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CNN Live Event/Special

Nevada Races For Senate And Governor Still Undecided; Significant Amount Of Votes Expected From Arizona Tonight; Trump Allies Turning Focus To Likely Trump-DeSantis Matchup; Control Of Congress Still Uncertain, Key Races Too Close To Call. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: One in Georgia, we were just talking about, one in Arizona and the third in Nevada. Georgia is likely to be the decider. CNN projects the contest between Democratic Senator Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker to be headed to a December runoff n.

In the House of Representatives, 218 seats are needed to control that chamber. Democrats are lagging behind. They have 187 seats compared to 204 for Republicans. 44 races remain uncalled. Republicans are closer to 218, to winning a majority, but they're falling short of the red wave many Republican leaders had been predicting.

Let's begin with CNN National Correspondent Gary Tuchman who is in North Las Vegas. And, Gary, the races for Senate and Governor remain undecided in Nevada.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Jake. And here is the headline here in Clark County, which has more than 70 percent of Nevada's total population, tens of thousands of votes still haven't been counted.

Now, all the in-person votes for yesterday and Election Day, except for a few provisional ballots, have been counted. The ballots that haven't counted are the mail-in ballots, the ballots that are mailed in, as the name implies, or dropped in drop boxes. Here, that is the most popular way to vote during this election, nail-in balloting, and this county is the most Democratic county in Nevada and it's heavily favored Democrats in the first two weeks of mail-in balloting.

So, with that being known, we want to tell you this information. It's a bit confusing but my job is to make it clear, so I'm going to do that right now. Today, this county announced it will count 14,718 votes that were received in the mail yesterday and put in drop boxes on Monday. And then no later than tomorrow, they will start counting more than 12,700 more ballots that were picked up at the Postal Service today and that were dropped in drop boxes yesterday, more than 300 drop boxes at the election stations all over this county.

Now, that's very significant because many groups and labor unions and other political organizations implored people, don't wait in the lines, instead, you could wait in lines and vote or you could come in and drop your ballot in the drop box. So, there are expected to be lots of ballots in those drop boxes.

But here is the very important point. You can mail your mail-in ballots as long that it was postmarked today. It can arrive tomorrow, it can arrive Friday, or it can arrive on Saturday. There's no way to know how many will arrive. But when I just said, they got 12,700 today, for purposes of the argument, if 12,700 arrive tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, you're talking about another 38,000 ballots. And the difference between the Senate race between the Democrat and Republican is about 22,000.

Also, Washoe County, which is north of here, where Reno is, that's the second most populated county, there're only two big counties, that's the second most, they also have more than 22,000 mail-in ballots that haven't been counted and they will get more Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But that's much closer between Republicans and Democrats. It's a very evenly split county. This is the most heavily Democratic county. So, all eyes are on this county. Tens of thousands more ballots. We just don't know exactly how many.

TAPPER: All right, Gary Tuchman in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Let's go now to Arizona, where we find CNN National Correspondent Sara Sidner. We're waiting for new vote numbers from the state's largest county, Maricopa County, Sara. That includes Phoenix, obviously. What are you picking up there?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Gary was doing so much math with so little time. I'm not going to do that to you. I'm not as good at all of that counting. I can tell you this much, though, that in the next minute, we are supposed to get another drop of vote counts. And I want to give you a look at why that's happening because they are tabulating and they have been tabulating some of those 86,000 votes that came in early from Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, we are waiting for some of those to drop. 20,000 votes have dropped just a few -- about a half an hour ago. And so we're getting closer and closer.

We're still at about a little over 70 percent of the vote count at this point in time. But I will tell you, there was one thing that we noticed that was very pointed that we heard from election officials. The head of the supervisor, the county board of supervisors here in Maricopa County, went after Republicans who have been trying to say and accuse election officials of -- you know, of doing this improperly, of criminal activity and, you know, trying to swing this vote a certain way.

Here is what we heard from Bill Gates, who was very, very clear and pointed, that that is just not true.


BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: When they say criminal, I don't know what they're talking about. There was a lawsuit that was filed in Maricopa County superior court. I didn't follow the entire hearing, but I don't think the word, criminal, came out of the mouth of the lawyers for Blake Masters' campaign, for the Arizona Republican Party, the RNC.



SIDNER: Now, as you remember, there was lawsuit because there were issues some with printers and those ballots could not be tabulated at the time, but they are being tabulated, according to county officials. But that lawsuit by Republicans to try to keep the voting areas and the polls open for longer was actually denied by the judge, who said there just wasn't enough evidence to do that.

