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Doug Mastriano Won In Pennsylvania GOP's Nominee; Josh Shapiro To Face Mastriano In November; Madison Cawthorn Conceded His Defeat To Chuck Edwards; Cawthorn's Conduct Led To His Defeat; Two GOP Candidates In Tight Race In Pennsylvania. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 17, 2022 - 22:00   ET



DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He wanted a winner. Mastriano looked like he was going to win, so he threw Barletta overboard.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Let's go back to Wolf. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We just got a statement from Josh Shapiro who's going to be the Democratic nominee for the governor of Pennsylvania and we're waiting for Doug Mastriano, he's about to speak there. We'll hear what Mastriano has to shake.

Shortly, we'll hear what he will say. We're about to project that. Let's talk a little bit about this upcoming contest. Shapiro, Mastriano.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Josh Shapiro got exactly what he wanted. How do we know that? He run a television commercial, they played extensively on Fox where he touted things that conservatives would have appreciated about Mastriano. He's against abortion. He wants to end mail-in balloting.

But in a very clever way that delivered a message to independents and Democrats that said, this guy is a problem. The happiest person in Pennsylvania tonight is Shapiro.

BLITZER: What do you think?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: First, I think he's absolutely right. I mean, I cannot find a Republican. I've been trying to talk to a number of them who is excited about the fact that Mastriano is projected to win this race.

Because for a lot of these reasons that Chris Wallace and David Axelrod were discussing, which is to say that, he, this was an opportunity for Republicans to take back the governorship that they haven't had in a year that it's going to be tough for Democrats because of inflation and the president's approval rating.

And certainly, the Republicans I'm talking to think they blew (Inaudible).

BLITZER: Mastriano and Shapiro, you can't pick -- you can't put two different people.


BLITZER: These two was a totally different on so many issues.

SMERCONISH: Wolf, can I say something that may sound a little nutty? I'm happy that we're -- I'm happy that we're able to watch what's going on in Mastriano headquarters. That may sound odd. But he had his final rally this weekend in my native Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


HUNT: Such a good point.

SMERCONISH: He and Barnette, they wouldn't let the media in the room. It was a public event for their supporters, and they said to the media, you are not permitted to walk in. I have no idea what this general election is going to look like.

HUNT: It's un-American. I mean, the reality is, that we, you know, reporters, and the public at the right to know what their candidates are saying. I think, to your point, it underscores all of the other themes around the fact that he was at the stop the steal rally on January 6th.

Kathy Barnette, who he endorsed, they endorsed each other, was also there. It's a different level of the kind of politics that we've been seeing. And yes, there are a lot of other MAGA candidates who are taking steps in that direction. But they are so far on the edge of it, I think that's what you're hearing from the Republicans who are frustrated.


SMERCONISH: I think it also speaks to the weakness of the parties. They couldn't get those other candidates to drop out. They couldn't endorse. They couldn't coalesce around some -- if Mastriano were in a one-on-one against one of the others. I think he would have been defeated. It also speaks, as I said earlier tonight to --


BLITZER: There he is.

SMERCONISH: There you go.

BLITZER: He's about to speak. Sorry, he's obviously a very happy guy right now. He's projected to be the Republican gubernatorial candidate. Let's watch this, as soon as he starts speaking.

HUNT: Yes, and we should underscore here, Wolf, that while we have projected that he's going to win, the rest of the field was very split. I mean, this is the hard-core kind of MAGA wing of the Republican Party that is selecting him as their gubernatorial nominee.

There was a last-minute effort to try and get some of the other candidates to drop out, to consolidate the rest of the field, to create that one-on-one race, that Michael Smerconish was just talking about. But it was too little too late. And in many ways, it actually echoed the primary in 2016, when Donald Trump knocked out candidate after candidate, and more moderates in the field couldn't consolidate.

BLITZER: What you think his message needs to be tonight, in his remarks?

SMERCONISH: Well, we're used to candidates who try and move toward the center. Once they win a nomination. I don't think that's about to happen. Let's watch.

BLITZER: Yes, he's going to be speaking shortly. We'll hear what he has to say, he's the projected Republican winner. He's obviously a very, very happy guy. We did get a statement about Mastriano from Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate, the attorney general of Pennsylvania. He said, Pennsylvania needs a governor who can meet this moment. But Republicans just nominated a dangerous extremist, who wants to take away our freedoms, the contrast of this election could not be clear.

Doug Mastriano wants to ban abortion, without exceptions, restrict the right to vote, and spread conspiracy theories, and discourage the union way of life for hardworking Pennsylvanians.

Anderson, very strong statement from Josh Shapiro, attacking Doug Mastriano.

COOPER: Yes, I want to talk with our team here. David Urban, what do you say a Mastriano-Shapiro race looked like to you?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, I've, again, I'm for the most conservative guy that can win in the state of Pennsylvania. And I think it's tough. Josh Shapiro is an incredibly, incredibly competent candidate. And I think Mastriano -- listen, this is, Pennsylvania is historically kind of purple state, right?

And so, I don't think my opinion may be, you know I may not make a lot of Republicans happy to hear. But I'm just being truthful. This is a tough, this is, you know, we are hearing the governor needs to appoint the secretary of state. The governor has a big role of what's going to happen in 2024.


