. You come here, to tonight, Glenn Youngkin is getting 45 percent. Again, the margins matter.

TAPPER: 5,000 votes here.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: 5,000 votes there.

KING: Right. Hundreds -- hundreds of votes here, thousands of votes, in a couple of these, you just start to add it up. It's an impressive performance, so far. We're not, again--

TAPPER: Well it's not over.

KING: --we're not done.

TAPPER: We still have 29 percent of the vote to come in.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: And we do expect that it will narrow considerably.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: At this point.

KING: Although I will say again, this is your biggest basket, of Democratic votes.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: And they're up to 70 percent.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: So, we've talked about before, if you double it, there's no guarantee the percentages hold, right? It's possible. You get some precincts, where Terry McAuliffe gets 70 percent or 80 percent of the vote, and that math changes. That's why we're conservative.

But if you're going through, and if you're in a headquarters right now, and you got the green eyeshades on, you're going county by county, what's outstanding, what's the best we can do there? That's what they're doing, in campaign headquarters.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: Is there -- is there a way to make up that, 210,000-plus votes?

TAPPER: It's a lot of votes.

KING: With just that left, it's hard.

TAPPER: It's a lot of votes, although we have not called it, and we are still following the votes, and counting the votes.

Coming up, we still are waiting for Virginia. We're still waiting for New Jersey. We're still waiting for New York City. A lot more coming in, stay with us, as ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA continues.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Welcome back to ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA. We can now project a winner.


TAPPER: CNN is making a major projection, in the New York City Mayor's race.

CNN projects that Democrat Eric Adams has been elected Mayor of New York City, defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa, Adams holding on to the top office, for Democrats, in the nation's biggest and predominantly Democratic city.

Again, CNN projecting that Eric Adams has been elected New York City Mayor.

Let's go now to Athena Jones, in New York City, at Adams' headquarters. Athena?


Well, the crowd here, at Adams' election night headquarters, has already gotten this message. There was already a cheer that went up, when someone came to the podium, saying that Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, former New York Police Captain, former state senator, is now going to be the 110th Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams becoming only the second Black mayor of New York City.

The votes, of course are still coming in. The polls just closed. About -- a little over 30 percent of the vote is in. And there's about a 50- point gap between Adams and Sliwa.

And this is what was expected. New York is of course, a very Democratic city. But Adams put together a very interesting coalition, working-class voters, Union voters, voters of color, voters, in the outer boroughs.

But he also ran not just on public safety. This is something that he talked about a lot of his campaign, saying, repeatedly, public safety is a prerequisite to prosperity, talking a lot also, though, about making sure that businesses are able to do business more easily, cutting through the red tape.

So, he tried to appeal to a lot of different sections of the electorate here. And certainly, it seems that he did, coming out on top. But, as I mentioned, early on in the campaign, public safety was the central point of this race.


Eric Adams, as a former police captain, himself, talks often about how he was arrested, as a teenager, he was beaten by the NYPD, and he later joined the force, to try to change it, and reform it, from within.

So, while he's talked a lot about how policing is a tough job, he's also said, "Look, we don't want to kind of throw out the baby with the bathwater."

He's talked about wanting to bring back what was once a controversial plainclothes anti-crime unit. He wants to reconstitute that, and make it an anti-gun unit, and make sure they have well-trained officers, to help get illegal guns off the street.

He's also talked about the need for a joint gun task force, kind of like the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force. He wants to see the federal, state and local governments, work together, just to try to stop the flow of guns.

So, across a wide range of topics, Eric Adams clearly convinced voters, here in New York, and they put him, sent him, I guess, to the Mayor's House. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Athena Jones, in New York, at the Campaign headquarters of Eric Adams, who CNN has projected will be the next Mayor of New York.

New York, a lot of grist for Anderson, and his august panel, to discuss. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Yes, Jake, thanks very much.

Van, there are so many messages, we are going to hear tonight, for the Democratic Party, moving forward. I'm wondering what do you think -- what is the message of Eric Adams' victory in New York?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, look, I mean, I think that people want common sense responses, to violence, in the Democratic Party.

