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New Results In Just From Pivotal Arizona; Election Deniers Lose In Pivotal Swing States; Exit Polls: Voters Backed Dem Candidates Despite Disapproving Of Biden; GOP Finger Pointing At Trump After Midterm Disappoint. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 10, 2022 - 20:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Those races, crucial in determining the final balance of power in the Senate.

Right now, Democrats hold 46 Senate seats, 48 I should say -- 48 Senate seats, Republicans have 49. That's too short of the 51 seats they need to retake Senate control.

Over in the House of Representatives, Democrats have won right now 192 House seats. So far, Republicans have 209. That's nine seats short of the 218 needed to reclaim the majority, 34 House seats still haven't been decided. To win House control, by the way, Republicans must win seven seats in competitive contests that are still playing out right now. They have a very good chance at doing that, since they are currently leading in 11 races.

Democrats have a taller order. They must win 21 competitive seats to hold on to the House. They are currently leading in 16 races.

Let's go to the battleground States right now. Our correspondent, Kyung Lah is an Arizona.

Kyung, we expect new votes from Arizona very soon. What are you hearing?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And by very soon, it could be any minute from now, Wolf.

In this hour, and we anticipate it should be very, very soon, the second largest county here in Arizona, Pima County will be releasing more election results, about 10,000 ballots expected, and then in two hours, this county that I'm in, Maricopa County will be releasing even more election results.

We are told that it will be in the range of about 62,000 votes, if not greater. They anticipate it will be greater, but that number has been moving as they work through all of these ballots.

Those ballots from Friday night, Saturday and -- excuse me, Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday. These are ballots, early ballots before Election Day and so those are going to be a part of the results that we get tonight. And every single night, we are going to expect about the 60,000 to 70,000 range to be released nightly here from Maricopa County. It is a slow process. They have to signature verify. They are mandated by State Law to follow some certain rules, but this has created an area for some heated political rhetoric, including from what we're hearing from Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee, Kari Lake, and here, the election officials have pushed back on her assertion that they are doing it on purpose. Take a listen.


BILL GATES, MARICOPA COUNTY, BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CHAIRMAN: Quite frankly, it is offensive for Kari Lake to say that these people behind me are slow rolling this when they're working 14 to 18 hours. So, I really hope this is the end of that now. We can be patient and respect the results when they come out.


LAH: One other thing is that these officials are working under enormous pressure, Wolf. They have sustained some incredible threats on their families, on their lives, on their livelihoods. So, they say they are trying to move as quickly, as professionally, and as accurately as they can -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kyung Lah on the scene for us. We'll get back to you as soon as those numbers come out. Kyung Lah reporting for us.

Let's go over to David Chalian. So what do these candidates need to do to actually win right now in Arizona?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, so as you can see, we've got about 665,000 votes outstanding in Arizona, statewide. So one of the things, Wolf, that we're doing, our team at the Decision Desk looks at what each candidate needs, what percentage of that remaining uncounted vote they need to win.

So again, 665,000 uncounted votes. That's an estimate. That's just an approximation. Blake Masters who is now running behind would need approximately between 52 and 56 percent of the remaining uncounted vote. Obviously, Mark Kelly needs less. He is currently in the lead in this race.

So Mark Kelly needs about 42 to 46 percent of that overall Statewide, remaining vote to be counted. So, as we look at each vote batch that comes in, we'll look to see if Masters and Kelly are sort of hitting these marks that they would need to hit in order to win this race.

BLITZER: David, thank you very much.

I'm here with John King at the Magic Wall. I understand we're getting some new numbers already coming in from Arizona.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. We're waiting for these two big counties, Wolf. You just talked to Kyung, she's in Maricopa. This is the big -- tens of thousands -- 60,000 tonight. More to count as we go forward. Obviously, this is 61 percent of the State population, so this is the biggest, right?

And then you just mentioned any moment now, Kyung mentioned we could get Pima County. That's the second largest county in the State. But we do have some new numbers as we wait from some of the smaller counties of the State.

I just want to start up here. The Coconino County, these numbers came in just a short time ago. Let me pull this up to see now. Now, the new numbers are included here, but I just want to show you in the idea that as each of these new voting reports come in, we are seeing number one question is, what's the raw number? And number two, what is the percentage the Democrat and Republican are getting?

If you're the Republicans, you're trailing in both races. You need a higher percentage obviously because you need to catch up, right? So that's the test.

