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Nevada And Arizona Still Counting With Senate Hanging In The Balance; Senate Power Could Hinge On Nevada, Arizona Races As Margins Narrow; Republican Blame Game Intensifies As Democrats Spoil Red Wave; Election Day In America Continued. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 10, 2022 - 18:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to CNN's special coverage of election night in America continued, all eyes on Arizona and Nevada. I'm Anderson Cooper.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Erin Burnett. And we are waiting to hear any moment from now live from Arizona, election officials in Pima County and Maricopa County, the most populous counties in the state, that along with Nevada, of course, could decide the control of the Senate, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. There are about 665,000 uncounted ballots in Arizona, a bit more than 400,000 in Maricopa County, and approximately 148,000 in Pima County. Take a look at the race between incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly, Republican challenger Blake Masters, is still too close to call, with Mark Kelly leading. We're expecting more results as well tonight in Nevada, where incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto trails Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, but is closing the gap. Nevada and Arizona, look at the map, if Democrats win both, they hold the Senate, even with a loss in next month's 'Georgia runoff.

We've got live reports from both states. Kyung Lah is in Arizona. Gary Tuchman is in Nevada. Let's go to Kyung first in Phoenix.

We can see the podium behind you. The hope is we'll get a little more clarity on a new vote tally this evening. What's going on?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're waiting for the chairman of the Maricopa County board of supervisors to come out and update us. We just heard from his handler that he's just minutes away from coming here to the podium to give us the very latest numbers. She did say that he's looking at some final numbers. So, we expect that there will be just a bit more information when he comes to this podium in just a couple of minutes.

What we can tell you is that the elections department says that we are getting a little more clarity about exactly what tonight's numbers will look like when this county releases what they have counted so far. It is going to be ballots from Saturday night, Sunday and most of Monday. So, these are early ballots that were received by mail before Election Day. So, these are what are known as the late earlies. Again, these are ballots that were mail-in ballots filled out and then received here at the elections department before Election Day. So, those same- day -- Tuesday ballots, people who voted in-person on Tuesday, they are not going to be a part of tonight's release.

We do know as well, Anderson, that there has been the count -- the count of the so-called box 3 ballots. These are the 17,000 ballots that people who went to the vote centers on Election Day and the printers -- the printer error that happened, there are about 17,000 of those ballots that were not tallied on Election Day. They are being tallied right now, but they are not going to be a part of tonight's vote release. So, expecting much more information from that.

The person we're anticipating, and I'm keep looking at the door to see if he is coming, is Supervisor Bill Gates. And earlier today, he did talk about exactly why this is taking some time. It is taking time because this is a slow process, but also because of the volume that were received.

And it does look like -- I'm actually seeing the -- tossing to that sound, we're actually seeing him walk his way around the room, Chairman Bill Gates, he is walking around the room. We anticipate that he will have a bit more information, some new numbers from Maricopa County. And I'm just going to drop down here. And so this is a board that has been sharing information as they have it and this is the -- you see them standing back here, as well as Maricopa County recorder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, everybody. Somehow, we fit all of you in this room today. Thank you for your patience for being here in this room. It was not designed to hold this many people but we appreciate all the interest in Maricopa County elections this year. We know there's a lot of important races and things that are going as they're watching across the nation. So, we appreciate your time and patience.

Today, I have the chairman of the board of supervisor. That is Chairman Bill Gates, and Most of you have met him at one point or another, also Recorder Steven Richer with us today to talk a little bit more about numbers and what we have seen, and the number of early ballots also dropped off on Election Day. We hit a record this year, as many of you and we have discussed over the last couple days.

So, with that, I'll turn it over to Chairman Gates to say a few words and talk about some of the items that we've seen out there.


BILL GATES (R), CHAIR, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Great. Thanks, Fields. Great to see everybody, thank you so much for being here. I'm really thrilled to be joined by our partner, Steven Richer from the recorder's office, our county recorder. At the board of supervisors, which I chair, we have five of us on the board. Our responsibility within the elections process is for tabulation and for running Election Day operations. So, when I want to talk about how many votes have already been counted, we've already had over 1.1 million votes counted and recorded here in Maricopa County in the 2022 general election. We have about 400,000 to 410,000 more to be counted.

