Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Candidates Make Final Push With Election Just Two Days Away; GA Senate Race Intensifies Two Days To Election; Candidates Go To A Runoff If Neither Wins More Than 50 Percent of Vote; Fetterman, Oz Neck-And-Neck In Closely-Watched Senate Race; Biden, Obama Campaign For Dem Candidates Josh Shapiro And John Fetterman Ahead Of Crucial PA Election; Polls Show Economic Concerns are Top of Mind for Voters; Biden and Trump out Campaign Trial Today; Battling Voter Misinformation in Arizona; GOP Election Deniers Running for Key Offices across the Country; Last-Minute Campaigning with less than 2 days left till Election. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 06, 2022 - 23:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: We are in the home stretch and just minutes away from the final day of campaigning before voters head to the polls in the critical midterm elections

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: And, control of both the House and the Senate hanging in the balance, and our colleagues are covering all of the key races around the country. Jeff Zeleny is in Atlanta, Omar Jimenez is in Milwaukee, and Athena Jones is in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

PHILLIP: So, Jeff, Georgia is one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country. So, what are you seeing down there now that the entire country is really focused on what's happening?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Abby, it is. I mean, the reality is more than 2.3 million Georgians have already cast their ballots. It's extraordinary when you think of that But, look, this race, after spending a few hundred million dollars, this race is as close as any in the country and far closer than Democrats had hoped it would be. Of course, Senator Raphael Warnock was just elected in January 2021. He is trying to run for a full term now, but is really facing a stiff challenge from Republican Herschel Walker. And, spending some time out on the road today with the Walker campaign, this race is closing in a deeply personal personal way.

Herschel Walker, of course, is a legendary Georgian. He talked about football a lot. Georgia, obviously, had a big win last night against Tennessee. He invoked that and he is hoping that he can sort of have the same sense of victory on Tuesday, but really trying to link Senator Warnock with the Biden administration, really trying to say that to all the challenges in the country right now from the economy, inflation, immigration, are all the - at the foot of Senator Warnock.

Of course, Senator Warnock, from his part, said that Herschel Walker is simply not up to the task of being a Senator. In recent days, he has called him a pathological liar. This race really is closing in very stark terms. But, the reality is, it may not be done on Tuesday night. The reason is, Georgia is one of those few States in the country, largely southern states that the winner has to get more than 50 percent, so, if neither one gets 50 percent, it goes into a runoff, and that is December 6. So, it almost feels like the end here. But, you also get the sense it may not quite be.

BASH: And, I love, Jeff, how you said obviously Georgia beat Tennessee. You knew that, right?

PHILLIP: Of course.

BASH: Of course, we did.

ZELENY: Obviously.

BASH: Thank you so much, Jeff. Let's go now to Omar--

ZELENY: Big win, undefeated Bulldogs.

BASH: OK. Omar, let's go to you and talk about Ron Johnson who is in a heated fight to keep his Senate seat. Where do things stand tonight?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That I will say just - here in Wisconsin, we also knew about the Georgia-Tennessee game. So, I came all the way up here too.

PHILLIP: I know you do.

JIMENEZ: But, this Senate race, in particular - I know you couldn't miss it. But, for this Senate race in particular, look, this is one where polls have shown no clear leader between the incumbent Ron Johnson and the Challenger Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. Both of them, in this final less than 48 hours, have been looking to find some sort of edge and clearly on the attack now.

Lieutenant Governor Barnes was out campaigning with the President of Planned Parenthood today, also with the Chair of the DNC, and he has told us really their strategy in this final stretch is to meet as many people as they can, to meet people where they are, and to not take any votes for granted on some of the most important issues. Now, that's been on the tail end of a 100 plus stop RV tour.

Senator Ron Johnson has been on a bus tour of his own out, and about in Wisconsin today, but ending it tomorrow alongside former governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. He has drawn some heat this week for not fully committing to the result of Tuesday's election, saying he wants the process to be transparent, and he hasn't seen that full transparency yet again, in his eyes. He has doubled down on that partly due to a case out of here in Milwaukee of a now former election official who allegedly obtained Military ballots for fake voters. Now, the Wisconsin Election Commission said that didn't affect the November 8 election in any way and that this process worked as it should have because this person was caught.

That said, there are going to be a lot of people here looking for any tiny bit of irregularity, no matter how significant or not in regards to how this election unfolds.