So let me just pull this up. I just want to show you what happened in this one county when you pull it up, and let's just look at the Senate race for now.


And we'll bring up this, right, and I'll put this here, so I can write in here. In this one county, when the new votes came in, Senator Kelly got 2,047, right? Two oh four seven. Now, they're included in those totals there. So these aren't new numbers when you look at it. I just want to give you this math to show you what we're looking for as we bring in these extra votes into the process.

Blake Masters gets 857. So that's 69 percent, and that's 29 percent, right?

And so if you're Blake Masters and you're trailing, Maricopa is much more important, Pima is much more important, because that's where there are more votes. But as more votes come in from these counties, and this is a Democratic county, so let's be clear about that. The Democrat is winning in a Democratic county, not breaking news, but the Democrat is winning, getting 69 percent. So that's what you're looking for, you get a batch of votes from this county, a batch of votes from another county, not just the raw numbers, I mean, that's what matters in the end. I'm going to come out here. We turn this off, so it moves, I'll come out here, so you see the raw numbers in the race, right?

This is the statewide numbers, but when you get new votes like this, Mark Kelly's lead is now above 100,000. It was 87,000 earlier. It moved up to 95,000. It is now above 100,000. Now, we have tens and tens of thousands more votes to count. So, we're not there yet, but that's what you want, right?

We're at 76 percent, so nearing 80 percent of the estimated vote. What you want in this situation, we've lived through this in 2020, we get an installment of votes. It could be hours, it could be a day before you get the next one. What you're hoping for in your campaign is you're seeing more votes, and you're seeing you're getting a percentage in the new votes that is higher than your statewide total. That's gold, if you're in charge, right?

You're at 51 and you're winning. When the new votes come in, can you stay above 51? If that continues for Mark Kelly around the State, he gets a second term as a Senator from Arizona.

So, when you see these new numbers come in, compare the new to the existing and if your Blake Masters, 46, that doesn't do it for you. Right? This is just one small installment from one county. So, no reason for panic in the Masters' campaign, but if this continues, then there would be -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly would be. Mark Kelly, still ahead right now.

Let's go to David Chalian. David, I know you're looking so, so closely right now at the Governor's race in Arizona.

CHALIAN: Yes, which is a different picture because of where the race is right now. Obviously, Kari Lake, the Republican; Katie Hobbs, the Democrat are locked in a much closer battle than we see between the two candidates in the Senate race.

Now, our approximation of how much vote is outstanding in Arizona is the same, 665,000 votes, we estimate are still out there and uncounted. So hundreds of thousands of votes to still count in the State.

But look at this. This is so interesting, because it's a close race. Kari Lake is running a little behind right now, but in this estimate, in this range, Kari Lake needs between 49 and 51 percent, roughly half of that outstanding vote, you know, in order to overtake Katie Hobbs and secure a victory here. Katie Hobbs' range is really similar, 49 to 51 percent is what she needs to achieve in what is left to be counted. She needs that kind of haul, roughly half of the votes in order to maintain or lead and secure a victory -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Very interesting indeed. John, let's talk a little bit about this Governor's race. Katie Hobbs, the Democrat, and Kari Lake, the Republican. Katie Hobbs is ahead. She is ahead right now, 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent, 76 percent of the estimated vote is known.

KING: And so we're going to go through the same exercise in two counties. Now, in two different counties in Arizona, those are the numbers. These numbers I'm about to show you and the smaller numbers are included in this total.

I just want to show you again to the point David Chalian was just making about trajectory, if you will, the percentage you need to catch up or the percentage you need to keep your lead, right?

So Katie Hobbs has a 22,749-vote lead much smaller than Mark Kelly, the Democratic Senator candidate. He is now above a hundred thousand. So, she is in a tighter race, but if you just look at these two reports, let me just bring up the chalkboard to help us out here. Let me bring this up twice. I'm going to bring this up and I'm going to bring it up again. I can't I've -- I saved it. We'll just use the same one. All right, so here we go. So we're going to come this here, and we're going to go up here, again, back to this county in the north. I'm going to move it up a little bit. So you can see this.

This is a Democratic county in the northern part of the State. I just showed you the Kelly advantage, excuse me for turning my back, but I just want to bring this up and raise it a little bit so you can see it better and come in here in this county, Hobbs gets 2,015 Masters gets -- I'm sorry, Kari Lake, it's 926. This is 69 percent. If you round it up, and this is 31 percent.

