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On The Line: 435 House Seats, 35 Senate Races And 36 Governor Races; Millions Of Americans Will Cast Ballots Today As 41 Million Plus Early Ballots Already Cast; Arizona Governor's Race: Election Denier Versus Election Certifier. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 00:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: All right, sit up straight we know what that music means, we're here everyone. It is Election Day officially in America, people are about to cast their ballots with control of the House and the Senate now at stake.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: 435 House seats, 35 Senate seats, 36 governor's races hanging in the balance, making this an election that could change the direction of America.

CNN's Harry Enten is at the magic wall, first with some key states to watch, Harry.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER (on camera): Finally, Election Day is here, my prayers have been answered. Of course, this could be a long Election Day, it could last into Wednesday, Thursday, who knows?

But let's take a look at some of the key states that we'll be voting in that will ultimately help determine the shape of Congress.

So, let's start out in Arizona, a state that took days to project the 2020 presidential winner. Interestingly in Arizona, the later counted ballots were good for the GOP in 2020, which was a reversal of what happened in 2018.

And this is one of the things that we're going to be talking about and that in some states, the later count of ballots were good for the GOP and other states, they were good for the Democrats.

So, let's go to one of those states where it was better for the Democrats in 2020 and 2021. You may recall that there was in fact a 2021 Senate runoff in Georgia, and it was not determined who won those runoff until the Wednesday after the election.

So, it took a long time to count, took even longer in that general election back of November of 2020. Here, the later counted ballots were good for the Democrats in 2021 and in 2020. Remember, Biden kept gaining, gaining, gaining and gaining until he ultimately overtook Donald Trump. Very different from Arizona where Biden had an early advantage. And then Trump kind of kept creeping up, creeping up, creeping up until Biden barely held on.

Let's go to Nevada, another state in the southwest. Again, another state that took days to project the 2020 presidential winner, the later counted ballots, like in Arizona, were good for the GOP in 2020. But we're unclear if that will hold this year. We're just going to have to wait and see, we can use the past as a guide. But it isn't always the prologue.

Let's go to Pennsylvania, a state that's right near here, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, near and dear to my heart, I like the state of Pennsylvania or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I don't want to get any hate e-mails.

It took days to project the 2020 presidential winner. The later counted ballots were good for Democrats in 2020. As those late mail-in ballots came in, we think that's probably going to be what happens this time around. But we're not exactly sure, but we'll keep an eye on Pennsylvania because it's such an important state in terms of control in the United States Senate.

And I just want to point out some important House races with poll closings before 8:00 p.m. These districts will probably get the vote counted fairly quickly, so it could give us a good idea of where the House is going.

These are all really tight races. North Carolina's 13th district, Ohio's 13th district, Virginia's seventh, and Virginia's second congressional district. These are races I'm really going to be watching. Give us a good understanding early on how the evening is going, back to you guys.

CAMEROTA: OK, thanks very much, Harry.

Now, we want to bring in pollster extraordinaire, Frank Luntz. Frank, you are so wonderful to join us at this hour as we launch Election Day coverage here.

So, tell us what you will be watching most closely today?

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Well, the first thing is I wanted to be officially CNN's very first guest on Election Day. So, thank you guys for sliding --

CAMEROTA: You've accomplished it.

LUNTZ: -- at 12:02 a.m. at East Coast time. I'm actually going to be watching Indiana one, which is an interesting race that favors the Democrats. There's a very strong Republican there. The seat is a pro- Biden seat, a pro-democratic seat by three or four points. But the Republican has been running strong, net races too close to call.

I'm also looking at this Cincinnati, Ohio district of Steve Chabot, who's been Congressman since 1994, except the losing one race about 15 years ago.

There are a number of places that are like this, but I think it's more important at this moment to talk about what happens if the election isn't decided in a few hours or even in a few days.

And I agree with your correspondent who spoke before that a lot of these races in Pennsylvania is a perfect example. We're not going to know by midnight, we're not going to know by 7:00 a.m. the next morning in Georgia, which requires a run off if no one gets over 50 percent. We may not know for weeks, so people have to be patient, and they have to let all the votes be counted.

CAMEROTA: But what concerns you most about the fact that we won't know tomorrow?

LUNTZ: I'm very concerned that we are impatient, and that we're going to be demanding to know the outcome. And that we will assume that if it takes this long time, that there are games being played with the ballots. I don't want a repeat of 2020, which is why I'm so grateful to have this time with you all.