I want the Republican nominee to win in Pennsylvania in 20 -- in this race. I just think it's pushing a big rock up the hill for Doug Mastriano with the views he's espoused, and what he's saying now, where he was on January six.

It's just a little bit out of step with where Pennsylvania Republican voters traditionally have been. If you look at folks like, Pat Toomey, and Tom Ridge, and Arlen Specter, it's a long history going back many, many years. Thornburg, a very moderate Republican state.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But why don't you have Toomey now? You don't have Toomey now because Toomey voted to convict Trump for his role. And he knew that the base, it's going to punish him for doing the right thing.



JONES: That's fine, but I also think the fact that he was one of the few Republicans who stood up, and did the right things that the president can't, seeking mobs on the capitol in the middle of the ceremony. And now, he's gone.

And look at the replacement. You can't get away from that. Look at the replacement. Now, you know, obviously, Josh Shapiro is an extraordinary human being. Not just an ordinary politician. He is an extraordinary human being and I think he's going to represent the states well. But the Democrats can't take him for granted.

URBAN: These races are very tough. We should make it tougher. I understand.

GRIFFIN: Well, and I'd say this. What's interesting, in the last few minutes, the Republican governor's association very powerful Republican effort came out with a statement that was short of an endorsement of Mastriano. So, that's interesting.

And the RGAs are even saying we're going to play in winnable races, but they didn't quite endorse him. And of course, Donald Trump didn't even win Pennsylvania. So, running almost more extreme, extreme than Trump is not a winning recipe for a general election.

URBAN: Listen, Doug Mastriano may surprise everybody and come back to the middle here, right? I hope he does.


COOPER: It's hard to say he's coming back to the middle --

URBAN: You're going to have to come back to the middle, right? This is, there is a long history in primaries. People run to the left, they run to the right, and then they kind of tuck back towards the middle.

JONES: We'll see.

URBAN: I'm just saying, listen, --


GRIFFIN: But how is he going to (Inaudible) -- how is going to (Inaudible) on January 6th, that's what's going to be the hardest --

URBAN: Listen, that's where he needs to be. That's where he needs to be. If you want to be competitive against Josh Shapiro, he's going to tuck back to the middle and try to win some votes.

JONES: I will say this, no matter he tucks left or left or others, Democrats have to take it very seriously. It's too dangerous not to --


COOPER: Let's listen to Doug Mastriano.



MASTRIANO: God is good and all the time. Any freedom loving Americans in the house here?


MASTRIANO: Well, first Corinthians 1:27 gives us all hope. God uses the foolish so he could find the wise and the weak they found strong, right? Right? That's his story. And he uses people like you and me to change history. I always like to say when we make history our story, we can change history.


MASTRIANO: But it's been a time to try our souls. I'm looking across the past couple of years here, and I'm looking at some other champions here that fought with us. And you remember when the schools shut down, and they masked up your kids?


MASTRIANO: The (Inaudible) is athletic opportunities scholars of their education, of their prom, of life. Masking them up for no scientific reason to do that. Remember your businesses, essential, nonessential. Not essential, not my Pennsylvania, what do you say?


MASTRIANO: Absolutely not. It was a dark time in Levine. You know, follow the science.


MASTRIANO: Only a Democrat can get away with failed policies to sending the sick in their homes killing thousands and get away with it. And their darling, of course would be promoted to admiral, woman of the year. Anyway -- but we, they like to call people who stand on the Constitution, far-right and extreme. I repudiate that. That is crap!


MASTRIANO: That is absolutely not true. Actually, their party, which the media stands for and advocates for, they've gone extreme. There are the ones who sent back the sick back in their homes, their policies, Democrat policies. And kill so many. That's extreme.

That's extreme force when your kids are masked up. That's extreme, forcing health care workers to lose their jobs for not getting a jab.


UNKNOWN: Thank you.

MASTRIANO: It's extreme when you shut down half of the small businesses in our state, and put people out of their life. That's extreme. Our view for Pennsylvanians is one of hope and freedom, that people come here and walk as they see fit, not as some governor or some media hacks sees fit. That's right.

We're going to restore the dream of Pennsylvania, a place where you want to come and live. We're going to be the most prosperous state in the nation. We're going to open up our energy sector like you've never seen before. Yes.



MASTRIANO: We're going to go from number three in the nation energy producer to number one. That's going to bring jobs here, life here, prosperity here. It's going to be a marvel to watch.

You know, Josh Shapiro is backed like dark money, by unions, by corruption. They think that -- they think they could win this by throwing 20, and $30 million around. But the people of Pennsylvania were no longer asleep, and we do not consent.

CROWD: Right.

MASTRIANO: We saw in our own race here, one guy had like $16 million, right? It's like, single digits. I mean, you can't buy, you cannot buy elections anymore. Maybe that was true before COVID, but our eyes are wide open.

I know, as he traveled the state here, we had a massive movement of people from the width and length of Pennsylvania who don't always agree with us on all issues. In fact, many of them used to be Democrats, and recently switched so they could vote for us. It's fantastic!


