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Control Of Congress Still Uncertain, Key Races Too Close To Call; Lee Zeldin Concedes To Kathy Hochul In NY Governor's Race; Trump Sees Some Wins, But Advisers Says He's "Livid" Over Results. Aired 2- 2:30p ET
Aired November 09, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the suspense is building. A number of extremely tight races are keeping control of Congress hanging in the balance. Good afternoon to all, I'm Erin Burnett.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Wolf Blitzer. This is CNN's ELECTION DAY IN AMERICA continue. These were live pictures coming in right now at the White House. That's where President Biden will be addressing the nation in about two hours. The president will also be taking questions from reporters. CNN reporting the White House is feeling cautiously optimistic right now after the results of these elections so far.
BURNETT: Cautiously optimistic, but as we await for President Biden's press conference, we're watching three key Senate races because we simply just don't know who will have control. Let's look at Nevada. We're now standing by for a press conference with officials from Clark County, which of course is the biggest County in Nevada, home of Las Vegas. The race -- the race here is between Adam Laxalt, the Republican, and the Democrat incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto. We are still 22,595 votes ahead from Adam Laxalt. But again, the lion's share of the votes that are still outstanding are in Clark County where Catherine Cortez Masto leads so this race is very much unknown right now.
So now let's flip it over. Let's look at Arizona, another close one. The Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly there is still locked in his tight race with Blake Masters, the Republican. Mark Kelly is ahead by 89,969 votes. We are awaiting an update from there and also several 100,000 votes are still outstanding in Maricopa, the most populous county there.
Let's look at Georgia because there we are awaiting the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. He's going to be speaking any moment. We anticipate about the status here of this race. What you just heard Gabe Sterling, the elections chief there saying is heading into a runoff. Raphael Warnock, Gabe says simply there aren't enough votes outstanding for this to not go to a runoff.
So, in the House, let's look at the balance of power flip over to the house. Still here can't tell you. There are still seats that need to be called, 45 seats remaining where we have been unable to make a call. Let's look at where Democrats are leading right now at this hour of the afternoon. Democrats are leading in 19 of the competitive seats that we are unable to call at this point. Let's flip it over and show you where Republicans have the lead in these competitive races. And there as you can see 16 seats. So too early to call the Senate too early to call the House, that's where we are suspense builds this afternoon.
We have a team of reporters standing by in all of these battleground states. Let's start in Georgia where that Senate race is now headed to a runoff. Eva McKend is there. And, Eva, I know we're awaiting an update from the Secretary of State who just easily won reelection there, Brad Raffensperger, on the race.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Erin. You know, given the unique nature of how winners are declared in this state, this was always a real possibility, a potential for a runoff, a runoff that even could determine the balance of power in the Senate. That is not clear as yet if it will be that consequential. Senator Warnock though has always sort of been signaling to his voters that this is a possibility. He had ads up in recent weeks speaking to this, telling people vote for me because I don't want to interrupt your Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, though, Republican Herschel Walker, he dismissed this potential saying pretty confidently going into election night that he would win outright. Well, that did not come to bear. And now we have another four weeks left of campaigning in this state. Here is how Georgia's -- one of Georgia's top election officials is assessing this runoff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABE STERLING, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: But I think the main message is voters want stability and they want candidates who stand up for themselves on their own issues and not necessarily tied to one personality or another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKEND: So, we know that Republicans have some disappointment here because Walker underperformed. Republican incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, who sailed to victory last night against his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. Kemp outperforming Walker in suburban areas by about 163,000 more votes, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Eva, thank you very much from Georgia today. And I want to go to Arizona now. That race for Senate as well as that governor's race, which has been so carefully watched between Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake is still too close to call. Kyung Lah is live in Phoenix. And, Kyung, you are again a county you know so well, Maricopa, the most populous, the most important to determining the outcome of the race, it appears like yet again in Arizona. KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yet again, and I'm going to say this yet again, it is too early. There are 400,000 ballots yet to be counted here in Maricopa County, and more than half of them have to be signature verified. This is going to take some time. So I'm going to say it again it is too early. We are seeing at least Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly reiterate to his crowd that they just have to be patient. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK KELLY, (D-AZ): I am feeling confident tonight. Now at the same time, it doesn't look like we're going to have the final results for a little while. And that's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: I'll taking a very different tone is the Republican nominee for governor, Kari Lake. I want you to listen to what she thinks about this slow process which happens every election here in Arizona. She's trying to link taking time to corruption. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARI LAKE, REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, ARIZONA: I kind of feel like it's the -- it's a -- it's a Groundhog Day. We had November 3, 2020, that was called incompetency 101. Then we had August 2, 2022 incompetency in elections 202. And now we're at in competency in elections 303. We need honest elections, and we're going to bring them to you, Arizona. I assure you of that. The system we have right now does not work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Let's stress that there is no evidence that anything went wrong with the other elections here in Maricopa County, despite what the politicians are saying, have said, and are still saying, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Kyung, thanks very much. I'm here with John King at the magic wall. You know, John, we're looking at all these results. There were some bright spots for Democrats and some bright spots for Republicans as well.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Right. And so let's dig deep into Arizona and the outstanding questions. But I just want to start with addressing the question Kyung just toss to Kari Lake talking about what she calls incompetency. This is called math. It's not called incompetency. It's called math.
