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America's Choice 2022; Any Moment: Significant Amount Of Votes Expected From Arizona; Democrats Extend Leads In Latest Release Of AZ Vote Totals. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 20:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A good day for democracy. He noted with confidence and some relief that the red wave, the red tsunami, many Republicans had predicted did not pan out. All eyes currently on Arizona though where we are awaiting a significant number of vote totals, vote counts from Maricopa County, the most populous county in Arizona, that will be reported at any moment.

Let's go to CNN senior national correspondent, Sara Sidner, who is in Phoenix for us -- Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, we are waiting in the next minute or so, we are expecting to see another vote count come out with more ballots that have been counted. At this point, Senator Mark Kelly is ahead of Blake Masters.

And as you know, Blake Masters is backed by Donald Trump. He is a person that does believe that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, that is an issue with a lot of the Republican candidates in races that are being watched nationally here. Of course, Donald Trump did lose the 2020 election and Joe Biden won, but that is the scenario that you're seeing here.

And I think a lot of people are watching this. We know in talking to some Republican operatives that they are watching us to see number one, the influence that Donald Trump may or may not have in races here and across the country that is significant to them. There is also the issue here of Arizona having more Independent or third-party voters than anything else.

They have more Independent voters here than they have Republicans or Democrats, although Republicans are a close second and then Democrats are third. Those Independent voters are very important here, they can swing either way and it is harder to figure out which way they're going to go because they don't just go down the party line every single time and that Arizonans pride themselves generally on that.

But right now, we are seeing Mark Kelly ahead of Blake Masters. We also have the other race that a lot of folks are talking about and that is the race for the Governor. You have Katie Hobbs, who is the Secretary of State right now running for the governorship and Kari Lake who is another candidate who is an election denier, who is backed by Donald Trump. At this point in time, according to the numbers, and I am looking down a lot, Jake, because I'm looking at the Maricopa County Election Department's results as I'm trying to wait for more of those votes to come in, but right now, Katie Hobbs is ahead of Kari Lake by 52 percent.

Here in Maricopa County, significant because Maricopa County is about 40 percent of the vote in the entire State. So, a very large outsized number of people live in this county, which is a very large county itself, and I'll just quickly give you a look behind me.

Right now you're seeing people just sort of taking a quick break or talking to one another and you're not seeing those tabulations happen at this very moment, but they will happen.

What happens here in Arizona is they have a lot of people, about 85 percent of the population here in Maricopa County votes early. That means mail in votes were people who came and dropped off ballots early or people who came and dropped off their mailed ballots early. Instead, they put it in an envelope and they brought it here. Well, when that happens, it takes a little bit longer because they have to verify the signatures first on those particular envelopes, and then they have to sort and then tabulate.

So the process takes time. We are told by County officials that by Friday, they will know 95 to 99 percent of the vote. They will have that many votes counted and we will pretty much know, unless they are so razor-thin type who won in each of these categories that are being heavily watched.

Another category that is being heavily watched, we should also mention is the Secretary of State's office. You have Mark Finchem who has spouted some QAnon conspiracies and who also is an election denier from 2020. And, you know, basically his job, if he were to win would be to certify the vote, to certify the next presidential election and that has some folks, especially in the country, worried if you didn't believe that the perfectly fair election that didn't have any major problems was not a fair vote, then what's going to happen in other instances?

So a lot of people have their eyes on Arizona trying to figure out exactly who voters believe and what voters want. It is a good bellwether, because this is one of the several swing States -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much.

Joining us once again, the Arizona Assistant Secretary of State, Allie Bones.

Allie, thanks for joining us, again.

Do we have any idea of timing? And do we have any idea of -- what else can you tell us about the balance that we're about to learn about?

ALLIE BONES, ARIZONA ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes, so I think Maricopa County has told us that they will provide an update in the six o'clock hour, so it will be, I think, you know, very shortly here.

I think that we're going to see a small number of early ballots that came in over the weekend, so these are going to be, you know, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe. It might not be as big of a batch, as you know, folks are expecting, but as you all were mentioning, Arizona takes a lot of time to process those early ballots.


And, you know, they go through a signature verification process, it has to go to an early Board, the ballot has to be separated from the envelope, and then it can be put into batches to go to tabulation. So these things take time.

And, you know, I know it is frustrating for folks, but we have all of these measures in place because of our desire for a greater election integrity. You know, if you want to have like strong integrity measures, then these things do take more time.

And so that's what we're seeing, and I think what Maricopa is going to give us tonight are some of those ballots that they received over the weekend.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Madam Secretary, it is John King again. Again, we're grateful for your time on a busy day.