MASTRIANO: John Adams said, our second president, facts are stubborn things, right? And as you are out collecting -- he's going to keep eye on that phone there, sorry. As you're out there collecting a record number for Republican gubernatorial candidates, 29,000 signatures get me on the ballot. You convert that, and it was a beautiful thank you for doing that.

That's when the swamps are like, maybe we should not discount this movement. You convert to thousands of Democrats in this movement here. Their party has left him behind. We're going to work, Roby (Ph) and I are going to -- thanks -- together with you we had the hardest working campaign in this primary. We're going to have the hardest working campaign in this general election.


MASTRIANO: Anyone watch our bus tour last week.


MASTRIANO: Anyone paying attention saw that several stops where traditional Democratic strongholds, like Pittsburgh and Erie. Eri, downtown Erie, we had 500 people come to our event! I mean, it's fantastic. This is infectious here, because we all love freedom. Everyone wants to walk and live as a free man and woman, right? I know you do. Come on!

So, our number one goal is first, to restore freedom, right?


MASTRIANO: So, on day one, any mandates are gone.


MASTRIANO: Yes. On day one, any jab for job requirements are gone.


MASTRIANO: On day one, I'll be happy to reinstate any National Guard member, or Air Guard member that was kicked out because of a jab for job requirement.


MASTRIANO: On day one, school transparency will be ordered.


MASTRIANO: They made so much here. On day one, CRT is over.



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. State Senator Doug Mastriano declaring victory in his Republican primary, to be the next governor candidate from the Republican Party in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He will be facing off against the current attorney general Democrat Josh Shapiro.

Josh Shapiro currently has COVID, and is not going to be coming out to speak. He is at home, and will not be speaking this evening because of that.

But let me bring in Dana and Abby, because what we saw there was just a little glimpse of the policies and the persona that have so many Republicans in Pennsylvania, and in Washington, D.C., concerned that Mastriano is going to be too extreme to win in a purple state like Pennsylvania this fall.

You heard him talking about COVID policies, and also against critical race theory. But something else we heard at the very beginning was a religious invocation. Mastriano is part of what has been called a Christian nationalist movement, which is the belief that God intended the United States to be a Christian country.

That is one of the forces that converge on the capitol on January 6, 2021, where Mastriano was as well. That was part of the insurrection. And then, it's one of the reasons why, as you heard earlier with Dave Urban and Alyssa Farah, both of them Republicans. There was so much worry, Dana, that Mastriano will not be able to win in November, although, honestly, who knows?


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, just starting where you left off there, Jake, one of the many, many clear contrasts, you talk about his belief that America is a Christian nation, he is going to be running against a Jewish candidate. So, I mean, that, on its face, is going to be an interesting dynamic.

Also, it wasn't just that Mastriano was talking about COVID and about the policies that were in place in Pennsylvania, he specifically singled out Dr. Rachel Levine, who was the leader of the health service there in Pennsylvania and happens, and is now on the national level, very high-ranking four-star officer in the public health service who is transgender.

And so, what Michael Smerconish said that he was glad about was that we were going to see and hear Mastriano after spending a while on the campaign trail shutting out the press with David Urban, another of our brethren from Pennsylvania was hoping, that maybe, maybe he would signal a bit more of a shift towards the middle.


BASH: That's pretty clear it's not going to happen.

PHILLIP: The pivot is the problem.

BASH: Yes.

PHILLIP: Or the lack thereof. I think Republicans -- the key to making the shift from a primary to a general election successfully in a purple state like Pennsylvania, a swing state, is that you are able to win the primary, emerge from it largely unscathed and then make the pivot to a general election. And he didn't do that tonight.

I mean, that speech was the same speech that he would have given in the primary, and that he has given. You are not talking about the inflation, which is the Democrats weakest issues. You are not talking about a lot of the core things that I think Republicans will be most potent with. Instead, you say all the same things, you know, it's abortion but it's really the elections, it's COVID denialism, anti- vaccine politics, all of that. CRT, you name it. TAPPER: Things I think that we also need to understand when it comes

to Mr. Mastriano, state Senator Mastriano, is that he does not believe that he is just running a campaign. He believes that he is quite literally on a crusade, and his opponents are not just opponents, they are evil, which is an important thing that is going to be a part of the debate and the discussion as voters decide who they want to lead the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in November.

We are right now waiting to learn the winner of the marquee Republican Senate race in Pennsylvania, and to find out how North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn fares tonight. He is trailing with most of the votes in. Not all them, but most of them. We got a lot more ahead, a lot more nail biting after the break.



TAPPER: It is election night in America. And we are bringing you now two key race alerts. Let's go now to the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania. Former hedge fund manager, David McCormick, still in the lead. Much more narrow now, 31.8 percent, he is about 7,000 votes ahead of Mehmet Oz, the television doctor endorsed by Donald Trump who is at 30.9 percent, a real squeaker there.

Kathy Barnette, who is an insurgent and has been surging recently is still in third place with 23.5 percent of the vote. Still, 48 percent of the vote remains to be counted. So, it's anyone's race as of now. But right now, David McCormick remains in the league.

Let's go to the North Carolina House race, where Republican incumbent Congressman Madison Cawthorn remains in second place, with 31.7 percent of the vote. In first place, State Senator Chuck Edwards with 33.5 percent of the vote. He is up by 1,500 votes, more than 1,500 votes.

