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CNN Live Event/Special

Election Night in America. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 19:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRSPONDENT: Polls close in Virginia. That is a big early clue.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. John, thanks so much.

We are just moments away from the first big round of poll closings, and the first actual results from the critical battleground state of Georgia. The Senate race there among a handful of contests that will decide which party controls the chamber. And we are ready to make our first projection.

CNN is projecting that incumbent Republican Senator Tim Scott will be re-elected, defeating Crystal Matthews. There are four Senate races that are too early right now, too early to call. Those races are, not surprisingly, the big Senate race in Georgia between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and football star Herschel Walker. Too early to call.

Also too early to call, races in Vermont. There is an open Senate seat between Congressman Peter welsh and the Challenger Malloy. Too early to call in Vermont.

Too early to call in Indiana, incumbent Senator Todd Young running for re-election that. Race too early to call. And then Kentucky incumbent Senator Rand Paul, too early to call right now. He is running for re- election.

Let's look at the balance of power in the Senate at this hour right now. Remember, Democrats need -- Democrats have 36 Senate seats. Republicans currently have 30 seats, 34 seats remain. And we'll be bringing those to you over the next few hours, 34 seats. Republicans only need to pick up one seat to win and regain control of the U.S. Senate.

Let's go back to Georgia now because Nick Valencia is at a voting location in Atlanta, Georgia, the biggest city there. You have new information from the secretary of state's office.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I want to start, they just closed up shop here. It's 7:00 p.m. the polls officially closed in Georgia for most of the precincts here where we are in Fulton county, they just started to take away those "vote here" placards. It is quiet here. So quiet you can really hear the hum of the street lights. I have of a

registered 3,005 voters, 361 cast their votes in person. I did ask the election supervisor how many of those registered voters perhaps voted early. She said she didn't have that information. But we'd find in just a matter of hours.

There's 2,600 polling locations across the state of Georgia. Six of them have been ordered by the courts to stay open past that 7:00 p.m. deadline. Two of them in Cobb County. Another two in DeKalb County. Secretary of state's office also making some news earlier at a press conference saying that we should get results earlier than expected, crediting a reform Senate voting bill that gave more clarity to county elections officials as to when they could start counting.

TAPPER: Nick Valencia, thanks so much.

And the first actual votes are coming in from Georgia. They are highly contested. Kasie Hunt, what are you seeing?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, they are, Jake. We are finally starting to get some votes in this race that we have been talking about literally for months. Raphael Warnock out to an early lead, 75 percent of the vote. He's ahead by about 15,000 votes of Herschel Walker right now who's coming in at 24.1 percent.

Obviously, we're going to need to ask John King at the magic wall exactly where this vote is coming from because we do not expect this race to be quite so lopsided as our early totals are showing us. Again, just 1 percent of the vote in here. And Chase Oliver, that libertarian candidate, he could be the one that decides whether this race goes to a runoff. Because if he picks up enough and neither one of these men is above 50, we could be looking at four more weeks of this.

Let's check in on Florida where we are also starting to get votes. Remember, Florida counts pretty early. Val Demings out to an early lead, 63.5 percent, to Marco Rubio's 35.7 percent. Another one, we're really going to want to know where the votes are coming in here. Just 5 percent of the votes, I think you've got up some dates on the governor's race.

Boris, I think you've got some updates on the governor's race.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESOPNDENT: It's very early. We're going to take a quick look at Georgia to start right now.

Stacey Abrams has a lead over incumbent Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams leading by about 13,000 votes, a lop-sided advantage. Only 1 percent of the vote in the state, a very important state for control of the U.S. Senate.

Let's get an update now, a key race alert from the state of Florida because Charlie Crist, the Democrat also in the lead against incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis. He's ahead about 100,000 votes, but only 5 percent of the vote so far in the Sunshine State, Jake. TAPPER: All right. Well, these are just the votes coming in right

now. Let's find out where they're coming from to give us an idea of the state of play and also why these races look so lopsided right now.

So let's start, John, wherever you want to start, Georgia or Florida.


But where is this vote coming in showing such a Democratic advantage?

KING: Right. We are just getting started. So, again, you're looking at this map. If you're a Democrat, you're very happy. If you're a Republican, just wait, it's going to take a while. But every vote counts, right?

Why is Charlie Crist ahead? Because the only votes we have from Florida are from heavily Democratic Broward County. Miami-Dade is just to the south, traditionally a big Republican area. Republicans say watch Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio in Miami-Dade tonight. We'll keep an eye on that when we do get those votes.

TAPPER: Just interrupt for one second, I'm so sorry. That Miami-Dade that you're talking about, that is also part of a theme we'll be following this night is how much are Republicans improving their margins when it comes to the Latino vote?

KING: Absolutely. And it's a different Latino population in Florida than it is in Arizona or Nevada. That will be a dynamic throughout the night, throughout the week. In the months after analyzing the election and what happened tonight.

But the reason Charlie Crist is ahead right now, 250,000 votes, is because of Broward County. Now, you could say on the one hand just calm down. On the other hand, if Charlie Crist is to be competitive, he needs to run it up if Broward county. When you see these early results, if you come back to the presidential race in 2020, Donald Trump won the state.

But Joe Biden got 65 percent in Broward County. Even if Charlie Crist is getting 65 percent here, Donald Trump won Florida quite handily.

TAPPER: Right, we should note that right now on these early numbers, Biden is almost at 65 percent. Crist is at 62 percent. It's early, but that's an underperformance as of now. And those margins matter.

KING: If Charlie Crist stays there in Broward County, Joe Biden was higher and he lost the state of Florida. It's a big county, it's about 9 percent of the state population. So that's the governor's race.

Let's just stay in the Senate race because it's the same result essentially. I'll go back to the governor's race in just a moment. Come back to Broward County, running at 63, 64 percent. That's great.