Can you just explain to people, Jake and I were talking about this a little bit earlier, you know, Florida is a much bigger State, and they're essentially done with their count. Georgia is a more populous State, they are essentially done with their count.

What is the cultural and the political decision of Arizona, especially after the 2020 experience where you did have people raising questions about this to decide, this is a State's issue. States count their own votes to decide this is the way we're going to do it. We're okay with taking time. What are the conversations about that in Arizona?

BONES: Well, it is ironic, right? So there are folks who want it to take less time, but they want greater election integrity. And you know, if you want to make sure that we are checking the signature and verifying on every ballot that is returned and submitted, that takes time, especially when we are talking about those ballots going to an election board, a bipartisan board that is reviewing each -- you know, they're looking at a computer screen, this is not an automated process, where they're comparing the signature to ensure that it matches what we have on record so that we can verify that voter voted that ballot.

You know, these things just take time. I think that the thing in Arizona, we've always had these processes, but our elections have become closer over the years, and so I think that it's just -- we've noticed it more.

TAPPER: How many more votes still need to be counted in Maricopa County, specifically? BONES: From what we're understanding from the county, they have about 400,000 outstanding ballots that they are working through the signature verification process, and then will be going through tabulation. They also have their provisional ballots that they're working through. I think we'll get some updates tonight on exactly how many of those they have left. Those have a cure period, that is five business days following the election.

So voters have an opportunity through next Tuesday to verify that their ballot is theirs or for any other thing that needs to be checked.

KING: You've just mentioned --sorry, forgive me for interrupting. You just mentioned until next Tuesday to verify. Pima County officials say it could be early next week, do you have a date circled on the calendar that says we will be done by here or are we still not certain when we'll have a final number? Maybe we get to 95 percent and the margins are such that we could say, okay, this person, you know, has a big enough lead. You can call the election even though you don't have a final number, but when will you have a final number?

BONES: Yes, so we say results in Arizona are not official until we canvass the election. And that is not happening until the date that is required is November 28th for the counties, and then the State canvasses the election on December 5th.

So everything we have now is an unofficial result until it is canvassed by the Board of Supervisors in each county and then by the State and that happens by the Secretary, the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.

But yes, if we have, you know, 95 to 98 percent of the vote by this weekend, and it seems that the margins are wide enough that the races are able to be called then that's, you know, the media makes those decisions.

TAPPER: In the 2020 presidential election, it took several days and in some counties, a full week to finish counting. If you could just explain to our viewers why this is taking so much time? I know you did already to a degree, but what happens with the ballots? What are you -- first of all, I think people need to understand some states like Ohio or Texas, they are allowed to count or at least prepare for tabulation before Election Day. I believe you're not allowed to do that at all until Election Day, right?

BONES: Now, that's actually not true. So Arizona is able to start tabulating early ballots. Yes, as soon as they're received and so they are able to go through that signature verification process as soon as they're received and then counties start tabulating. They can't release those results until an hour after polls closed.


So, that's usually that first draft or any ballots that are received before the weekend of the election, and so that's why those numbers are always so big at that first release of results at 8:00 PM in Arizona.

But what happens is, is once the election is happening, people who are doing those signature verification duties and things like that, they're now setting up for the election on Monday. So they might not have as many Boards that are able to do the signature verification process, because they are setting up and opening more early voting locations or emergency voting locations on the Monday before Election Day, and then we have elections on Tuesday.

So those signature verification processes are on pause and what is happening is that all -- we have ballots that are coming in, and they are being received by the counties and as long as those ballots are in by 7:00 PM on Election Day, they are eligible to be reviewed and to go through the process.

So then what the county does is they get those ballots ready for signature review. They go through that manual process, as I mentioned. They are comparing the signature on the ballot affidavit with a signature on file to ensure that it is the correct person, then it goes to another Board that separates the ballot from the envelope, because we have a constitutional protection to a secret ballot in Arizona, and then it goes to be put into batches for tabulation.

So, I understand that viewers and voters alike sometimes are not understanding why these processes takes a long time, it really is to ensure the integrity of the election.

TAPPER: All right, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time. Best of luck with this new batch of vote tabulations coming out.

We continue to wait for the significant amount of results -- this significant results that come in from Arizona. We're going to share those the moment we have them.

Plus, what's the future for Donald Trump at the top of the Republican Party? We're going to ask a newly reelected Republican Governor, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire. That's next.



TAPPER: Tonight, the needle is moving in the fight for control of Congress as we await new numbers that are coming in from Arizona, at any moment. We're going to bring those to you and all the new votes as soon as they happen, as soon as we get them.