Now, in the 8:00 hour tonight, we're going to be reporting more numbers. But let me be clear, that's 8:00 hour. Don't expect it at 8:00, sometime between 8:00 and 9:00, that is when we will be seeing our latest reporting numbers. It will be more than the 62,000 last night, but not significantly more. So, if you're interested in that, pay attention at the 8:00 hour.

So, why is it taking the amount of time it's taking? A lot of people are talking about this. Well, first of all, it's very standard. This is how things work in Arizona and have for decades. And this is due, in part, because of mail-in voting, and Recorder Richer is going to talk about that more. But I told this group that we anticipated 90 to 95 percent -- or, sorry, 95 to 99 percent of the ballots to be counted by Friday. That's tomorrow. I'm here to tell you the goal posts have changed, all right?

And the reasons that the goal posts have changed is because, wonderful news, the great participation we had on Election Day. And in particular, we had 290,000 mail-in ballots dropped off at our vote centers on Election Day. That broke the previous record by 70 percent. So, we saw great involvement, and as Recorder Richer can talk about more, there's a process under Arizona law that we have to go through, signature verification, and that takes a while. When those ballots came in on Tuesday, that means that his team couldn't even start until Wednesday.

So, that's part of why we're seeing those goal posts change a little bit. But we have always told folks that we would be working through this three-day weekend. Veterans Day is tomorrow. That's a holiday here, but we will be working Friday, we will be working Saturday and we will be working Sunday to move through these ballots so that we can get through the 400,000 to 410,000 that we're still working on.

There were 17,000 -- we have counted all the votes for people who actually showed up on Election Day and put a ballot into the tabulator. We have about 17,000 left from Election Day. These were the ones that were not read by the tabulator and were put into door three. We're starting on that tabulation now on that 17,000. Again, that is part of the full 400,000 to 410,000 amount.

Again, to those people who are demanding that we work -- that we move faster with the count, I want to be very clear about the work that's already being done by the permanent staff here at Maricopa County elections. They are already working 14 to 18 hours a day. They are making a great commitment. They knew what they were getting into, but there's a plan that we have already put in place, and that involves them working that many hours in a day. We can't go any further than that. We are doing what we can and still maintaining accuracy.

We've heard a lot of people talking about other states recently, and the fact that they allegedly count the ballots faster. And, one, for whatever reason that people love to talk about is Florida. So, I just want to -- Florida is a beautiful state, I love Disney World, I love going down there.

But I just wanted to address a couple things on that to make sure we understand what's going on. We have different laws in the state of Arizona than in Florida. Florida does not allow for mail-in ballots to be dropped off at voting locations on Election Day. So, they don't allow it at all. We do. We had 290,000 dropped off here. Also, Florida early voting closes the Sunday before Election Day. In Arizona, we allow for drop-off through and on Election Day. And also, Florida has a shorter period for voters to cure signatures.

And it's also very important for us to realize that no county or state is done with counting right now.


Well, people say, how could that be? Well, here's the issue. We have so many close races that everyone is still paying attention to Maricopa County. Those other states, like Florida, those races were blowouts. Nobody is paying attention anymore.

Again, I don't say this to criticize any other states, but just for people to understand, this is how we do things in Maricopa County. We follow the law. These are the laws that were put in place by the state legislature.

And, finally, I do just want to say thank you so much, as we approach Veterans Day, to all those veterans across Maricopa County and our country, for all they have done to protect this precious right that we're all enjoying it. And with that, I'll turn it back to Fields.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BURNETT: We're monitoring this press conference from the election board chiefs of Maricopa County. But, obviously, the key headline there from the update, Chairman Bill Gates, who you saw here on our program just last hour, he said the original goal had been to count 95 percent to 99 percent of the votes by Friday, but that that goal post has changed, he said, because they had 290,000 ballots dropped off on Election Day. They have to open each one of those, they have to verify the signatures, and he says that's a number that's 70 percent higher than any other Election Day and it is going to take longer because of that.