PHILLIP: One of the many places where folks are going to be on edge. Omar Jimenez, thanks so much for that.

And, now to Athena Jones. Athena, so, John Fetterman versus Mehmet Oz, they are in a nail biter. So, what is going on in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Abby. Well, of course, the Democrats are desperate to hold on to the Senate, given all the indications that they're likely to lose control of the House. And, Pennsylvania is the party's biggest opportunity to pick up a Senate seat. Retiring Senator from the GOP, Pat Toomey, has left an open seat, now you have Oz versus Fetterman. And, this has become one of the most important and most expensive Senate races in the country.

This is also a (inaudible) a lot of President Joe Biden. Of course, he was born in Scranton. This is one of the states that he was able to flip in 2020. So, he is one of the big names we've been seeing out on the campaign trail in these final days, really trying to drive turnout. That's what it's going to come down to both sides of stressing turnout, Oz bringing out former President Donald Trump, President Biden and Obama hitting the trail for Fetterman and the Democrats.


And yes, polls do suggest this is close. That is why there is so much emphasis on turnout, Fetterman making a reference to an early win in a mayoral race, saying this is going to be a nail biter. It's going to come down to maybe a single vote. He won that mayoral race by a single vote, so really urging his supporters to get out and hit the polls if they haven't voted already.

On the Oz side, we saw him ask his supporters to not just focus on Republicans, arguing that they're already in a corner (ph). They're already going to vote for me. Now is the time to start talking to conservative Democrats, to independents, people who are also concerned about the economy and about inflation, people who may not realize that they are Oz supporters. So, go out and talk to them.

One interesting thing at that rally of his earlier today is that at one point they asked who had voted already in the crowd, and hardly anyone made a noise, but they all said that they're going to be coming out on Election Day, that, of course, fitting a pattern we've seen across the country where Democrats have been more likely to vote early.

Of course, one of the big questions here in Pennsylvania is how soon will we know the results. This is one of the states where they're not allowed to begin opening those early voting ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. So, it could be a long night here as in other states. Guys.

PHILLIP: Athena Jones, thank you so much, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I want to bring in Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. He is the House Majority Whip. Congressman Clyburn, thank you for joining us tonight.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, thank you very much for having me.

PHILLIP: So, President Biden, just a little while ago, this week, predicted that Democrats are actually going to win. He used those words, "win". He said they might pick up a seat in the Senate and potentially hold the House. Do you agree with that assessment?

CLYBURN: Yes, I do. I've traveled quite a bit, eight or nine states in the last 10 to 12 days. And, what I see in fellowship halls, union hall, I see and feel something different. I know what's being reported. I know what the history is. As you know, I do not argue with history. I've studied almost daily. I used to teach it. And, I know that it's very instructive.

But, there has always been some outliers there. And, I can remember, on two occasions, since I've been in the Congress, when conventional wisdom did not hold. I feel that this could very well be the third time since I've been in Congress.

PHILLIP: Well, since you are - have been criss-crossing the country, as you just said, and you also are perhaps one of the best experts that we've got on the Democratic Party and the constituent groups that comprise it. There have been some groups, particularly black voters and Hispanic voters, that I think some folks have been raising some alarms about, questions about whether those groups are going to come out for the Democratic Party. For example, a CNN analysis found that Democrats, in this cycle, have a 77 to 16 percentage point advantage among black voters on the congressional ballot. But, that is actually down about 10 points from this time in 2018. So, if that holds, it would be the smallest margin that Democrats have won black voters since 1990.

When you go out there in South Carolina and other parts of the country, are you concerned about whether Democrats are able to mobilize black voters?

CLYBURN: I'm always concerned about mobilizing voters, especially young African-American voters, a lot of whom seem to have given up on the system. I've talked to a lot of young people who look back at what happened (inaudible), and I'm wondering how could something like that happened? And, our government seem to be handcuffed. These young people don't understand that. And, I have a hard time trying to get them to understand how slow the wheels of justice turned.

And so, yes, there is a lot of disenchantment. And, they would love to see us respond more properly. They're very upset when things like that happen, and they hear the blame being given and no kind of accountability being assessed. So, yes, all the young people are disenchanted and a lot of not so young people are disenchanted as well.

PHILLIP: But, do you think that the - your party has done a good job in this cycle of trying to reach those voters?