Is it good enough? That's the question as you move in. We're finally getting some votes here. This is interesting in terms of by the end of the night. This is 62 percent of the estimated vote in Pinellas County.

I would caution, sometimes you get the mail-in ballots. This could be a potential swing county. Pretty close.

TAPPER: Sixty-two percent. How did Biden do in 2020?

KING: We hit presidential and Biden gets 50, that's a 50/50. This is one of your swing counties in America where you go through it's the sixth largest in the state, it's 5 percent of the population. It's a tie essentially. Biden won by just a little bit here.

Let's come back to 2022. Again, it's interesting to see the early votes. And it helps you build your questions essentially if you do what I do for a living, this house is coming in and go. But I would -- you know, no one want you to jump to any conclusions here.

But as we're talking, this is the wonder of election night is as we're talking, you get more. So you come up here. Let me come back to the Senate race. And you come up here, and you see, again, this is a place where the Democrats have to win. But if you come out statewide and look, we got a long way to go.

Val Demings is ahead early on. Senator Rubio is favored in this race. This is one of those race where's she was viewed as the most House member, former law enforcement official, viewed as the most competitive Democrat they could do in a state that is a Republican state.

TAPPER: Let's head north. Let's go to Georgia.

KING: So, we see the Senate race here. Again, Raphael Warnock pulling out to an early lead. You'd always rather be ahead than behind. But look at how empty. We do have some early votes in Fulton County. You have up 75 percent in Fulton County.

And that's a lot of the vote. That's 63 percent in this huge bucket of votes. Can I ask, how is Raphael Warnock compared to Stacey Abrams who's running for governor on the very same ballot?

TAPPER: So, this is a fundamental question. In Atlanta where it's the largest population, 10 percent of the statewide vote. You have a significant African American population so a Democratic base.

KING: So, you see, Raphael Warnock, it's 75.3 percent, remember the raw numbers, too. Sometimes raw numbers matter, 209,000. And then you come over, 75, and 209. You come over here, 71 and 198. So, again, this is early. But if that holds up, that's a problem for Stacey Abrams.

TAPPER: But that means, just to translate for our viewers, that means that there are people who are going into their polling places, voting for Brian Kemp the Republican, and then on the Senate race voting for Raphael Warnock, the Democrat.

KING: Or the libertarian. But, yes, certainly going elsewhere. Democrats who are voting for Senate and not voting for Stacey Abrams whether they leave it blank or whether they're voting for Kemp or Hazel. At the end of the night, we'll be able to add up Kemp math, there's your number right there, 64,796.


So, just shy of 65,000 so far early in the Senate race. And you see Brian Kemp at 79,000. So Brian Kemp is getting more votes in hugely overwhelmingly Democratic Fulton County than the Senate candidate. That's an incumbent Republican governor, the panel was talking about it earlier whose brand is strong in the state.

And, again, if that holds up, if Brian Kemp is running there, you say 28 percent, he's getting whooped in Fulton County. That's not a bad number.

Then he has to, again, the suburbs around Atlanta are likely to be blue at the end of the night. The question is, is Brian Kemp strong enough, because all of this, almost all of this is going to be red.

TAPPER: Two of the phenomena that we're going to be watching tonight is comparing how these candidates are doing with how Trump and Biden did in 2020 and whether this outperformance, and also ticket-splitting because that's going to be relevant in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

As we stand by for more votes from Georgia and Florida and other places, polling places in three more states are closing very soon featuring two very important U.S. Senate races. This is election night, it's just getting started. Brew some coffee, stay with us. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's election night in America.

Let me just bring you up to speed about what we're going to looking for all night when it comes to the control of the House and the Senate, all right?

In the U.S. Senate, Democrats currently have 36 seats. Republicans currently have 30 seats. We'll be looking at the 34 seats that are remaining.

Remember, Republicans only need to pick up one net seat in order to regain control of the U.S. Senate.

Now, let's take a look at the U.S. House. As of right now, Democrats, we are projecting, have won two seats. Republicans have won five seats. It is very early, 428 seats remain. Democrats and Republicans battling for that magic number of 218 needed to control the House of Representatives. That is where we are in the evening as of right now.

Now, look, we're not going to be looking at all 435 seats. We're going to be looking at a very few competitive seats, it's about 82. And right now, Republicans have to win 30 of those 82 in order to regain control of the house. And Democrats need to win 53 of those competitive seats in order to hold onto control of the House. Let's go to Kasie Hunt right now to give us an update on where things

actually stand with the actual vote coming in on these competitive U.S. Senate races -- Kasie.

HUNT: Sounds good, Jake.

Let's start here in Florida, which has tightened since the last time we visited these numbers: 49.9 percent for the Democrat Val Demings, about 13,000 or so votes separating her from incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio at 49.1 percent.

So, this is a much closer representation to where we actually expected to be, but it's very early in the night, only about 20-something percent in of the vote in Florida.

Now, let's one of the closest races that we look at all night long. The question does somebody hit 50 percent and avoid a runoff and four more weeks of this, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kasie, thanks so much. We are counting down to the next round of poll closings. More early tests of whether Democrats will hold or lose their control of the House and of the U.S. Senate. It's 7:30 Eastern.

Polls will close in North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia. Remember, 218 seats are needed to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives, 31 seats are at stake in the three states where voting is about to end. Only five of those races are competitive. Every one of them could help tilt the house majority one way or another.

In the battle for the U.S. Senate, the Ohio race has been contentious. Ten-term Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan facing venture capitalist and author JD Vance. They are vying for an open seat currently held by a Republican senator.

In North Carolina, Democrat Cheri Beasley is aiming to become the state's first Black senator, the former state's Supreme Court justice is up against three-term Congressman Ted Budd. Polls close in Ohio, West Virginia, and North Carolina just moments from now.