We are making some new projections as well as this Midterm season unfolds, but first, let us now bring in the newly reelected Republican Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu.

Governor, congratulations. It doesn't look like you had such a tough fight, but you did win, and you also won at a time when your Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan was reelected, and the two House seats in New Hampshire, the two Democrats were reelected as well.

So, what did you do differently from all the Republicans who, especially in New England had a bad night last night?

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Yes, well, I mean, I can't say specifically other than I just tried to connect with the voters and as an incumbent Governor, I have an opportunity to do that. These were all new individuals on the Republican side that given our late primary, they just didn't have the time, didn't have the money, and the resources to connect with folks. You know, whether the conspiracy theory type stuff on their side played into it.

One thing that we did find -- all the polls hadn't had at least Caroline Leavitt and General Bolduc winning. Those polls were off massively by at least 10 points here, and so that took everybody by surprise, there's no doubt. But I think what you're going to find is young people voted in much bigger numbers, and much more for those Democrat Federal candidates and others, as well as college educated women came out in a much stronger push and they voted much more for those candidates as well.

Look, I think everybody believes inflation is the top issue. I think they didn't believe that the Republican candidates across the country could deliver a better result. So, it wasn't that inflation wasn't important. They just didn't trust that a lot of these folks were actually going to deliver a result, and you know, when Washington is talking about payback for Pelosi -- nobody wanted that, nobody was looking for that.

But that was a key part of the message that was resonating with folks when they went into the ballot box with some of these individuals. So, I think that's just why this Republican wave turned into a Republican ripple.

TAPPER: Yes. It's interesting. Biden's pollster, a guy named John Anzalone,. He said a few weeks ago, he saw the election as headwinds versus head cases. That's how he put it. The headwinds, the Democrats were facing because of an unpopular President, because of inflation, because of fears of a recession.

The head cases you have just alluded to the fact that Don Bolduc and some of the other candidates running for office there in New Hampshire and across the country were conspiracy theorists, somebody was talking about Leavitt, the candidate love it becoming the Marjorie Taylor Greene of New Hampshire, which, you know, having lived in New Hampshire, I can't imagine that that was appealing to a lot of New Hampshirites, even right-leaning Independents.

Does this signifying to you in a bigger way that the Republican Party needs to get back to sane Republicans like yourself and away from the MAGA conspiracy theory wing of the Republican Party.

SUNUNU: Well, look, quality of candidate matters, it really does, even over policy. But I think a lot of people want policy to be fixed, but they're saying you know what, we can fix policy later, we are going to fix crazy right now. And that was a clear message across this country.

Enough of the polarization, enough of the extremism. Let's get back to the basics and deliver me some results. Stop talking, start delivering results.

Republicans and Democrats alike in Washington haven't done a whole lot of that and the fuel stuff is scary especially in New England, the energy cost, the fuel costs, all of this, the lack of supply into our system, so that scaring folks, but clearly, the need to not go so forward with the policy changes such as to put in extremist, people were not just going to have that.

This is a Purple State in New Hampshire. We really are. We like good Republicans, but again, you've got to be a candidate that connects with folks.

TAPPER: Well, speaking of connecting, I know education is important to you and your Republican Senate candidate, Don Bolduc who you endorsed, his closing argument was that kids in New Hampshire are going to the bathroom in litterboxes.


And I was just wondering if you have -- is this something that is a concern to New Hampshire voters -- I've been -- I lived in New Hampshire, like I said, for four years. I don't recall ever seeing any litterboxes in restrooms, but maybe I need to be educated.

SUNUNU: You went to Dartmouth, I believe, if I'm not mistaken. Correct, Jake?

TAPPER: That's correct.

SUNUNU: You have been to school here. You've been here. So, I'm guessing neither you nor I have ever seen such things in New Hampshire, so I don't know what that was all about, nonsense. I don't know.

TAPPER: You look nationally at some of the gubernatorial candidates who ran and again, this was a year where Democrats could have easily lost tons of races in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in Wisconsin, all over, but the Republican Party, Republican voters nominated people who voters didn't think were up to the task in States where the races were eminently winnable.

And I just wonder, as a Republican, as a conservative, does that frustrate you?

SUNUNU: Oh, of course, it does. I think it didn't frustrated -- it doesn't frustrate me now, it's been frustrating me for the past year. So the quality of the candidate matters. You've got to connect with folks. You've got to, again, work on their level. What are their issues? What are you connecting with, with them?