So, let's go to John King at the magic wall. So, John, this is interesting, right? They're saying, look, it's going to take longer. They're still expecting to release tonight, though, Chairman Gates said, more than 62,000 votes from his county, Maricopa, which is the most populous in Arizona. So, how does that fit into the big picture, both what we're going to get tonight and the fact that it is going to take longer to get all of the outstanding votes counted?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. You see this, and I was just scribbling notes on the wall, as he was counting 400,000 to 410,000 more votes, so that means more time. And that's frustrating, of course. It's frustrating to the candidates in these close races, frustrating to their staff, it's frustrating. If you're Chuck Schumer or Mitch McConnell, you're trying to figure out who's going to control the Senate. So, it's frustrating to a lot of people and it's frustrating to us, to a degree, because we want finality, but guess what, we need to trust the process. It took time in Arizona in 2020, they got it right in the end. But that was held up after recounts. That was held up after lawsuits, so we just need to trust the process.

But what does it mean? It means we wait on two and down ballot other critical races. But the two the country is waiting for, the Senate race. Mark Kelly now 99,638 votes ahead. That's why that number is so important. We'll get 60,000 tonight. We will see. The last they released some newly counted votes, Senator Kelly's lead expanded, right? In the governor's race, which I'll get to in a second, Katie Hobbs, the Democrat -- both Democrats had their leads grow a little bit, right? We'll see if that thread continues. That's what we're watching.

As they release 60,000, then maybe it's 20,000 next time or maybe 100,000 next time, has the trajectory changed, right? Are there new ballots and those different kind of ballots, are they telling us anything different? Right now, if you're Mark Kelly, you have a 99,000-vote lead, 51, round that up to 52 to 46, you're in the lead but you know there are 400,000 more votes, right? You have 989,000 so far, but 410,000 more. There are plenty of votes to change this race, is what I'm trying to say, which is why we need to watch with each installment that is released. Is the trajectory changing? Are they each getting about the same percentage or has that changed?

And so this is in the Senate race, and then I'll just put up the governor's race for you. Please jump in if you have a question. This one is closer, right? This one is closer. So, 410,000 can change either one of these races. When you have a 16,677-vote lead, simple math there, there's more of a possibility that it could change.

The question is, in 2020 when we were waiting, the votes followed a certain pattern, right? And in Arizona, it was interesting. Yesterday, both Democrats increased their leads when the votes came up. In Arizona, Biden had a lead that was shrinking as they released more votes. He held on in the end and won the state by 11,000 votes and changed, but there was a lot of hope in the Trump campaign, which was first criticizing the process repeatedly, saying it's taking too long, why are we waiting, and then they started to voice hope when the Biden lead started to come down. In the end, when they were done, Joe Biden won and he won Arizona. That's the process we are going to have to wait for again.

BURNETT: Yes, it's interesting. But I think, as you point out, just because the first batch of votes seemed to expand the lead for Democrats, we'll see what happens tonight and then we'll continue to see, right? I mean, there's a lot of votes outstanding and, as he said, it's going to take time, meaning, very clear, it's going to take through the weekend. They're going to work those 12 to 14-hour days, but it is going to take several more days.

All right, John King, thank you very much.

And next, some perspective on these developments out of the Arizona from our political panels. Anderson and I will be right back.



COOPER: And welcome back to our special coverage, Election Night in America. We just heard from Maricopa County, Arizona, that is Phoenix. The top election official there saying they expecting to say in their 8:00 P.M. hour that at least another 62,000 ballots have been counted there. He also said that about 290,000 mail-in ballots were dropped off on Election Day, which is a new record.

With me here is CNN Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod, CNN Political Commentator Scott Jennings, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, also CNN Political Commentators Alyssa Farah Griffin, Van Jones and David Urban.

David Urban, does it make sense to you this election system?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, in the break, we were just -- great throw to me, Anderson. In the break, I was just complaining. We heard Bill Gates -- not the Bill Gates, but Bill Gates, I guess he's the Bill Gates in Maricopa County, but we heard him talking about like why -- quit comparing us to Florida. Don't compare us to Florida. We know in Florida that they counted 7.7 million votes with a press of a button, but we do it differently here.