That we have to lower the decibel level on both sides, we have to say to people that look, we've got the highest early vote ever in this country, more people cast more ballots in more different ways in polling places than has ever happened. Voter suppression is not happening. And voter corruption is not happening with the possible exception and I'll call it out.

Of Philadelphia, let's see what they do. But this idea of our election system being so broken, we -- our actual democracy is at stake. And I'm afraid that we have now are having -- we're reaching a point where almost half of Americans don't believe the results of elections anymore and that's a disaster.

CAMEROTA: And I don't know how tomorrow is going to change that or today, or this week is going to change that, right?

I mean, people are so distrustful of the system. And it doesn't help that some candidates have openly said that they're not going to accept the results if they don't win.

LUNTZ: And that's -- honestly, I'm trying to think of the best word to describe that. That's really pathetic. Your parents teach you as a child how to lose, I hope they do. That we don't like loud, rash, obnoxious winners, and we don't like sore losers.

As a country, we've always been on the side of the underdog. But people win and lose elections, you win and lose sporting events.

In life itself, you get the job, if you don't get the job, you move on. And I think it's absolutely correct for news organizations to hold the candidates accountable when you've got more than half a percentage of the vote, when you've abided by all the rules and regulations of an election. When someone loses by half a percent, they still lost. And you live to

fight again. And we forget to remind people that a gracious loser is as important as a victorious winner. And that with grace, and respect and dignity, you leave a proper legacy for the next generation.

And unfortunately, we had an embarrassment in 2020. And I'm afraid we could have a few of those in 2022.

CAMEROTA: Well, from your lips to candidate's ears. Last Frank, what do you -- already, more than 41 million people have voted. So, what do you make of that that's more than the past two midterms?

LUNTZ: In some states, like Georgia, it's advantageous for the Democrats. In other states like Ohio and Florida, it's advantageous for the Republicans.

We're going to have the highest mid-season, a midterm election participation that we've ever had in this country, or at least in the last 50 or 100 years. That's a healthy democracy, we should respect that, appreciate it, you should be mentioning that every hour on CNN to remind those who have not voted that everybody else is voting, is participating in a strong democratic system depends on an active and well informed and well intentioned electorate.

So, to me, it's a good sign, not a bad sign that our democracy is healthy, our democracy is working. And hopefully, the way that we count the vote, the ballots, the way we count the votes will enhance that rather than detract from it.

CAMEROTA: Frank, great talking to you. Thank you for being our first guest on Election Day. And we will talk to you many times this week. I'm sure.

LUNTZ: I look forward to it. Thank you.

COATES: I mean, the countdown is finally here. I mean, you think about it, we are now in Election Day. And for all the candidates who've been running, they've been waiting, they've been caffeinated. They've been thinking about this particular day. And now, here we are getting ready to launch -- well, in a few hours, so no nothing.

But then, hours after that, we're going to know even more but right now, we have CNN's John Berman back with us. Two commentators, Maria Cardona and Charlie Dent are also here.

I mean, think about it is Election Day, and we may not have all of the answers in the next 10, 12 or more hours. But this is the day that many voters can no longer be undecided about whether they're actually going to vote or who they're going to vote for.

What are you going to be watching for, Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that I'm going to be watching for what will happen in terms of turnout the date of, right? We've all been talking about a record turnout in the early vote. And I'm thrilled about that, because that right now has put Democrats

over and above Republicans by almost 4.5 million votes, that has given Democrats across the board and campaigns the ability to build a firewall, and the ability to be able to now go after their low propensity voters the day of election from the beginning as opposed to three hours before the polls close. That's a huge strategic advantage for a campaign.

Now, it also indicates to me that enthusiasm is absolutely there for Democrats. We are matching it, if not, going over what Republicans are.


So, you know, the whole doom and gloom about lack of enthusiasm for Democrats is not showing up right now in the early vote.

We'll see is the red wave still imminent? The day of election, we know that Republicans have focused on voting day of election but there was a piece in The Washington Post that said they're kind of now worried that they sort of poo pooed early vote, and they're now trying to get people over the weekend to try to get people to vote.

So, I'm going to see what kind of turnout there is across the board and to see if Democrats advantages hold across the board in this very competitive election in what should not have been a very competitive election.

COATES: Charlie?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it seems to me Democrats are playing defense everywhere. In Rhode Island, Connecticut, Oregon, they're going to get wiped out in Nevada. It's going to be a rough night for them. It's the question of how bad.

I mean, I just -- I just can't see -- I mean, the Democrats are playing defense there. If they have to defend Rhode Island, if they have to defend Connecticut.