And a lot of the stuff they were espousing just weren't things that that people were wanting to see any more in Washington. It wasn't about payback. They wanted to see Washington move forward. And so a lot of these candidates frankly, probably should have won by five or six points or are fighting for the life in close races at the end of the day that it probably just didn't need to happen. I'm just a believer that you always have to move the message forward. I think that's very much in the American spirit. We don't settle. We don't just settle on this and say, "Well, that's good enough." We're always challenging ourselves to make something better -- a better policy, a better idea, a better candidate, a better individual, better public servants. That's what we're all about here. Right?

And so that's why I am constantly -- I think most of us constantly want to see things go forward instead of talking about what happened yesterday.

So at the end of the day, I'm hopeful we can change the message. I'm hopeful that we can start branding ourselves as a party. I think I do it pretty well. I think a lot of people do it pretty well.

I think Governor DeSantis did it incredibly well in Florida. He just knocked the cover off the ball there, and I think people are now saying, "Okay, we're moving forward." And if you just look at the Trump versus DeSantis stuff today, it's a heck of a lot different than it was just three months ago, and definitely a year ago.

And then you'll have other candidates come into the race and hopefully they're up to the challenge of taking that leadership role and driving forward with a positive inspirational message about getting stuff done and demanding accountability out of their public servants. You've got to get results.

TAPPER: So last time, I asked you this question you said you were focused on yesterday, except it wasn't yesterday, at the time it was the future, you were focused on winning reelection.

Okay, you've won reelection? Are you considering running for President in 2024?

SUNUNU: Right now, I'm not. Look, a lot of people are talking about it, there is no doubt. But one, I think the priority -- I always want to work on the priority and that is what you just brought up, changing the message. Am I going to travel across this country and start hopefully inspiring a younger generation to understand the benefits of good fiscal conservatives and the benefits of being smart about these issues and getting engaged in public service? Absolutely. I love doing that. And that's what I'm going to spend my time doing, you know, being Governor, traveling the country talking to folks inspiring them, trying to change that message and be just a small piece of that puzzle.

Because you have to do an in concert, it can't just be one individual or one candidate or one presidential candidate. It's not about that. It's about all of us in concert, being able to move forward and being inspirational for that next generation, because we're not going to be around here forever. We need that that Be team, we need that next bench to be able to step up and not do it in that angry polarizing way. That's all they've experienced. For the past six years, that's all that generation has experienced.

So, we have an obligation to change that narrative and drive forward. That's a lot of fun to me and that's -- if you're talking about my national interest, that's where it lies.

TAPPER: Perhaps, a stop in Iowa is in order.

Governor Sununu, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Well, you're already in New Hampshire, so you don't need to go there. Thank you so much, and congratulations again. Good to see you again.

Still ahead: we're going to go back to Arizona where new vote tallies are about to be revealed in two of the most closely watched undecided contests in the country.

Stay with us.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: A battle for control of Congress hinging on uncounted ballots in several key States. Now, we have some new vote totals in Arizona.

Let's take a look at the Governor's race first. The numbers are up on the screen. Kari Lake 49.8 percent, Katie Hobbs, that's the Secretary of State right now with 50.2 percent, with 73 percent. So a lot -- still a lot of votes be counted.

Let's look at the Senate race. Mark Kelly is in the lead 51.3 percent, and 46.5 percent for Blake Masters, against 74 percent of the vote counted.

I am here with the panel in New York.

David Axelrod, I mean, still could go either way, I suppose.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, for sure. Well, I mean, the Governor's race is a dead heat and I think everybody is trying to discern out of these different tranches of votes that are being counted, you know, what are the likelihoods of voters of the different tranches going in different directions.

But I think the one everybody is watching close, I mean, obviously Kari Lake has become a center of attention in that Governor's race and it can be important because of her role as an election denier. But, you know, whether this race in Georgia matters for control of the Senate, is going to be determined by Nevada and Arizona and I think Democrats had been counting on Arizona.

So, Republicans are looking for a tightening of that number. Everybody kind of expects it. They didn't make much headway in this latest --

COOPER: There are also mail-in ballots that can be received, I think up until Saturday.


COOPER: So, there are several days now for votes still to come. AXELROD: Yes, yes, so we're not going to know, but I think that you would agree that Republicans would like to see a narrowing of this.


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, this would change everything if somehow Masters got ahead of Kelly there, and we held on in Nevada, like you said, that would make Georgia irrelevant. I mean, the Republicans I talked to in Nevada are much more competent in Laxalt holding on then, people I've talked to about Arizona, and the idea that Masters could catch up Lake is very close. And we've got about 8,000 votes. There's an expectation that sometime during this count, you may see her go ahead, although you could see undulation there, but Masters is much farther down.