So, the polls closed at 7:00, as scheduled, and the count continues. The races are getting tighter. In some cases, you're hearing different things from different candidates, mostly Kari Lake really going hard, saying that there's something wrong here and that there's some malfeasance here and the county officials are pushing back in every single way they can, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes. And just for those who aren't familiar with the players, that was Bill Gates. He is a Maricopa County commissioner. He is conservative Republican who ran on a ticket of voting integrity. And the people who are leveling these accusations against him and the other people in Maricopa County are people who lie about elections, including Kari Lake.

Let's get more on the state of play in Arizona. Brianna Keilar is at our voting desk.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Jake. We can do all of the math for Maricopa County here. A total of 1.6 million votes were cast there. 1.2 million ballots have already been counted. So, that leaves 400,000 ballots that are being processed and counted, according to an election official.

So, right now, here is what we know about when those remaining ballots came in and how much longer we'll have to wait for results. About 86,000 early ballots were received Friday and over the weekend. Those have already been processed and should be reported by 8:00 P.M. tonight.

Another 50,000 ballots came in on Monday. Those are being processed and they're being handed over to the counting team by the end of the day. It's unclear whether they'll be included in this count tonight or not.

And then approximately 275,000 ballots were dropped off yesterday on Election Day. That is Arizona's cut off for mail-in and absentee ballots. And officials say this is way more than the number of ballots that were dropped off on Election Day in 2020, so it's going to take time. It's going to take time to process these and count these and they're estimating at least 95 percent of those votes will be counted but by Friday. And then one final batch of votes, 17,000 ballots that went into what is called box three. These are in-person votes that were not run through the tabulator because of the printer error. To be clear, there are always ballots that go into this box three, but an elections official says this is a higher percentage than normal. So, we'll be keeping an eye on all of these results as they come in, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Brianna, thanks so much.

And joining us now, the Arizona assistant secretary of state, Allie Bones. The secretary of state, of course, Katie Hobbs, is one of the candidates running for governor. Thanks so much for joining us, Allie. We appreciate it.

Where in Arizona is the vote still outstanding? Are these mail-in ballots, are they in-person and in what counties?

ALLIE BONES, ARIZONA ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes. So, good evening. Thanks for having me. Yes, most of the votes are in Maricopa County, as one would expect, considering it is the largest county in the state, a county larger than some states and one of the largest jurisdictions in the country. So, we do anticipate that they have the most.

We see Pima County has early ballots that were dropped off late over the weekend and yesterday, so they'll be processing those as well. We're still getting updates from them as to exactly how many ballots are left remaining, but from our understanding, aside from those 17,000 ballots, that were put into box three that could not be read by the tabulators at the voting locations yesterday, all election day votes are now tabulated. And the only thing that is left would be those early ballots as well as any provisional ballots that were cast on Election Day.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Madam Secretary, we're grateful for your time because we know you're busy. I just want to go through a little bit of history there because your state obviously, as you well know, went through this in 2020 and it's an issue in 2022.

This is the Senate race right now. Senator Kelly, the incumbent, has a lead of 83,251 votes over Mr. Masters, the Republican candidate, about 73 percent of the estimated reporting. I just want to switch to the governor's race, where this is more of an issue, if you will. Katie Hobbs, your boss, the secretary of state, who's running for governor, which is why you're here and not her, she only has a 4,000-vote lead right now. It's very close. And Kari Lake has raised questions, number one, about the 2020 count in your state, and she's already said she's worried about impropriety this year.

My question was do you understand the composition, the mix of the ballots and does this look like it did at this point in 2020? Because what was interesting about Arizona is that Joe Biden's lead shrunk as you counted the later ballots. He went on to win. He ultimately won in the end.

[18:10:01] But over the last several days, as the ballots were counted, his lead shrunk. Are we in that same position in terms of the mix of ballots to be counted or do we not know that?

BONES: So, I think it's too early for us to really tell exactly what these late earlies that were dropped off over the weekend and on Election Day are going to look like. We knew that the early totals that came in well before Election Day that were part of the first release of results yesterday evening would favor Democrats, which, as we saw, they obviously did, and that Election Day votes would favor Republicans. Again, that's exactly how it played out.

I think what's unclear is exactly how those late earlies, as we like to call them, will shape up. And will those favor Republicans or Democrats? I think it kind of depends on who you're asking, who's saying who they're going to favor.

TAPPER: Maricopa County had some issues yesterday with voter tabulation. The county's board of supervisors said these were technical glitches. Can you explain what the problem was and have you seen any irregularities with the actual vote in Maricopa County?