Hochul is underperforming in New York, Republicans could pick up as many as five seats. I mean, that's the harsh reality.

Republicans don't have to beat many Democrat incumbents to get the majority. In fact, they might not beat any of them. They can just went on the open seats.

So, I think it's going to be a tough night, like I'm not here to make any grand prediction about that it's going to be a big red wave or a red ripple. I don't know. But I'd rather be -- I'd rather be (INAUDIBLE) tomorrow, I'd rather be on the Republican side than Democrat side, because they're running to win. I've run -- I've run against the -- in a midterm election when it wasn't favorable, it's a hard thing to beat history.

And so, you know, good luck. I mean, the turnout numbers, I've seen some turnout numbers too that aren't particularly helpful. I think, to the Democrats as well. But let's --

CARDONA: But Republicans aren't putting these races away, you should -- absolutely given history and where Biden's approval numbers are and the whole focus on inflation, Republicans should have been putting this away months ago, and they are not.

Voters are not convinced at this moment in time that they should be giving control of Congress to Republicans. And so, that to me, because you're right, we are on defense in so many races, right? That to me, gives us hope in an election cycle where we really shouldn't have any.

COATES: When you look at -- look at it, though and think about all that this is the last minute, you are right to think about there are open seats. Republicans only need to have a net gain of five seats in Congress in order to be able to take the majority in the House, one in the Senate.

But I wonder, the closest of these races. What does that say to you? Because there are these battleground states. It's not as if everyone -- anyone is a clear runaway. Is that about the quality of candidates? Are we in a situation where once again, reminiscent of the lesser of two evils in different areas? Or are we at a part where, look, people are really, really appealing to the middle?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, first of all, let me just say, they don't put just anybody on the first Election Day panel.

CARDONA: I was going to that John, absolutely.

BERMAN: Whoever was available. Look, so there are two different things, right? There's the House in the Senate and they behave very differently in midterm elections.

Senate elections don't necessarily move the way that waves do. And part of the reason for that is they're much bigger campaigns with bigger figures who often are more well-known in their state.

So, one of the reasons to answer part of your question is why is it as close as Maria suggesting, because in some places, part of it is candidate quality and that Mitch McConnell did not get a lot of the Republican candidates he wanted in some of these key states. So, it's been closer.

In Charlie's home state of Pennsylvania, there are scenarios you could have imagined where Republican would be running five to 10 points at five to seven points ahead now, let's say in Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz isn't.

In Georgia, you have the incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock who is a very strong, seen as a strong candidate. Obviously, it's a super close race because it's the most purple purple states. So, he's seen as a strong candidate. So, that's the kind of thing you see there.

And in the house, overall, trends tend to matter more. The economic trends can sink an incumbent president's party and normally would push Joe Biden's party, the Democratic Party down. Now, what's keeping it maybe up could be the Dobbs ruling, maybe you know, that won't have Democrats keep the house, but it will keep them from the Obama as shellacking of what 63 seats. I can't read my writing in 2010. So, they can keep it down into the 20s or the teens there.

The other thing that's happened is redistricting, which is the more and more people split the country up into these partisan camps, the fewer and fewer districts can swing back and forth. So, you may not see these well.

COATES: Which is by design.

DENT: Maybe 25, 30 truly competitive House seats. That's it. I mean, there aren't that many. Republicans overperf -- well, they exceeded expectations in 2020 by picking up 15 seats, they got the low hanging fruit in the last election.

So, what they pick up now is going to be harder, they're not going to have as big a wave as 2010. But, you know, maybe they -- if they win 20, 25 seats, they'll have 240, around 237 seats, maybe 238. That's a pretty big majority if they -- if they just perform it that way. If they perform at that level.


CARDONA: If you look at the trends this year in the house specials, Democrats have completely over performed. You look at New York 19, Republicans should have won there. And Pat Ryan won focused on abortion.

So, I think there's his underlying current that people are discounting that the Dobb's energy is absolutely still there.

DENT: Special elections really have no impact on what's going to happen in the fall. Saw that in 2010, we lost the special election for Martha's seat after he died. Oh, Democrats are going to do great in 2010, only get wiped out four months later. I mean, I've seen this happen many times.

CAMEROTA: All right. Well, let's leave it there. Because everybody's talking about control of Congress. But what about the dozens of governor's races across the country, so we're going to break those down, next.



CAMEROTA: There are 36 governor's races across the country today that will have a big impact on Americans lives. Let's talk about those, we have John Berman, Maria Cardona and Charlie Dent are back with us.