So again, David just said, Kari Lake needs to get a majority. Obviously, she is trailing. She needs to get above 50 percent of the new votes. In this one, it is a Democratic county. So again, take that into account. But look, Katie Hobbs is getting -- let's come out to the statewide vote. This is where this is important. She is getting 51 percent if you round up statewide, these new votes come in, she is getting 69 percent of them. That's gold if you're the Democratic campaign. Again, it is one county. There are tens of thousands more votes to come, but that is gold. That's up in the Northern county.

Now, let me blank this out. Come down here for Santa Cruz County for you. I just wanted -- this is a small county. That's Pima County, sorry, right below it is Santa Cruz County, very small county, Democratic county in the end of the State. I just want to do this one more time for you and bring these in. This county here, some new votes just came in one oh two one and four oh five.


Again it's a Democratic county, but if you're Katie Hobbs and you're getting 72 percent to 28 percent, that's what you want in terms of trying to build your lead. Yes, Kari Lake is hoping more votes come in, you come back out statewide, Kari Lake is hoping they come from Maricopa County, in the Phoenix suburbs, Tucson in the suburbs in Pima County. If you're Katie Hobbs, a blue county you're getting 72 percent, you're happy.

BLITZER: Let's discuss what's going on over there. Constance Hargrove is joining us, the Election Director in Pima County, Arizona right now. Thanks so much, Constance for joining us.

So how many outstanding ballots are there in Pima County right now? If you could just give us the numbers and give us the latest in the Senate race there. Give us the latest numbers.

CONSTANCE HARGROVE, ELECTION DIRECTOR, PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Okay, the latest numbers in the Senate race for Mark Kelly 189,026 votes; for Blake Masters 111,746. And of course Marc Victor has 5,712 votes.

BLITZER: So are those all the numbers that you have so far?

HARGROVE: That is -- yes, those are all the numbers I have so far.

BLITZER: How many outstanding ballots do you think there still are remaining to be counted?

HARGROVE: So there are approximately 120,000 ballots between the recorders' office in elections?

BLITZER: And when do you expect those to be actually be counted and reported out?

HARGROVE: So we have in our office roughly 60,000 ballots, so we should be able to get through, hopefully approximately 20,000 tomorrow. We can usually get through about 20,000 a day, and we will keep working through the weekend and get through most of those ballots, all of those ballots we have probably by no later than Monday morning.

BLITZER: Constant Hargrove, I know John King has a question for you as well. John, go ahead.

KING: This has been largely in Maricopa County, but when you hear social media people outside your State, but including the Republican candidate for Governor in your State questioning why this is taking so long, raising doubts about whether the integrity of the count essentially, can you explain as the count is taking place, one of the things that is normal in most places, and I'm not there with you, so tell me if this is true.

Outside people raise these questions. As these votes are being counted, don't both political parties, both campaigns have the right to have observers watching all of this? So, they are watching. They know there is nothing bad happening. The noises are coming from people outside the room. Is that correct?

HARGROVE: That is correct. We always have at least two observers in the room at any time and we've had multiple observers, some that were not inside the room, but of both parties here all week.

BLITZER: You guys are doing an impressive job, indeed. Constance Hargrove, thank you very, very much.

And John, you've got the new numbers. I just want to make sure you report and give us your analysis.

KING: So, you get the new numbers. Again, Pima County is a Democratic county, so there should be no shock that the Democrat is getting more votes. But this is again, as you get into these batches, I'm going to come out here to make sure this is off and bring you the statewide totals now over here again. All right, so Senator Kelly -- this is Katie Hobbs. This the Governor's race.

Katie Hobbs, the Democratic candidate for Governor is getting 51 percent if you round that up, 49 percent for Kari Lake. So if you're Katie Hobbs, you need to stay above 50, right? You win if you stay above 50.

So these new votes come in and she is getting 65 percent. Again, that's gold. You're not only meeting your bar David Chalian was talking about, you need somewhere you know, if it is above 49 or 50 percent to keep that lead. So you want to get 50 percent anytime in elections. You want to get 50 percent of every new batch that comes in or more, 65 percent, so you're happy.

You're happy if you're in the Hobbs' campaign there. Again, it's a Democratic county, but every vote counts. You want to stretch that lead out because you are worried. Kari Lake was a TV anchor in the Phoenix suburbs, you're worried maybe she'll have more support in larger, more populous Maricopa County. So when you're getting those margins in Pima County, you are happy.