Let's go to Diane Gallagher right now, who is at Cawthorn headquarters in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Dianne, what's happening inside the Cawthorn camp right now? Most of the votes are counted, but there is still 5 or 6 percent of the votes out there. What is the campaign saying?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, things are shutting down here, at this point, jake. Madison Cawthorn went home just a few moments ago after addressing supporters and telling them that he plans to fight on for his community. Now what that means for him is still to be determined. As he said, there are still votes out there at this point.

But it has been an uphill battle for him all night. This is what he said to supporters just a few moments ago.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): You know what, the thing that I love about President Trump is that when you get your back push back against the wall, where I found the most people in politics, if it's not politically expedient to them they'll turn your back on you in a heartbeat.

UNKNOWN: True. Yes.

CAWTHORN: But no matter what you are facing when Donald Trump has your back, he has your back to the end.

UNKNOWN: Was that a concession or not?


GALLAGHER: So, again, Madison Cawthorn had this lead that he anticipated coming into this. But of course, we know about all of those scandals that have plagued him throughout his very short tenure during this freshman year in Congress. He also was up against plenty of cash and pressure from Republicans in his state, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis.

I'm being told now by the spokesperson for the campaign that Madison Cawthorn has called Chuck Edwards and conceded the race to him, Jake? So Madison Cawthorn will be a one term congressman, it appears. He has called State Senator Chuck Edwards and conceded that race.

Edwards, of course, has the support of most of the major politicians and Republicans here in the state of North Carolina, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, who put quite a bit of effort into actively campaigning for him.

Edwards told me, when I spoke to him about this race, that he considers himself just as conservative, just as Trump aligned, just less embarrassing. He said that he plans to be more present within the district. Then he said Cawthorn was -- and that he plan to just get to work and not chase the limelight.


Those were his accusations against Cawthorn, the reasons why he said that he felt like he should stay in the race.

One more thing here, Jake, I don't think, and according to Cruck Edwards, he wouldn't have even been in this race to start with if Madison Cawthorn had not switched districts when the redistricting process went through North Carolina and went to a different district closer to Charlotte.

There were a lot of people here who said they felt abandoned by that. Because when the court struck down that map and they were redrawn, he came back to his old district that had a much larger field of Republicans who thought they were vying for an open seat.

Chuck Edwards told me he didn't think he was going to ever go up against an incumbent. Because he was a good Republican. But he said, at that point, too much had happened, and he wanted to stay in the race because of that sort of abandonment that he took it for his home and district. But Madison Cawthorn, Jake, conceding that race, tonight to State

Senator Chuck Edwards who will likely be the Republican nominee for the 11th district of North Carolina.

TAPPER: All right. Diane Gallagher, fascinating turn of events in the 11th congressional in North Carolina. Congressman Madison Cawthorn defeated. Defeated in the Republican primary, and conceding defeat to the state senator, Mr. Edwards, who defeated him.

Let's go to Dana and Abby. Dana and Abby, I think it's fair to say that this victory would not have happened for State Senator Edwards if Senator Thom Tillis, the -- who is an incumbent Republican senator, had not pushed for Edwards to run, supported Edwards to run, publicly come out against the embarrassments the scandals, too many to list really in the evening that we have together, that Madison Cawthorn had brought in just a few years, just two years in Congress.

And I saw a Republican commentator, conservative commentator saying on social media earlier that that is what the Republican Party needs, that kind of leadership that Senator Tillis demonstrated, which is, this is somebody who is not good for the Republican Party, not good for the citizens of the 11th congressional district, in Senator Tillis' view, I'm going to do something to change it.

BASH: Yes, but you know, Jake and Abby, that the kind of statement that Senator Tillis made about Madison Cawthorn would have been about a complete unanimity among every Republican loud and clear just a few years ago. To the point where Madison Cawthorn would probably have been completely run out of town, would not have felt that he could even stay on the ballot.

He had the endorsement, tepid as it was, he had the endorsement of Donald Trump. This is a man who has a cauldron of crazy, of things that he has done, where he has won after another incident. Where it has to do with a gun at the airport, orgies, drugs. I mean, you name it, he has done it, to the point where, I believe it was Richard Burr, the retiring senator said that he is so embarrassing, that it just -- a day that ends with why.


BASH: He is embarrassing the Republicans of North Carolina and the United States Congress. And this is a Republican

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, both of the -- you know, I mean, really, Madison Cawthorn had very few friends. He made it easy for Republicans to kind of unite against him. You know that there was unity against him because in the run up to this race, pretty much everything that you can think of that was negative about Cawthorn came out.

There were photos of him in women's lingerie. There were videos of him doing, you know, sexually explicit things, seemingly. He had to explain away all of those things. But it was just evidence of the force that was being put toward getting him out of this race. He was outspent significantly. And Thom Tillis put his money where his mouth was. He spent from his

super PAC. There is a reason though that this is not going to happen when it comes to other issues among Republicans. People like Thom Tillis, they could get Madison Cawthorn out.

He is a 20 something year old new member of Congress who made a lot of mistakes. As it goes, that's one of the easier things to kind of put your foot down on, I don't think you are going to see this kind of effort being made on other issues.