CLYBURN: We got elected and Joe Biden got elected, to arrest a country that was seeping in oblivion. All of this pandemic, we were coming - losing jobs by the millions, losing lives by the millions. And, I think we did well with the Rescue Act. We've done the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We've done the CHIPS and Science Act. We've done the Inflation Reduction Act. We have done the PACT Act which took care of our Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. And, we've done the Safer Community Act.

We've had the most productive Congress that we've had in this country since 1965, and I believe that we will continue to do that if Democrats remain in charge. You can't do it all at one time. What we call the Civil Rights Act of 1964 really took eight years, 1964, voting in 1965, House in 1968, applied to the public sector in 1972, eight years, and we act as if it all happened in one fell swoop.

So, we have - the gun - to do what needs to get done, and if we stay in charge, we'll continue to do that, and at the same time, protect social security, protect Medicare, and do what is necessary to bring the price of medicine down.

PHILLIP: I do want to just turn to something that happened just today. You know it's been over a week since Speaker Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi was brutally attacked in their home in San Francisco. But, just today, this unfolded at a rally held by former President Donald Trump. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to end crazy Nancy Pelosi's political career once and for all, once and for all. Under Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and the radical Democrat Congress, Florida workers and families, are under siege. This was just a group of people where crazy Nancy Pelosi, by the way, how is she doing lately? How she doing?


PHILLIP: You heard those lock her up chants. So, what's your reaction, congressman?

CLYBURN: Well, I grew up in the South. I met my late wife in jail, protesting. I know what this country has been through. I know what the history of the country is. I also know what the history of the world is. And, what we have seen coming from this gentleman is a return to global problems that engulfed the world back in the late 20s and early 30s. That is what I am more fearful of than anything else. I don't care what we do about the economy. If we do not have a democracy, you might as well close shop. And, I am very fearful that that kind of foolishness, could very well catch hold and ruin this country.

PHILLIP: We are almost out of time. But, very quickly before you go, if - Donald Trump seems to be intent on running again, if President Biden decides to run again in 2024, will you commit to supporting him?

CLYBURN: Absolutely, I would. Look, I'm older than Joe Biden. I play 18 holes of golf in the morning, eat a sandwich, would love to go out and play 18 holes in the afternoon, everybody aged differently. And so, I don't know why we keep talking about the age thing. If he is healthy, and productive, I'll support him.

PHILLIP: All right.

CLYBURN: If he is not, I'm sure he will let us know.

PHILLIP: All right. Congressman Jim Clyburn, thank you so much for joining us.

CLYBURN: Thank you for having me.

BASH: That was very telling at the end there.

PHILLIP: Very much so. But, I think that Joe Biden is probably resting easy tonight. There is one person he wants in his corner in 2024, it is Jim Clyburn who basically is responsible for him winning the presidency--

BASH: Exactly.

PHILLIP: --back in 2020.

BASH: Exactly, by endorsing him or South Carolina. Really great interview, Abby. And, up next, we're going to listen to what RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told me about the potential for voter intimidation. And, we're also going to look at what we're seeing out there already when it comes to the notion of voter intimidation. You're seeing some of the photos there on your screen. What is going to - what is it going to look like on Tuesday, on Election Day? We're going to discuss it next.




BASH: 40 million Americans have already cast their ballots, and on Tuesday, millions more of voters will head to the polls. But, questions loom about voter intimidation. I spoke to RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel earlier today about what we've already seen at early voting locations across the country.


BASH: Here is some of the things that is going on. In Arizona, we've seen right-wing activists with guns and video cameras at drop boxes. In North Carolina, Reuters is reporting officials are tracking more than a dozen instances of potential intimidation or interference. And, in Michigan, your home state, one group is encouraging people to set up cameras to capture license plate numbers. What's your message to people intimidating voters?

RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, nobody should be intimidating or breaking the law, nobody should. But, poll watching is not intimidating. If you're following the law, we've sent out guidance, this isn't happening from the RNC. We send out guidance to our pole watchers. I think what a lot of people don't know is the RNC couldn't do this for 40 years. We were under a legal order that we couldn't have poll watchers and now we can. The Democrats have always had that. I think that's really imbalanced.

But, if you've been at a poll place, you see, they're just simply observing, and it helps us at the end to give assurance to the voters, say, listen, we were there. We watched it. It went well. I think there is other things we should do, like, Voter ID, get rid of ballot harvesting. 80 percent of the Americans, the American people think we should have Voter ID.