The "Defund the Police" slogan, it proved to be not a winner. Even the people in Minneapolis, who are trying to reform that department, run from that slogan. They say they want to expand public safety.

COOPER: Not just not a winner, I mean, disastrous.

V. JONES: Yes, well, and -- exactly.

COOPER: For the Democratic Party.

V. JONES: Look, my godmother lives in Harlem. She's quite up in years. She's on the left side of everything.

But she was dismayed by this idea that we're going to become anti- police. She just, I mean, she's on left side of literally every issue. But on that issue, the Democrats lost her.

And so, I just think that we -- look, the votes are -- it's obvious. The only people talking about "Defund the Police" now are Republicans weaponizing, the slogan, Democrats running away from it.

COOPER: There were -- there were certainly, for the Democratic primary, in New York, that Eric Adams won, there were a lot of far more liberal, far more progressive Democratic candidates.




COOPER: Running in this City.

BORGER: Well, he not only presented himself, as pro-police, no "Defund the Police," but, a law and order candidate, but pro-business, in New York.

V. JONES: Right.

BORGER: So, he managed to win by saying, "Look, you can't -- you can't put me in a box."

V. JONES: In a box.

BORGER: And here's -- here's a guy from Queens, who was arrested, when he was 15, beaten by cops, and became a cop, and now is saying -- and I've spent some time with him, last week, for a piece we're running. He said, "The key to New York is safety."

V. JONES: And I think that's--

BORGER: "This is what we have to provide."

V. JONES: And the -- and the key is, you have -- you have communities that are crushed, between unlawful street violence, and unlawful police violence.


V. JONES: They want solutions to both. And so, you got to--


V. JONES: --you got to have slogans in candidates that can respond to both.

AXELROD: And he -- he found the way--

BORGER: Exactly.

AXELROD: He found the way to walk that line. But he became a -- every Democrat in the country was watching that election in New York.

And now, you see across the country tonight, there are mayoral races in Buffalo, and Cleveland, Cincinnati, all over the country, Minneapolis, of course, in which this is the -- this is the line of demarcation.

And the other thing, I think, a lot of Democrats recognize is, even though suburbanites don't live in cities, this is an issue they are watching closely, too. So, I think this is going to be a big takeaway.

And Eric Adams is going to be a prototype, for how a lot of Democrats are going to approach this issue, going into 2022.


We saw it in New York. Adams confronted the reality of what was happening in New York. We see it in Virginia. Youngkin confronted the reality of what was happening in schools, or at least what voters were wanting to hear about.

So, he have these candidacies that are apparently wildly successful, tonight, from people, who are confronting real issues, with real platforms.

And this is a triumph of platform-based candidacies. But I think, it's going to sound old-fashioned, but if you're running for office, and you go out, and you listen to people, and you don't try to tell people "Stuff is not happening," when they can see it with their own eyes, those kinds of candidates were very successful, in Virginia and New York.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, Van, because I mean, Senator Biden -- then Senator Biden, ran for president, not as -- or excuse me, former Vice President, and now President, Biden ran not as a him -- he was never for defunding the police. And yet, he is -- his poll numbers are down. And he's more in the Eric Adams camp of the Democratic Party than--

V. JONES: Look, I know.

COOPER: --farther left.

V. JONES: Sure. I think Biden's troubles are bigger than this particular issue.

And I think that the Democratic Party, I mean, everybody that I'm talking to you tonight, they're saying, this is a big, big wake-up call. I think people took Virginia for granted. We took California for granted. But then, people got in there, and saved Gavin. I think people took this thing for granted.


And there was an intensity gap. You had Youngkin saying, "You know, your rights, as a parent, are under threat." That is going to move people. And then you had our side saying, "Trump is bad, and vaccine mandates are good." There's a mismatch on the intensity for that message.

And so, as you begin to think, "What are we going to do," you've got to be able to respond to what I think is dog-whistling on education. I think all this CRT stuff is trumped up dog whistling, but you got to be able to respond to it. And I also think that listen, crime, inflation, and concerns about our kids, Democrats got to have better answers next year than we had this year.