All right, so let's just dive into some of them. A lot of people are watching the Arizona governor's race, John, because it's Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs. They couldn't be more different in terms of candidates and their styles. Kari Lake, as we all know, has refused to say that she would basically accept the election results if she doesn't win.

What do you see as you watch this?

BERMAN: Look, within the Republican Party, I think there are people looking at Kari Lake as someone who could be the future of the party if it's not Ron DeSantis. She is someone who has generated a great deal of energy from within the Republican Party, despite the fact that she is -- you know, she flirts with that fringe of the Republican Party that a lot of people find to be scary in some cases, the election denying fringe there.

But she has proven herself to be a strong candidate in terms of the skills it takes to communicate with people. And I think that still counts for something.

CARDONA: I don't think the flirting. I don't think she's flirting. I think she's in a long term relationship with that fringe.

I mean, she's the one who famously said that when asked multiple times, whether she would accept the results of the election, she kept saying, I will win that election and I will accept those results. She refused to say if she lost that she would accept those results.

And she continuously talks about how the 2020 election was rigged. And you know, that there's got to be something there with fraud and that people need to be aware of that.

Frank Luntz was talking about this. And he's absolutely right. That is something that everyone needs to be very concerned about as Americans, where I didn't agree with him as he didn't call out the Republican Party, because you have no one in the Democratic party that has ever said that they will not accept the results of an -- of an election.

So, Kari Lake is like the person that represents that in the Republican Party. And I think it's dangerous, and I think it's scary.

She does have a very good chance of winning, though I am told, I talked to the Hobb's campaign earlier today, that the narrative has swung more in Kari Lake's direction that what the data actually shows. There was a Marist poll out today that has Katie Hobbs up one.

And so --

CAMEROTA: Sorry, the Hobbs campaign believes that the momentum is for Kari Lake?

CARDONA: No, that the narrow -- the media narrative is focusing more on that momentum than what the data actually shows.

So, for example, the Marist poll that came out today has Katie Hobbs up one and that in the conversations with voters and the Hobbs's campaign, they are very concerned about this issue of democracy.

And so, you know, there is hope there. Again, it's a very topsy turvy election, we don't know what's going to happen. DENT: You contrast her, look at Kari Lake, she's a much more polished,

media savvy version of Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, both election deniers, but she has real skills, and frankly, her opponents seem to be a rather underwhelming candidate from what I can tell.

But you contrast that to say Mastriano won Pennsylvania, you know, who's just way out there and, you know, just has run the most unconventional unorthodox campaign I've ever seen, doesn't talk to media, doesn't do anything.

I mean, it's bizarre. The whole thing is bizarre. And, he's going to get beaten. But he's saying the same things in many respects as she is on election denial, but she's got great candidates skills, and she's probably going to prevail.

COATES: Well, the interesting thing about the Kari Lake Katie Hobbs is that you've got somebody who's considered to be sort of the election denier, obviously, Kari Lake. Again, somebody whose job it was to certify the election.

CARDONA: Yes, the election guru.

COATES: The election guru. So, you have -- you have these races. So, it's almost like idea of maybe if she's engaging, where again, they did not debate, which would have been interesting to see the two of them debate about these very issues.

And I wonder how much that will impact the voters of Arizona, the idea of it's really a sort of a baiting notion of oh, she won't even debate me, one would say, well, I'm not going to dignify the nihilism with the debate, or they would say they're afraid and so, you wonder, how the voters will view that.

BERMAN: Yes, you just never know. I mean, obviously, you've seen cases where people, you know, there are people in Pennsylvania who don't think that John Fetterman should have debated Mehmet Oz at all, that it hurt him and that by avoiding the debate, he would have been better off.

It's impossible to know If Katie Hobbs would have been it from it or not. I mean, I think that voters always benefit from seeing as much the candidates as they can. Campaigns will do whatever thing benefits them the most, period, full stop.

I will say if Kari Lake does manage to win, it may show the limits of what voters perceive in terms of the threats to democracy or how effective concern over the threat to democracy will be as a campaign issue because well, you're right.


And to be fair, when I said flirting, she's -- you know, she has denied it. It's clear and people see it and they've heard it. Full stop.

She may still win. And it's not that the voters don't know this. The voters know her position on this at this point in Arizona, but they still may elect her.

CARDONA: That's right.

DENT: Look at Nevada. I mean, just to the north of Arizona, Republicans is going to win there.

BERMAN: We'll see. Look, we'll see, both this states is very close. We'll see.

DENT: Just, I put my money on Nevada right now.