BONES: Yes. We have absolutely not seen any irregularities with the vote in Maricopa County or anywhere statewide. Elections officials have operated this election flawlessly, and what happened yesterday was a tabulator technical error that it could not read -- it couldn't read the hash marks basically on the ballots that were being printed on these ballot-on-demand printers.

And so election officials planned back up scenarios for everything. And so these tabulators, in fact, have a backup system built directly into them where the ballot can be dropped into a secure drop box and returned back to the county's central count facility where they can process those later on.

And in most Arizona counties, 8 of our 15 counties, they do not have precinct level or center level tabulators. They only tabulate ballots at the central count facility. So, this is a normal process that elections officials are used to doing and this is -- again, it was a technical glitch and we have backup plans for these -- any kind of eventually that can come to pass and the county really handled this situation well.

KING: Can you help us understand how you protect the integrity of the process? And I ask in the context maybe your smart enough to stay off social media, but you know what was happening yesterday, outside forces, people whose feet are not on the ground in your state, already raising questions about the count. But now your candidate for governor as well, Kari Lake, the Republican, who, again, still questions 2020, saying she's worried about integrity, she says you need honest elections.

I want to ask about how you protect and explain to people, please, that there are Democrat and Republican eyes, I assume, on all of these counts at a time when this is your boss, this is your boss. Does she have any role in what happens from here on forward, or for integrity purposes, is she essentially recused from any interference at all in this count because it involves her?

BONES: Yes. So, first of all, elections in Arizona are decentralized. So, the counties handle the actual administration of elections. The role of the secretary of state's office is oversight and administrative. We help set procedures that were set long time ago. We were operating actually still on a 2019 election procedures manual and, you know, laws that are set in place, and we provide guidance to the counties on implementing those.

But in terms of who operates the elections, it is the counties themselves. And so our office, the secretary of state's office, never touches a ballot. We don't do anything in terms of tabulation. And so the counties really are in charge of this process. And if there's a situation and, obviously, the race between the two candidates for governor is extremely tight, and so, yes, Secretary Hobbs is not involved in any discussions about what's happening with that, and if there were any kind of contests related to that or any conflict of interest, she would recuse herself from that process.

TAPPER: All right. The assistant secretary of state, Allie Bones, thank you so much for talking to us. I really appreciate it and best of luck to you and your team over there.

BONES: Thank you so much.

TAPPER: So, John, let's dive in. 73 percent of the Arizona vote is estimated has reported in. Katie Hobbs, the Democrat, is only up 4,083 votes. Where's the outstanding vote and is there we can divine about who it's from and who it might go for?

KING: That's why I was trying to get the mix of the ballots because we had the flip side. Remember Pennsylvania last time, Biden was behind. And then as they counted more of the mail-in ballots, he caught up to Donald Trump and passed him.

The Arizona experience was different in the sense Biden had a lead and then it was shrinking in the final days because of what the assistant secretary called late earlies. The late early ballots, most Democrats dominated early voting the COVID 2020 pandemic here. The late earlies, people who returned them at the last minute, that was actually more of a Republican vote.


Republicans, they vote on Election Day, but in the pandemic, you saw late earlies, as they call them, ballots that were dropped on Election Day, or maybe right before, turned it more Republican.

So, that was my question in the sense that that's a 4,000-vote lead. That is not as comfortable as Joe Biden had at this point in the count back in 2020. So, you say where, the bulk are here. 61, 62 percent of the population lives in Phoenix and the suburbs around it, that's Maricopa County, by far the largest county and population center.

And, again, while she's the secretary of state, Kari Lake, the Republican candidate, was a T.V. anchor right here in this community for ten years. So, she's very well-known in the community and she's very close in this suburban county. Look at that, 52-48 in Maricopa County. You go back to the presidential race and you look at it, 50- 48. So, this is it. This is where it is decided.

The other point, though, as you come back to 2022, it's not the only vote. I just want to make that point. Let's come back to the governor's race here and come down. Pima County just to the south, Tucson, the suburbs around Tucson, is about 15 percent. So, you've got 75, 76 percent of the vote in these two counties where most of the outstanding ballots are. And a 4,000-vote lead for the Democrat in the governor's race, a much larger lead in the Senate race.

So, if you're Mark Kelly and the 2020 dynamics play out, you expect Blake Masters to close. Is it enough to catch him? At least you have a more comfortable lead. When it come to the governor's race, if, and I say it as a big if, history does not always repeat itself, but if the same dynamic plays out, that's a much more narrow lead and things will get interesting as the new ballots come in, if it tracks what happened in 2020. That's the part we don't know yet. When she says there are a lot more late earlies, if you go back to 2020, that's possibly good news for Kari Lake if the dynamics track like they did two years ago. That's the question.