Republicans are not necessarily going to go up against, you know, Marjorie Taylor Greene or others, who kind of are in the same vein. They are all show in a lot of ways, all about the media, all about the tweets and retweets. But they are not going to go up against those individuals because I think it's a very different dynamic. Madison Cawthorn just made it really easy for them.


TAPPER: Yes, you know, one of the things that I think is worth pointing out, Anderson, is that what appeared to be the final straw for Republicans in the Senate and in North Carolina and in the House when it comes to Congressman Madison Cawthorn was not his election lies or his support of the insurrection, or his various run-ins with the law, the allegations of sexual misconduct in college, and on and on.

It appears to be when he went on a podcast and said, that Republicans in Washington, D.C. did drugs, and had orgies. That is what appears to have been his biggest mistake, was impugning them, not any of the other things he did, that actually physically harmed other people.

COOPER: Right, that's absolutely right, and then he tried to kind of walk that back, somewhat, or at least we're told he did with McCarthy. What do you think happens to Madison Cawthorn now?

GRIFFIN: I doubt he goes away. I'm sure he'll become a fixture in some of the far-right wing media. But one thing I want to note. Perhaps the most honorable thing that Madison Cawthorn did in office was tonight to call and see. I was actually surprised to hear that he so quickly went ahead, and actually made that concession, because he was such a booster of the big lie, and the election was stolen.

But one thing I think that is important to know in his case, he had obviously, he has plethora of scandals. He was on the bad side of Republican leadership. But all politics is local. I worked in North Carolina's 11th district for years. His district office was closed most of the time. He wasn't doing casework. He wasn't doing constituencies work.

COOPER: Really?

GRIFFIN: And this is a -- this is a district that's heavily veterans, retired folks, senior citizens who need help with basic things like navigating the bureaucracy of Medicare or veterans' benefits. So, he wasn't doing the real work of being a congressman, and then on top of that, was an embarrassment. So, I think it's a good day for the people of North Carolina's 11th district.

COOPER: Do you think he bought in, I mean, once he got not the lights of Washington or prickly bright, but that it kind of went to his head? I mean, if you forget about your district you, you forget about the people who got you there.

GRIFFIN: Exactly. And he was co-opted quickly by the Matt Gaetz's and the Marjorie Taylor Greene's, and I think saw as more of a way to become a white wing celebrity rather than to actually serve his constituencies.

URBAN: I would add that Madison Cawthorn is a kid, right? Let's not forget he's a very fair young guy. And also, a lot of people make mistakes when they were young that they regret later in life. So, I'm sure -- I'm sure you haven't seen the last Madison Cawthorn. He'll be back in some other form. So don't write him off yet.

GRIFFIN: Hopefully, we'll see less of Madison Cawthorn than we have. So.

JONES: But, a, you may see more because he is a -- he is now a right- wing celebrity, and by the way, with everything you just said about him, he's still came in number two. He still came in number two. Who voted for this? So that's like, come on.


URBAN: But that's my point. He is a popular -- he is a popular guy. Don't write him off yet.

JONES: Yes. So, anyway, I think that I was going to be very, very concerned, if you could do the kinds of stuff he did, tell the kinds of lies he told, and be rewarded for it. I think it's good that he gets a chance to maybe go home and get himself back together. You've not heard the last of him, but he needs to take a break, and he needs to get some help and they actually need to have some good government down there in North Carolina.

COOPER: President Trump asked has voters to give him a second chance.

URBAN: Well, listen, again, that's my point. I think, you know, he is a young guy, right? He's going to be around in North Carolina it's a big state. Don't count him out running again in something else in the state of North Carolina.

GRIFFIN: But listen, it is a notable loss for the former president. It was a last-minute endorsement. But North Carolina's 11th district are plus nine at least, if not more Republican, and President Trump won it. So that didn't put him over the edge is shows that perhaps the support is waning there as well.

JONES: What I will say is that, you, know Trump, there are times, he can be loyal. And there are times, he's not. The people who really have thrown themselves -- like, think about Mike Pence. People who thrown themselves on (Inaudible) for the guy, who he completely threw under the bus, and yet, he picks this young man, who clearly needs help to be loyal. So, I think sometimes, you know, I don't understand what the rationale is --

GRIFFIN: Well, Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania --


GRIFFIN: -- who was an early supporter of Donald Trump and then didn't get his endorsement.

COOPER: I don't understand the rational. The spotlight is on the Republican Senate race in Pennsylvania. It is still up in the air with more than half of the votes in. We will be able to make a projection anytime soon. We'll find out, ahead.



TAPPER: It's election night in America. Let's take a look at another key race alert. Look at this nail-biter in the Senate Republican primary in Pennsylvania. Former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick still in the lead, with 32 percent of the vote. He is 7,388 votes ahead of Mehmet Oz, the TV doctor endorsed by Trump, who is at 31.1 percent.

Kathy Barnette, who is surging late in the race is at 23.7 percent. That was 63 percent of the estimated vote, and still, a lot of votes to be counted.

Let's go to John King at the magic wall. And John, what is going on here, because first of all, obviously, the Barnette surge, is at least as of now, has not brought her to the competitive race, we thought she was at. Where are the votes coming in from?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That could be the case, Jake, as we continue to count. Maybe she peaks too soon because we do know both McCormick and Oz turned on her late in the campaign when they realized she was a threat.