CAMEROTA: We will see.

COATES: Don't put your money in the Powerball yet, they've delayed that.


COATES: We're waiting for that. So, everyone, stay where you are because up next, how much will the quality of the candidate's factor into how voters cast their ballots later today? We'll discuss.


CAMEROTA: That means it's officially election day in America.


And Georgia and Pennsylvania are two of the states that could decide which party controls Congress. So CNN's Nick Valencia is live for us in Atlanta. Nd Athena Jones is live for us in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Great to have both of you here. So Nick, let's start with you. What should we be watching for in Georgia today?


It's no longer this marathon mindset for the candidates. They are now in this full-court press to try to get every vote that they can out for tomorrow here.

Both candidates were active on the campaign trail. We saw Raphael Warnock make his closing remarks to a crowd of supporters earlier tonight in Columbus, Georgia, where he said this really isn't a choice between Democrat or Republican, as much as it is a moral choice, he says, between right and wrong.

He sounded confident but at the same time expressed some concern that there could be a runoff here in Georgia. Here in the state, if neither candidate gets 50 percent, a runoff is automatically triggered. That runoff would be December 6.

Meanwhile, though, the Republican challenger in this, Herschel Walker, he seemed to scoff at the idea of a runoff earlier today at a rally, boldly predicting that, when it's all said and done tomorrow, he will be the rightful winner. He blasted Warnock as a "woke" candidate, saying that, you know,

Georgians here are really tired of him choosing Joe Biden over Georgians.

Look, tomorrow is going to be, or I should say, later today is going to be a real test on this theory of whether or not Georgia is a true battleground state. I know Democrats would certainly like to think so, especially after what happened here in 2020, with Joe Biden winning here, being the first Democratic presidential since Bill Clinton back in '92 to win the state.

They also sent two progressive senators to Washington. Already, in the 17 days of early voting, more than 2.2 million votes have been cast, and the polls are close.

Polls are expected to open here later today at 7 a.m. -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Nick.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST/ANCHOR: And Athena, I want to go to you, as well. Speaking of battlegrounds in areas. I mean, you're in a county, which is only, I think, only one of two that went from Trump to Biden in the most recent election. So what are you hearing now in the hours before the polls are set to open?


As you mentioned, Pennsylvania is -- is an important state. It's the -- the Democrats' biggest opportunity to pick up a Senate seat.

And we are in Northampton County. This is one of two counties that went from Trump to Biden in 2020. It's been called something of a bellwether county, because it echoes the demographics of the state. And it often ends up echoing the result, statewide.

Officials here say that they are ready. We know that early voting has been big in this state, as well. More than a million early votes cast. That's more than 20 percent of the total vote back in 2018, but -- in the 2018 midterms.

In their final pitches, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate, at a rally in Montgomery County, just South of here, between here and Philadelphia, talked about -- with Nikki Haley. Hit Fetterman on issues like the economy and the border and called on his supporters once again to reach out to conservative Democrats and independents, to go beyond the Republican Party and their Republican friends, to get them to come out to support Oz.

Fetterman had his final pitch at a union hall in Pittsburgh, talking about sending Oz back to New Jersey. That's hitting him on this idea of him being a carpetbagger. And telling them to just get out, get out to the polls.

We spoke here with the county executive, Lamont McClure, here in Northampton County, about what they expect here. They believe that turnout is going to be higher than usual, because they're seeing a lot of voter enthusiasm. They say they're ready. Here's more of what he had to say.


LAMONT MCCLURE JR., NORTHAMPTON COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Our county council has invested heavily, in the millions of dollars, in helping us prepare to meet the new burdens in Pennsylvania of mail-in voting balloting. And so we've bought a high-speed letter opener. We have several high-speed scanners. So we've really made investments in our election infrastructure to make sure that we can not only be accurate but fast.


JONES: And one thing that we heard from this official in Northampton County and also nearby Lehigh County, is what we've seen in the past, which is a lot more Democrats, about three times as many Democrats, requested mail-in ballots as Republicans.

And so Fetterman's campaign is already warning supporters, sending out a memo saying, Look, the results could take a while to really shake out here. You could see it appear that there's a red mirage, they call it. But there could be Democratic votes that were mail-in votes that end up being counted later.

And of course, Pennsylvania is a state where they're not allowed to open those mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. when the polls open -- Laura, Alisyn.

COATES: Thanks, Nick.

Thank you, Athena.

Look, also Ohio, North Carolina, are also set for big Senate showdowns. We want to bring John Berman, Maria Cardona, and Charlie Dent.