And I just said, people in America are sitting home, watching their television, scratching their heads, saying, if they can do it Florida, why can't they do it here? And it is -- Gloria points out correctly, it is the federalized system of elections. But I do think Americans writ large would like to see our elections decided kind of on Election Day.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But then you would require everybody to show up on Election Day, which is, of course, what Donald Trump wanted, but people may want to vote by mail. And this whole notion of late earlies that we've been talking, which is incredibly confusing, but it's people who walked in with their ballots.


So, they were all done but they were late. So, they're late earlies and they're figuring out a way to count them, and maybe they shouldn't -- I mean, who knows. I agree with you. There ought to be a better way.

COOPER: But each state determines the system.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Exactly. And the Florida system was reformed by Governor Bush years ago down there, and it wasn't good. It is now. But it is a state-by-state decision. And some states, for example, the legislatures decided you can't count these ballots until the polls close. So, that slows the system down. So, yes, it would be great if every state did state of the art things, but politics comes into play.

URBAN: But we're talking about democracy, right, and all these like conspiracy theorists. Like this lands to -- go ahead. I don't want to step on you there.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, no. I was just going to say, I think, the same point, it is high time for Arizona to consider reforming how they handle their elections because I'm not amplify them but there are rampant conspiracy theories around being circulated online about what's happening in Arizona right now. It just gives fuel to the lack of trust in elections.

Now, we know that this is being done right, they're following the law, they've walked us through the process, but the average American, to Van's point, isn't sitting here watching and saying, okay, that makes sense. It's high time to reform how they do it.

COOPER: The Cyber Ninjas just need to get involved.

AXELROD: One of the reasons that conspiracy theories are spreading is that the Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake, is spreading them. She was on television today intimating that something untoward was going on, and she said before the election, if I don't win, you know, it's going to be because of fraud. So, you know, this is a -- this is a disease that has spread through the body of politics.

COOPER: If Democrats win Arizona and Nevada, they wouldn't even need the Georgia runoff to have control of the Senate. Well, I'm wondering what your level of concern is right now.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, that would make for a lot of sad pandas in the Republican Party. I mean, right now, we have the chance to maybe pull a rabbit out of a hat here, hold on to Nevada, and then go over and give Herschel Walker a chance to win. So, that would be -- if Nevada goes the other way, that would be a huge disappointment on an otherwise disappointing night.

And so the Republicans I talk to with Laxalt feel very confident. I know David's friends feel pretty confident as well. It feels like tonight --

AXELROD: I don't think anybody really knows for sure. I don't know why you think that's a rabbit out of the hat because everybody thought Laxalt was going to win.

JENNINGS: No. I'm just saying at this point, you've got Walker going to a runoff with fewer votes than Warnock. Obviously, the Laxalt thing is not done yet. I mean, it's -- and the election didn't turn out the way a lot of Republicans thought it was going to turn out. So, this would put a bit of a positive --

COOPER: Well, actually, Scott, let me ask you -- earlier today, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn't answer when he was asked by CNN if he blamed former President Trump for the Republican midterm results. Who do you think is to blame? JENNINGS: Well, I mean, look, it's pretty clear to me. I mean, I can read a spreadsheet. Donald Trump is killing the Republican Party with independent voters. Everything about the polls and the exit polls that we saw and the data tells you that the incumbent party, the ruling party should have been thrown out by independent voters, and yet they sided in all these key races, and in all these suburban House races, they sided with the Democrats despite not believing in Biden, thinking his policies were hurting more than they were helping, may have decided to take that pain as opposed to side with what they saw was enabling Trump. So, it's pretty obvious.

Now, it's not Mitch McConnell's best interests to come out and do that today because he has got to worry about this runoff and he's got raise money for Walker and all that, but I have talked to dozens and dozens of Republicans around this country today and they're all reaching the same conclusion.

COOPER: It is an extraordinary conclusion though to reach that people, independents, were willing to take what they felt was the economy pain because of the Democrats in order to do something they thought was better for the country. I mean, that's a story of heroism.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's best now for people, it could get worse. Don't forget, it's not like the Republican proposals on the economy were inspiring. You had some that jumped out and didn't like it, and jumped out talking about social security reform and Medicare. So, if you were in economic pain and you heard the Republicans feel your pain, but they're going to add to it, that also doesn't help. So, you have a lot of things going on.