BASH: As you mentioned, at the RNC, you have a very big organization of poll watchers out there right now.


But, I just want to go back, just to sort of underscore, what I just described could continue in an aggressive way. As the top Republican in this country right now, your message is--

MCDANIEL: Do not break the law, do not attack or intimidate people who are trying to--

BASH: In any way, shape or form.

MCDANIEL: I don't think that should be done at all. Also, don't intimidate our poll watchers, because we're having that right now too where our poll watchers are not being allowed to meaningfully observe. That's an important part of our democracy that both sides, Democrat and Republican, should be able to meaningfully observe so that we can go out and say, listen, we saw it and it went well.

BASH: And, you're trying to recruit poll watchers.

MCDANIEL: We have.

BASH: You've been on a Steve Bannon's podcast--


BASH: --multiple times, and you are asking him to help recruit, and his listeners to help recruit the poll watchers. Is there any concern about using that outlet on this issue when it comes to potential for harassment?

MCDANIEL: No. I'm never telling people to harass.

BASH: No, of course, you're not.

MCDANIEL: No, I'm - I would never do that. I'm saying please go sign up. It's the number one thing I hear across the country from my voters. I'm very concerned about the election. I want to make sure it's fair and transparent.


BASH: Joining us now are CNN political commentators Xochitl Hinojosa and Scott Jennings, they are back, along with Congressman Mondaire Jones, a New York Democrat, and also back is Kristen Soltis Anderson, Republican Strategist and Pollster. Nice to see you all again. Welcome to you.


BASH: We'll start with you. What's your reaction to that?

JONES: Well,--

BASH: And, just even more broadly the notion of voter intimidation.

JONES: Like, voter intimidation is very real. And, what I would have wanted to see from the RNC Chairman is more honesty - Chairwoman, is more honesty about the purpose of recruiting from outlets, like Steve Bannon show. The purpose is to intimidate folks from exercising their constitutional right. And, this is part of the big lie, right, this idea that somehow there was mass voter fraud which has been rejected by every court to consider it, and it's being used now to deter people in certain communities from going out and voting. We see that in Florida, for example. We've seen video footage of that.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & POLLSTER: I'm glad that she wants more people engaged in the process. I understand the concerns about the particular outlet that you mentioned, and recruiting specifically from there. But, one thing that really sticks out to me, I've had great conversations with a man named Stephen Richer. He is the County Recorder for Maricopa County in Arizona. He is a Republican. And, he always tells me that one of the best ways that he finds he is able to combat misinformation, misconceptions about elections, those who believe that they're being conducted fraudulently, is to bring them into the process, is to show them this is how we do it. This is how we count the votes. This is what it's like.

If they actually feel like it's not a process that's blocked off to them, that if it feels like something that is more transparent, and that they, as a citizen in this country, are allowed to be a part of, that some of that distrust begins to go down. So, that may be happy talk. That may be overly optimistic. But, when he told me that that made me feel a little bit better about the prospect of folks getting more engaged, even if they are very--


XOCHITL HINOJOSA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But, how do you - what worries me is, how do you explain a place like Texas that has a voter suppression law, and the first time that they put it to use was in the March primary, and thousands of ballots were thrown out, and they were thrown out in brown and black communities? They've - Republicans clearly saw in the census numbers that Latinos were growing significantly in that state, and so they had to pass law. So, this is happening all over the country where Republicans see what is happening in every state, see that black and brown voters are growing in the state and then therefore put laws in place to stop people from voting.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I totally disagree. First of all, Republicans are quite optimistic about what they're going to do with Hispanic voters in this election. They have no reason to suppress Hispanic voters because we're starting to win Hispanic voters more and more.

HINOJOSA: No. They are not winning Hispanic voters. I am sorry.

JENNINGS: We are winning - we are doing much better right now than we have done in years. And, you have to admit, there has been a lot of journalism on this. This is not me talking. There is a lot of journalism on Democrats losing their hold on Hispanic vote. That's number one.

HINOJOSA: I think (inaudible) after the election, because they do not--

JENNINGS: Fine. I would do.


HINOJOSA: --are necessarily bringing in Latino voters in droves. That's not what's happening. They are not turning out.