So, but you're right. If something crazy happened here, and he got on top of that was (INAUDIBLE) --

AXELROD: On this undulating matter. Sorry. Gloria just Kari Lake, I mean, the Senate control the Senate is hugely important. Everybody in the country. This is important as well, because she is a very, very outspoken media savvy election denier. And should she become elected, elected governor of Arizona. A, there'll be questions about what happens in the election of 2024. And b, what role she'll play in the national party. So --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: She questioned, you know, she questioned whether she would trust the election result, even before ballots were counted. And so, if it turns out that she doesn't win, and it's even by a tiny amount, there's no telling what she's going to do. I mean, I looked at our exit polls, and the people of Arizona when asked whether they were confident that the elections are fair and accurate, 73% of people in Arizona said very confident or somewhat confident. So, she may be on the wrong side of that. As for Elie --


BORGER: -- he's popular. And he's raised a lot of money. And so, Democrats feel very confident.

GRIFFIN: In both of these races are close. But there's a bit more of a margin there in favor of Kelly in the Senate race. I mean, Hobbs and Kari Lake are neck and neck. And this one concerns me for the exact reason Gloria laid out. There's been intimidation around voting in Arizona, there's been concerns and reports and you know, warnings about potential unrest if things go the wrong way.

COOPER: But Kari Lake, I mean blatantly lies.

GRIFFIN: Kari Lake has fed into that. And I think that there's an expectation if she were to lose, especially by a thin margin, that she would likely contest it and would you know, given (INAUDIBLE) --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question I have for everybody for the panel kind of writ largest. So, if Kari Lake wins, right? If the election denier kind of wins, right, and --

BORGER: What does she do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you do? You say the election was rigged? Right? Do you say that? So then, you know, how do you attack the election moving forward? How do you take the integrity of elections? So that is that just vanish?


JENNINGS: What was it about Hobbs here? I mean, I don't really know many Democrats who were so hot on Hobbs. I mean, if what you all say about Lake is true, what people say about I mean, shouldn't this have been a layup?

BORGER: She didn't debate. Why didn't she debate? (INAUDIBLE) --

AXELROD: Well, I think people, I think people expected it to be a layup. And I think the tightness of the race speaks to what a polarizing figure, Kari Lake is. I will tell you, I speak to people down in Arizona, who were making provisions, law enforcement folks down there for what might happen around the counting facility, and it was a labyrinth. And a lot of it had to do with the frenzy that they thought she might whip up if the count went against her. And that is --


AXELROD: It didn't materialize so far, because I think she anticipates that she's going to win this election. My larger point is, this is the United States of America, we shouldn't need a phalanx of law enforcement around the place where votes are being counted, because there's a fear that a mob might come and attack.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me just say something about that from a grassroots point of view. Arizona is one of the few places where the youth vote was a little down apparently, like most places, you saw the young people coming out. That's part of why the polling was off. It appears to be that seems to be where we're headed. But there was not an investment in the youth in Arizona, and it wasn't an investment in the youth in Nevada. And that's where we're stopping and struggling.

I think one thing we got, you got to understand the Latino community 66% in the country are under the age of 33 is a very young community. And so, if you're not investing in young people, you're not investing in Latinos, you're not investing in Latinos, you're investing in young people. And so, if we wind up with this really super scary person crawling across the finish line, and scaring the bejesus out of everybody as a governor, part of the reason for that it's going to be the lack of investment in the young Latino.

GRIFFIN: And there was there was a piece in The Atlantic that actually played into specifically talking about how Arizona Latinos were skewing Republican.

JONES: Yes, the older ones.

GRIFFIN: And Kari Lake did run on a message of border security of legal not, you know, combating illegal immigration. But to your point I think what's going to make or break her is going to be younger voters.

JONES: I'm going to say one thing before you --



JONES: -- because the -- there is a generational split there.


JONES: And the younger voters are much more progressive. Do you see it differently?

JENNINGS: Well, no, I wanted to add on.


JENNINGS: You brought up one segment, the young voters I think is very important. In Arizona if you look in the CNN exit polls about independent voters, we talk a little bit about this last night. In Arizona in the states that we looked at Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, it had the highest share of independence at 40%. Back on the Senate race, they broke for Kelly 55 to 39. So, as you know, there's just -- there's a lot of independent voters, they go back and forth in Arizona, and it was one of those states where you look at sort of the sour mood and then you see the independence braking for the Democrats just sort of another sort of other --


AXELROD: Sixty percent of the vote in Arizona is Maricopa County. It's -- and that's largely suburban areas around Phoenix. It's one big suburb. So, when you're talking about how suburban America is processing, these issues, it is very much there. In terms of Latino vote, though I that's a discussion we should have tonight, because it hasn't been what the Republicans anticipated. They expected big inroads with Hispanic voters that hasn't materialized other than in South Florida.

