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CNN Live Event/Special

Control of Congress at Stake as Voters Head to Polls; Americans Head to Polls in Consequential Midterm Elections; Democrats and Republicans Battle for Black and Latino Voters. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 10:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And Election Day in America well underway. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining us. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're looking at live pictures of voters lined up to cast their ballots. Three more states just opened their doors to voters, California, Idaho and Nevada.

At stake, of course, who will control the Congress. Dozens of house Races are considered tossups. Republicans need to win 30 competitive seats to win the majority. In the Senate, Republicans just need to flip one Democratic seat to clinch the majority. And the race is most likely to determine control are very tight.

More than 40 million Americans cast their ballot so far before the polls even opened today, with some states setting earlier voting records. We have got this consequential midterm election covered from coast to coast today.

I want to begin with our coverage with CNN's Jason Carroll who is live in Pennsylvania where control of the Senate could be decided. How are things in Bucks County?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Anderson, a lot of people are wondering if things could be decided right here in Bensalem in lower Bucks County. There reason for that is because there are a lot of suburbs in lower Bucks County, highly populate and a lot of key voters that could end up making a real decision in terms of who ends up winning either the Senate seat or the governor's race.

As you can see here, we've seen a number of folks coming out this morning. We've been talking to voters about what matters most to them in terms of the issues. So, I want to introduce you to Rose Anne and Jack Payson (ph). They've lived here for 45 years. You have some very strong opinions about why you came out today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I don't like Donald Trump. Voting for a Republican like Mastriano means that we're going to have more trouble not voting for Trump.

CARROLL: And how about you, in terms of the issues, though, the issues that mattered most to you? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think the Roe issue bothers me. I think women should be able to choose. I don't like the fact that in -- when women are sick, there is an issue that they're being -- could be treated properly when they're pregnant and it is not simply that they don't want the child and they want an abortion, there are other issues involved and it puts the doctors and the hospitals not knowing what to do that if they do the wrong thing, they'll get sued.

CARROLL: And, Rose Anne (ph), when we're talking -- when folks are watching from around country when you think about Bucks County, we explained this is the type of area where you have a lot of swing voters, voters who went for one candidate then another. Can you explain why that is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can't. I have no idea why that is.

CARROLL: But you've heard about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes you've heard about it. I'm not sure. I don't know if it is the environment we're living in or what, or maybe -- I really believe the CNNs --

CARROLL: Oh, here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You put out the news and we hear it a lot and people are more and more informed.

CARROLL: Okay. And when people are more informed, they make better judgments. And so people who may have voted for a candidate before may change their mind because of that.

CARROLL: Very good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really think that it is good that people are flexible, that they should take into account all of the issues and that they thud have the right to change their mind.

CARROLL: Very good. Thank you very much, Jack and Rose Anne (ph). Thank you very much for your vote.

Again, Anderson, a lot of the various opinions out here and in Bucks County, again, the turnout here is expected to be very high. Candidates on both sides are going to be looking for the returns to see what happens here. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Jason, always great to hear from voters. Thank you.

Two major races underway in Georgia including a rematch between Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams, and the incumbent Democratic senator, Raphael Warnock, is expected at an Election Day event in Atlanta. He is facing Republican Challenger, of course, Herschel Walker.

CNN Correspondent Nick Valencia is outside a polling place in Atlanta. What is it looking like this morning? A lot of early voting, obviously. NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of early voting, in fact, historic numbers of early voting, Anderson. 2.2 million votes cast throughout the state of Georgia. That was a record. And it seems that there are just really long lines this is morning. Not right now, though.

If you just take a look behind me, this is one of the polling locations in the city of Atlanta earlier this morning for the pre-work rush. There was about 20 people lined up outside. It is really in and out at this point.

The secretary of state's office reporting no major outages, though there were a few hiccups to get things started in some polling places across the state. Right now, though, the average wait time is just about two or three minutes. It takes only about less than a minute to get checked in.

And just like Jason, we wanted to introduce you to some voters here. This is Andy Hill. Andy, you actually voted in 2020 here.


Good morning, man. You've voted in 2020. You waited four hours to early vote.

ANDY HILL, GEORGIA VOTER: Yes. We went -- the first day of early voting in 2020, we waited four hours. And I had heard in 2020 that if you go the day of, it was much better. So, we waited until the day of this year.