JENNINGS: well, one more thing. On the suppression issue, I hear Democrats making the argument about suppression, particularly in minority areas. We're seeing massive turnout already, Georgia, for instance, which I was told was Jim Crow 2.0. We have massive turnout going on in Georgia. We're going to have a huge turnout all over this country. There is no suppression. People are crawling over broken glass to vote.


JONES: Just because people are turning out to vote doesn't mean that there is not voter suppression going on. It just means that Democrats have been going above and beyond what they ought to be doing in order to get people out to the polls, educating them on these arcane super convoluted rules that we see in the form of SB 8, for example, in the State of Georgia.


And, I want to go back to something you said earlier. There would be no distrust to try to remedy were it not for a massive Republican strategy of sowing that distrust. There is no mass voter fraud in this country. That is a theory that has been debunked time after time. And, it wouldn't be the case that you'd have folks watching television and concluding otherwise, but for a deliberate strategy. ANDERSON: I disagree. I disagree, in part on this. I think that the conditions that existed after the 2020 election and the rules that were changed as a result of COVID that allowed for new forms of voting, extended deadlines, etcetera, created the conditions where that distrust was able to flourish. It led to a Petri dish. When you have a state like Pennsylvania that allows ballots to be counted so far after the election, it makes it more possible for folks who have bad intentions to sow those seeds. It just - it creates an environment where there is so--

PHILLIP: Kristen, I have to say, as someone who covered this, I can also tell you that Donald Trump was the principal driver of that sowing of distrust, and in fact, a lot of Republicans going into 2020 were saying don't discourage people from voting by mail because they do it in Florida, and it's totally fine. They do it all over the country and it's totally fine. He was the biggest driver of that, and I think you have to acknowledge that. But,--


JONES: They've been voting by mail--


PHILLIP: We're going to leave it there for just a moment. We'll be right back. A handful of key races are so close and we may not know the results until after Election Day. But, coming up next, Ron Brownstein's analysis with less than two days to go. He will tell us what you see.




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: So many key races around the country right now are so, so close tonight. With less than two days until the election, it is hard to predict who some of these winners will be. But as we mentioned, voters are involved. They are voting right now and data shows that 40 million pre-election ballots have already been cast in 47 states.

So now we have Senior Political Analyst for CNN, Ron Brownstein, here with us tonight, to tell us a little bit more about what we are seeing in this very odd election. At least that's what we had thought it was all summer long.

For some reason, Democrats were floating a little bit above the president who is the leader of their party. Now, what are you seeing? Is everybody just coming back to Earth?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They were levitating way above the president way above--

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: --their way. BROWNSTEIN: Look, I mean, historically, you will have all the indicators that you would look at historically, today in an NBC poll 80 percent of the country said the economy was only fair or poor. Biden's approval is in the low 40s. It is the first midterm of the incoming president, all of those factors combined would lead you to say the party in power is going to have a bad night.

And in fact, if Biden, if Democrats lose the House or the Senate, it would mark the fifth consecutive time that a president went into a midterm with unified control of government and had voters revoked it. No president has defended unified control of government through a midterm since Jimmy Carter in 1978.

We are living through the longest period in American history, I believe, where neither side has been able to establish a durable advantage over the other. We've never had a 50 year period like this. But with all of those factors out there Democrats are still in the game, especially in the Senate.

BASH: So speaking at the Senate, you wrote one of the columns that you've recently written is about that. And you wrote the control of the Senate is coming down to a hidden dynamics?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. I've called this the double negative election, right? The control of the Senate will be decided in states where a majority of voters disapprove of Biden's performance.

Historically, as we're saying, that's been all you need to know. In 2018, Donald Trump was at 48 percent or below in 10 states, and Republicans lost all of them in the Senate. In 2010 Obama was at 47 or below in 15 states and Democrats lost 13 of the 15.

In 2006 Bush 45 or below in 20 states Republicans lost all of them except Olympia. So historically, that would be enough. But the hidden dynamic is that a substantial portion of the voters who disapprove of Biden also have an unfavorable personal view of the Republican Senate nominee, who they view as either unqualified or extreme or both.

In Arizona, one of the local pollster said that 20 percent of the people who disapprove of Biden also disapprove of Blake Masters, and that is what is keeping Democrats. And then in the end, it may not be enough to, you know, like Casablanca, fundamental things apply.

But that is why this whole election doesn't look like what you would expect when 80 percent of the country's economy is fair.

