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CNN Live Event/Special

Control of Congress still Uncertain, Key Races too Close to call; Maricopa County: More than 400,000 Votes Left to Count; Key Senate Races in GA, AZ, NV still too soon to call; GA Senate Race too early to call, Campaigns prep for Runoff; Georgia Senate Race goes to a Runoff. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 12:00   ET




ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Election Day in America, continued control of the Senate and the House and the future of President Biden's agenda are up in the air at this hour. Good afternoon. I'm Erin Burnett.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're looking at some live pictures right now over at the White House. President Biden expected to address the nation in the coming hours and we'll of course bring that to you live. The White House feeling cautiously optimistic at this hour particularly after a Senate pick up in Pennsylvania for Democrat John Fetterman.

BURNETT: Wolf, obviously that was significant, both sides now anxiously watching every vote and we are watching three key Senate races that have yet to be decided. That includes Georgia, the Senate race between Herschel Walker and Democrat Raphael Warnock at this moment still. We don't know the answer. We don't know what's going to happen there. Raphael Warnock is ahead right now, by 17,491 votes.

In Nevada, the race between the Republican Senate Candidate Adam Laxalt, and Democrat incumbent Catherine Cortez-Masto also still too close to call. You can see how close that is right now, though. Laxalt is ahead by 22,595 votes, but we only have 80 percent of the count and a lot of votes still to come in around Las Vegas.

And in Arizona, that Democratic Incumbent Mark Kelly still locked in incredibly tight race with Republican Blake Masters. This one, as you can see, Mark Kelly has the lead right now. 51.4 percent of 46.4 but only 69 percent of the estimated vote is counted at this time.

And in the House let's look at the balance of power there. We still do not know there are still seats left to be called right now in the House 49 seats remaining to be called. We have Democrats leading in some of the key competitive states. And you have Republicans leading in some of the key states and we're going to be hopefully able to make some calls coming up.

But we got Republicans right now leading in 19 competitive seats so much we do not know about the House and the balance of power. We need to have reporters fanned out across the country as we are awaiting the vote count including Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin.

That is where we have just called the race for the Republican Incumbent Senator Ron Johnson. And I want to start in Arizona where the race for Senate and Governor is still too close to call. That is where Sarah Sidner is standing by and you know, Sara, we're looking at these numbers coming in all eyes right now in Arizona.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. About 70 percent of the vote has already happened. We're waiting for 30 percent of the vote. We have just heard and this is just coming out of the mouth of election officials here in Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state, which usually has an outsized influence on the vote.

That they have 275,000 votes that they are currently trying to verify the signatures of those votes, that there are a total of 400,000 total votes that still need to be counted. That's where we are with that.

They have also responded to some of the Republican allegations about fraud about saying that this election is not free and fair, that that was purposeful some of the mistakes that were made, and there were some mistakes made with the tabulation printers, those printers did not have dark enough ink, and that caused a problem.

They said, look, we fixed the problem. But even if the problem is consistently kept going, they were able to be able to count every single vote from every single voter. And here's what Bill Gates, who was the Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors said.

He said I don't know what they're talking about. We went to court the RNC and Blake Masters' lawyers were in court they sued to keep the polls open. They never used the word that it was fraud or that there was some something criminal that happened. They just wanted to keep the polls open because they were concerned that voters would not be able to get their votes in because of the problems with the tabulation predeceases.

I don't know what they're talking about. There is nothing criminal that has been happening here. There is nothing fraudulent, that they have been watched by just about the entire world and that they're doing the best they can but they have sorted out the problems and every count, every vote will count. Those are the words directly from Bill Gates, the Head of the County Board of Supervisors.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Sara and I know we hope to speak to him later on during our special coverage today. I want to head to Wisconsin is where I mentioned we have projected that the Republican Incumbent Senator Ron Johnson, is the winner narrowly defeating the Democrat Mandela Barnes.

So let's go to Milwaukee now and Lucy Kafanov for the latest on how this played out? Lucy obviously only able to make this call really in just the past few minutes this one was very close. [12:05:00]

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It was incredibly close. Johnson eking out with roughly 50.6 percent of the vote Barnes, just about 49 percent of the vote we are still waiting for the final numbers. But look, Democrats initially considered this state and Johnson seat specifically as one of the most vulnerable ones, at least in terms of flipping it from Republican control to Democratic control.

Johnson back in 2016, pledged not to run for a third term, he changed his mind in January of this year. He was facing Mandela Barnes the Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, a 35-year-old progressive he is the son of an auto worker and a public school teacher, initially popular with his Democratic base.