But this particular meltdown that I'm seeing, I do think it's extraordinary. It's not just people like yourself who are super well- known and stuff like that, talking about that, that was shocking, but there are grassroots conservatives, just regular, ordinary folks I went to high school with, I went to college with in Rural West Tennessee, who are reaching out to me, saying we are done with Trump. MAGA is done. We believe in some of these causes. We do not believe in -- and one of my friends said. The megaphone is killing us, talking about Trump.


So, there's something happening out there. Will it last? I don't know, but there's something seriously happening out there at the grassroots level, the base level.

GRIFFIN: My concern is that the reports of his demise are overstated. I looked up some of the New York Post/Wall Street Journal, Murdoch- owned papers right after January 6th, and it was very similar to what we're seeing now. They've broken with him before. Nearly every prominent elected Republican said, I'm done with him, including Lindsey Graham.

The key here is Kevin McCarthy needs him to be speaker in January, so he is staying close to him until at least the floor vote. Mitch McConnell is not going to break with him if we're into runoff in Georgia. He knows he has to at least keep the party on track. That's a political --

BORGER: I don't think -- but you don't know anything about whether the base is going to break with him. Because if The Wall Street Journal writes an editorial, it doesn't mean that the base is going to break.

URBAN: People in Beaver County, Pennsylvania aren't reading The Wall Street Journal.

JONES: See, that's what I'm saying. Look, guys, I agree the elite would have been so happy to get rid of Donald Trump years ago, but they tried to run away and they have to go back. But something else is happening. It's not just elites. It's the grassroots that you're starting to hear from.

JENNINGS: But to your point, David, in that county in Pennsylvania, they're not reading The Wall Street Journal but they're picking up the local paper and figuring out that they're now represented by John Fetterman in the U.S. Senate, and I think that's worse.

URBAN: And, Scott, your point is well taken, and the statehouse in Pennsylvania fell, right? You lost these three congressional tossup seats. So, it is stinging. And to your point earlier about independents, independents broke big time for Democrats. I don't know necessarily know about the social security. I think they were afraid of extremism. Your message on democracy on that ballot, that works.

AXELROD: Yes. I think this was a basket of things. This was a basket of things. And I think that it started with the Dobbs decision. Remember, there were two mass shootings at that point. The January 6th hearing was going on. And in the midst of this, Trump re-emerges in the center ring of American politics, he embraces a bunch of candidates who were not the best candidates for his party, as has been proven at this point, and people began -- these independent voters, who, a few months earlier, were saying, gee, I'm worried Biden is getting tugged too far to the left, are not seeing, man, this is getting a little crazy. And I think that that carried through to November.

BORGER: But there's going to be a presidential primary, and you only have to think about Republican voters in that. And so the question is, you know, the Mar-a-Lago search by the FBI, that didn't seem to affect anybody. Donald Trump portrayed himself as the victims in the Mar-a- Lago search. His money, his PAC raised a lot of money after it, the supporters stuck with him. So, the reason I'm skeptical and, I think, Alyssa, I don't want to speak for you, but the reason I think we're both a little skeptical is you need to sort of wait --

URBAN: And that's the only thing I would say about The Post and The Journal, right, that may impact Donald Trump's ability. It would impact his ability to raise big money that you need to run for president.

COOPER: Everyone stick around. More on the Georgia runoff that could decide control of the Senate, both campaigns got underway today, and Republicans already bringing in big name help from Senator Ted Cruz, more on that when we come back.



BURNETT: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage, Election Night in America continued. Now, we're still waiting to find out which party will take control of both the House and the Senate. But one thing is clear right now. Some who supported Donald Trump as leader of the Republican Party no longer do. The question is how big is that some.

Well, Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which obviously was once solidly behind Trump, is now blaming the former president for the GOP (INAUDIBLE). A cover at the New York Post today read, Trumpy Dumpt, saying that he had a great fall. Yesterday, the newspaper's cover applauded Ron DeSantis' re-election, calling him DeFuture of the party.