PHILLIP: Voters are just pretty mad at everyone right now, and pretty dissatisfied, broadly speaking but just because this is something that is about to happen. Former President Trump seems intent on announcing a presidential run sooner rather than later.

So toward the end of the month, the country could be, you know, facing down a kind of deja vu. I mean, what do you make of that? I mean, we'll all the same things that held in 2020 could we be seeing a rematch between the Trump and a Biden will they --? BROWSNTEIN: First of all, with Trump, it's going to be the rooster taking credit for the dawn right? I mean, first midterm is bad for the party--

PHILLIP: He will be there to--

BROWNSTEIN: He will be claiming credit--


BROWNSTEIN: --when in fact, you know, the party holding the White House has lost seats in all but three midterm elections in the House since the Civil War. But yes, we could have 160 years of candidate on the ballot in 2024--

BASH: You're talking about the combined age?

BROWNSTEIN: --combined age which takes us back to the Emancipation Proclamation. I calculated the other day, but look, one thing we do know is that historically, midterms have almost no predictive value about what happens two years later. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush had pretty good midterms lost a re-election. Truman, Reagan--

BASH: But this is about the primary--

BROWNSTEIN: --bad ones and one for re-election.


BROWNSTEIN: In the primary the problem Republicans have is that their rules really favor whoever has the largest piece. Donald Trump did not get to 50 percent of the vote in any state until he was already the presumptive nominee. And at that point, he had won only 40 percent total. Their rules really favor whoever can get the biggest block. And that is going to make them tough to beat.

BASH: Ron Brownstein it's always good to talk to you.

PHILLIP: We can do this all day. Thanks for joining us.

BASH: It's nice to see you in D.C. also. And up next, battling voter misinformation in Arizona we're going to hear from one key election official who says voting is safe and secure. But it's an uphill battle getting some people to believe it. Stay with us.


BASH: Arizona is among the states with election deniers on the ballot this Tuesday and some of those candidates are already casting doubt on the midterm results. Well, CNN is talking with Arizona voters who believe what they're hearing but also a top election official. A Republican who's laying out the facts CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the crucial swing State of Arizona Republican nominees up and down the ballot allege with no substantiated evidence that the 2020 election was stolen. Take for example, Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for Governor.


KARI LAKE, (R) ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: Anybody who was involved in that corrupt, shady, shoddy election of 2020? Lock them up.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): CNN spoke to voters at her recent campaign events about their confidence in the upcoming elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to trust anybody anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have honest elections there's no question that Kari Lake will win.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): We asked Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Bill Gates, who happens to be a Republican to address their concerns.

BLAKE MARNELL, KARI LAKE VOLUNTEER: I think I want to ask him about the extent that they can verify that mail ballots that were mailed out or actually filled out by the people they were intended for and returned by them, and not filled out by anybody else.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: On the envelope itself they fill out an affidavit and they sign an affidavit that indicates that it was them. And then if that signature doesn't match the signature that we have in our voter registration records and we will call them up and try and confirm, did they actually do this?

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): And I think there's some election officials who have gone through FBI type training to look at signatures and to compare them, right?

GATES: Yes, absolutely. So many eyeballs are looking at this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we have people who are trustworthy, who have gone through thorough background checks that we can put in securely, knowing that our elections, both sides can have a fair chance at winning fairly.

GATES: You know some of them, it may be their first election, but a lot of them, we have a track record, knowing that these people are trustworthy. We have representatives of the Democrat and Republican Party working together. So even if you do have, you know, some sort of rogue actor, there's so many people watching them.

We even do have the live stream cameras, there are so many checks and balances in our system that people just aren't aware of. Because we've never had to go out and articulate that to people because people have accepted for the most part, the results of elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You to get rid of those machines, and go to paper ballots counted by the precinct committeemen. GATES: People vote on paper. But we do use a tabulation machine. And again, we've used those for decades. We know that those machines have been audited over and over again. We've shown time and time again by many experts that our machines are not connected to the internet in any way. And here's the reality the machines themselves are do a more accurate job of counting votes than humans do.

When the count is over, when the machine count is over, we do a hand count audit to confirm that the machines are operating properly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be honest, do a job for the state in your party. Don't make it personal.