I mean, we're looking at this idea of where we are. The polls, obviously, for many, people have voted early already. But the question that keeps coming back is, who's on the ballot? And the quality of the candidates who are there.

And I'm wondering from your perspective, do you see, particularly in Pennsylvania, where this has been an issue, I think, time and time again in this election cycle. Do you see that as being, really, the crux of the issue for so many voters?


DENT: The candidates?

COATES: The quality that might not be there, as much as years past.

DENT: Well, yes. I mean, look, candidates still matter. But I would argue that they matter less, because we're moving to parliamentary voting patterns in this country. I think, the candidates matter more in the Senate. And Republicans

certainly have had candidate quality issues. That said, a lot of those candidates can still win.

I happen to have represented Northampton County and Lehigh County. That was my district. That is like the swingiest district in the swingiest state in the country.

BERMAN: One of two counties in Pennsylvania that voted for Donald Trump and then Joe Biden.

DENT: Correct. Northampton and -- Northampton and Erie.

And by the way, watch Northampton County on election night. That might be the most important county in the country. In 2020, Northampton County, Lamont McClure just said, they counted pretty fast.

They had all their mail-in votes counted by about 7 a.m. the morning after the election. And I knew it at that moment that Biden won Pennsylvania, because he won that county by a handful of votes. Knew he was going to win. And he did. He did.

Just watch that county. I'm telling. It is such a bellwether. It has trended over years a bit more Republican. Used to be a heavy union- oriented Democratic county. Not anymore. It was the home to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, where my father worked for 30 years. I know that area extremely well. It's in my blood.

COATES: When you call it a bellwether, do you mean watch Pennsylvania --

DENT: Watch.

COATES: -- watch that particular area to see who controls the Senate? Or you mean in terms of Pennsylvania politics specifically?

DENT: I don't want to go as far as to say who wins Northampton County is going to win Pennsylvania, but that will probably be the case. Whoever wins that county.

And by the way, that's also probably the most competitive -- one of the most competitive House races in the country. That is neck and neck right now. And that's also two women, Susan Wild and Lisa Scheller, running for my old seat. But that's going to be one to watch. Over $25 million already been spent between the two campaigns and all the outside groups.

BERMAN: Do you get a cut?

CARDONA: He wishes.

DENT: I wish, but I think I know a lot of people who are getting a piece of that, though. They're doing fine.

CARDONA: I'm going to put a caveat on which Charlie said, because I actually do really think that candidate quality matters. And the reason that I think that is because, if it really didn't, then

I still think that conventional wisdom and the history part of this election would be taking over, and this would be a complete and total red wave for Republicans. And we're not seeing it right now.

Now, I do agree with Charlie that perhaps candidate quality doesn't matter to the Republican Party anymore. And we're seeing that in Georgia, where everyone, you know --

COATES: You're nodding to that. Do you agree with that?

DENT: I also would that John Fetterman's not a particularly good candidate. I'll be very honest with you. I think he's a --

CARDONA: Well, you might not like him personally. But there are --

DENT: No, I think he's a weak candid.

CARDONA: Well, but this is more than just a week candidate. Like, Mehmet Oz is somebody who has done things that have hurt people. And so -- and puppies.

And so I think that -- and then Kari Lake, we just talked about her and election deniers. And we talked about all of them. And people who want to take away women's rights to choose and make them second-class citizens. Right? Threats to democracy.

All of these issues, I think, are front and center for Democrats, progressives, independents, and frankly some commonsense Republicans who don't believe that these kinds of candidates actually represent their party. Liz Cheney, for example.

And so, while I think that this is a cycle where candidate quality does matter for people outside hard-core Republicans -- we saw that in Georgia. They're running to Herschel Walker. And he is just, I'm sorry, he's just not a very nice human being, if we are to believe everything that he is accused of doing.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, but they're awfully close.

CARDONA: That is -- yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean, in terms of -- you know.

CARDONA: They are, because of what I'm telling you.

CAMEROTA: I hear you.

CARDONA: Because Republicans don't care.

CAMEROTA: You think it would have been a runaway.

CARDONA: They don't care about that.

CAMEROTA: John, do you want to say anything on this? BERMAN: I think we'll know. It's one of these things where it's

actually election day right now. We don't have to wonder that much longer.

DENT: Correct.

BERMAN: Right? We'll know the answer to these questions.

CAMEROTA: We're so used to hypothesizing --

BERMAN: I know.

CAMEROTA: -- that we haven't adapted --

DENT: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- to election day.