VALENCIA: So, we're asking voters what issues are really, really important to you. What was it so important, why is it so important to vote and what are the issues that are really important to you in your life?

HILL: Right. Well, I work in ministry and I'm a seminary student. So, what is really important to me is basic human rights and how the government is protecting them or not protecting them. I saw what the Supreme Court did to women's right in the last term and it made me really concerned as a gay man that they're not going to be standing up for more rights in the next term if that comes up for a debate. So, I want to make sure that the people who are in office, both at the state and at the federal level, have my rights in mind and are interested in protecting my rights.

VALENCIA: Really powerful stuff, Andy. Do you feel any added significance as a Georgia voter with this now being called a battleground state, Georgia being called a battleground?

HILL: Absolutely. I mean, I see the population growth just in the last three years being here. I am part of the population growth, apparently.

VALENCIA: You're the reason why it is a battleground now, right? Yes.

HILL: I lived in New York previously and it never seemed urgent to vote for my own rights in New York but it seems urgent here.

VALENCIA: Well, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for participating in this democracy here.

Andy Hill, one of the voters that cast their ballots today. You could see behind me, Anderson, more and more people starting to show up, a steady stream all morning long. Anderson?

COOPER: Nice to see. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Moments ago, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson cast his vote at a polling place in Milwaukee. He is facing a challenge from the Democrat, Mandela Barnes.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is live in a polling place in Milwaukee. What else is going on, Lucy?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we know that Ron Johnson has just voted, casting his own ballot. He is, of course, the two-term incumbent senator, Republican senator, who is facing against Democrat Mandela Barnes, the lieutenant governor here in Wisconsin.

It has been a bitter, closely contested race, a lot of political advertising, millions spent on political advertising between these two candidates. But from the voters that we've been talking to here in Milwaukee, outside of this polling location, it's really not about these individual candidates, it is the bigger issues that they represent. Take a listen.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): This is the fullest I've seen in the parking lot but I guess quite a few of you guys are here. So, anyway, I just want to encourage every Republican to get out and vote. I assume this is a dead even race. I would like to see obviously would like to win. I would like to win by a wide margin, not for partisan purposes but literally so that it will send a strong signal to our Democrat colleagues that their policies aren't working, that they'll actually work with us to reduce deficit spending and their war on fossil fuel, get tough on crime and secure the border. We do need this. And those of you traveling with me in the bus, my message has been we have to unify and heal this nation. And the best way to do that is get this nation back on the course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got a tight governor's, tight Senate race. In general --


KAFANOV: And I apologize. That was obviously Senator Ron Johnson speaking there after voting.

And so what we've been hearing from voters themselves, though, is issues, like the economy. Some of the Republicans we've spoken to said inflation and the economy, that is what they're coming out here to cast their ballots for. They want to see a change in that. For some of the Democratic voters who are voting for, for example, Mandela Barnes or the Democratic governor, they want -- threats to democracy is something they are concerned about, the divisions in this country are something that they are concerned about.

And so it is an incredibly close race. It is a very purple state. A lot of times, the votes here really do come down to the wire. And so it remains to be seen which direction Wisconsin will go. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Lucy Kafanov, thanks very much. We'll check back with you shortly.

All 435 House seats are on the ballot as voters across America head to polls.

John Berman is here. What is the playing field on the House? What does it look like you?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, this is what America looks like right now. All 435 districts, they are up. You can vote for your member of Congress today, if you haven't already. 188 of these seats are considered solid Republican, 165 solid Democrats and then there are 82, let me come over here and write that number down so people can see it.,82 that are considered competitive. And these are numbers put together by the CNN election desk with the help of Inside Elections, 82 competitive seats.

Now of those 82, we think that Republicans need to win 30. They have a shorter path to the majority. They only need to win 30 of the 82 competitive seats or where Democrats have to win 53 of the 82 if they want to maintain control.


That's because a lot more of those competitive seats at this point, Anderson, are in Democratic turf.

COOPER: So, where are you looking at particularly?

BERMAN: All right. Let me get out of this so people could see what I'm talking about here. In -- let me remove this one last filter. The competitive seats here you're going to looking at now are all in gray. All of the competitive seats are in gray. Some the early closing election states are Virginia. Virginia, we think, has three competitive seats there. You can see them here in gray.