GATES: I agree with him. And so I am a Republican but having said that this is a nonpartisan role that we have. The references made to being personal. I think all this has gotten horribly personal. And the personal insults that are hurled back and forth are not good for our democratic republic, but further than is not good for our civilization, for our culture. That's why this is so important.


BASH: Very well, said. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you for bringing us that great piece! And our panel is back with us. That's the kind of reassurance you were talking about. But also the kind of thing that you were saying maybe didn't need to happen on this kind of scale, had the electorate not been injected with lies the Republican electorate for the most part?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What worries me a lot about what he just said was Tim talking about how things have gotten personal? And I do worry that there are a lot of good people out there good Republicans, folks like him, folks like Brad Raffensperger, in Georgia, who have been in a really tough situation, because they're standing up for what they know is right.

They're trying to make sure that elections are administered properly. And they are getting a lot of unbelievable hate thrown their way. And it does feel like we're in a moment where there's a lot of kindling out there. And you don't want anybody throwing a match. And there's just there's enough concerns about political violence and such.

And I'm just it will break my heart if we get to the end of this next couple of years of our political world. And folks like him, are not interested in taking on those roles anymore.

REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): It's become a litmus test now that you have to support the big lie in order to run a viable campaign as the Republican Nominee for Governor of Arizona, right? We've now gotten evidence in recent weeks of the Former President, you know, basically exalting Kari Lake in his conversation with Blake Masters, the Republican Nominee for Senate in Arizona, urging him to be like her to talk more about how the election was stolen.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I disagree. There are Republicans that have told the truth about what happened principally in Georgia where the Governor Brian Kemp stood up to election deniers in both parties. He stood up to Donald Trump and he's standing up to Stacey Abrams.

And I think local officials like this, and people like Brian Kemp and people like Mike Pence and others who have told the truth that's what is good about our system.


JENNINGS: And for all that happened on January the sixth, and all that was said about the 2020 election, the system did hold, because there were enough good people to hold it. And so it gives me a lot of heart and hope for what could happen here, which is a free, fair election that people have confidence in.

And I think, I mean, maybe I'm being a little pollyannish here, but I think there are enough good people who want this to go well, to make it happen. And tamp down and smack down people who try to show distrust.

PHILLIP: I have some bad news for you. And that's the numbers because there are a lot of people on the ballot who are election deniers, 12 for Secretary of State 22 for Governor 19 for the Senate. And it's actually not just the concerns that honestly, it might be somewhat legitimate. I don't understand how the signature match works. That's a totally legitimate question.

It's the really crazy stuff that I wonder, just honestly, as a citizen of this country, what is going to bring us back from that break? What is going to bring those people back from the conspiratorial brain?

XOCHITI HINOJOSA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it worries me is that we likely won't know the results in some of these states for days, and especially in a place like Arizona and Nevada, and is in Georgia, and especially places where the races will be very, really close.

If Kari Lake comes out and says that she's the winner, and regardless of what is happening and ballots haven't been counted, et cetera, or folks in the Republican party going to come out and be like, wait a minute, you know, this isn't the case.

And so I do think that you will have a number of these Republican candidates come out and declare victory. And sow doubt in the system. Even you know, before we have all of the, the results, and that's what Democrats are preparing for, they're preparing for these election deniers to kind of come out and sow sort of fear in the process, as you know, as they're still counting ballots--

PHILLIP: Or actually changed the way that votes are counted.

JENNINGS: I mean, in Arizona, Kari Lake, doesn't hold any office or opponent is the Secretary of State. Has she recused herself?

HINOJOSA: That's not going to stop her from saying anything, you know, any - an issue. And what about it-- BASH: What about a place like Pennsylvania, where you're going to see that dynamic, maybe even on steroids, because, by law, they can't start counting the votes mail-in - and earlier just mail-in--

PHILLIP: Mail-in early until after the post--

BASH: It's elected the--

JONES: And there is nothing inherently suspect about waiting until after the Election Day to begin counting these ballots. The problem is you've got people raising the specter of fraud without any basis at all, in fact, or law, saying that somehow, if it takes a week, or even two count all of the ballots, many of which are still in transit. By the time Election Day is over. That that is somehow, you know, evidence that things are being tampered with.

ANDERSON: Well, some states can do it, right? And so Florida, my home state where I grew up, we had a little bit of a rough election in 2007.

BASH: What happened?