COATES: Election month, we said.

BERMAN: Everything counts. Everything counts. Everything counts some. And I think one of the major questions here is how much of a wave, and I don't know that it will be a wave.


BERMAN: But how much of a moving force will this election be. And we'll know some of those answers, you know, within you know, 20 hours or so.

CAMEROTA: That's exactly right. All right.

Up next, we have a CNN exclusive for you. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking out for the first time since the attack on her husband inside their home. Stick around for that.



COATES: We have a CNN exclusive. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi giving her very first interview since the brutal hammer attack on her husband, Paul, inside their San Francisco home. She also addressed her political future. Listen to what she says.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There's been a lot of discussion about whether you'd retire if Democrats lose the House. I know you're not going to answer that question, so I'm not even going to ask that question.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I'm -- I'm good.

COOPER: But I will ask, can you confirm that you've made a decision about what you would do? PELOSI: Well, that's like asking the question, isn't it?

COOPER: I'm not asking what the decision is. I'm just asking, have you looked ahead and have you made the decision in your mind, whatever that decision might be?

PELOSI: Well, I have to say, my decision will be affected about what happened the last week or two.

COOPER: Will it be -- will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?


COOPER: It will.

PELOSI: Um-hmm. Yes.


COATES: Back again with our panel now. I wonder what your reaction is, the idea of her decision whether to run again and be speaker of the House, obviously, based on what happened to her husband.

I mean, just think about the tragedy of that attack may be changing the course of her political destiny. What are your thoughts?


CARDONA: Yes. I mean, I thought -- first of all, that was an incredible interview. And it was so heart-wrenching. And it was really kind of amazing to see her in that position. Only because, I mean, I know her. I've seen her, right? She is completely warm and wonderful and giving and generous. But a whole lot of people don't see that part of her. Right?

And this was allowed to -- this allowed her to show her basic humanity. Right? She really responded in a way that I think all of us would. That real people would. And a lot of times people don't see her as a real person.

And so I think that answer is completely natural. Because all of us would look at what happened in that situation. God forbid -- none of us go through that. And of course, everyone would rethink their priorities.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but then political violence wins. If that forces her to retire -- it is totally natural --

CARDONA: I don't know. I don't know that that's going to force her to retire, though.

CAMEROTA: So you heard it differently. That maybe she's not going to retire because of that?


CAMEROTA: You heard it, too?

BERMAN: I wonder. I don't know. I'm sitting there going, well, what is she telling me? Is she telling me that I'm not going to quit, no matter what, because I'm going to fight until, you know, the very last breath that I have now? Because I'm so mad at what they did to my husband. Or, I could easily see it the other way. That I just --

CARDONA: I think it's -- I think it's the former.

DENT: Prior to this assault, this horrible assault on her husband, I think the conventional wisdom was, if the Democrats lost the House, that she would, you know, cede the field. And certainly, this event, you know, I think sure is going to affect her thinking about her future.

By the way, I was in a home that had my bedroom door kicked in when I was a kid. That is not fun.

CAMEROTA: For political violence?

DENT: No, no. I was just in the house.

CARDONA: Just violence?

DENT: I was house-sitting. I had my door kicked in by a burglar.

CAMEROTA: Oh, a burglar.

DENT: I did all the wrong things. I chased him out of the house. But it was -- it was a mess.


DENT: I was 16. But it's a horrible, traumatic experience. You don't ever want this. And to have -- you know, to have what happened to him.

I think if Congress were smart about this, they'd start passing some laws, maybe, to have enhanced penalties for people who assault federal officials and their families. Something. They've got to respond to this. Because this is really out of --

COATES: I mean, it's in the works in the sense of judges, right? Part of it. Ever since, not only the attack on -- or the attempted attack on Justice Kavanaugh, but also a judge out of New Jersey. And the horror that happened to her husband --


COATES: -- and her only child, her son. I mean, the idea that there has been sort of a political hurdle of trying to protect the family members has really been part of the delay in getting those things passed. And you have it here. DENT: I used to have to have police go to my house every so often just

to patrol, because there'd be threats. They'd go to your family; they would say something crazy. And then, you know, the police are parked outside my house for a while. But this is the reality. It's harsh.

CARDONA: Yes. And there's no question that we have reached a height of political violence that I don't think we've seen, at least in any of our generations.

And there's also no question in my mind who's at fault. And the person who's at fault, I think, the person who has allowed this to happen is Donald Trump. And Republican elected officials who have never had the cojones to say what he's doing is wrong, and it's putting our country in danger.