JONES: South Florida, that's Florida. That's right.

COOPER: We are expected to get new vote tallies from Arizona whopping 60,000 ballots. The numbers ahead (INAUDIBLE).



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: It's Election Night In America continued. We are awaiting a significant amount of results some 60,000 votes being reported this hour from Maricopa County, Arizona. Those votes could have a major impact on two uncalled races. They're the governor's race between Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake and the Senate race between Mark Kelly and Blake Masters, Senator Mark Kelly. That race could tip the balance of power on Capitol Hill.

But as we wait for that, we do have a new projection to make in the House of Representatives battle. Democrat Eric Sorenson, CNN is projecting as held on to an open seat in Illinois. Sorensen is -- as a former local TV weatherman and he will be Illinois first openly gay member of Congress. Also some key race alerts in Colorado. Look at the nail biter between firebrand Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, a former city council member. The difference here is just 73 votes, with about 95% of the votes having been reported. In Washington state, Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Kim Schrier is hanging on to her seat at least so far against the challenge for Republican attorney Matt Larkin, 52.8% to 46.9%. But we are not ready to make a projection there.

Let's look at the balance of power right now. In the U.S. House. Democrats have 188 House seats that includes four pickups. Republicans have 207 House seats, including 15 pickups, there are 40 seats remaining, the magic number there of course 218. Republicans are narrowing in on that magic number.

What's the state of play when it comes to competitive races? Let's take a look right now. The state of play is there we go, Republicans need to win the eight competitive seats in order to become the controlling party of the House of Representatives. Democrats taller order, they have to pick up 23 competitive seats in order to hold on to control of power.

Let's go to the magic wall right now. John King is going to walk us through where things stand with the balance of power in the House of Representatives. And you know what, in past races, we would have been able to make a call by now. But this is so competitive. That right now we still don't know.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right? And so, if you're a Democrat watching out that you say, is it possible the Democrats retain the majority? Possible yes. Likely, is the probability indicators will tell you.

TAPPER: Not so much.

KING: Because this is what we call this, you just went through 207 Republicans have 207 seats. So, they need 11 more to get to 218. Now, many of them thought they were going to get to 225, maybe 230. Some had ambitions beyond that. But that's not going to happen. But it's quite possible they will get to 218 and beyond. They're leading in 220 races, Democrats leading in 215. If it ended that way, again, two things can be true at once. That would be a moral victory for Democrats but a political loss because Republicans would take the gavel from Nancy Pelosi. And so how do you assess that right? It's going to make Joe Biden's life, President Biden's life much more complicated. If this is where we end up with Republicans, he had a little higher than that in these races. But if you look at the historical trends 30 -- 37 if you go back -- no 31, if you go back to Ronald Reagan 37, if you just start the clock at Bill Clinton, in a first president's midterm, on average, Democrats are going to beat that historical average, that doesn't mean Republican take over the House wouldn't make President Biden flight very complicated.

TAPPER: And by the way on 220 that's it's only a lead of five. And that means by the way, if there are, let's say in three, and I'm just making this up, let's say this happens. And there are retirements or whatever, promotions or who knows, for three competitive seats. That's it. I mean, if Democrats won in special elections, then they go. I mean, let's say you were talking to --


KING: We're talking to Manu earlier about the challenges facing Kevin McCarthy who right and he wouldn't talk much. This is a day Kevin McCarthy should be doing handstands, he should be.


KING: He should be talking to everybody. But he's nervous still even about getting to be speaker, let alone having a narrow majority. So, you're absolutely right. Part of his challenge, in addition to keeping the Marjorie Taylor Greene's and the Freedom Caucus on board will be to keeping people from retiring because then you get into special elections next year and all that or (INAUDIBLE) --

TAPPER: Or even just defecting on a vote.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: If three Republicans defect on a vote, then they then join with the Republicans. That's two -- the Democrats it's 218.

KING: Right. So, let's get that with. What you're saying is we have a lot to talk about as this goes forward, as we get the final numbers and then move into next year and beyond. But the projection you just made is very important, because it's another one of our competitive races. Right. And again, we started with 82 of them, and Democrats are on defense, Joe Biden won 60 of those 82 and Democrats there are Democratic incumbents and 57 of them. So, the open seats are easy to pick up if you will for a Republican you're not running against an incumbent.