TAPPER: Yes. And we're going to see some of those votes coming up when they're released tonight, earlier tonight -- later tonight, I mean.

Still ahead, we're on the brink of new projections in the fight for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. That's coming up on the other side of this break. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we have some projections for you, a huge win for Republicans in New York. Republican State Assemblyman Michael Lawler has defeated, CNN projects, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. Maloney ran the House Democrats' campaign committee this year.

Sean Patrick Maloney conceded earlier today. CNN is now officially making a projection. This is a suburban district that Biden won by ten points, and the first time a campaign chairman like this has been defeated since 1980.

New York Republican and former NYPD Detective Anthony D'Esposito has also flipped a Long Island district that Biden won by nearly 15 points.

So, let us go now to the balance of power. Right now, Democrats have 187 seats. That includes four pickups. Republicans have 206 seats, that includes 14 pickups. The magic number, of course, 218 seats are needed to have control. We are still waiting for a number of other districts to be called and we will bring those to you when we do this.

The state of play right now in the U.S. House, Republicans need to win 9 of the outstanding competitive seats and they're leading in 13 of them. 9 and they're leading in 13. Democrats need to win 24 of the outstanding competitive seats and they're leading in 19 of them.

So, that is the state of play right now and, John king, we're going to have more projections as we get -- our decision desk gets more information, more data. But we do have a much better idea right now of what is likely to be the end result.

KING: Right. So, think about the two things you just said. Number one, the end result based on the math you just laid out. We don't know it but we know it's going to be pretty close based on the small number of seats still in play, and then you just two pickups in New York. Think about that, two pickups in New York, a blue state, right, a blue state Joe Biden won by a boat load.

So, let's walk through it. This is where we are in terms of leading, right? So, Republicans, if it stops right now and all the races settled is in, they would have a modest majority in the House of Representatives, 218 to take it. But as you just noted, we're not there yet because we're still counting. These are the called races, right?

So, I just want to come back to the map here, and look at this, you mentioned New York, right? So, we come up here right now. This is where we are right now in New York in called races, right? If you bring them all up in ahead races, if it ends this way, say 15, right?

So, let's go back to the existing House of Representatives. Democrats have 19 at the moment in New York. Republicans have eight. And so you come forward here and you say, okay, there it is. So, Republicans are getting their path to a narrow majority through blue, deep blue New York. There's some irony in that, if you will. Because if you come out and think of it this way, and we were talking last night, well, your home state, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that's a purple state, right? If Republicans are going to get gains, this is where they were going to get them. Well, we have four competitive districts in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Republicans got a goose egg.

And so there's an upside down nature of this battle for the House in that Republicans are making their gains in a place like New York. And if you pull it back out and you wipe out the competitive seats, remember, the Republicans wanted to pick up some seats in New England. A couple of these races are not called yet at the moment, New England stays all blue. Republicans wanted to pick up two, three, maybe even four in Pennsylvania. They have failed to do that. They wanted to pick up two or three in Virginia, they got one.

So, it's interesting that the state of New York is going to be California and Kevin McCarthy's potentially path to the majority, but a narrow one.

TAPPER: Can you bring us New York once again? I just want to -- so, one of the things that's interesting, first of all, New York lost a congressional seat, right, because of the census. They lost a seat.

KING: So, there's going to one fewer anyway. TAPPER: Yes. So, Republicans, if this holds, we're going to go from 8 seats to 11.

One of the things that New York Republicans had going for them that Pennsylvania Republicans did not, Pennsylvania Republicans had a fringe extremist as the Republican nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, good riddance. But in New York, Congressman Lee Zeldin, he lost, but he came a lot closer to Kathy Hochul, who was elected, the Democrat, than people thought.


He got out the vote, though, I'm saying. I hear New York Republicans today saying Lee Zeldin is one of the reasons why they picked up some seats.

KING: Right. So, let's look at this by county level now. You make that point, right? So, that's the Maloney district you just mentioned with the flip, Lee Zeldin's old district, the lines have been redrawn, so this is not exact. But Zeldin was a congressman from here. All right, so your seat is one, two, three, four districts right there that are shaded red at the moment, right?

So, just think about this. This is the House of Representatives. So, I'm just going to switch your map here and go to governor, right? You see the red. You see the red. Lee Zeldin runs a very competitive race for governor. He's running -- in parts of the Maloney district, obviously, Hochul is winning, but he's still turning out Republican votes.

TAPPER: 5 percentage points in true blue New York.