COOPER: Right.

AXELROD: I don't know about this--

COOPER: And you have a -- you have a 29--

AXELROD: --I don't know about this. Just on the reality-based thing, there is also a straw man-based element to this as well. And Youngkin was very skillful, in creating straw men here.

And in fact, the "Defund Police" police slogan was nothing -- most Democrats didn't embrace that in the first place. But the Republicans did a very good job of tagging Democrats with it. And Democrats did a less good job of pushing back on it, because of sensitivities, about the issue. Remember, the last election took place, right after the George Floyd murder.

V. JONES: And the real need -- and a real need for a reform.

AXELROD: But we should point out, homicide rates are up 30 percent, in across this country. And people in cities are very sensitive to that issue.

BORGER: One thing about Eric Adams is that he understood New York. And he said, "Look, you know, we can't get the rich out of New York, just because you might not like them, because they're our tax base," right? "And I'm not anti-union necessarily, but I am pro-business. And I understand crime. I understand people being afraid to walk in the streets."

So, we understood that the Democratic constituency--


BORGER: --was not one-dimensional.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. Eric Adams, now elected mayor of New York City. The race in Virginia, too close to call. More coverage, right ahead. We'll be right back.




TAPPER: We have a key race alert for you in the Garden State of New Jersey.

Take a look at this number. With 30 percent of the estimated vote in, incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy is only 1,522 votes ahead, of the Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli. Murphy has 414,746 votes with 49.7 percent of the vote, Ciattarelli,

413,224 votes, with 49.5 percent of the vote. That gives Murphy only 0.2 percent of the vote lead, 1,522 votes.

John King at the Magic Wall, we still have 70 percent of the votes to come in. But I don't think anybody saw this coming.

KING: Nobody saw this coming in.

And to do this now, after Democrats are looking at Virginia, and they're behind in the governor's race, lieutenant governor's race, the attorney general race, they're looking at that, and they're thinking, "Oh, my! Is it that bad of a night?"

Probably not. Probably not. I just want to explain why, in a minute. But still, if you're in the Murphy campaign headquarters, you pulled out early, or as the early votes came in.

Now, so, why do I say probably not? Well, that's a tie, right, 1,500 votes? But look at where the Red votes are.

Here you are, Ocean County, 76 percent is counted. You come up here, Monmouth County, 68 percent of the vote is counted. You move over here. And this is Gloucester in New Jersey. It's Gloucester, where I come from, but Gloucester's 73 percent of the vote counted.

Up here, this other Republican counties, these are 93 percent. In Hunterdon County, this one was in the 30s, 20 (ph) I'm sorry, 19 percent in Morris County. So, you have some county to go. But where the Republican vote is, in these Red counties, you have a high percentage of the vote counted.

Now, let's turn the tables. Let's come over here, to Essex County, which is Newark, the third largest of the county, only 18 percent of the vote, Phil Murphy is getting 80 percent-plus. This is a big giant basket of votes. It's early. There's a lot of math to be done.

You move over here to Hudson County, the third largest in the state, 9 percent of the population, this is Jersey City right here, just across the river, or through the tunnel, however you want to do it, 81 percent, for Phil Murphy.

You move up to Bergen County, here again, the Suburban New York area. People live in New Jersey, they go -- a lot of them commute back to New York. It's more competitive, but only 5 percent of the vote in, Phil Murphy getting 58 percent. Just to go back in time, he got 57 percent, here, last time, when he won quite comfortably.

And just keep moving through. You come up here to Passaic County, where he's--

TAPPER: Running back statewide for one second--


TAPPER: --John? KING: There you go.

TAPPER: Look at this.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: Ciattarelli?

KING: Right.

TAPPER: 49.6 percent of the vote.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: Phil Murphy, 49.5 percent of the vote.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Again, 30 percent of the vote in, but Ciattarelli has taken the lead.

KING: He has taken the lead, in a race where look, this is not a great environment for Democrats. So, if you're a Republican, in New Jersey, you're saying "Wow, look at that."