Joe Biden won the state of Arizona in 2020 by 10,257, votes Donald Trump could ask for a recount. He did. Donald Trump's suit in court, he did. He lost. That's not in competency. It is absolutely critical. We make this point when someone says otherwise. That is called the Joe Biden victory in the state of Arizona in 2020.
Let's come back to where we are now. Why is Kari Lake raising that point? Well, let's start with her race and the governor's race right now. At the moment, she is trailing, but just narrowly -- just narrowly, right? And so you let the process play out. That's how it works. That's how it worked in 2020. That's how it worked in 2016. Donald Trump won, there were some states that were a little slow in County. So where are we right now?
This is the most important number. When you have 50.3 to 49.7, it's the vote it's still out, somewhere in the ballpark of 30 percent of the vote has yet to be counted in Arizona. So we need patience. Democrats need patience. Republicans need patience. Everybody needs patience.
Maricopa County is more than 60 percent. About 62 percent of the statewide population, we'll see how it comes out of the vote share will be roughly that. And you see there, there's an estimate of about 30 percent, 32 percent of the votes still to be counted in the most populous, most important. Phoenix and the suburbs around it where Kari Lake was once a TV anchor, she's incredibly well known. That will determine this race.
And then Pima County, you come down here. It's about 15 percent of the state population. So 75 -- a little more than 75 percent of the population in those two counties where you still have a lot of votes to count. That's called democracy. And sometimes it's slow and if you're a partisan with skin in the game, yes, it can be frustrating. But Arizona got it right in 2020. There's everywhere isn't to believe when we know the final results somebody will win and they'll get it right in 2022. And again that person -- the other person will have the right to a recount if it's close, a right to go to court if they want, the key here is to let the process play out.
But the governor's race is incredibly close with a Democrat on top by 11,000 votes and change. You look at the Senate race, the Democrat on top here by a much larger lead, Mark Kelly running stronger than Katie Hobbs, if you will. Blake masters at 46 percent. But again -- but again, as Mark Kelly noted to his supporters, he feels good about that. And he should. 52, 50 -- 51 beat 46. But again, it's the same vote count -- it's the same vote count.
What we are seeing is that Kari Lake is running stronger. Look at Maricopa County, again, Phoenix in the suburbs around it. Blake Master is getting 45 percent in the votes counted so far. And then you look at the governor's race, Kari Lake getting 48 percent. She is at the moment running a bit stronger in the suburbs around Phoenix and that can matter. But we're on the second day now. And we live through this in 2020. The most important part, Wolf, is in a complicated, very contentious, and competitive battleground state, we need to wait. And it may take some time.
BLITZER: 30 percent of the vote is still outstanding.
BLITZER: Yes. KING: It just -- it just may well take some time. Now, when it comes to the battle for the United States Senate, you can understand why both parties are anxious to know the final result because this race is one of three left undecideds at the moment, uncalled at the moment, that will be absolutely critical to the balance of power in the Senate. When you come to the governor's race, this is one of the five or six states that will be critical in American presidential politics for the foreseeable future. And so who do you want -- you know who you want with a job of certifying the election come 2024? The Republican governor now, Ducey, did that, Katie Hobbs was the Secretary of State, Kari Lake has a very different view. So these are in both of these races, incredibly consequential but it's just math. We have to finish.
BLITZER: As we say the stakes right now are enormous, enormous indeed.
Coming up. We'll check in on the races in New York where the Democratic governor survived a tough fight against her Republican challenger who conceded just moments ago. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: Moments ago, the Republican, Lee Zeldin conceding to Democrat Kathy Hochul in the closely watched New York governor's race. Zeldin was one of a number of Trump-backed election deniers who lost governor's races across the country including Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Zeldin had mounted what was a surprisingly strong challenge to Hochul in this election. Ultimately, though, she did prevail.