And so I think, when all is said and done, a lot of people like to "both sides" this. But we have to put this at the feet of the person who's responsible and do everything that we can, elected officials and people from both parties, and independents, to say this is not who we are as a country. And we can't allow that to happen.

CAMEROTA: On that note, everybody stick around. We have final thoughts on this election day, next.



CAMEROTA: OK. It is almost 1 a.m. here in the East. This is election day in America. Forty-one million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting.

COATES: And millions more will head to the polls throughout the entire day and into this evening.

Let's get some final thoughts right now from our panel as we head into the morning of the elections. What are you looking for? What do you think is going to happen?

DENT: Well, look, nobody plays good defense in politics. It's all about offense. The team that's on offense is probably going to do well. I suspect Republicans are going to have a good night. I'm not going to say a great night. But a good night. They're going to certainly win the House. It's just a matter of how much.

If you had asked me this a few weeks ago, I would have said they'd pick up 10 to 20 seats. Maybe tomorrow, I'd say they could pick up 20 to 30 seats.

CAMEROTA: Your prediction, Maria?

CARDONA: I think Democrats are going to hold onto the Senate. And I want to say to Democrats out there, and progressives, and independents, and commonsense Republicans who are afraid of all of the election deniers out there to have hope. Because I know that there's been a lot of prognosticating, even from

strategists in my own party that this is doom and gloom. This is not doom and gloom. At least right now, at this moment, the data does not show that we should be dooming and glooming. That we should actually be optimistic.

We're ahead by almost 4.5 million votes. There's a poll that shows us ahead in the generic ballot. There's a poll that also shows that threats to democracy is one of the key things that people are going to the polls to think about.

And like I said before, I think there is this underlying current of young people, especially women and voters of color, that are going to be coming out and talking about how important the Dobbs, Roe v. Wade decision is. Even though they are really concerned about inflation, and that things are costing more, they will go into the ballot box and say, You know what? Yes, my eggs might be a little bit more now than they were before, but the economy is going to come back. My rights will not.

COATES: You'll be at the Magic Wall a lot tomorrow. What are you looking at?

BERMAN: I'm going to be looking at who gets the most votes. I'm going to be focused mostly in each race --


BERMAN: -- on who gets the most votes. And that's what I think will help determine who wins.


Now I -- look, first of all, yes, I'm going to be at the Magic Wall. My wife was telling me I should get a manicure, which I've never done. But I'm not going to do that.

COATES: Is that why you're hiding your nails right now?

BERMAN: I was hiding my hands now. No one's going to see my hands.

Look, I think people need to be prepared for this to go a few days. Pennsylvania, the presidential race was not projected until the Saturday after election day last time. Georgia was not until January, because there was a run-off. This time, the runoff will be in December.

So we could be talking sometime before we know who controls the Senate. And people just need to be prepared for that.

CAMEROTA: What time are you going to be on the air? Just so that our viewers can --

BERMAN: I think -- this is very important. I'm glad you brought this up. I expect I'll be on the air again tomorrow from 7 a.m. to noon.

CAMEROTA: It's today.

BERMAN: Whatever. Seven a.m. to noon.

COATES: Later on.

BERMAN: And then 2 a.m., starting the 2 a.m. shift, as soon as John King gets tired, where he needs to be.

COATES: Does John King get tired?

BERMAN: So 2 a.m. to noon the following day.


CAMEROTA: OK, got it.


CAMEROTA: I'll be on with you from 9 a.m. today till noon. So I can't wait to see you work that Magic Wall.

BERMAN: And great to see you. Thank you. I'm going to call H.R.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

COATES: Time for a manicure in between.

CAMEROTA: That's a great idea.

COATES: That's good.

CAMEROTA: That's a great idea.

OK. And you guys will be on all night?

DENT: Yes. And with you tomorrow morning.

CARDONA: We are here, and we will be on. Not quite sure what time.

DENT: Three a.m.

CARDONA: I'll be on at 4:15 a.m. later on today.

DENT: Three a.m.

CARDONA: And then during the day, as well.

COATES: Indefinite, people. This will be an indefinite -- We're going to have a 24-hour news cycle going on right now, everyone.

CAMEROTA: Oh, for sure.

COATES: So make sure you're watching. Where else would you be, of course? It is election day, and we will know what's going to happen in this very consequential midterm election season.

CARDONA: Go vote.

COATES: Thank you for watching.

CAMEROTA: Our live coverage of election day in America continues with Erica Hill and John Vause.