But the edge that he had in some of those early polls was evaporated in recent weeks amid a barrage of negative advertising - Kim was being soft on crime ads that his supporters said were effectively racist. Again, we have not heard from either candidate.

We do expect Barnes to speak in about an hour to give an update on the Senate Race. Perhaps that will be a concession speech. We have not confirmed that. We're also waiting for Ron Johnson to come out. But if you're a Democrat here in Wisconsin, it's not all bad news.

Tony Evers, the Democratic Governor declared victory last night. So that means he will be in power for the 2024 presidential election where he will have the power to certify the vote and a lot of folks are paying attention to that.

And so we are now looking at Wisconsin as one of the few states that's going to have a split ticket, you know, a Democrat, as Governor and in the Senate, we have a Republican Wolf?

BLITZER: OK, thanks very much. I'm here with John King at the magic wall. John, there's still some uncertainty out there. Let's take a look at the Senate first. Very close right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Some uncertainty that's an understatement. I like that as we start the day look, the second day of the count is going to tell us a lot. This is where ahead right now candidates are ahead right now. We have a 5050 Senate.

So right now we are where we began essentially with a 5050 Senate. But you look at the called races. That's why we're not there yet. We just have to get to the finish line. So what are we looking at? Let's look at the uncalled races, right?

The uncalled races are the big ones in Georgia number one; we're waiting for the count to finish. They're at 96 percent there but still some counting to do. I just want to show you the live outstanding vote. You bring this up here. You see there are still votes to be counted all over the state.

If you're the Democrats you see the bigger blue circles. That means the largest outstanding share of the vote is in areas where the Democrat is leading right now Senator Warnock. So you're encouraged by that Wolf, but you still need to count those votes as we play it out and come through it there. So you watch that play out in there. The big question here is does the ultimate winner whether it's the Democratic or Republican get above 50 percent, or do we have a December 6th runoff? Most of the people who understand Georgia elections believe we're heading for a runoff but let's count more votes.

Then we move out West and this gets fascinating and critical. In Arizona Mark Kelly has what looks like a healthy lead there but pay attention to that. Still 30 percent of the estimated vote to be counted and a lot of it as Sara Sidner was saying earlier is here in Maricopa County.

This is 61, 62 percent of the state population Phoenix and the suburbs around it. Mark Kelly has a lead right here. Joe Biden won this county by 2.2 points. Mark Kelly is up by more than that. If that stays as they count the remaining ballots, Mark Kelly will win reelection, but as a lot of ballots to be counted there.

And then you come down to Pima County here and there's still a lot about. This is 15 percent of the population. So we have a ways to go in Arizona and the same applies when you get out to Nevada where the Republican Candidate Adam Laxalt has a lead right now about 20 percent of the votes still out here when you look at the map here, Wolf two things to note.

Number one, Joe Biden carried Clark County this is 74 percent of the statewide population. You need to win Clark County to carry the state. Joe Biden carried it by nine points. Senator Masto the incumbent is not doing that right now. You see there are four point lead five point lead if you want to round it a little bit.

So she needs to better perform with the ballots that are still outstanding. Democrats believe she can do that with the outstanding ballots. But we have to wait for that count right there. And this is significant as well. The second largest county is Washoe County.

Adam Laxalt is ahead in this county. Joe Biden carried it when he won the presidency by four and a half points. So this is always the swing county if this one stays red Laxalt might have a chance to take this seat he leads at the moment.

So you come back out and you just do the math right? You do the math. So Democrats here we can do it this way. Let me switch maps to make it easier for people at home to see in the battle for control. If you look at this right now, these are the three outstanding races.

This is where we are heading in right? So if Mark Kelly holds on to his lead here in Arizona, not certain we need to count the votes. But he's leading now if he holds on to that lead look where we are at 49/49. So if Laxalt holds on to his lead here and again, that's not certain.

He's leading now just show you where we are right now. It is possible it is possible if he holds the lead and he holds the lead that it comes down to this again Georgia and the potential of a runoff.


KING: So later tonight when we get the counts, especially as the counts progress out here, and as we get - if we can get finality or close to finality in Georgia, that's the biggest question today. Will this be a runoff either way? Will this be a runoff and then these western states, what do they tell us?

BLITZER: Just explain to our viewers why there has to be a runoff potentially, in Georgia right now? You need 50 percent plus one vote in order to avoid the runoff.

KING: Yes, that's the state law. So we bring it up right now. Let's just come back to it again. And look how close you are. Tantalizingly close, right? If you're either one of these counties, but if you're the Democrat your head right now, by 17,000 votes you are hoping I showed you. The majority of the outstanding vote is here, Atlanta in the suburbs.