CNN national correspondent Gloria Pazmino has the latest of exactly what happened in New York. And, Gloria, obviously, this was much closer than anybody could have anticipated. But at the end of the day, Zeldin did lose and he's now conceding.
GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. And, in fact, there was a big sigh of relief at Kathy Hochul's headquarters last night, which is where I was, as soon as those numbers started coming in from the city, and Lee Zeldin was not able to break that 30 percent margin here in New York City where the largest amount of Democrats are registered. That's what his campaign had been hoping for. They fell short of that last night.
Still, declined to concede yesterday at his victory party but he did just issue a statement a short while ago. I just want to read for the viewers a part of it. He said I would like to congratulate New York Governor Kathy Hochul on her election to a full four-year term. This race was a once-in-a-generation campaign with a very close margin in the bluest of blue states.
So, Lee Zeldin, of course, making reference there to the fact that leading up to Election Day in the final days, according to some of the polls, this race appears to be very close. But in the end, the math just did not work out for Lee Zeldin, Governor Kathy Hochul, not only becoming the first woman elected governor here in New York but actually managing to get enough votes. She's up by more than 300 votes -- 300,000 votes, I should say at this hour. And she really was helped by that big turnout here in New York City, as well as wide margins in her hometown of Buffalo where she did very, very well.
So, Lee Zeldin finally conceding, congratulations -- congratulating the new governor on her full four-year term. And New York now has elected its first woman governor, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Gloria, thank you very much. And everyone is back with me. So, Lieutenant Governor Duncan, Zeldin was one of the candidates that Trump strongly supported, right? He did not vote to -- vote to certify -- I'm sorry, the 2020 election. He wasn't an election denier in the way some more but he did not vote to certify.
So here Trump is last night to get rid of a big party and celebrate, even though he wasn't on the ballot. And today we hear from Trump's advisors that he is livid and screaming at everyone after seeing the results. This is -- this is not -- this is not good for him. His people are not doing as well as he thought they would or anyone thought they would. So what does this mean for him?
LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN, (R-GA): Well, I think there's probably a sense of the gigs up and the election wasn't rigged, and you can't continue to convince folks that it was. It's like a gallon of milk gets expired. It's time to move on.
There's a tangible feel that pivot point that my phone's been ringing, e-mails, text messages from Republicans all over the country that are really seeing this as a pivot point. And it's up to us, right? I call it GOP 2.0. Others may call it something else.
But if we were to really want to take the 2024 cycle seriously if we really truly want to beat Joe Biden or somebody else that the Democrats run, then we've got to take this seriously and we've got to start to lead with our policies and start to have solutions that matter. And we can't keep pointing to the past. 2020 was not a rigged election. It was a failed election on behalf of Republicans.
BURNETT: So, you know what's interesting on in this is to the point that the Lieutenant Governor's making. Lee Zeldin concedes, OK? Tudor Dixon, an election denier, and she was not right denier in Michigan, has conceded to Governor Whitmer. These are -- they're not following the Trump playbook now. All of a sudden you're seeing and I'm just picking a few high-profile names. Mehmet Oz conceded. Mandela Barnes just conceded. On the Democratic side, Stacey Abrams conceded this time, when she hadn't last time, to Kemp. Tim Ryan obviously conceded. People seem to get the message. And some of these people are Trump- back people and they're still conceding.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He calls it Republicans 2.0. I call -- some of us call it team normal. It used to be normal that when you lost an election, you called your opponent and you conceded graciously and then they went on to the podium and gave a concession speech, and the others gave a victory speech. BURNETT: Right.
NAVARRO: That went topsy-turvy with Donald Trump, who was a sore loser and who was a big liar. And who lives in you know, in a -- in a bubble. And of course, he's got to be livid, and he's got to be screaming because a few things happen. Number one, a lot of the people that he handpicked lost. Number two, a lot of the governors in the crucial states, the election deniers, places like Michigan, places like Wisconsin, places like Pennsylvania have lost. Those are crucial states. And number three, Ron DeSantis, though I think it's hugely exaggerated, who is his -- you know, supposed -- his opponent to be --
BURNETT: His nemesis.
NAVARRO: Had a very good night.
NAVARRO: And so, you put all those three things together, this can't be a happy time at Mar-a-Lago for -- you know -- oh, and there's a hurricane coming. Did I mention that part?