But this was one of those open seats as you just noted right here outside of Peoria, and Eric Sorensen was trailing earlier on. And, you know, somebody had a direct message me reached out to me on Twitter saying, hey, this race is changing, you guys should check in on it, then you made the projection. So, there we go. And now if rejected, this is again, Democrats, district by district fighting their way to a much better result than was anticipated, they still ended up in the majority, but a much better result than anticipated. So now you're looking those. This is the ahead in the competitive races. Let's just come out and look at the races we have not called, we have not called, and among them is the one you just mentioned here in Colorado, and this is the Laurinburg district. She has become --

TAPPER: Seventy-three.

KING: Yes, she has become an icon among MAGA Republicans, if you will. And you see 73 votes. Now, I was talking about this earlier. I'm going to switch to the county level of this district. I was telling you a couple hours ago, I was texting with a Democrat out there who was nervous thought that, you know, she could make up the votes. Obviously, it's 73 votes, but it's some other additional tax and some help from our colleague, Brianna Keilar right over there. I just want to walk through this and show you something. This is Pueblo County right here. It's the Democratic county not by a lot that by the two points, and the 79% of the vote.

So, the race is going to be decided here. Right? Slight Democratic advantage. Does that mean how people voted yesterday? We don't know. But that's a race worth keeping a close eye on.

TAPPER: Very, very interesting. We're on alert for the minute those additional votes drop in Arizona. Thousands of ballots on the line, you're going to get the results right here. Back in a moment.



TAPPER: All right, we've been waiting all day the votes from Maricopa County and we're getting them right now. Let's go to Sara Sidner who is in Maricopa County in Phoenix with these this tranche of vote tabulation.

So, Sara, what do you got? What are the numbers?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We actually have someone from the county right here with us. Megan Gilbertson is here. She been with us for days now. Can you give us an update of what the new numbers are? How many votes, new votes have been counted now?

MEGAN GILBERTSON, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MARICOPA COUNTY: So, in Maricopa County, we have 1.1 3 million ballots cast as of today, that was an additional 62,000 ballots in this post.

SIDNER: OK. So now we are seeing 62,000 more ballots that have been counted --


SIDNER: -- at this hour. Can you give me a sense of, do you know where that falls out with the Senate race and with the governor's race?

GILBERTSON: So, I'm going to leave that to you guys to do all that analysis. But what I can tell you all is that we have between 400 and 410,000 ballots left to count. And that's because we had 275 or 290,000 ballots dropped off last night, which is more early ballots than we have ever had before on election night.

SIDNER: And in case anybody's confused. Thank you so much, Megan, I appreciate you giving us.

If anybody's confused. We've heard different numbers. It was 275,000 votes that were cast, they these numbers go up or down depending on how many times they're able to get them sorted and verified. So now it's 290,000 that came in just last night. And that was the last bit of voters showing up. And we have just heard 62,000 votes, more votes have been counted here. in Maricopa County, the most populous county that is in the state check.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much.

So, John King, we see the vote tabulation here (INAUDIBLE).

KING: That's your statewide tabulation. Mark Kelly just gained -- Senator Mark Kelly gained in net when the -- Blake Masters and Mark Kelly votes ready. Mark Kelly gained a net in Maricopa County, which is the county here.

TAPPER: That K stands for Kelly?


KING: Sorry, that's for Kelly. This is Maricopa County right here. So largest county in the state.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: The new votes just that just came in in Maricopa County 7,320 vote net gain --

TAPPER: A net gain.

KING: -- For Mark Kelly which increased his statewide lead to 95,000 (INAUDIBLE) --

TAPPER: He wasn't about 85,000, now it's about (INAUDIBLE) --

KING: Eighty- seven, 87 and it went up to 95. And change again. That's of these 60,000 plus votes Sara Sidner just outline, were just counted. So, there are tens of thousands of more votes to count. And again, if you're the candidate with the lead, they start counting new votes, you want to be going up not down. And that's one of the big questions.

TAPPER: So, it was 73% or estimated, reported. Now it's 76%. And Kelly went up 10,000. That doesn't mean we should note that that's going to be the trend to every time new votes come. But let's look at the governor's race here. Because it has also been good news for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs, the current Secretary of State, her number went up from about 3,000 or so?

KING: Right.

TAPPER: To now she's in the lead of (INAUDIBLE).

KING: She went up to nine -- she went up to nine at one point earlier when some votes came in from Pima County.


KING: About 9,000. But she got 4,960 margin a net, a net gain of 4,960 votes in the right side. That's how she now leads Kari Lake. Again, your lead is growing, that's where you want to be. But there are tens of thousands more votes to count. And again, the question here and when we get additional vote releases from Maricopa County and from Pima County, we're still waiting there as well. As you then -- then the question is can you as we did in 2020 identify a trend, right. We just had two races. In the Democratic race for Senate, in the race for Senate the Democrats lead went up. In the race for governor, the Democrats lead went up.