Now let's switch to the Senate race. Senator Kelly has a bigger lead. It's up to 107,000. Now because of this. It was about 100,000 last time we spoke. Now it's up to about 107,000 because of this and look at what's happening with it. He's at 51 to 52 percent if you round that up to 46 percent. So Mark Kelly, essentially, if he gets 49 percent, he can still win this race. But he wants to get 50 or more in every one of these, right?

We can do a statistical analysis, or you could just have common sense. To keep your lead, you want to win more than half of all the votes coming in and you're guaranteed to keep your lead, and look 66 percent. Again, it's a democratic county so Republicans are saying so what, it's a Democratic county. We're going through these votes, some by the hundreds, some by the thousands.

Mark Kelly is doing exactly what he needs. So Blake Masters performing at this level in Pima County, he is going to need a gangbuster's performance in Maricopa County where there are more votes, but a number like that does not make you happy. You need to do better even in Democratic areas, if you want to win this state, the Republican needs to do better than that.

BLITZER: And right now, we're waiting for a huge batch of votes coming in from Maricopa County that could potentially be very, very decisive. We'll watch that. We'll share it with you as soon as those numbers come in, it could be decisive.

Just ahead, also, House Republicans are predicting a GOP majority once all the votes are counted, but CNN has not yet made that projection. We're going to dig into all the latest numbers and explain what we're still waiting for. Our Special Election coverage continues in just a moment.



BLITZER: We can now make projections in House races. These are unusual races because they feature Democrats against Democrats due to California's open primary system. So, we know a Democrat will win. CNN can project that in California, Democrat, Sydney Kamlager will win. The California State Senator will defeat Democrat Jan Perry, a former Los Angeles City Councilwoman.

Also in California's 15th and 34th Congressional Districts, we can also say a Democrat will win. We don't know yet which one though. This means we can move three more House seats over to Democrats bringing the balance of power to 195 Democrats right now, and 209 Republicans.


So let's take a look at the state of play where things stand right now on this ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA CONTINUED.

Right now, Democrats must win 21 competitive seats to maintain their majority in the House, Republicans must win seven competitive seats to win their majority in the US House of Representatives.

Let's go over to John King right now who is watching all of this so, so closely. So we haven't projected the winner in the House of Representatives, yet the Democrats or the Republicans. Tell our viewers, explain what is going on?

KING: Well, we're counting votes, and so you have these races. These are the races we've called so far, as you just outlined. Republicans have 209, that leaves them just nine seats away from 218, the magic number. That would be a new Republican Majority, Democrats though are at 195. And again, Republicans did not expect the map to look like this three days after.

Now, Republicans, as you note have an easier path, right? We just look at the races where they are ahead right now. They're ahead in 222, you need 218 for Majority, these races are not called, so they could go the other way. We're still counting mail ballots, there's a lot still to go.

But right now, the probability is that they will have a narrow majority, but the mathematical possibility remains that the Democrats can get there. It's a steep hill. But I want to walk through the possibilities. And remember, this is the possibilities. Republicans have an easier path. Republicans have a more probable path. But Democrats have a possible path.

And let's go through some of the steps. You see right there, they are at 195, right, 195. Let me bring these three races and here are three more. We view these as races are differences, our Decision team has looked closely at these, the Democrats are likely to win. You have one here in New Mexico, one here in Colorado, and there's one here in Maryland. And I want to note, the Republican is currently leading in this race in Maryland, but there are outstanding votes in Montgomery County, just outside of Washington, DC, it is overwhelmingly Democratic. That's where the outstanding votes are. The Republicans lead is narrow.

So it is quite likely, in our view, based on voting patterns that the Democrat will win there. So there's one there's two, there's three. Where does that get you? That would get you in this scenario, and it's a scenario to 198, right? So leave that there, let's take the next step. Let's look at some more races here.

Here are 14 more races where Democrats are ahead, in some of these, Democratic victory is guaranteed. California has a jungle primary. So in several of these races, it's a Democrat versus a Democrat. So a Democrat will win. We just don't know which Democrat yet. In other races, the Democrats are ahead and of several of those, Republicans have actually conceded, but we have not called them yet because the vote margin is so close. We're a conservative here. So we want to wait and count the votes. But there's 14 more, right? So what does that get you to? That would get you to 212, right?