KING: Right, in true blue New York. And so you have a Republican gubernatorial candidate who is more competitive than expected early on. He loses, if he can take some solace in that, is he will leave the House of Representatives, a little bit of irony there, he will leave the House of Representatives, but McCarthy, I have to ask Lee Zeldin if he's his friend, will get his colleague, Kevin McCarthy, is most likely to become speaker with a narrow majority that he can thank the voters of New York. And, yes, he will owe a personal debt to Lee Zeldin for having turn out Republicans.

TAPPER: Yes. I mean, if this ends up being the margin, five votes, right, three of them are in New York. I'm not saying Lee Zeldin is responsible for all of it, but that is, I mean, at least McCarthy should send Zeldin a muffin basket at the very least.

KING: One more thing to make your point there, muffin basket, to say the least, maybe some California wine. You talked about both of those districts and how much Biden won them by, right? That is the exception, and it's in New York. It's the exception. These are House districts that Biden carried by less than 5 percent. This should have been the low-hanging fruit for Republicans, right?

In a presidential year, Biden carried them by less than 5 percent, right? So, in a midterm year, you think this is your target. These are the districts where Biden just won and it's not a presidential year and you have the inflation. Well, look, Republicans are leading in seven of them. Jake, they had five of these seats before the election. So, their best possibility is to pick up only two of what should have been the lowest-hanging fruit.

And it's possible -- it's possible -- we've only called they've only won four so far. It's possible they actually lose a seat if the Democrats come back. But if you look at this, this is where in these districts, 15 districts right here, if you would talk to Kevin McCarthy or Tom Emmer, the chairman of the committee, if you watched them on television in the last six months, this was the easy part. They were going to get all of these. And right now, they may end up with one or two more, possibly even fewer of what should have been the low-hanging fruit.

TAPPER: So, speaking of which, let's talk about Colorado 3, because right now -- let's bring that up, if we can. Adam Frisch, a former city councilman, a Democrat, with 94 percent of the vote in, in Lauren Boebert's district, the -- I don't know what you want to call her, a firebrand, extremist, take your pick, he is up only 62 votes but he's still in the lead, 50-50 in Colorado. And I don't think anyone really saw this coming.

KING: Right. This is also -- you mentioned how Lee Zeldin helped those Republicans in New York. Michael Bennett and Jared Polis are helping Democrats in Colorado to get to the governor's race.

TAPPER: Mainly Polis, right. Governor Polis is reinventing that state.

KING: Right. And so let's just look at it, right? Well, let's come to the governor's race right there. You have the governor winning with 57 percent of the vote. And, again, there's red out here. This is where that district is, 16 percent, not doing well there, 19 percent there. But if you come across, and Michael Bennett, let's just look quickly at the Senate race as well, similar results here out here, you have all this red. But then come back to the House race, and you mentioned, this is here. It's a big district. It stretches down with 50 percent, 62.

I was texting with a friend out here who's involved in Democratic politics earlier today who said that the expectation, if you look at where the missing vote is, that they believe she should catch up. We'll see, we have to count votes, whether it's Arizona or Nevada or anywhere, we're going to count them to the very end. But the fact that this is so competitive in what was supposed to be a Republican year, a House incumbent, she is the lightning rod and the Democrats tried very hard to make her an example. We'll keep counting those votes.

TAPPER: The Democratic governor there, people in the national Democratic scene don't talk about him the way they talk about Gavin Newsom or whatever. This is a guy who is reinventing the Colorado. Look at that victory. He's won 17 points.

KING: And look at the stretch of it. Look at the stretch of it. And, again, one of the big questions was, with Donald Trump not on the ballot, the suburbs repudiated Trump and the Republicans in 2018, repudiated Trump, made Joe Biden president in 2020 after making Nancy Pelosi speaker in 2018. So, the question was high inflation. Look at this. This is Adams County here. This is Arapahoe here. He's running at 64 percent. This is Denver County, which includes a lot of the suburbs around there, he's getting 82 percent. This is the most Democratic county.

TAPPER: He's getting Republican votes as well.

KING: Right. The Jefferson County, which is a more of a swing county, it used to be anyway, he's getting 62. Arapahoe is always interesting to me because this was a fervent tea party county back in 2010 and 2014.


The Democratic governor is getting 64 percent of the vote. You're right, Colorado itself is changing. These suburbs are changing demographically, but that is a governor who not only is winning, he understands his state. He is growing it.

TAPPER: Yes. And he's winning Republican votes. I'm just saying, if any national Democrats are paying attention, how do we win the White House, I mean, there's a guy that's winning Republican votes.

Still ahead, Donald Trump's scorecard so far in this election, what that could mean for his party and his likely 2024 presidential bid. Stay with us.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Control of Congress still up for grabs as election night in America continues.