But where are we? We're at 63 percent estimated vote count. So, we still have a ways to go, a little more than a third of the vote to count. But you see all this deep red. That is Dave McCormick leading in a lot of counties that Donald Trump carried in both 2016 and 2020, and that's the surprise of the race so far.

You see the lead, 7,416 votes. It's gotten from about 6,000 up to about 8,850 in the last hour or so, as more and more votes come in. I just want to walk through some of it as you show. Number one, what's missing? Right? What votes are still not counted?

So, we're about 64 percent statewide. Forgive me for coming across here. I just want to move this back. Let's move it back to about 72 percent, 73 percent. So, these counties have reported 73 percent or less of the vote, meaning there is more votes to be counted. If you look at them, Jake, a lot of them are over here, right? This is

the most populous part of the state, urban eastern part of the state, especially down here in the suburbs, just around Philadelphia. So, a lot of the votes to be counted still out here. You do see some counties out here, besides Erie County, most of the countries you are seeing out here in the west have a very small population. So not a ton of votes out there.

Let me bring this back to the full map, so we can just come through it and count as we go. What else do you see in this map? The reason McCormick is so competitive right now it's because he's doing well everywhere.

Now, you see, this is Oz color, pink, this is Barnette's color, the yellow. And the deeper red is David McCormick. What do I mean by he's doing well everywhere? Well let's take a look at Trump country. The counties Trump won in 2020. All right?

You see, the great ones are, anything dark gray that was carried by Joe Biden. You see the dark gray here, the dark gray here. But in these counties that Trump carried, look at David McCormick, he's more than holding his own right there. That's one way to look at it.

There's another way to look at it. Let's come up through here, and look at rural counties. That is Donald Trump's strength in all of these big states, rural America was the backbone of Trump support. Look at Dave McCormick, he's the dark red. He's doing well in a lot of these rural counties as well. This is where people thought where the Trump endorsement, a few votes here, a few votes there make a difference.

Right now, David McCormick holding his own when you look at the rural counties. Let's take a look another place to come out, the suburban counties, especially wait until this slides away. But in western Pennsylvania, Allegany County, the suburbs around Pittsburgh, Dave McCormick leading there.

When you come here, more of a split verdict. Barnette is doing well in Montgomery County here. But again, everywhere you look, Dave McCormick is holding his own in the suburbs in the rural part of the state. That doesn't mean we're done. We still have ways to go, but a surprisingly strong in Trump country, strong in what you say traditional Republican country, strong in the east, strong in the west.

And you see this. Remember Butler County, we talked about Butler County a lot in 2020. Trump had a big rally here late in the campaign. This is where he thought he would come back. He lost to Joe Biden in Pennsylvania. But this is where he thought he would come back.

This was a huge Trump country. You are seeing this a lot in what you would call Trump country Pennsylvania. McCormick on top, and then add this up, 33 percent, 23 percent, right, 53, 54 percent. That's one in Butler County. Move over here to Clarion County, same thing. Dave McCormick leading in this county, it's a smaller county, you see the population here. But again, you add up the other two candidates here, Barnette is

second and Oz is third. You are seeing this in a lot of the strong Trump rural counties. McCormick leading, the other two second, or third, flipping back and forth, splitting the vote.

And again, you call it back out, we're at 66 percent. So, two-thirds of the votes counted in Pennsylvania, it's down to 6,473 right now. That's not a huge lead, but it has held up for some time, Jake, as we continue to fill in the map.

TAPPER: Yes, I have another question about the senate race before we go to the governor's race.

KING: Sure.

TAPPER: Because Dr. Oz, he's still in a very close second place.

KING: Yes, he is.

TAPPER: And with so many votes remaining to be counted, who knows what's going to happen? He obviously is the Trump endorsed candidate. You -- your argument about McCormick, how he's been able to get to the successful place he is in right this minute, and all could change, so I don't anyone to think that it couldn't.

What about Dr. Oz, tell us where he has done well, and where he should have been doing better in your view?

KING: So, let's look at it that way, as you come through. So, you want to look at, yes, you look at the Trump counties, 2020 Trump counties where Oz is winning. Well, he is doing OK. You see this -- you see the pink adds here, he's doing OK in some of the Trump counties, just not as many. Right? These are the counties won by Donald Trump.

So, Mehmet Oz, Dr. Oz, has Donald Trump's endorsement. And you see him he's winning some of them here, but he's not winning certainly a plurality to Dave McCormick. Right? So, it hasn't been automatic, in part that's because of Barnette's strength, even in places where McCormick is winning.

So, let's try to take a few other places to look at this. This is a full place. One place where Oz is doing well is in Philadelphia. Now, again Philadelphia is a Democratic bastion, there are not a ton of Republicans there, but it is a major population center.

And if you look right now, 67 percent of the vote. So, again, this is both a blessing and a curse for Dr. Oz. There are more votes to be counted here in a Democratic city, but still, but they are up to 67 percent.

So, you pull back out, this is the biggest surprise here. His headquarters, Dr. Oz's headquarters is in Bucks County. He's getting 24 percent of the vote there. Dave McCormick getting 32 percent of the vote there.