The editorial page at The Wall Street Journal that was mentioned earlier writing, Trump is the Republican Party's biggest loser, saying his candidates failed at the ballot box, which, of course, is the truth. It also said, since his 2016, he has a perfect record of electoral defeat.

Okay. Back with us, our panel. And, Jonah, it's true, he does have a perfect record of Electoral defeat, except for his win for the White House, his first and only win for the White House. Alyssa Farah pointed out I think something very important, which is, after January 6th, you saw some of these same Murdoch publications turn against him, and everybody went running back to him after a little while. Do we see that again or is this something different?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As I was saying earlier, I don't know whether it's likely that this is different. I mean, waiting for the party to pitch him is like waiting for Gouduea (ph), right? We've had lots of opportunities, but it's more possible than it's ever been. And the fact you're getting a lot of Fox personalities who maybe aren't identifying Trump by name but they're clearly laying down the argument, I think that there's a certain sense in which a lot of the animal spirits on the right are just sort of fed up with a lot of this stuff.

It's interesting. Sarah Longwell does these focus groups with Trump supporters, and it's interesting -- this is a while ago, but the number one reason why a lot of them thought that they might not want to vote for Trump again is because he would be a lame duck, because he would only serve one term and Ron DeSantis has two terms.

I mean, I think there are a lot of Republicans who are just looking at this as a much more pragmatic thing. There's the entertainment ring of the right, which is just about monetizing outrage and that kind of thing, and it will be very difficult for them to let go.


BURNETT: And here is the thing. When you look at Ron DeSantis, right, and there's many in the Republican Party, you know, it's harder to get rid of somebody and throw someone out when you don't have a replacement, right? So, they are like, okay, here's our replacement, he just won big. Let's put Ron DeSantis in there.

Okay. Well, Trump sees it, slammed him on the eve of his victory in Florida, I'm sorry. And Trump just posted a post, Ron DeSanctimonious, his news name, is playing games. The fake news asks him if he's going to run, if President Trump runs, and he says, I'm only focused on the governor race, I'm not looking into the future. Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that's really not the right answer. I mean, he's hitting DeSantis again and again and again. DeSantis, though, is saying nothing.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, because you couldn't reply to Norma Desmond screaming in the attic. I mean, look, this guy is 80 different kinds of disturbed and divisive and, frankly, pathetic. He is weak. He is exposed as being weak. This is the Emperor's New Clothes moment. The question is whether Republicans will actually convert and put forward someone new. And, guess what, normally, how you pick replacements is not through some exterior coronation via conservative media, it's actually to have a primary, have a contest of ideas. And let's have a fact-based debate as opposed to this denialism debate, which as consumed the Republican Party and threatened the republic that is still being forward as these two last races are being determined in key states where there are election deniers running for Senate, governor and secretary of state.

BURNETT: Right, still up for grabs.


BURNETT: And, look, all of this, you have got these next couple weeks. So, if we're going to find out over the next few days, we hope, who has control of the U.S. Senate, okay? It could come down, of course, for a few weeks, right, into December for Georgia, but we could find out in days. Hopefully, we found out the House.

But then you have the former president, Trump, going to make that announcement at Mar-a-Lago, which he clearly wants to run. We'll see whether he does. What does this do to Biden?


BURNETT: Do you think he's going to wait?


BURNETT: So, keep waiting, yes.

ALLISON: Here is what I will say. Before Election Day, when we thought Trump might make the announcement the night before in Ohio, we weren't sure how well Dems were going to do. I thought they were going to do okay, but Biden is feeling really good. And if I was him, I would ride this wave. I would see what happens in Georgia. I mean, if we win the Senate in Nevada and Arizona, I think I would just wait, do the holiday, talk to your family, announce in the beginning of the year, or say you're not, and give a solid year-and-a-half for your field to open and people really to get out there and do the marketplace of ideas.