Let's check in right now with Melanie Zanona who is in Columbus, Ohio, recovering J.D. Vance.

Melanie, CNN caught up with the candidate as he arrived at campaign headquarters.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. We spot him outside the hotel. We asked him how he is feeling and he says we're feeling good. He was all smiles.

And I can tell you I checked in with a campaign source. And he said the campaign right now is buzzing with excitement as the polls are about to come to a close here. They say -- they are saying low turnout in Cuyahoga County, a strong Democratic county that includes Cleveland that, went for Joe Biden in 2020. So that's a very important county for Tim Ryan, the Democrat.

I checked in with his campaign. They said that there is a potential data lag in Cleveland proper where there's less staffing with precincts and that they are seeing good numbers in the suburbs. As you can see, it's starting to get underway here at the election party.

This is the Ohio GOP election night party, this is where Vance is. I am told that he's been popping in and out of the room that his team has set up here and he's been checking in when they're crunching numbers. They'll know more in the next 30 minutes after the polls close. And remember, here in Ohio, it's all about the three C's, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Melanie Zanona at Vance headquarters.

Let's go now to New Hampshire where Dianne Gallagher is at the headquarters of Don Bolduc.

And, Dianne, Republicans in Washington are very bullish about Mr. Bolduc's chances to defeat and unseat an incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan. What are they telling you up there?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are, Jake, here as well. I spoke with a Republican close to the campaign just a bit ago who tells me they remain confident that they're seeing decent turnout in Republican strongholds here in New Hampshire, and pointed to the tightening polls just in the weeks leading up to the election.


Now, I also spoke with a Democratic strategist with incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan's campaign.

And they told me that they feel good where they are right now because they see strong turnout in the places they needed so far. But they cautioned it was still early. And, Jake, they also noted that they always anticipated this would be a close race, pointing to the fact that Hassan won her race in 2016 by just over 1,000 votes back then.

But, look, there is also eyes across the nation on this race for another reason. And that's because of the Democrats' controversial approach to how they funded essentially ads that supported Bolduc in the Republican primary, thinking that he was an easier opponent because he was more far-right candidate, an election denier, against his moderate opponent in that primary.

Of course, Bolduc did win. And now they are looking at a tossup race here, one that they say could come down to the wire in just a matter of a few votes potentially.

TAPPER: That's right. Play with fire, you get burned.

Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much in Manchester, New Hampshire, with the Bolduc campaign.

David Chalian has some new exit polls from Ohio where we're watching that big Senate race.

What do you go there, Dave?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, we sort of are taking a look here at the economy in Ohio, sort of a scene-setter. I want you to take a look at how Ohio voters are experiencing the economy. We asked what is the condition of the nation's economy, 40 percent say not so good, 35 percent say poor. So three-quarters of Ohio voters in this election say the economy is either not so good or poor.

We also asked about what kind of experience are you having with inflation. In the past year, Ohio voters, 19 percent of them say they've had severe hardship caused by inflation. Another 55 percent say they've had moderate hardship. Only a quarter of the Ohio electorate says they've had no hardship caused by inflation.

How about Biden's policies and whether or not they're helping or hurting the country. This is a rough number for Tim Ryan to see even as he's tried to run a campaign distanced from Joe Biden, 52 percent of Ohio voters say Biden policies are hurting the country. Only 34 percent say helping. 11 percent say not making a difference.

And Biden's just overall approval rating in Ohio, it's even a tick below from where we see it nationally. He's only at 42 percent approval in Ohio among the electorate in this election. 57 percent disapprove. That's sort of the upstream that Tim Ryan's trying to swim in this election.

TAPPER: That's right. It's a very disapproving electorate in Ohio based on the exit polls.

Just to remind you, what we're going to be doing all night when it comes to control of the U.S. house is looking at the competitive races. Because this is where the Republicans and Democrats are either going to win or lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Right now, there are eight competitive seats that are too early to call. Republicans are leading in six of the eight. Democrats are leading in two of the eight. Now, it's early yet. But that is where we are. Right now, eight competitive seats too early to call. Republicans in the lead of six. Democrats in the lead in two.

Let's go over to the magic wall right now. John King, let's talk about this because the way that you look at whether or not there is a national mood, a wave, some phenomenon happening is by looking at whether or not there are trends in these house races that are competitive.

KING: Exactly right. And we'll focus on the competitive races of the district. It's early in the night, just remember this is ahead. These candidates are ahead, 34 Republican as head, 19 Democrats ahead. Six in competitive seats ahead. These races are not called yet. If you come over here, you see these are the races, these are uncalled races. These are called races.

So when we say candidates are ahead, we're not done yet. But we're just trying to lay out where we are in the battlefield right now. You are focusing on the competitive races, 82 of them across the country. If this stays this way as we start calling races, then you have a Republican House and if it stays that way 6-2 --

TAPPER: That's a wave.

KING: That would be -- I don't know if it would be a wave, but it might be 20 plus, might be 25 plus.

TAPPER: I was going by percentages. If Republicans picked up 75 percent of the competitive seats, that's a wave.

KING: Essentially the Democrats need to flip that. They cannot split the competitive seats. They cannot even win 60 percent of the competitive seats. They have to win even more than that. That. This is the full house map as it fills in.

Let's just isolate those competitive seats because they're in very important places. Again, you see the gray. These are where the polls are still open. Look what's filling in so far. What do you see?

TAPPER: A lot of red.

KING: You see a lot of red, so you have one of the races in New Hampshire.


These results are very early, OK? So we need to be careful here. But the Democratic incumbent here is Chris Pappas, that's a very close race, 28-26. We just have the very early votes here.

So, don't jump to conclusions but this is how we'll be watching this. This is a white working-class district in the state of New Hampshire. If they can pick up that kind of district here, then you think, all right, what districts are like that, as you move west. That's how we'll do the calculations through the night.