Again, Jake, this is where the people live, right? Thirty percent of the population --


KING: -- is right here. In Montgomery County, Oz is running third. In Chester County, Oz is running not too far distant, but second.


So that's what you're looking at. In part, in part, if you want to say that Trump like of the MAGA vote with the endorsement, and then Barnette's position, they're splitting the vote in a lot of places. And McCormick, in this race, I guess you would call the more mainstream Republican. Right now, 31.7 to 31.2. That's a method still. Down to 5,000 now --


TAPPER: Yes, it's interesting.

KING: Down to 5,100 now, excuse me.

TAPPER: What's interesting is, and again, the vote is not over. We're not done counting. But it does appear, if this were to hold, it's possible that Barnette is the one who prevented Oz from passing Dave McCormick. Because McCormick and Oz we're in a real dogfight, and then Barnette had her surge, it's possible, because she is more Trumpian in so many ways, took some of the Trump votes away from Oz, I'm just hypothesizing here.

KING: I do think, without a doubt. Again, I'll just pick one of these counties out here in the western Pennsylvania, randomly. You just see it again. You know, 36 percent, and you look at the two candidates here, 32 and 23, so you have 55 right there. This is -- I'm not even sure when the number is going to show.

I'm just going back to 2020 right here. This is a 70 percent, 68 percent, Trump country. So, if there was an automatic transfer with the endorsement to the Senate candidate, you would see Oz doing well here, and simply they're splitting, if you will, the more MAGA vote, call it what you will. I'm not sure what the right words are anymore.

Dave McCormick, again, in many of these counties, he's leading right now. And again, we're up to 68 percent of the vote, 5,126 votes. Go back to our last couple of election cycles, Pennsylvania is always close, whether we're talking about competitive primaries, or competitive general elections.

So, more math to do. But this is a map that if you are in McCormick headquarters, you are impressed by your strength but especially your strength right here in the rural parts.

TAPEPR: Yes. Although we do need to underline there are still more than 30 percent of the vote to count.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: And McCormick right now is only up by 0.5 percent.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Half a percentage point. So, it really, anything could happen. Let's look at the governor's race, if we can. Because I think a lot of people, we're talking about how close the race for Senate is. It was not particularly close in the gubernatorial primary in the Republican side for Mastriano. He really ran away with it.

KING: And again, so if you are in McCormick headquarters, if you are in any of the Republican Senate headquarters, you're saying, why didn't the Trump endorsement do for Oz when it did for Mastriano? Now Mastriano obviously, the state senator, he has a more history in the state. part of the criticism of Oz, part of the criticism of McCormick as well is that they are relative newcomers or returning to Pennsylvania.

If you look at the scope of the win here. Right? Look at the scope of the win. But, but the conversation, Abby and Dana were having, that David Urban was having earlier about why do people view Mastriano as such a weak, potentially weak general election candidate.

Well, this is Trump country. Come east, this is Lou Barletta's home base. Right? Before Lou Barletta went to Congress, he was the mayor. Luzerne county he was the mayor of Hazelton. So, this, Lou Barletta it's not surprising that he did well here. This was his traditional base. He's very well-known from his days as mayor and his day in Congress.

But look down here, look down here. Again, you know, a Republican candidate does not have to win the Philadelphia suburbs to win statewide in Pennsylvania. But the Republican candidate has to be competitive in the Philadelphia suburbs. You cannot get blown out like Donald Trump did with Joe Biden.

So, if you come here, and look, Jake, this is Bill McSwain running first. Mastriano running third in Montgomery County. You over two Bucks County here, Mastriano winning, but narrowly. So, he will say he's competitive at least here but just narrowly. But in these other suburban counties, he is third here. He's actually second here in Chester County, and you move here to Delaware County, he is third again.

So, if you look at it there, if you are Republican candidate in November, you have to be more competitive in the Philadelphia suburbs. It doesn't mean between now and then he can't make himself more competitive, but if you are Republican looking at this map tonight, or if you are the Shapiro campaign on the Democratic side, looking at this map tonight, you know, again, 30 percent at the state population lives right here in this southeastern quarter of the state.

Doug Mastriano, as of tonight is very weak in that part of the state. That is a giant challenge, which is why a lot of Republicans think that in terms of the governor's race here, lean at D, we go in from here. TAPPER: Yes. Although as we've discussed earlier, Trump's endorsement

of Mastriano came very late. It was him trying to get a w. He's been really on the Oz rain for a long, long time. He just recently endorsed Mastriano, sensing that he was going to win, as we saw that he did.

We are seeing more results coming from Pennsylvania, and the GOP senate race that still, still remains undecided this hour. Just a narrow margin between McCormick and Oz right now.

We're also counting down to the next round of primary results. Out west, including a significant test of President Biden's political quell in a rare endorsement in a primary. We're back in a moment. Stay with us.



TAPPER: It's election night in America. We have another key race alert for you. Look at these votes in Pennsylvania in the Senate Republican primary, former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick at 31.6 percent. Just with a narrow lead of 3,472 votes ahead of Mehmet Oz, the TV doctor endorsed by Donald Trump, who is at 31.2 percent.