AVLON: Can I just say, I don't think we're giving Biden enough credit. I mean, yes, this election was a rejection of Republican extremism, not an endorsement of Biden-ism. But like his legislative record, like his foreign policy record, now his midterm record, I mean, objectively good if you look at it from any sense of perspective beyond a partisan lens. And that's not --

GOLDBERG: (INAUDIBLE) of Afghanistan which was --

AVLON: Yes, absolutely. I'm talking more about the rallying your allies around NATO in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The exit of Afghanistan was disastrous.

But I think the guy deserves some credit for pulling off an act that defies political gravity and as well as a legislative record and a bipartisan record, which is pretty strong. We'll see the decisions he makes. He's not saying he should run for office, but it's significant what he pulled off this election. We shouldn't forget about that.

BURNETT: All right. All stay with us.

And still to come, the Georgia runoff campaign is underway. Ted Cruz campaigning with Herschel Walker tonight. CNN's Harry Enten will join us next with analysis of which party has the advantage in Georgia, which, again, could control the U.S. Senate.



COOPER: Hey, welcome back. With the Georgia Senate runoff just 26 days away, the incumbent Democrat, Raphael Warnock, kicked off his campaign today in Atlanta. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is campaigning with Herschel Walker tonight in Canton Georgia.

I'm here now with Harry Enten, CNN's one and only senior data reporter, to talk Georgia runoffs, plural, not just this one. Which party has traditionally done better in Georgia runoffs?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Republicans. So, if you go back since 1992, Republicans have outperformed their general baseline in runoffs seven out of ten times. But that, interestingly enough, does not include 2021. Remember the no Senate runoffs, the Democrats actually performed their 2020 baseline. So, I think the question is, which does this look like more, 2021 or prior history?

COOPER: So, why did the 2021 Senate runoff break tradition?

ENTEN: I think that there are two reasons why. First off, look at the turnout in the 2021 runoffs compared to the 2020 general election, and then compare the runoff turnout to the general election turnout in other Senate runoffs going back to your history. Normally, there's a tremendous drop-off in the turnout, right? Far fewer people turn out in the runoffs than turnout in the general election. In the 2021 situation, however, the turnout nearly matched what we saw in the 2020.

COOPER: Could we put that back on the screen. So, I think it was 91 percent.


COOPER: 91 percent was the turnout that came back for the turnout. That's incredible.

ENTEN: That's exactly right, 91 percent when the Senate was on the line. And it's more than that. It's also the voters who decided to actually come back out, right? Look, Georgia is a southern state. Voting is very racially polarized. And what we saw in the runoffs in 2021 was black voters who traditionally sat out runoffs in Georgia actually turned out in longer numbers compared to white voters relative to their general election turnout. So, I think that's a question this year, right? Will black voters actually turn out in this runoff? We're going to have to wait and see what happens.

COOPER: Who would benefit if control of the Senate wasn't on the line?

ENTEN: So, this is interesting. If you look at runoff turnout -- excuse me, if you look at our exit poll and you say, okay, is Senate control not important to your vote, it turns out that those voters were far more likely to favor Raphael Warnock than Herschel Walker. So, if in fact, there's not Senate control on the line, I think it would benefit probably Warnock, at least according to our exit poll.

COOPER: Interesting. Harry Enten, thanks so much. It's good.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COOPER: I like the graphics, too, very clean.

ENTEN: I really worked on those for you.

COOPER: Often, your graphics are very confusing.

ENTEN: No, no, it's election time. I have to up my game.

COOPER: You did. You did. You brought it.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll look ahead to the 2024 and break down voters' thoughts on potential Biden reelection bid, next.



COOPER: Back with our special coverage, "Election Day in America Continued".

President Biden took a victory lap of sorts today even with the midterm votes still to be counted, and the balance of power in limbo, looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election.

CNN political director David Chalian joins us now.

So, a lot of questions obviously about when President Biden might announce he's running for re-election if he should. What do the exit polls show on that front?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, we asked voters nationwide in this election, Anderson, whether or not they wanted to see Joe Biden run for president in 2024, it's pretty much a resounding no. I mean, 67 percent of Americans nationally voting in the U.S. House of Representatives election this week said, no, they don't want him running for a second term in 2024. Only 30 percent said yes.