This is what is interesting so far in the sense, in the commonwealth in Virginia, where the polls are now closed, you have three Democratic incumbents in competitive races, what you see there is red. Again, it's early so we caution everybody to draw no conclusions from this. But this one here is the most Democratic of these districts. Joe Biden won these districts by 18 points. Hung Cao, the Republican challenger, is 263 votes ahead of Jennifer Wexton.

TAPPER: That's only 2 percent.

KING: So we're just laying out the stakes for you and the key races for you tonight. Obviously, you'd rather be ahead.

So, this is -- here's Washington, D.C. Here's Arlington. You come across. This is the northern Virginia suburbs, 132,000 median income, well above the national average. This is a very affluent district, college-educated, high-income people. Democrats have traditionally done well recently. Now you're dropping down. Joe Biden only won this one by seven, 6.7

points two years ago. Yesli Vega, the conservative challenger, only 4 percent. So, we're early on the night. But if you're the Republicans and you're trying to do your math, there's one, there's two.

And then the national name you might know here, in the third race in Virginia, who is currently behind, currently behind, 6 percent of the voting here. Jen Kiggans the Republican challenger, 1,916 votes ahead to Elaine Luria. We're just in the northern Virginia suburbs. This is down to southeast Virginia. Virginia Beach along the coast and the Atlantic Ocean.

In this district here, this is Elaine Luria. It's Democrat by 1.8. This is a very competitive district. Less competitive district as you go through.

If the Republicans can hold these seats in Virginia and we're early, the Republicans are hoping to get two out of the three. If they get three out of the three, then you know back to your term.

TAPPER: So, there's a Democratic pollster that is a wise man. He told me there are three things he is looking at. He's looking at these seats in order to get an idea of how the night's going to go.

One is these three seats. The other one is New Hampshire's Senate. The New Hampshire Senate race. So, let's go over here.

KING: Let's go on over.

TAPPER: And let's see how it is.

So right now, the New Hampshire Senate race, because that's become competitive. Incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan against former I think General Donald Bolduc.

KING: Exactly. An election denier, he tried to switch back and then went back again because the Republican base was getting mad at him, had a war of words throughout the primary, the main thing here in New Hampshire, this corner right here from concord down to Manchester, down to Nashua, that's where the bulk of the population lives.

The bulk of the population is here. It's more suburban, and it's absolutely key to the Democrats. We just got some votes in so let me clear that out.

This is the state capital. Maggie Hassan again, it says 13 percent. Watch these numbers as our teams try to calculate how many people turn out on election day.

TAPPER: How did Biden do in concord?

KING: We come to 2020, we hit the presidential race, 65 percent.

TAPPER: So, she's exceeding that right now. It's very early.

KING: Former governor too. That was her office. She's a former governor of the state. Now she's a United States senator. Let's come back to 2022 and you pull out the state right now. That's the House district on the other side.

Where is General Bolduc ahead? He's in Guilford. Guilford's a great little town. If you're coming from New Hampshire and going skiing, it's a beautiful little town, it's a more Republican down there. We have a long way to go in the count.

But to your point about why this race matters, it's a 50/50 Senate. Republicans were thinking two months ago, Bolduc didn't have a shot. Two weeks ago, maybe. Two days ago, Republicans saying maybe we can get him to the finish line. This is in the 50/50 Senate Democrats need to hold this seat. They can't be losing any of the blue seats as they go through it here.

So this is what we watch here in the Senate race and you see the early results in the Georgia Senate. It's very early and very early on the Democratic candidate was leading in the Florida Senate race. Now the Republican incumbent Marco Rubio is leading.

We're about to get when it comes to the Senate we're about to get Ohio. And when it comes to the House, we get many more competitive districts in the moments ahead, and again, results coming in, in Virginia, competitive districts in New Hampshire. We'll have a good sense in the next 30 minutes or so how the house is looking.

TAPPER: All right, John King.

Polls are closing in three more states. Two of them, Ohio and North Carolina have high-stakes Senate races. It is too early to call the Ohio Senate race between JD Vance and incumbent Congressman Tim Ryan, both of them squaring off for an open U.S. Senate seat.

Too early to call in Ohio. In North Carolina, another open Senate seat from another Republican retiring. That race as well between Cheri Beasley and Congressman Ted Budd, that race also, too early to call.

The overall balance of power right now in the U.S. Senate, Democrats control 36 U.S. Senate seats. Republicans control 30 U.S. Senate seats, 34 seats remain.

Remember, Republicans only need to pick up one net Senate seat.

So let's go to Boris Sanchez right now who has a projection when it comes to governor's races -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Jake, this is our first projection in the governor's race for the evening. And it comes from a state of Ohio.

There, incumbent Republican Mike DeWine thread a needle. He was both critical of Donald Trump after the January 6th insurrection and then earned the former president's endorsement after the Republican primary. He defeats the Democratic mayor of Dayton, Ohio, Nan Whaley.

Let's get some key race alerts beginning with the state of Florida. Last time we checked in the former Republican governor, Charlie Crist had the lead. Now it belongs to Ron DeSantis. More than 285,000 votes ahead with 44 percent of the vote in, in Florida.

Let's get an update now on the state of Georgia. Still very early but legendary vote mobilizer Stacey Abrams is ahead, 73,000 votes against incumbent Republican Brian Kemp. Only 13 percent of the vote in there. So we will likely watch that, potentially change throughout the night as we turn it over to Kasie who has some Senate races for us.

HUNT: We sure will, thank you very much, Boris. I do want to start in Georgia. We are starting to get some numbers where we can compare things a little bit. So let's take a look at this.

Raphael Warnock sitting at 60.1 percent. Look at that Herschel Walker number, 38.5 percent. That is different from the Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp who sits at 42.6 percent. So, again, we want to check with John king on this.