BURNETT: And look so -- and emphasizing here Tudor Dixon, obviously in Michigan, losing and conceding, Lee Zeldin losing and conceding, but actually, there were some election deniers who did win. And by the way, I'm going to put a big pin in Arizona because we don't know what's going to happen there with Kari Lake, who's already talking about corruption in this election that has not occurred.
Four election deniers win Secretary of State races, right? Those are the people who are in charge of overseeing the count for elections in reliably red states. Some crucial Secretary of State races are still too close to call in key swing states, Mark Finchem in Arizona again because there are so many votes out, we just don't know he is an election denier. Nevada, Jim Marchant has the lead, currently, but we'll see again, a lot of votes are still outstanding.
You're a lawyer, you specialize in voting rights. What happens if one of those candidates pulls off a win?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We're in danger for our democracy. We cannot let up right now. The people spoke and they don't want election deniers. But what Republicans did this cycle was they tried to infiltrate the system.
So, there were many people on the front line, poll workers, election administrators, election defenders, who were out there making sure that every vote is counted so that people can vote safely. But there were still people on the ballot, still, people who won, and still people in the Republican Party that want to overthrow democracy.
If we think just because Dems had a good night tonight, that we can let off the gas and making sure that we fortify our institutions, we're wrong. And in 2024, we could have a recycle again. And these folks particularly like in Arizona, it's too close to call, and Nevada is too close to call, those will be big states in 2024 and we can't play games with it.
BURNETT: Right. I mean, those are important to watch those what's happening there. Bakari, what do you make, though? Do you -- do you see -- and again, I don't want to put too much emphasis on it but these concessions, I've noticed them. They're important. You don't want to celebrate returning to normal. I hear your point, Ana, but again at the same time, Bakari, it does seem significant, that people who went so far out there are now seeming to hear that it's time to stop.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know about that. I mean, we're giving people credit for basing this -- basic decency, right? When I lost to Henry McMaster in 2014 when I ran for lieutenant governor, I remember asking everybody, does anybody have Henry McMaster's cell phone? And nobody did. So I literally walked over to his victory party, I met him backstage, shook his hand, and say congratulations. I mean -- but that's not something you should be applauded for. That's like basic human decency, the lowest bar.
And I appreciate my Republican friends. I liked the lieutenant governor from Georgia. I just met him yesterday, talking about GOP 2.0. But you don't really get the chance to wash your hands of Donald Trump that easily. This is still Donald Trump's party, like everybody who wants to talk --
BURNETT: But mostly because lieutenant governor, he's not going anywhere. He's got -- theoretically not -- he's running into this.
SELLERS: That's not -- that's not the -- that's not the -- no, that's not the biggest point. I mean, Trump is a human being, is not the biggest point. I mean, how do you get Trump voters out if you're not Donald Trump?
NAVARRO: And listen --
SELLERS: That's the problem they have. I mean, look, you can't be Trump light. That doesn't work. You got to go all Trump to get Trump voters. And they haven't figured that out.
NAVARRO: By the way, Trump light will beat Trump heavy. Because I've lived in Florida, and I can tell you I've seen people drop Jeb Bush like a hot potato for Donald Trump and drop Marco Rubio like a hot potato for Donald Trump.
NAVARRO: And they will drop Ron DeSantis like a hot potato for Donald Trump.
BURNETT: Do you think that's true?
DUNCAN: I think Republicans and Democrats have the exact same problem and that's the former president and the current president, right? There needs to be a new direction. There's a sense of a new direction. And I call it just being American. Picking up the phone and calling somebody and conceding is an American process in my opinion. [14:25:05]
NAVARRO: How do you compare the current president to the former president?
SELLERS: Yes, I don't -- you can't compare 45 to 46.
DUNCAN: What I -- what I talked about, in 2018. I waited for a concession call.
NAVARRO: One has a criminal investigation and the other one isn't.
DUNCAN: I had to field lawsuits from Stacey Abrams and others. So there's a problem in America and we can do better, all of us, on both sides of the aisle.
ALLISON: I think it also depends if Kevin McCarthy becomes the Speaker of the House. We'll see what type of Republicans --
SELLERS: Are you telling us we go to commercials? You know that's --
BURNETT: Well, that's right -- that's right. And I should say, by the way on this list of people who have conceded, Stacey Abrams has conceded --
SELLERS: There you go.
BURNETT: To Brian Kemp. She did not last time, but she did this time.
DUNCAN: And I applauded her for that.
BURNETT: All right. And just ahead, updates on those close races for Senate and governor in Arizona. We're going to be joined by the top official from Maricopa County where there are, we understand still about 400,000 ballots outstanding.