If we look back two years ago within these borders, Democrats carried all three of these competitive seats. Democrats need to hold all three of these, really, if they want to have a good night. One of those seats is here. This is Virginia's second congressional district. Elaine Luria who, Anderson, you'll know, was on the January 6 committee, she's in a tight race in this seat. It includes Virginia Beach. This is a seat that Joe Biden won but by only about a point- and-a-half. So this is sort of a knife's edge seat. If you're looking for a bellwether here, 1.8 percent for Joe Biden, Elaine Luria is going to need to do that well, win by at least a few votes, 1.8 percent, or better to maintain it. If this goes Republican early in the evening, this could be a sign that the night will be going Republican.

One other state I can point out to you is Indiana. Polls close there, they start closing at 6:00. They all close by 7:00. There is one competitive district, that is Gary, the first congressional district, it includes Gary, Indiana, You can see, this was a seat that Joe Biden carried. And this is a seat right now that an incumbent Democrat, Frank Mrvin, wants to hold on to. This is a seat that Joe Biden won, as I said. He won it by over 8 percent. So, the Democratic margin there is fairly comfortable, if early in the evening and we will start seeing numbers from Indiana fairly early on. If Frank Mrvin is having trouble holding this seat or it is closer than 8.3 percent, again, that could spell a tough or tougher night, Anderson, for the Democrats.

COOPER: Yes, some of the competitive seats we're looking at. John Berman, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

If Republicans win the majority in the House, it is will have implications obviously on the president's agenda, President Biden's agenda. We'll take a look at that, next.



COOPER: Millions of Americans are casting their votes at the polls today to decide the balance of power in Washington and the future of President Biden's agenda, whose message resonated most with voters.

Back with me now, our senior contributors, Natasha Alford, V.P. of Digital Content and Senior Correspondent for theGrio, Ron Brownstein, he's a senior editor for The Atlantic, and Jonah Goldberg, he's the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Dispatch.

Turnout today, obviously critical. I mean, there has been so many -- in a number of states, early voting has been in very high numbers.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: When we have had decisive midterms, and when they are decisive, they're always against the party in power, there are two ingredients that come together to produce the result. One is that independent voters who are the people most likely to vote on current conditions, vote against the party in power. Every decisive midterm back to 1986, the party in power has lost independents by double digits. So, that is one thing to look for tonight.

But, usually, the even bigger factor is who shows up, differential turnout. I mean, if you look at 2008 to 2010, or 2012 to 2014, about 40 percent fewer voters showed up each time from the presidential to the next midterm, and they were disproportionately Democrats based, on the analysis by Catalyst, which is a firm that can study down to the individual voter. That is the risk for Democrat, that kind of subsumes discussion of individual races.

If you have a -- the out party is always motivated to vote in a midterm. It's been true going back to the civil war. We were talking about that before. If you have a wide differential in the number of Democrats who fall off versus the number of Republicans who fall off from 2020, that is when you get the kind of the wave and people don't expect to lose, lose and that will be centered on young voters. Part of the reason Democrats did better in 2018 was because young voters fell off less than they usually do. Everybody falls off. Young voters showed up 2018. There is a big risk they will not show up in those numbers in 2022. And if that happens, that is when you could see surprises and a real series of dominos following.

COOPER: What do you think -- I talked to Nancy Pelosi yesterday. There has been a lot of speculation about if Republicans take the House, whether she will retire from the House altogether. I just want to play what she said about her plans.


COOPER: I knew there's obviously been a lot of discussion about whether you would 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.


COOPER: But I will ask, can you confirm that you've made a decision about what you would do?

PELOSI: Well, that is like asking the question, isn't it?

COOPER: No, I'm not asking what the decision is. I'm just asking, have you looked ahead and, I mean, have you made a decision in your mind whatever that decision might be?

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

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


COOPER: It will?



COOPER: What do you think the likelihood of her retiring is?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I mean, hammer blow to the head on an 82-year-old man is a serious thing.


And she may want to be -- I mean, that is a perfectly legitimate thing for a wife wanting to be with her longtime husband when he's injured like that. I also could totally understand why Nancy Pelosi wouldn't want to be around in a Republican Congress controlled by Kevin McCarthy, where Kevin McCarthy, his days may be numbered as speaker. I don't think it is an obvious thing that he is --

COOPER: Do you think he might not become speaker or might not last as speaker?