But some early signs that, perhaps, as expected, Herschel Walker's underperforming, Brian Kemp the gubernatorial candidate there. We still expect this race to tighten considerably, only 13 percent of the vote in here.

Let's go now to Florida where Marco Rubio has taken the lead probably as many of you expected. He is sitting now at 54 percent to Val Demings' 45 percent. Florida is going to count these votes relatively quickly. We've got 45 percent of the vote in there. But we're obviously going to keep watching it through the night.

Let's go north though to New Hampshire where we are just starting to get votes into the state, which swings so often with a wave when we see one. Maggie Hassan out to a relatively early lead. There's only a few thousand votes in here. But she's sitting at 59.2 percent to Don Bolduc's 39.6 percent. This is one where Republicans started to take more interest.

Hassan's team has been feeling good throughout the night so far. We've got 1 percent of the vote in, in New Hampshire, Jake.

TAPPER: That's only 1 percent. Got a lot more votes to count. Let's take a look at governor's races right now in the United States.

KING: The one that jumps out at you is Georgia at the moment in the sense that -- I mean, New Hampshire would be status quo, Republican Governor Chris Sununu, 1 percent of the vote in. Governor Sununu ahead by nine points. We'll watch it as we play out through the night.

South Carolina, Henry McMaster in South Carolina, heavily favored in this race. The early result is pretty close. But again, it's 1 percent of the vote as you watch it in. But what jumps out at you, Florida, is because we brought it up here, when Charlie Crist is ahead, Ron DeSantis has now pulled ahead in the state of Florida. You're seeing some of the rural counties fill in with the red. We'll watch this as this plays out. Republicans said they could perform in Miami-Dade.

If this stays red, it's fascinating in the governor's race and the Senate race. And there will be a lot of conversation about this as we head out of 2022 into the 2024 cycle if this stays red. If it turns just blue and it's close because that has been overwhelmingly Democratic in recent years.

But here's the one right now that you want to look at right now. If you're a Democrats around the home, this is a rematch, right?

Stacey Abrams, as Boris noted, a Democratic organizer, someone in turnout on Joe Biden's list of potential vice presidential candidates, a rematch of four years ago. You're looking at the vote right now, you would say, wow, with 13 percent of the vote in against an incumbent Republican governor, the question is, number one, there's a lot of votes still to be counted.

You see these smaller counties around Georgia, most of them, if you come back to the presidential election, Joe Biden won Georgia in 2020, but just barely, just shy of 12,000 votes, but see all that red.


And now, I just want to come back to 2022 in the governor's race. We have a lot to count in the red rural parts of Georgia.

But there's also a question, Jake, when you see an early lead like this, of what votes do we have and what votes are we waiting for.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: Stacey Abrams beginning to pull away in Fulton County. But again, Brian Kemp getting 29 percent, if you come back -- let's look at the Senate race for a second here.

Herschel Walker getting 23 percent in Fulton County. So, we discussed very early on that Governor Kemp was overwhelming or Herschel Walker was underperforming in the largest basket of votes, 10 percent of the state population.

TAPPER: Show me the overall Senate race right now, Warnock -- again, it's only 16 percent. But Warnock has 386,472 with 59.6 percent of the vote. And Stacey Abrams is under that.

KING: Yes, yes. Now, number one, remember, Georgia, there's no un- expecting anybody in this race, Democrat or Republican.

TAPPER: No, no, this is not. This is early. This is early.

KING: To be anywhere that number. But, yes, if you look at -- if you look at Warnock versus Abrams, she's three points -- three percentage points below. She's at 56. She's at 59.

TAPPER: Right. She's -- Raphael Warnock in actual votes -- and, again, this is all just coming in right now, it's very early -- 16 percent. Raphael Warnock has about, I believe, about 80,000 more votes than she does. Meaning, people are voting for Raphael Warnock, and then not voting for Stacey Abrams.

KING: Right. And some of those votes clearly going to the governor because we looked at Fulton County, look at the statewide first. You see 43.4 percent for Governor Kemp. Let's come to the Senate race and you only see 39 percent. So, Herschel Walker underperforming the Republican governor. There's one of your questions there.

And let's just come in Fulton County, you see Herschel Walker getting 23.3 just shy of 65,000 votes. Again, this is overwhelmingly the biggest Democratic area in the state. Then you look at the governor's race and Brian Kemp is getting 28 percent.

So you have an incumbent governor -- this is Atlanta and the suburbs, right? You say Fulton county, you see Atlanta, you think it's just the city. It's the city and then the suburbs around it. There are a fair amount of Republicans here, don't get me wrong, but it's the most overwhelmingly Democratic county in the state.

TAPPER: So, overall, give me the whole -- so, at 16 percent with Democrats leading in the governor's race, and Democrats leading in the Senate race. But it's only 16 percent.

Let's go to David Chalian, if I can, at the battleground desk.

Where are the votes coming in, David? Because obviously this is a very strong early lead for Democrats that I don't think is going to bear out throughout the rest of the night.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. So, one of the things we are going to be looking at all night long where we can is sort of what kind of vote is in. Is it free election vote, absentee by mail, early vote, which we know tends to favor Democrats more. They show up in more robust numbers that way versus election day votes.

I just want to show you, this is the state of play right now that you and John have been talking about, Jake. Raphael Warnock has 389,000 votes right now in the Georgia Senate race to Herschel Walker's 258,000. 16 percent of the estimated vote is currently in. But how much of this current vote is that early vote pre-election vote where Democrats tend to show up in bigger numbers?

Well, right now 99 percent, nearly all the vote you're looking at in that wall with John is early vote. And we have estimated that at the end of the day, when all the votes in Georgia are counted, that number is going to come down to 61 percent. We've estimated that 61 percent of the overall vote will have been early vote, which we know broke records in Georgia.