You see them colored in blue, but you see all these red counties to their small pockets of votes still to be counted in those as well. If you're Warnock, you're hoping that you get a decent chunk of that outstanding vote here and it ticks you up above 50 percent.

But this is why we count Wolf and we're going to have to count throughout today. And it's possible it goes past today. That's just the way it works. Already you're starting to hear people saying why does it take so long? Why does it takes a long? It's complicated. You have mail in ballots, early ballots day of ballots, it takes a while.

BLITZER: So we'll be busy in early December, presumably if in fact there is a runoff?

KING: Well, possibly. The question is if there's a runoff, the question about those two Western seats is, is that runoff for control of the Senate as it was in January? We'll see.

BLITZER: All right, we're ready to make a projection right now. I hear you see it in the State of Maryland, CNN projects that the Incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger will be reelected in Maryland an important win in the contest there in Maryland.

There's another projection we're ready to make right now as well. In Michigan, Dan Kildee, the Incumbent Democratic Representative, he will also be reelected. We are now ready to project John, the House of Representatives is really important right now because it's close.

KING: So let's come back again. These are races follow along, because it's important. If you look at that you think the Republicans have the majority. These are the races were candidates are ahead. They're not called races. So Republicans are on a path as we speak now, if things don't change to perhaps have a narrow majority of the House.

But let's look at called races right now. You need 218 to control the House 202 to 186 right now, you just gave two more pick - there holds for the Democrats.

BLITZER: Two Democrats--

KING: Two more races for the Democrats. So you look at on the map right now. And so then you come to what races have we not called? Well, we have 47 races still to call right? 19 of those competitive seats, Republicans are leading 18, the Democrats are leading so you have a tug of war going on right now.

Again, if you look at where we are ahead, ahead the logic tells you looking at that map that there is still a mathematical possibility that Democrats hold their majority. The probability is that Republicans get a narrow majority as you count them through. But we've got a ways to go. And one of the things you're seeing in this map number one, this talk of a big red wave simply did not happen.


KING: If there is a Republican majority, it still complicates Joe Biden's life. But the Democrats are going to defy the historical averages, if you will, in the House elections as we go through. The question is how big?

And again, there is a mathematical possibility the Democrats hold the House, we're going to keep counting as we go. That number tells you the probability is you have a narrow House majority. But every time you project a race and a Democrat, those are both holds for the Democrats. That's the challenge as we go with just like in those Senate races.

We need patience. We go through the count today. We'll know a lot more at the end of the day than we do right now. But some of these races out here. They could take days and days to count. BLITZER: Yes, it's going to be a while. And if you're one of the Republican Leaders like Kevin McCarthy, you're pretty nervous right now about this potential Republican majority in the House.

KING: He wants talked about 60 seats and he talked about 30 seats. The math says it's going to be below that. Well below that.

BLITZER: I suspect you're absolutely right. All right, coming up a vote counting still underway right now in Georgia no winner declared in that very close Senate race. Is it headed for a run off? We'll have a live report from Georgia. That's next.



BURNETT: And we're back with a key race alert. New numbers coming in from Georgia's Senate race this one is tight as it can possibly be. Here is where things stand right now. Raphael Warnock the incumbent here is ahead by 17,491 votes.

You can see right now 49.2 percent to 48.7 for Herschel Walker in terms of the share. 96 percent of the estimated vote is in. Keep in mind, neither one of them have hit 50 percent plus one which is what you need for this race to be called and not go to a runoff. The Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Election Gabe Sterling has said that this is heading for a runoff. We'll see if that's the case. But they have to get to that 50 plus one and right now that is not where we are. Although Raphael Warnock is ahead, as I said by 17,491 votes.

The runoff if there is one is not going to be for another month not till December 6th. So if the Senate hangs in balance, that's what we're going to be waiting on. So let's go to Atlanta where Nick Valencia is with the latest. And Nick second consecutive election cycle all eyes again on Georgia, the center of the U.S. political universe.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we were here for 2020 and it feels like 2020 all over again, in some aspects. And the likelihood of a run off it's just really a matter of time at this point. We're waiting for a press conference from the Secretary of State's office at 2 pm where we're hoping that they will give some more indication on how many ballots are left to be counted and perhaps officially announced what they have indicated not so quietly that they are preparing behind the scenes for the likelihood of a runoff on December 6th.

We did reach out to the Secretary of State's office they won't give us a number on exactly how many ballots are out there. But they do say among them are some provisional ballots. And look the campaign's they're not waiting for this official announcement from the Secretary of State's office.