We're tracking all the undecided races and outstanding votes.

CNN National Correspondent Kristen Holmes is in West Palm Beach, Florida. Kristen, now we're hearing that the former president and his team are gearing up for what they view as an inevitable showdown with Ron DeSantis?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. So, essentially, some of Trump's advisers earlier today were trying to talk him out of announcing a third presidential bid, which we are expecting to be on next Tuesday. That didn't seem to be working. It seems as though Trump's mind is made up, at least now. He does want to announce that third presidential run next Tuesday, which means that Trump world's focus is shifting. They are now looking at what does a Trump/DeSantis 2024 showdown actually look like. How do they take on the Florida governor?

And this is particularly daunting, not just given DeSantis' monumental win yesterday but also the momentum behind him, with donors, as well as CNN reporting that Rupert Murdoch, who owns several conservative news outlets, appears poised feel happily put Trump aside and put Ron DeSantis as the head of the Republican Party.

And I'm sorry about those lights flickering there. I'm not sure if you saw that, but we are in West Palm Beach, where there's a hurricane coming in.

Now, I want to read to you what Donald Trump said. This is him starting to take aim at DeSantis. He said in an interview, I don't know if he's running. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I think the base would not like it. I think it would not be good for the party. I would tell you things about him that won't be flattering. And I asked Trump what exactly he meant by that and he wouldn't get into detail, but one adviser telling me that's just the tip of the iceberg. They expect this to get increasingly nastier.

Again, we are expecting Trump to launch that third presidential run next Tuesday, Anderson.

COOPER: Fascinating, not even a veiled threat, sort of, yes. Kristen, thanks very much.

I want to go to David Chalian with a look at what we are learning now. David?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: So, Anderson, just off of what you were discussing with Kristen, we sort of took a look at the exit polls about how voters in this midterm election were viewing former President Donald Trump.

So, nationally, in the exit poll, we asked do you view President Trump favorably or unfavorably. 39 percent of voters in the election yesterday view Donald Trump favorably, 58 percent unfavorable. And that's a significant downgrade from just two years ago when Donald Trump had a 46 percent favorable, 52 unfavorable. So, he has taken on water.

Was he a factor in this election? Well, look here, 54 percent say Donald Trump was not a factor in their decision, but when he was a factor, 28 percent oppose Trump with their vote in the U.S. House election yesterday. 16 percent supported Trump.

And then we wanted to see, well, how is this shaping views of the Republican Party, if at all? The Republican Party has a 44 percent favorable view among Americans in this midterm election nationally, 52 percent unfavorable, so upside down. By the way, Democratic Party has very similar numbers.

And is the Republican Party seen as too extreme? Extremism was a theme in this election. 52 percent of Americans voting in the U.S. House election yesterday across the country, yes, 52 percent see the Republican Party as too extreme. 45 percent say no. Again, similar numbers on how the Democratic Party is viewed as well, Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting. David Chalian, I appreciate that.

Back with our team here in New York. Scott Jennings, the former president in an interview just responded to reports that he was, quote/unquote, furious about the midterm results, saying that the people he endorsed, quote, did very well. He says, quote, all these guys that are winning are my people. Can you help us fact check that for a moment?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, he endorsed hundreds of candidates, many who didn't have opponents. So, it's quite easy to win elections in which you don't have an opponent. I mean, it's a deep political science feeling (ph) out there, but he did do that, so that later, he could tout this statistic.

But where he mattered the most were in these big races where there was muddled primaries and Pennsylvania is ground zero for this. He owns that one. I don't know what's going to happen to Blake Masters.

COOPER: And with Pennsylvania, he wasn't just endorsing a candidate.

JENNINGS: Yes, he was determined.

COOPER: He branded Oz.

JENNINGS: He was determined.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How did he actually do that? How did he -- he didn't just ordain that these candidates be the candidates, he endorsed them and they won. So, why did they win? Why did they win? They won because he has a following among Republicans.

JENNINGS: Well -- but you raise a good point and Oz won with what, 30-something percent of the vote? And so in a muddled primary, in a fragmented field, when somebody like that comes in and you can win with some 30-some percent of the vote --

AXELROD: J.D. Vance.

JENNINGS: Vance is the same way. And look how far behind Vance ran DeWine.


AXELROD: Blake Masters.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think that's the important point to make, Anderson. Let's look at these kind of head- to-head matchups in states where you have governors who weren't Trump- associated, right? Kemp in Georgia running five points ahead of Herschel Walker, you go Mike DeWine in Ohio running points ahead of J.D. Vance, and on and on. And so I think where you saw the former president was involved, there was a drag on the ticket, right?