But right now 99 percent. So look at the governor's race. It's a similar story. Stacey Abrams currently with 367,000 votes to Brian Kemp's 288,000 votes. Again, this is 16 percent of the estimated vote that's in. But all of it nearly 99 percent is the pre-election vote, Jake. It's the early vote.

We think that is only going to make up 61 percent of the overall vote when it is fully tallied, which means a lot more election day vote is going to come in as a share of the vote, and that could of course benefit Brian Kemp, benefit Herschel Walker since Republicans tend to show up in greater proportion on election day in person.

TAPPER: Indeed, interesting, David Chalian.

And I don't suppose we have the technology to know what percentage of the early vote Joe Biden won over Donald Trump in 2020.

KING: Those numbers are available to us, they're not in here. But it's disproportionately. I mean, remember like in Philadelphia --

TAPPER: Right, I'm wondering where Raphael Warnock --

KING: How big of a lead does he have --

TAPPER: This is basically -- we say it's 16 percent. This is basically just the early vote.

KING: It's the early vote.

TAPPER: And I'm wondering what that matches if somebody backstage could --


KING: Overwhelmingly and disproportionately a Democratic vote.

TAPPER: So, let's go ahead north if we can, because North Carolina, there is a big Senate race there, and I'm wondering what's going on there.

KING: We have our first results in there. And again, I'm going to suspect it's the very same dynamic. Again, Cheri Beasley ran a remarkably competitive campaign. We talked earlier about Democrats saying we should've helped her out a little bit earlier. Republican member of the House Ted Budd had Donald Trump's endorsement in the primary. Cheri Beasley former state Supreme Court chief justice 60 percent to 40 percent if you round everybody up.

You see where the blue is, well, it's blue where it should be blue if the Democrats are going to be competitive. That is Wake County, the second largest county in the state. You see right here 68 percent to 30 percent, 54 percent of the vote in.

African American population, college-educated population, the number one county is here. Mecklenburg, that's almost 11 percent of the state population, 70 percent to 29 percent, or 69/29. You can't round that up just yet.

This is what you want to do if you're the Democrat, right? Joe Biden won this county by 35 points. She's winning it by 39 points.

TAPPER: Yeah, almost 40 points.

KING: It is 40 points. But, again, it's 50 percent here. And I suspect we're looking at the early vote as well. If I'm wrong, David will jump in.

Again, this is going to be a competitive race. This will be a competitive race, but we're at 33 percent. You come to some of these rural counties. I'm going to move up here to the Virginia border. 31 in terms of vote count. Donald Trump won this county by 32 points. We have no votes yet. TAPPER: Let's go to David to tell us where this vote is coming from.

He is at the battleground desk.

David, Is this an early vote?

CHALIAN: It is. You've identified this correctly. This may be an important factor here when you're looking apt these vote totals. Cheri Beasley right now, 784,000 votes in the vote count to Ted Budd's 527,000. We think about a third of the overall vote is already in. But how much of this is pre-election vote that is in this total? A hundred percent of it and we think at the end of the day only 55 percent of the North Carolina vote is going to be early vote pre-election vote.

So right now it is this heavily inflated Beasley vote, Jake, because 100 percent of what you see -- nearly 100 percent is pre-election and early vote where Democrats tend to participate that way. We have barely any election day vote, which is likely going to be a Ted Budd big category of vote.

TAPPER: Let's remind people also, John, North Carolina can be competitive. It has a Democratic governor. It has a Democratic attorney general. Joe Biden lost but narrowly. What was his margin in 2020?

KING: Let's come to the presidential race in 2020. And you look at the race.

TAPPER: He lost, but he lost by 74,000 votes.

KING: Obama won it -- let's do the history. It's a fascinating history.

Obama just won it over John McCain, historic African American turnout in the first Obama election of 2008. It was history in the making and African American voters turned out in huge numbers.

So Democrats thought North Carolina, Sun Belt state, changing population, more college-educated population. Democrats start making inroads in the traditionally Republican suburbs, around Raleigh, around Charlotte.

TAPPER: And they had a Democratic senator there for a while.

KIJNG: Kay Hagan was the last Democratic senator elected in that year with Barack Obama. Mitt Romney pulls it out just barely. Two points in 2012. Democrats keep thinking, but then you move forward to 2016, Hillary Clinton says I can do it, I can come to North Carolina. Not so much.

The Gary Johnson campaign, a third-party candidate matters. Trump getting just over 50 percent there. The Biden campaign thought maybe we could get it, not the case, but very closely.

TAPPER: Let me walk you to the house just because lots going on here too with the votes coming in, in Georgia, in North Carolina, and elsewhere. And it looks like -- no, no changes in Virginia. KING: No changes as you look here, these numbers can be somewhat

misleading. So we're going to try to describe them throughout the night. This is all of the House races that have reported results so far. You have Democrats leading in 32. Republicans leading in 50.

As Jake laid out earlier, we've identified 82 competitive races with our partner Inside Elections. Republicans are leading in seven of those competitive seats right now, not called yet. Democrats leading in five of them.

That's not good enough for the Democrats. The Democrats have to disproportionately win the competitive seats if they have any chance of defying history. Republicans need a net gain of five. The average in the president's first midterm since Ronald Reagan is 30, is 30.

So, Joe Biden has to defy that history, history says Republicans will get somewhere in the ballpark of 30. The Democrats have to keep it to five. Again, you start in the Northeast, two Democratic seats in New Hampshire. You see right now the Democratic leading Ann Kuster leading in this seat right here 51 to 48.

You don't see any color in the first district, Democratic incumbent Chris Pappas, because no votes counted yet as we come in. But then, Jake, you move down, you made the point about Virginia. I just want to pop it out real quick.

There are three competitive districts here. Let me bring them up, three competitive seats, all Democratic incumbents at the moment. Republicans leading in all three of them.