Again, we're going to count the votes, and we're going to go to the very end, and we rule nothing out, because that's why we do math. And that's why we count votes. But again, where did those votes come from? They're up to -- they're 80 percent here. You look where the Red is, right?

If you go to the traditional Blue, I haven't hit Trenton area, Mercer County here, Phil Murphy, let's look, at 21 percent, 52 percent, so 53 percent, if you round up, 64 percent. So we watch that, right? So, you look at Trenton, Trenton and the suburbs around it, so we watch that as we go. That's one area you look at, and you say, "Huh?"

If you pull back out and look, that's 2017, we come back to where we are now, so, a narrow lead for the Republican right now. Again, on a night, where Democrats are already nervous, very nervous, good reason to be nervous, about Virginia, or more, you're going to look at this, and you're going to think, "Oh my!"

My guess is when we start to count more votes, from 18 percent here, and 19 percent here, and 5 percent here, these are Democratic strongholds, but that's why we count votes. That's why we count votes.

TAPPER: A Democratic governor--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --has not been reelected in the State of New Jersey since the 1970s.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Both previous Democratic governors Corzine and Jim Florio--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --did not win reelection. We'll see what happens.

KING: Right.


TAPPER: Only 31 percent of the vote in. But it is a nail-biter, in New Jersey. It is a nail-biter, in other parts of the country.

Stay with us, as CNN's ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA continues.


TAPPER: I have a key race alert, for you, now, in the Garden State of New Jersey. Take a look at these numbers. With 33 percent of the vote in, 33 percent of the vote, it is a neck-and-neck race.

Incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy has 465,452 votes, 49.7 percent of the vote, only 2,688 votes ahead, of Republican Jack Ciattarelli, with 462,764 votes, 49.4 percent of the vote. That's 49.7 percent to 49.4 percent. 33 percent of the vote in, anything could happen, quite a nail-biter.


We're also following a number of other interesting races, an unusual mayor's race, in Buffalo, New York, pitting a self-described socialist, against the four-term incumbent, she defeated, in the Democratic primary, he is now running as a write-in candidate.

Look at the board. 40 -- the write-in candidate has 10,243 votes, that's 65.4 percent of the vote, leading with 4,830 votes. India Walton, the Democrat nominee, the socialist, 5,413 votes, 34.6 percent of the vote.

So, that is write-in candidate, with about a third of the vote in, the write-in candidate is leading. And most of those write-in votes are going to be for the incumbent mayor, Byron Brown.

Byron Brown, after losing the primary, decided he was going to wage an aggressive write-in campaign, to keep his job, hoping for the support of more moderate Democrats, and Republicans, who oppose Walton's socialist views. So, we are keeping an eye on that one.

Let's turn now to Minneapolis. Voters there are deciding whether or not to replace the Police Department there, with what's called a Department of Public Safety. This is a reimagining of public safety, in Minneapolis. This is more than a year after George Floyd's murder.

Let's take a look at where that vote stands right now. Should the police department be replaced with the Public Safety Department? With 75 percent of the vote in, "No," is leading, 57,184 votes. That's 58.4 percent, ahead of "Yes," with 40,714 votes, 41.6 percent. Sets a 16,470 vote lead for "No," over "Yes," when it comes to the question about whether or not the Police Department, in Minneapolis, should be replaced with a Public Safety Department, which has been, we should note, very vaguely described, on the referendum.

There are a lot of questions about what exactly would happen, John King, were that referendum to pass, although right now, it is not on its way to passing, it looks like.

As of now, it looks like "No"--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --will take the lead. Big picture, John, what are we seeing?

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: What are the voters telling us tonight? Because this is the great thing about election night, you can have polling. You can have pundits making predictions.

KING: Well?

TAPPER: Ultimately, the voters get to decide. And sometimes, they'd like to throw us some curveballs.

KING: Right, to the point you were making about Minneapolis, if that vote holds up, Eric Adams, winning in New York City, the Democrats, at risk of losing three, we have not called these races, we're up to 81 percent of the vote now, the Democrats at risk of losing three constitutional offices, statewide, in Virginia, for the first time since 2009, that would tell you that the conversation tomorrow is going to be that the liberal wing of the party saying "Defund the Police," there's going to be a conversation about that, among Democrats.