That margin has been narrowing all night. Kathy Barnette in the third place there with 24.2 percent of the vote. Seventy-two percent of the vote in, 28 percent of the vote remains out. It really could be anyone's race. McCormick is barely ahead of Mehmet Oz.

We're nearing the end of voting in two more states with key primary races. In Idaho, we're keeping an eye on the Republican contest for governor, where the Trump factor is once again at play. GOP incumbent Brad Little is being challenged by the state's lieutenant governor, the conservative Trump backed candidate Janice McGeachin.


This is not the first time they have clashed. McGeachin used her power as acting governor to ban COVID restrictions, while the more establishment Little was out of state last year. That's a move that Governor Little quickly rescinded.

Polling place are also about to close in Oregon, where House races are testing the left versus center dynamic in the Democratic Party in western Oregon. President Biden made his first midterm endorsement in a primary. Supporting centrist incumbent Congressmen, Kurt Schrader against challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner who is the -- has the backing of progressives.

We're waiting the first results from Oregon and Idaho after polling places close just minutes from now. Now, back to one of the most critical races of the night, the Republican primary for governor in Pennsylvania.

Let's go to Kristen Holmes. She's at a Pittsburgh campaign headquarters of candidate Dave McCormick. And Kristen, McCormick is holding on to a very narrow lead. What is the campaign have to say?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is getting smaller and smaller, as you noticed. But advisers were huddled clearly behind closed doors with McCormick and his wife watching these as the results pour in. They are still cautiously optimistic. They are looking at a trend lines of the map, and they like what they are seeing.

They are over performing in areas that they believe that Oz was going to do better. They are performing exactly the way they thought they would in certain areas. And areas where they're not overperforming like the northeast areas of the commonwealth. Those are areas that were Trump territory.

They believe that Oz was going to do better there, they thought he would get that Trump effect that boost. So, again, they are remaining cautiously optimistic. They are waiting to see the election day results out of Philadelphia. They believe there will be a lot of information once those votes actually come in.

Now you can tell that while McCormick is behind closed doors, here the election party is just keeps getting louder and louder. They're having a very good time, and enjoying those numbers coming in.

TAPPER: All right, Kristen, thank you so much. The race is razor thin. Let's go now to Jeff Zeleny, who is at Dr. Mehmet Oz's headquarters in Newtown, Pennsylvania. That is just outside Philly. Jeff, does the Oz campaign think they can pull ahead with the remaining votes left to be counted?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jake, in an answer, yes, they do. And supporters of Dr. Mehmet Oz are settling in for a long night. They've been watching these returns, watching Dr. Oz's returns tick up ever so slowly against Dave McCormick.

So, Jake, this race is ending as it began, and as it has unfolded for the last several months. In bitter TV ads, in dueling debates, this is now a two-man race between Dave McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz.

And one key factor still, Kathy Barnette, of course, she is no longer within striking distance, but she's still a factor in the race. And I am told by advisers to both campaigns that they are looking to see how she is going to perform in some of these color counties as well, to see if she underperforms. That will impact, of course, Dr. Oz and McCormick.

So, the Oz campaign is still quite confident, and one reason why election day voting, the McCormick campaign appears to have done better on early voting, but the Oz campaign believes election day voting, and of course that endorsement from the former president is keeping them in the hunt, and keeping them actually very optimistic here tonight, Jake.

TAPPER: All tight. Jeff Zeleny at Oz headquarters in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Let's go to John King at the magic wall. So, John, there are still lots of votes to be counted. McCormick with a razor thin lead right now, just 0.3 percent of the vote. What are you looking at, where are you waiting for votes to come from?

KING: Well, you're looking everywhere. We know, Jake, the bulk of the outstanding votes are here where more people live in the southeastern corner of the state. You see them up out here, the surprise for David McCormick is in these rural counties that we would normally consider Trump country, Dave McCormick more than holding his own.

And if you just go through some of them randomly, you see 99 percent there. This is a very competitive county right there, 36.3. But 99 percent, most of the votes are counted. You move over here, much smaller county, 65 percent of the 67 in terms of population with more votes here.

So, where most of the votes out, you see 94 percent there. So come east, where the come east to the southeast, and you see down here what Jeff Zeleny was just talking about. In Philadelphia City itself, 80 percent of the votes are in.

So, you have the bulk of the vote in there. But Oz is leading here, Dr. Oz is leading here. So, more votes coming in. He hopes to build up on that. Oz is leading where his campaign headquarters is tonight, in Bucks County, only 37 percent of the vote counted there. This is one of the most populous suburbs, the fourth largest county of 67 in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So, this is likely where the Oz campaign says good. Still relatively close. You have to see how the margins go. Then you move over, Barnette is running a distant third. Almost impossible as she mathematically pulling off a comeback.

But, to Jeff's point, can she be impactful? Dave McCormick leading now, but running third here in Montgomery County. David McCormick -- Kathy Barnette leading Dave McCormick running third over in Berks County.

So, as we watch the rest of the map come in, this is where the bulk of the votes are. So small is mattering of votes out here, but still a race to go, Jake, in a 3,000 votes race now, 31.5, 31.2, to 24.2. That was 8,000 not that long time ago. So, a lot of math to do in a very tight contested race.


TAPPER: All right, John.