AXELROD: This is the -- first of all, I think you're minimizing, because you guys have -- you have a winner-take-all primary system. He's got a solid base. That gives him, you know, some hope in these primaries.

But here's the thing that I find kind of astonishing -- not astonishing, but confusing. The guy, he told a heinous lie about the last election and then fomented an insurrection at the Capitol. And now you lose a couple of seats and say, oh, no, we can forgive the other stuff.


AXELROD: We lost Pennsylvania.

BORGER: I totally agree.

JENNINGS: First of all, just to be clear, I didn't forget the other stuff. I mean --

AXELROD: No, no. I mean --

JENNINGS: And I will always --

AXELROD: So, I looked at him.

URBAN: No, wait, because I'm getting a lot of Twitter on this, okay? Just so you know, I've always said that Joe Biden -- I always said Joe Biden was the legitimate winner of the elections. I was an institutionalist, I used to work in the Senate, I decry the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Okay. But just real quick, guys. Donald Trump was the unmitigated loser of last night, hands down. I hope you guys are right that Ron DeSantis is finally changing the wave and Trump is done, but I'm sorry, I was on CNN on January 7th, said the party needs to move on. Every prominent elected Republican said the same thing. And weeks later, they're down at Mar- a-Lago and back supporting him.

And, by the way, he lost us the White House and he lost us the Senate and they still went back to him. This isn't anything worse than he's done before, and this time, there was no insurrection.

BORGER: I totally agree with you. As someone who has covered January 6th -- no. As someone who has covered January 6th and you see that he fomented a violent insurrection, and you watch those hearings, suddenly, some people lose some Senate seats and it's, oh, my God, oh, my God, and they're running away from him. Candace Owens, conservative influencer on Twitter today, saying, what I am saying is that Trump needs to take a good look in the mirror. Why not before -- can I just answer my own question? Which it's a rhetorical question, because they feel threatened, that's why, because their political survival now is threatened, and so they're running away.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Just as an observer, why I think Trump is hard to quit. I think that people misunderstand him as a political phenomenon and not as a movement leader. He's a movement leader. The reason people join movements is because they feel alone. They want to belong to something. They need some meaning. They need some hope. They need some help. They need to feel like this is something I can be a part of that's bigger than me. The question isn't could DeSantis do better with this demographic in the polling. The question is can DeSantis create a better home for them? Can he create a better sense of belonging for them? And I'm not sure he can. And since it's not clear that he can, I think Trump is hard to quit.

JENNINGS: You're describing politics as religion, basically.

JONES: Yes, I am.

JENNINGS: And I'm describing politics it as purely a vehicle for winning elections.

GRIFFIN: But that's the problem.

JENNINGS: And, honestly, that is one of the most interesting conversations in America where we have taken politics, people on both extremes, and have turned it into a -- we've replaced religion in some ways. I think you make a great, Alyssa. The reason I think it's different is purely the calendar. After January 6th, we were still four years away from the next one and there was no viable alternative. Now, 2024 is on right now.

GRIFFIN: There were, if we put the effort and we could have groomed the viable alternative. The party went back to --

JENNINGS: But there was no race. Now, there's a race.

COOPER: I got to break in.

Coming up, we are closing in on a new round of votes from Arizona. We expect to make more House projections as this evening goes on. Right now, a quick break.



TAPPER: New votes continue to be counted in House races across the country. We are updating the vote totals. We have some key race alerts for right now.

In Illinois, former TV meteorologist Democrat Eric Sorensen is currently leading Republican Esther Joy King in this northwestern Illinois district. This is king's second run for the seat. Eric Sorensen has 51.8 percent to Esther Joy King's 42.8 percent. In the last few hours, King has gained a few hundred votes.

In Washington state, small business owner Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is leading Republican Joe Kent. Kent is the Trump-endorsed Republican who defeated Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler in the primaries. She voted for impeachment, 52.6 percent in the last few hours. Kent has gained on Gluesenkamp Perez.

In the race for Alaska's lone House seat, we have votes just in. The Democrat Mary Peltola is currently leading former Republican governor and former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. That's followed by Nick Begich. Alaska, it's a crowded field and the state has a ranked choice voting system so this could take a few weeks.

The House and the Senate still up for grabs tonight.

CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju is following all of it for us.

And, Manu, I would think with Republicans not living up to what they hoped to do that there would be a round of recriminations going on and some finger-pointing.


Bring us up to speed.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right. Publicly, they're not saying a whole lot, at least the top Republicans are not. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader who typically has a news conference the day after an election, did not have one today. He did not want to speak to reporters about the and when he came together Capitol today.