GOLDBERG: I don't think it is obvious that he becomes speaker and I don't think it is obvious that he stays speaker. I think that the Republican Congress -- well, cards on the table, think Republicans are going to win, they're going to take back the House. That is what I believe. I think it is a normal midterm, first year kind of historic trend kind of thing. I think Republicans will overread their mandate because every party after an election for the last 20 years has overread their mandate, swung for the moon and made huge mistakes. And the idea that Nancy Pelosi wants to be around in all of that and the chaos that is going to follow with the Republican party, maybe she'll bring popcorn and enjoy it but I kind of think she would rather be with her family.

BROWNSTEIN: I don't know if she wants to let her drive her out, though. That is the way it would be viewed, I think. And I'm thinking we're suggesting in the question. She might have been more likely to step aside in a Republican-controlled Congress if this has not happened. But I think the idea that the right would interpret this as driving her out, I think, would make her less likely to go myself.

COOPER: There was -- I mean, obviously for her to get to be speaker again, she had said she would retire as speaker. Obviously, if the Republicans take control, she won't be speaker any more. Do you think there are -- when you look at the Democratic Party, when you look at the Democrats in Congress, who could fill Nancy Pelosi's shoes one day?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think the fact that we have to like kind of pause and really think about it, think about how deep the bench isn't, reflects a problem with the Democratic Party, right? And I think that voters feel that too. You look at polls, you think about the fact that Joe Biden's approval ratings are so low, there is so much enthusiasm for seeing a new nominee, and yet every time we look at headlines, we're debating whether Joe Biden is coming back to face off against Donald Trump.

Why is that -- why is it that he is our only option despite everything that we've seen concerns about his age, concerns about whether he's actually able to be that bipartisan leader and get things done? So, I do worry about what's next.

BROWNSTEIN: Whatever happens to her, I guess, I think that Democrats in the House are going to have to look at the kind of the structural issue here. I mean, Democrats have won the popular in seven of the last eight presidential elections, which no party has done since the formation of the modern party system in 1828. But over that period, Republicans have controlled the House for 20 of the 28 years. And if they lose tonight, that will mean each time that Democrats have won it back over that long span, they've lost it in four years. They lost it in 2010 after winning it in 2006, and they will probably lose it in '22 after 2018. And I think the message there is that even though they have this big coalition that wins presidential elections, they are not competing on a broad enough playing field. Geographically, there is too much of the country that is essentially a no-go zone for Democratic House candidates and it leaves them with such a tight margin that if people are dissatisfied at all about crime or inflation, their suburb numbers cannot get up -- they have to win so much in surburbia because they've seeded so much of the country. I think that is going to be an issue after tonight.

COOPER: We're going to have to take a break. Be sure to join CNN's special coverage. It begins at 4:00 P.M. Eastern. Democrats and Republicans battling it out for the black and Latino vote. Which party will be better with those voters? We'll discuss next.



COOPER: And welcome back. You are watching CNN special coverage of Election Day in America. Polls are now open in nearly every state with voters deciding which party is going to control Congress. Americans will also elect 36 governors across country. Republicans need to win 30 competitive seats to take the majority in the House. And in the Senate, Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to clinch the majority from Democrats.

The big questions will Republicans see gains among Latino voters. Several key House races in Texas and a critical Senate race in Nevada right now hinging on Latino vote.

Joining me now is CNN Commentator Xochitl Hinojosa. She's a former senior adviser communications director for the Democratic National Committee. Also with us is LaTosha Brown, she's the co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund.

So, Xochitl, according to this Pew Research, Latinos this midterm are projected to account for, I think, 14.3 percent of all eligible voters, which is a new election high. And there is a piece in The Wall Street Journal, a poll in The Wall Street Journal, finding that the Republican Party is gaining support among black and Latino voters. Why do you think we're seeing that trend?

XOCHITL HINOJOSA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that Republicans woke up the day after that Trump lost the presidency and they realized that if they were to try to make inroads with black and Latino voters, that they would potentially be able to win the midterm election and the presidential election in 2024.

Well, I do give them credit because they have recruited Latino candidates all across this country. The reality is they're still really behind when it comes to Latino outreach. Estimates show that Democrats are spending about $40 million to reach Latino voters this is cycle in both English and Spanish and you have on the other Republicans are spending about $10 million.

There is this race that you mentioned, Anderson, in South Texas, Myra Flores, that flipped from blue to red in a special election.


But we have to remember that was 7 percent turnout.