We'll see if that continues. We get more of these votes because we had the flip of that in 2020, where Biden had a bigger lead in Arizona and in the last couple of times, we got new votes. His lead actually shrunk.

TAPPER: Shrunk. Yes.

KING: Quite still carry the state but his lead went down. So that's again, one of the dynamics in this new -- when people are voting early by mail, early with drop boxes, showing up on election day, the combination of all that it's just -- it has changed the way we count votes in the way states and counties count votes and we just wait and get more. But at the moment that in this this latest release, both Democrats built their leads, they're happy, more to come.


TAPPER: People want to be assured of what's going to happen and we cannot tell you that this trend is going to keep happening every time new votes come in.

But Kyung Lah, you're in Phoenix, good news for Democrats. Tell us what's going on where you are.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the jury's still kind of out. Because what we don't know and what none of these campaigns are telling me, and I'm constantly chatting with these campaigns throughout the day, as all of this information is coming in is they're looking for those trend lines. What they don't know, in these batches that we're getting from Maricopa County is what is happening with those late earlies, those mail-in voters that were delivered and dropped off in person sometime Friday until Election Day. So, they don't know because voting patterns have changed.

It's really the wild west right now, when it comes to what's going to happen with those late earlies. Are they going to trend Republican or Democrat? If you talk to the Republicans in this camp -- in these two campaigns, they will tell you the expectation is that they are going to lean heavily to the Republicans. And then Democrats. When we talk to Democrats, especially with Mark Kelly's campaign, they are looking to win big in Pima that's a trend that has been traditionally in favor of the Democrats. And I was just talking with the Democratic source. And that source was saying that really, they are pulling out their pens, their calculators and laptops, and they are trying to work with their data gurus in their war rooms to try to figure out what are the new trends? Have the voting patterns changed? Or are they consistent?

What we can tell you is that everything, all of this tenuousness, not really knowing which way voter behavior is going. They're having real world impact.

Kari Lake's campaign who has been very, very confident about her being able to catch up and overtake Democrat Katie Hobbs. They are meeting throughout the day with a number of transition team -- would be transition team members. That includes members of the, you know, the former Trump team and AG Matt Whitaker, as well as a member of former Jam Brewers Team trying to establish a transition team when and if she does become governor. Guys.

TAPPER: All right, Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

And joining us now to discuss the White House Chief of Staff for President Biden, Ron Klain. Ron, thanks so much for joining us.

So, we still don't know what's going to happen here. It seems as though Republicans will likely take over the House, but we don't know yet. It's possible that Republicans will take over the Senate and yet Phil Mattingly earlier today said the mood inside the White House is jubilant. Explained for our viewers why that is?

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, you know, Jake, as you know, that we've already secured in the seats, we wanted the house the strongest result for any president and the first midterm in 40 years. And the strongest results, we think we're going to see in the Senate ready president and 60 years, we secure the strongest results in governor's races for any new president was first midterm in 50 years. So, we have broken the historical records here with a strong result. Why? Because we had candidates, Democrats running on the President's record the President's agenda, and they produced a very strong outcomes. As you say, the House is still tough. We feel good about the Senate. But whatever, wherever this comes out, it's going to really break historical precedent for the ratification of the President's agenda and for how our party did in this election.

TAPPER: Why do you think that is? Why do you think you were able to do that? Because obviously, I don't mean to be rude, but the President's approval ratings are not very high. And obviously inflation remains a problem. People are worried about a recession. Why is it that you were able to change the dynamic to the degree that you were?

KLAIN: Well, Jake, I think it's a couple of things. First of all, I do think that the accomplishments that the President did, with some bipartisan support, with some help from Democrats in Congress, of course, gave people something to run on. That's why you saw Democratic incumbent frontliners succeeded an unprecedented level, they had a record to run on progress on getting the economy back, jobs back, fighting COVID infrastructure, chips, advanced manufacturing, they had a record.

The President also framed this as a choice, not a referendum. And I think when you contrasted what the Democrats stood for, and the Republican MAGA agenda, the threat to blow up the economy to cut Social Security and Medicare, the effort to rollback abortion rights, I think that contrast was one that led voters in a very historic way to vote for Democratic candidates.

TAPPER: Speaking of which, there's a big decision that needs to be made when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. And when it comes to funding the government. Are you going to try to have that done in this lame duck session so that you don't have to deal with a Speaker McCarthy and his team having it in their hands?

KLAIN: Well, first of all, I think it's premature to talk about Speaker McCarthy. It's certainly possible but not decided yet.