TAPPER: In all three of them, absolutely. And we are closing in on one of the most critical hours of this election night with the biggest round of poll closings at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, voting ends in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

There's a lot on the line in the hour ahead as both parties aim for the 218 seats needed to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. A whopping 161 House seats are at stake in this next round of poll closings, 25 of those races, 25 are competitive. That includes contests in Michigan and Texas where voting is about to end in most of those states' congressional districts.

Onto the Senate, we're standing by for the first results from one of the most consequential races tonight in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democrat, is hoping to flip an open Senate seat from red to blue. He is in a heated contest with former TV Dr. Mehmet Oz. Fetterman's recovery from a stroke in May has been a prominent factor in this race.

In New Hampshire, Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan is trying to beat back a strong challenge from retired General Don Bolduc who's gone back and forth in his statements about who won the 2020 election. In the Florida race for U.S. Senate, Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings has an uphill climb in the increasingly red-trending state. It means it's challenging the incumbent Republican two-term senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

Turning to the key governors races in Pennsylvania, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro is aiming to keep the governor's office in Democratic hands. His Republican opponent, State Senator Doug Mastriano was a central figure in Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

And in Florida, the former Democratic congressman and former Republican Charlie Crist is challenging the state's high-profile Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, of course, a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

With the end of voting just minutes away, let's check in on that key Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Jessica Dean is at the headquarters of Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman. Jessica, how does the Fetterman campaign see the night progressing?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they are well aware that these numbers from Philadelphia, which of course is a Democratic stronghold, and to win statewide as a Democrat, you've got to run up the numbers in Philadelphia. The numbers are going to come in slowly. They have put out a memo to everyone saying buckle up, this is going to take some time.

They also are going to keep their eye on some bellwether counties across the commonwealth that they think they'll get some data from earlier on that will kind of give them an indication of how they stack up to what Biden did in 2024, example. In the meantime I've also been talking to them about how they feel about how they closed out the last five days in this campaign. And in talking to campaign sources, they really believe they did this as strongly as they possibly could. And several of them pointed to the Oprah Winfrey enforcement, that played heavily on television here in local markets on Friday.

They think that targeted a key demographic for them, suburban women who can be quite independent in their voting and they think they really need a strong turnout from those suburban women. They think that Oprah Winfrey could be the key there. Celebrity endorsements don't often move the needle, but she made Mehmet Oz a household name. So her endorsement was quite personal -- Jake.

TAPPER: Yeah, interesting, the Fetterman campaign will no doubt be looking to Harrisburg and Scranton to see if they overperform how Joe Biden did.

Let's go to Kate Bolduan now. She's at Oz campaign headquarters in Newton, outside Philadelphia.

What's the feeling there? What are you hearing from the Oz campaign people?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the Oz campaign is being very careful to not make predictions on how the evening is going at this point for one very clear reason, the polls haven't even closed yet. But if they do win the Oz campaign is attributing momentum -- will attribute the momentum pushing them across the finish line to their final message.

It's this contrast that Mehmet Oz has been consistently hammering away at in the final days, which is bringing balance to Washington and rejecting extremism on both sides, which is how he puts it, which, of course, that's a tricky balancing act that Oz has been trying to pull off. Look no further than just this past weekend. Saturday he was on stage with former President Donald Trump, the very next day, he had Senator Susan Collins stumping with him in Philadelphia.


Collins, a moderate senator who has made very clear she has created distance and distance herself from the former president, even voting to impeach him following the insurrection.

This tricky balancing act was also very clearly on display in his final rally in the Philadelphia suburbs just last night.

Mehmet Oz reminding the crowd that he is not a politician, he is a surgeon, saying in the operating room, you cannot divide -- you have to unite to fix the problem, saying extreme ideas hurt people in the operating room. Again, we'll see if the balancing act worked.

TAPPER: All right. Kate Bolduan in Newton, Pennsylvania. Let's go back to David now who has early exit polls from the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So, what is on the minds of my friends in Pennsylvania?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, your brethren in Pennsylvania, Jake, it's interesting because you can see in these numbers the way in which these candidates have presented themselves whose views are too extreme? Each is trying to paint the other as extreme, 42 percent of Pennsylvania's voters say only Fetterman is too extreme.

Guess what? An equal amount, 42 percent say only Oz is too extreme, 5 percent say both. 8 percent say neither. Which candidate mattered most to you?

I find this interesting. We saw something similar in Georgia. This is not an empathy or experience election. This is a character election.

Thirty-six percent of Pennsylvania voters looking for a candidate who shares my values. 33 percent looking for a candidate with honesty and integrity. Only 90 percent cares about people like me, 8 percent looking for a candidate with experience. Fetterman's health as he is recovering from a stroke, is it good enough to represent the state effectively? 49 percent of Pennsylvania voters in this election say yes. A roughly equal amount, the other half, say no. His health is not good enough to represent them effectively.

And then we asked about the Achilles heel on the Oz side that the Fetterman campaign is trying to use, has Oz lived in the state long enough? Interestingly enough, a majority of voters in Pennsylvania say 55 say no. Oz has not lived in the commonwealth long enough, 43 percent, Dana, say yes. Oz has lived in Pennsylvania long enough.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So interesting, David. Especially when you are talking about the 2022 midterms. There is so much of a national notion of how this is all going to go. But in Pennsylvania, so much is personality driven. These are two very distinct personalities.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. And the fact that being a carpetbagger, being from New Jersey, is more of a burden to Oz than the stroke and what we saw in a very shaky debate performance to Fetterman is surprising and telling.

And the other point I'd make is, Pennsylvania, this is so key to the Democrats. If they can flip this seat, they canning afford to lose one and hold on to a 50/50 Senate. If they don't flip the seat, or other ones, they can't afford to lose a single stay.