We are told from sources from the Warnock campaign and the Walker campaign that they are preparing for another of campaigning.


VALENCIA: One of the big takeaways from Tuesday is this underperformance when you compare Herschel Walker's, you know, the amount of votes that he got compared to Republican incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, who outperformed Walker by 163,000 votes.

And sure this is very concerning for Republicans when they look at that number. You know, what is that going to mean, when this runoff happens and December 6th, and how will their political campaigning strategies change?

Will we see a visit from President Biden? Will we see a visit here in the Peach State from Former President Trump all that remains to be seen, again, 2 pm press conference from the Secretary of State's office Wolf?

BLITZER: Alright, thanks very much. I want to bring in CNN Political Director, David Chalian, who's looking at all sorts of numbers, including a lot of the exit poll information. Give us the latest what you're seeing some of the important developments that we've learned in the past few hours alone.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, Wolf just looking at sort of what Georgia voters were thinking about as they were voting in this election, that ends up with this very close race that is likely heading to a runoff.

So first, among those Georgia voters who said abortion was their most important issue, and that was about a quarter of the electorate 26 percent the electorate huge, Warnock advantage, as you might imagine, among abortion voters 77 percent to Walker's 21 percent.

The reverse is true among those who said inflation was the number one issue in the race. So that made up a larger share of the electorate. 37 percent of Georgia voters in this race said inflation was the most important issue. Walker won 72 percent of them to Warnock's 27 percent. So a slightly narrower margin there, this time for Walker's advantage, but a much bigger category of vote.

And then we wanted to get at the candidate qualities that voters were looking at. Among those who said that the candidate shares my values. That's what mattered most to me my vote in a candidate quality that is a huge Walker vote.

76 percent say Walker among that group 23 percent voted for Warnock and that was 36 percent of the electorate looking for a candidate who shares their values. A similar share slightly smaller 32 percent said they were looking for a candidate who has honesty and integrity, Wolf, and that was a Warnock advantage group. 60 percent of the honest integrity voters wanted - voted for Warnock. 38 percent Erin voted for Walker, among those looking for honesty and integrity in their candidate.

BURNETT: It's important looking at these polls, this we tried to figure out whether we will know the winner of this race in the coming days or in a month? All right, thank you so much, David Chalian.

And let's go to MJ Lee live at the White House because MJ you know, we've been waiting to hear if President Biden would speak and I know the White House just announcing that we will hear from the President soon.

MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, this is the White House schedule update that we have been expecting all day. At four o'clock Eastern the President will be giving remarks here at the White House and also importantly, taking questions from reporters this Erin, as you know, is a long held tradition here in Washington, D.C., where the day after Election Day, the President will have a formal press conference.

And look, we have been talking about the mood here at the White House all day. Biden advisors are feeling vindicated after the results of last night. They feel like they were able to avoid a bloodbath that so many people had predicted and warned about. So they're feeling pretty good about that. So do expect that to be reflected in the President's remarks.

But I think it's also important to note that there are questions that the President will also have to answer to, for one, how does he plan on governing in this new Washington D.C.? This is now going to be an environment where Democrats don't control both the House and the Senate.

Even in the best case scenario where Democrats do keep the Senate losing the House means that it is going to be very challenging to govern and get legislations passed. And also second, what does he see as his role as leader of the Democratic Party?

Obviously, we saw a whole lot of Democratic candidates do well by outperforming him. So this is going to be the beauty of a press conference. He will get asked a number of these questions, so we'll see exactly what he has to say.

BURNETT: All right, MJ, thank you very much! It is going to be crucial as we count down. We'll be getting you ready for that for the President to give that press release - press conference this afternoon. And still ahead as we are still trying to count still trying to see who will control the Senate who will control the House? The latest from the tight Nevada Senate Race, as Democratic control of the Senate remains at this moment up in the air.



BLITZER: Welcome back! We have a key race alert right now. Take a look at this. It looks like it's headed for a run off the Senate contest in the State of Georgia right now. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker very, very close. Let's take a look at the latest numbers right now that are coming in.

Let's get those up on the screen if we can. There you see 49.2 percent for Raphael Warnock, 48.7 percent for Herschel Walker, the Libertarian Candidate with 2.1 percent. If you don't get 50 percent plus one, there's going to be a runoff on December 6th.

It looks like certainly there's going to be a runoff right now. Even though it's so, so tight, they're both just below 50 percent right now in Georgia. We also have some projections that we're going to release right now.