ANDERSON: And after that, things got a little bit better. Florida figured it out. And Florida is one of those states where I'm going to be watching it very closely on election night, not because I think the Republicans are statewide are in jeopardy of losing.

But rather Florida is a place where those ballots get counted very quickly. It is possible for states to have procedures in place to do this well, some states have chosen not to.

PHILLIP: And you know, what's striking to me is that especially in Pennsylvania, for example, that's a state where they could choose to be able to count those ballots earlier, the state legislature can simply say, we can count them earlier and they have not done it.

And in so many cases the answer to concerns about the election is not to make key changes that can help them count things faster, easier, but rather to just cast doubt, and I think that's part of the problem that we're all dealing with. But everybody stay with us. We've got some final thoughts with the entire panel on this election which is now less than two days away.



PHILLIP: Less than two days until Election Day, you're going to be hearing that a lot.

BASH: Less than 48 hours that is one day.

PHILLIP: But we are back here with our final thoughts and our predictions from our great panel. So everyone, what I want to know is what is your little pet thing that you are focused on election night? What are you looking for? HINOJOSA: I am looking for this woman, Myra Flores who Republicans have cropped up as the candidate that they are going to necessarily - the ideal Latino candidate that has come over to the Republican Party. The reality is, is that that district was a special election 7 percent turnout--

BASH: Where is this?

HINOJOSA: It is in Brownsville, Texas, it was 7 percent turnout. Latinos didn't necessarily turn out it is a plus nine Democratic district and the new lines. I think it'll flip back Democratic and it will sort of take the air out of the narrative for Republicans that they're winning over Latinos.

PHILLIP: OK. I'm gonna skip around here because I know you have something complimentary.

ANDERSON: Well, you know, normally when a party wins big in the midterms, some moderates are swept into office but for Republicans, their conference, at least in the House is not necessarily going to become more moderate.

And in particular, a lot of young women who are very big fans of Donald Trump are potentially going to win in some of these toss up House races. You've got Caroline in New Hampshire. You've got Madison, and - Gilbert in Ohio, the conference, Republican House Conference may look a lot different, maybe younger, more female and Trump.

PHILLIP: And if Myra Flores wins, she would be among--

BASH: Yes, that's--

PHILLIP: --very Trumpy Republicans. OK, Scott.

JENNINGS: Oh, sure. I'll go - I'm watching the libertarian in Georgia. There's a libertarian on the ballot for the Senate race down there and something a little campaign strategy inside baseball Walker campaign, I think has done a really effective job of taking that libertarian down to a, you know, maybe one to two points because I think over the summer, they realized they had a problem.

BASH: How are they doing there?

JENNINGS: Very targeted, they figured out a group of voters and micro targeted those people that would be most likely to go away from the Republican ticket and go for a libertarian and they have relentlessly pointed out that the libertarian there is extremely liberal in fact as liberal as Warnock.

And they have relentlessly communicate with those voters via mail and other ways I want to see how that little plan works out because if Walker gets to 50 a big part of it will be this little strategy on the libertarian.


BASH: That's a good under the radar--


BASH: --tit-bit OK. Stakes are high here, meet that bar Congressman.

JONES: I'm looking at Ohio. I was in Ohio this weekend. I was in Akron today stumping for Amelia Sykes who's running against Madison Gilbert. I think Amelia is going to win that race for polling has her up. She's a Former Minority Leader of the General Assembly in Ohio.

And I think we don't talk enough about the strength of individual candidates who are able to exceed expectations. Amelia is doing better in this district that Biden only won by three points than some other candidates are doing districts that Biden won by several points more. I think it's about the attributes of the candidates.

Oftentimes, I think it's about the way that they are able to resonate, to connect with their - the people they are running to represent. I also think that it's about the issues some people more than others are talking about the economy. And they're relating democracy to the economy, and they're relating democracy to freedoms, like the freedom of choice.

PHILLIP: So candidates matter, right? I guess that's the moral of the story. Dana, do you have --?

BASH: Under the radar, no. I think everything that I'm looking at is very much over the radar.

PHILLIP: All right. I'm watching what all of you guys are watching. Thank you for watching us tonight. Join us on election night for special coverage starting at 4 pm. Dana and I will be there once again. Learn what is happening in your state and around the country.

BASH: And if you just stick around for a couple more minutes, it is going to be one day until Election Day. It's almost midnight in the East Coast. Don't go anywhere because our coverage continues.