Now, I want you to see, Anderson, when we look at this among Democrats only, because that's a key factor in his processing, I'm sure. Now a slim majority of Democrats nationwide, 52 percent, say, yes, they do want Joe Biden to run again.

But 43 percent, a sizable chunk of his own fellow partisans on the Democratic side do not want to see Joe Biden run for president in 2024.

COOPER: So, I mean, as the chatter for the bid for DeSantis, where do the numbers show about where he stands with voters?

CHALIAN: Yeah. Well, one way to keep the chatter going is have a resounding victory for reelection, which DeSantis did. The exit polls show his approval was 59 percent. His disapproval rating was at 41 percent among Florida voters. That's a good place to start.

And then we ask, do you want to see your governor run for president? Florida voters in this election, 45 percent of them said yes. Slim majority, 52 percent, said no. Perhaps that includes some folks that want to see him stay in Florida.

But compare that to a potential rival, the former president Donald Trump, we asked Florida voters in these exit polls. Do you want to see Donald Trump run for president? Among Florida voters only 1/3, 33 percent said yes, 64 percent of Florida voters do not want to see Donald Trump run for president in 2024.

COOPER: Fascinating.

David Chalian, appreciate it.

Coming up, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy promising new investigations should Republicans win the House. We'll go live to Washington reporting what that could mean for President Biden and Democrats, next.


BURNETT: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage, "Election Night in America Continued".

At this hour, Democrats are bracing for a flood of investigations if Republicans do take control of the House. GOP leadership has clearly signaled that they're going to launch probes into everything from Biden's son Hunter to the raid on Mar-a-Lago.

CNN's Brian Todd joins us now live.

So, Brian, they have made no secret of what they intend to do. What more can you tell us where Republicans have their sights set especially if their margin in the House is actually quite narrow, you know, maybe giving extreme Republicans a bigger say?


You know, Hunter Biden is clearly one of the Republicans' prime targets. Republicans who likely will be in line to chair the House Oversight Committee say they will demand documents, financial statements relating to the president's son, and they want to haul him in front of that committee.

Republicans plan to focus on Hunter Biden's business dealings and they want to link him to his father. Hunter Biden has denied wrongdoing and it's unclear what evidence they have uncovered on him. The president son is facing a federal investigation and a potential tax violations and allegedly making a false statement about a gun purchase. But he's not been charged with any crime.

Now, another big investigation that House Republican have their eyes on, a probe of the FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate back in August. The likely future speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, issued a warning to Attorney General Merrick Garland right after that Mar-a-Lago, telling Garland via Twitter to, quote, preserve your documents and clear your calendar. He was referring specifically to a Republican controlled House investigating the search. And McCarthy in that same tweet said that the Justice Department had, quote, reached an intolerable state of weaponized weaponization.

Another likely target of House investigations under Republican leadership. That's going to be President Biden's Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Republicans really want to go after Mayorkas over the administration's handling problems at the southern border. Now, some far right Republicans have even talked about trying to impeach Mayorkas, and there's been some thrash talk going on. This is Republican Congressman Steve Scalise who could soon be the House Majority Leader talking about Alejandro Mayorkas.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Securing America's border and holding them accountable. We will give Secretary Mayorkas a reserved parking spot. He will be testifying so much about this. So, that's the kind of oversight we're going to be doing.


TODD: A reserved parking spot. Right.

BURNETT: Exactly. Making it clear.

All right. So, now, in addition, I know, Brian, there's some intrigue, you know, surrounding some of the biggest personalities in the House and their futures on committees, again, something that could be highly influenced by the margin that Republicans have if they are able to secure the House.

TODD: That's right. This is going to be all about personalities, Erin. Kevin McCarthy has previously vowed to kick Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell off the House Intelligence Committee and to remove Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. That could be possible retribution for the Democrats kicking Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar off of their committees, you know, some months and years ago, those fringe Republicans who have propagated many conspiracy theories.

Also, Erin, you can look for the Republicans to launch a house probe of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. They're going to go after Dr. Anthony Fauci to deal with the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BURNETT: All right. Brian Todd, thank you very much.

That does it for me but not for our CNN election coverage. Anderson will be right back after this along with Wolf.

So, let's hand things over to them.