Is that fair? I'm sure Liberal Twitter's lighting up, right now, at the very suggestion. But Eric Adams winning, if that Minneapolis vote holds up, and if this map holds up, then there's going to be a lot of conversations, among Democrats, tomorrow, about where might we be, a little bit off, disconnected, from the voters.

TAPPER: Not to mention, in Buffalo, where the socialist candidate--

KING: Right, right.

TAPPER: --who won the Democratic primary is not winning.

KING: Right. One of the things I always say about the map is it's complicated, right? It's complicated. But if voters, in different places, are sending a similar message, or at least a similarly-themed message, that's a conversation you have to have.

You were just talking about this one here. I wanted to hit your Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

TAPPER: Very nice.

KING: To make you feel at home.

TAPPER: I felt it.

KING: Let's move to the East. Moments ago, you were saying the Republican was narrowly ahead. Now, the Democrat is back ahead in this race. But if you're Phil Murphy, in what you believe to be Blue New Jersey, Republicans win in New Jersey, infrequently, that's still too close for comfort.

The question is, we're just over a third of the vote counted, so what's happening?

When you said when -- when Mr. Ciattarelli pulled ahead, earlier, Jack Ciattarelli, I said, "Everybody calm down." The reason I was saying that is because, if you look at the Republican counties, you're seeing a higher vote percentage in, than if you move over to places, where the Democrat is leading, 46 percent here.

But more significantly, if you come up to Newark, you come up to over here, Hudson County, which is Jersey City, and then you move up here, to Bergen County, which is a giant suburb, but is the largest county in the state, we're still only at 5 percent. So, in the Blue areas of the State, we have a lot of votes to count a lot, so.

TAPPER: Lot more -- lot more Democratic votes to count.

KING: Yes. But I will say this. If you look down here, in this part of the State, you're always looking for what's changing.

We're 19 months into this pandemic. We have a Democratic President, whose approval rating is now underwater. People are tired about the pandemic. They're looking at Washington, is that -- are things happening?

So, you're looking for, is anything on the map changing? At the moment, if you're in New Jersey, you want to watch this. This is Atlantic City, big tourism, Atlanta County here, the Republican is ahead.

Let me just move over here, and again, Gloucester, in New Jersey. I'm a guy, from Boston. We call that Gloucester. The reason I highlight those, that one's close. That county was close. But if you go back in time, these are Blue, right?


So, you're just looking on the map. We're not done yet. We're still counting votes in New Jersey. But is this off-year election, a message election? In Virginia, it appears, we're not there yet, but more than likely yes.

What are the voters in New York City, in Minneapolis, perhaps saying about the conversation, about law enforcement, and police? What is New Jersey saying about competitive -- we're not here yet in

New Jersey. And again, now we're back with -- we're back at it -- let me just make sure I've reset. Every now and then, when it jumps--

TAPPER: Look, Ciattarelli back ahead.

KING: It jumps--

TAPPER: 37 percent of the vote in.

KING: Yes, right.

TAPPER: And Ciattarelli is up 49.9 percent of the vote--

KING: Right.

TAPPER: --to 49.2 percent of the vote.

KING: That's what makes election nights so interesting. I say "Fun," sometimes, and I get in trouble, because if you're -- you have a side in this, it's not fun, when you see the map switch here.

But again, so Bergen County just flipped to Republican for -- lead Republican. That's why he's leading, because you got a big chunk of votes, just came in, in Bergen County.

If Bergen County stays Red, for a long period of time, tonight, we're going to have a very interesting conversation, about New Jersey. That is not its history. Again, if you go back, four years ago, it was 57 percent to 42 percent.

But again, is this a message election? Yes, every election is a message election. How big is the lesson? That's why we count.


KING: Right.

TAPPER: And it's too close to call in New Jersey. And we have not yet projected Virginia. We're still waiting for votes, to come in, in Buffalo and Boston and Minneapolis.

Stay with us. The voters are having their say. ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA continues. We'll be right back.