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, has not yet fielded questions about reporter about what happened, including walking out of a brief speech that he gave about 2:00 in the morning without responding to questions from reporters.

And Republican sources say there is one big reason. Privately there is concern among a lot of Republicans about Donald Trump. They believe his presence late in the campaign season essentially made him a central figure, made essentially a clear contrast with Democrats, hurt some of the candidates in swing states like Pennsylvania.

Also the issue of abortion, not being able to push back strongly enough against the Democratic onslaught of attacks on this issue. Republicans largely sidestepped questions about that along the campaign trail.

Now, one reason that McCarthy himself has been behind closed doors is he is trying to lock down support for speakership, including among some of Donald Trump's closest allies.

We have learned that tonight, Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of Donald Trump's closest allies, met with McCarthy for 45 minutes. And when she emerged, we asked her about that meeting. She declined to comment and asked if she would support McCarthy for speaker, also said, no comment -- Jake.

TAPPER: Wow. All right, Manu Raju.

Let's talk about this because this is going to be, Kevin McCarthy, if he does become the speaker, this is going to be his biggest challenge, I think, is keeping these MAGA Republicans, this caucus on his side as they get increasingly demanding. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Demanding, that's

really the keyword. They know that they have leverage. They have a lot of leverage. Now before he becomes speaker, because he needs enough votes to become the speaker. Of course, we have to remember that it's unlike a regular leadership position because it's a constitutional position, the entire House of Representatives will end up voting for him or anybody else who wants to run.

So, they're going to use that leverage. Marjorie Taylor Greene, in particular, knows exactly how to use that kind of leverage. People close to Kevin McCarthy say that they don't think that there is another viable choice right now to get that job.

But the question is what will be extracted from him or what will they attempt to extract to actually get the vote.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: If Kevin McCarthy's majority is like two or three seats the margin, it's going to be complete chaos. Do you remember when the Freedom Caucus was running things with John Boehner and they tried to do predictable things day in and day out? And he threw up his hands and said, screw it, I'm out, this is going to be so much worse.

TAPPER: One of the things that they're demanding is an ability to fire the speaker of the house any time they want.

HUNT: Any day.

TAPPER: Yeah, it's crazy. And one of the things Dana was explaining is just, like, in order to win the party leadership when you're the minority, you just need to win a majority of the minority. In order to be speaker of the House, you need to get 218 votes. That pretty much means everybody in your caucus.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, that is the challenge. I don't expect that Kevin McCarthy will do anything other than capitulate. He had a 45-minute meeting with Marjorie Taylor Greene. I think that basically tells you everything you need to know about where this is all headed.

He doesn't have leverage to push back against this part of the Republican Party. And, in fact, last night and perhaps when all the votes are tallied, we will see no matter really what happens more of them in Congress the next time around. I don't think that's going anywhere.

One thing that I think is worth noting, Republicans know that this kind of politics, that the MAGA politics, the Trump wing hurt them last night, and they still haven't figured out what to do about it, but that's only going to continue to be a problem.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: And some of the people who have been thorns in the side of Kevin McCarthy are already saying we're going to demand something. Tom Massie, congressman from Kentucky, who is what he calls the head of the Tom Massey caucus, has simply said, I'm going in there and I'm going to hold McCarthy up. I want something for my vote.

Let's say he ends up with 225 Republican votes. He needs 218. Those seven or eight people who are the difference between being elected speaker or they got to go find somebody else, they got all the leverage in the world.

HUNT: Yeah, and their interests don't align with McCarthy's. This is one of the biggest differences between the way Congress operates now versus the way it operated ten years ago, which is that the people that were in charge, the speaker or the other big household names, they used to be the famous ones, they used to have power to take things away from rogue members of their conference.


Now, Twitter, the Internet, the incentives are all completely different. It's much easier for Marjorie Taylor Greene to go out there and be the famous members of the conference. The incentives are completely bad.

TAPPER: It's the Trumpification of Congress. Am I the only one who's having memories of the movie "Gremlins"?

HUNT: Yes, yes, you are.


TAPPER: Don't feed them after midnight.

WALLACE: It isn't like Kevin McCarthy that there is this blood oath to him. There is not tremendous loyalty to him. You say, well, he is the only viable candidate. You really don't think Steve Scalise or some other member --

TAPPER: Jim Jordan, keep an eye --


HUNT: I'm telling you, watch Elise Stefanik.

TAPPER: Coming up, new details of the closely watched vote counts in Arizona and Nevada. We're getting new information from Nevada election officials. We'll go there live.

Stay with us.