BASH: This is the most important potential pickup, the only real one.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And I think it's probably the one that they are, mine, maybe they are not the most nervous about. It's hard to know what direction this was going.

A lot of Republicans after this Fetterman debate with Oz were saying that was the end of the Fetterman campaign. Well, if these exits are to be believed, voters are basically saying, you know, it's about a wash.

I'm really surprised by the carpetbagger number. I'm not going to lie. That argument from Fetterman seemed to live very much online, live in the memes, but these exit polls seem to suggest that voters took it or are taking it somewhat seriously.

I still don't think that we know whether or not any of this matters more than the overall environment.

BASH: So, Pennsylvania as we were saying, the polls close at the top of the hour. In Ohio the polls have already closed. We are starting to get actual real numbers in and they are really interesting in that in the Senate race, I should say only 13 percent of the vote is in, but right now early on, Tim Ryan, the Democrat, is very, very far ahead. Again, very, very early.

But it begs the question, and this is a conversation that has been had in Washington particularly among Democrats, is whether or not more focus should have been on a race like this where Tim Ryan, a sitting member of Congress, who has a campaign that is tailor-made for Ohio, kind of old-school Democrats, working class union Democrats, trying to get them out, whether there should have been more focus and help for him.

WALLACE: Well, first of all, one of the reasons Ohio is so important, if you need to flip a seat to ensure that you have a margin for error, if they don't take Pennsylvania, their two best chances, Democrats, are Ohio and North Carolina.


The question is both sides, both candidates, Vance and Ryan, have been competing to be the working class hero. It will be interesting to see who the Ohio voters decide is.

PHILLIP: And I absolutely think that Tim Ryan used the lack of investment to his great advantage. He ran on being abandoned by Washington being independent from people back here in D.C. and that was actually, I mean, frankly, you could argue that is the key to why this race might be competitive.

We'll see how it turns out. But I mean, I think hindsight is 20/20. Tim Ryan made the best of that situation from a messaging perspective.

BASH: Yeah, it's a larger conversation about the change of the Democratic Party and it's kind of evaporation from the middle of the country -- Jake and John.

TAPPER: Polls are going to close in 16 states in 4 1/2 minutes. But until them, let's chew over some of the results from the House of Representatives races -- John.

KING: Beginning to fill in the map, 435 in all. It's going to take a while to fill in the map and days, maybe longer, to count the final results.

But leading the vote, this is leading the vote, not called races, right, Republicans leading 55, Democrats in 42. More importantly, as Jake laid out throughout the night, the 82 competitive races, Democrats leading in eight, Republicans leading in six. That would sound on the surface like good news.

TAPPER: That sounds like good news for Democrats but --

KING: But they have to win -- they are defending 60 of the 80. 57 have Democratic incumbents. Let's look at the competitive races.

A couple of interesting things. Number one, we talked earlier, last time we talked about this, all three House Democrats in Virginia were losing. One of them in the most Democratic district, Jennifer Wexton, pulled ahead.

About 57 percent of the estimated vote, 7,500, ahead of her Republican challenger. This has been a nasty race. Living here, you watch the ads on TV, it's been shocking both ways when you look at the advertisements. This is the most Democratic district, three in Virginia.

TAPPER: The least likely to fall.

KING: Joe Biden carried this by 18 points. Imagine it being competitive makes it a big deal. Wexton ahead for now. Then you move just south of that, again suburbia, suburbs, into exurbia.

TAPPER: That's a lot of vote, and Spanberger is back behind by 20,000 votes.

KING: About half the vote here. Interesting to talk to the people on the ground in our battleground desk about which votes are being counted. But, certainly, you'd rather be ahead than behind than any point in the count. But we need to be careful in every state.

TAPPER: There are some big population areas in that district.

KING: This is a Democratic plus shy of seven. Joe Biden won the district we just showed you here by 18 points. You move out into exurbia, it's a 7-point Democratic districts, Spanberger losing at the moment. Now, you come down here.

This is a gap here. We need more votes, 31 percent. This one is shaping up as a bigger race in a district that's an even district, Joe Biden wins by shy of two points and remember, you know, this is according the new lines of how the districts have been drawn.

But if you think of the imp list way to look at the map, the Republicans need a net gain of five and they are leading in two in Virginia. It's not over. We are still counting votes. Leading two there. If you look at some of the others, this a fascinating race here, Marcy Kaptur, one the longest serving House Democrats, her district used to stop here and stretch this way over towards Cleveland a little bit, right?

TAPPER: They made it more Republican.

KING: Yeah. So now they have taken it away and put her out here. Let me show you the presidential race in 2020 in Ohio. This is Marcy Kaptur's old district here and they drew the rest in right there. Let's come back to 2022 and see how she is doing, because this is a fascinating race.

Number one, can a Democratic incumbent hold on in a Republican district in a tougher year running against J.R. Majewski, who is a Trump acolyte, a January 6 supporter. We are only at 1 percent, only at 1 percent.

As you see the Ohio map, I'm going to pull up and show you the House races and then I'm going to walk over here and show you the governor's race. We are talking about 100 percent of early vote, early vote tends to be disproportionately Democratic.

Again, you also rather be ahead than behind. But you see another house race, this is Cincinnati in the suburbs to the north, the Republican incumbent is Steve Chabot. He is losing at the moment. This is another competitive seat.

Democrats would love to pick up this seat to offset losses elsewhere, but I want to emphasize this is 100 percent early vote, tends to be disproportionately Democrat. So, we look at it now. We will keep it on the radar screen. But you have to be cautious. Don't draw any conclusions looking at that map.

Just quickly moving over to the United States Senate I want to make the point because it's the same dynamic. The Democratic candidate Tim Ryan is out to an early lead in the state of Ohio but this is again a 100 percent at least as of two minutes ago, 100 percent early vote. You'd rather be ahead than behind, but we are waiting.