So let's take this out, wipe this out, bring this up. That would get you to 212. Two hundred and twelve, that's tantalizingly close to 219, isn't it, Wolf? And so let's take the next step. Let's take the next step right here. Two eighteen is where you need to get. These are two States with rank choice voting. The Democratic candidates in Alaska and in Maine are currently ahead and they're close to 50 percent, they could win outright. If they don't get above 50 percent when all the votes are counted, that's when they do the second choice. And third choice, they drop out the bottom candidates, and they look at the second third choice, it is not only quite possible, we believe probable, the Democratic candidate wins here and wins here. So that would get you to 214.

Again, this is a scenario, watching at home, but this is why --

BLITZER: So, they are four short right now.

KING: In this scenario, they are four short right now. This is where we'll be -- we want to be completely transparent and honest with you. This next four, the 214, I can get you there. It doesn't mean it will happen, but that is a case. Okay, I can see how that works. It would be hard for any Republican to disagree that it is possible.

These four, fully transparent is a reach. These are reach. Why? Because Republicans are leading in them right now. This includes the Lauren Boebert district here in Western Colorado. She's ahead by 11,136 votes. They're not done counting here. It's possible the Democrat can win this race. So, that's why we say, it is possible, but it would be a reach.

One more I just want to show you, one more of these. Let's bring this back out here and come out here to Central California. This name might be known to you when I come into this district here. This is David Valadao's district. He is one of two remaining of the impeachment 10. The Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Dan Newhouse has won reelection in Washington State. David Valadao, you see him here. He is ahead by 3,300 votes, 3,386, but there are a lot of votes to count out here.

This district was carried by Joe Biden by 13 points. So, that's why we put it on this list. It is possible, reasonable, California, those mail-in ballots. This district has swung back and forth. The vote count has swung back and forth in this district if we watched it, so will the Democrat win? We don't know that. Will the Republican win? He just might.

But I just wanted to show you, in this scenario, if Democrats can defy the odds, yes, and get the mail-in ballot counts and get those other four, come back out to the full map, if they can get those other four, it is still mathematically possible to get there. [20:25:00]

Again, Republicans have a clearer path to the majority, but the reason we're still counting votes and it's so important to count these votes on Night Three is that there's still a mathematical possibility, 214, they could back that up pretty good. Getting these last ones in there, it is a reach, but it is a mathematical possibility and it's not out of the realm.

BLITZER: You and I have been at this Magic Wall over many Midterms. Have you ever seen a Midterm like this one?

KING: No, I have not. Not in the sense that it is this competitive this year, especially given when we come out of here. Let's come back to the real map, so we see this where we are right now.

Look, the probability here is a narrow Republican majority. We need to be honest about that. But we're not there yet. We are simply not there yet. Republicans, there at one point, Kevin McCarthy said we'll win 60 seats. And he said well, when 30 seats, you're looking right now where they are ahead and 222 seats -- all right, 222 seats.

In the current House of Representatives, they have 212 seats. If this ends with a 10 or 12. Seat Republican gain, Republicans will have the majority that is significant. Joe Biden's life, President Biden's life will change dramatically if that happens, but that is nowhere near, absolutely nowhere near what they anticipated. That's what makes it so fascinating.

BLITZER: Let's go over here because there are some new numbers, there are new votes coming in from Arizona right now and I want you to share with our viewers what we're learning.

KING: Let's see what we have in Arizona. Let me just reset and come back out and let me see right here, I'm told to look up here. Let me come across. I'm looking at -- where am I going here? I'm going in the wrong place. Let's see.

okay, we're going to get here where we go. I know we are.

BLITZER: North of Phoenix.

KING: North of Phoenix. There we go. You have Yavapai County, there we go. I should have hit it in the first place. All right, new votes here. We have new votes to bring in or these just came in.

BLITZER: All right.

KING: You see, in this case, it's a Republican county. I'm not sure if this these numbers updated. I'm sorry.

BLITZER: Let's take a look at the Governor's race.

KING: They're not communicating with me here. But you see Blake Masters winning 60 percent in this Republican county. Donald Trump carried this county by 29 points. But if there are new votes there, that hasn't been communicated to me. Let's come into the --

BLITZER: Bring in the chalkboards.

KING: Let's bring it up. Okay. Let's go.

BLITZER: This is the governor's race, right?

KING: Yes.

BLITZER: All right, for Katie Hobbs. 2,479, thirty-three point six percent of the vote.

KING: We are going to round that up. Okay.

BLITZER: Kari Lake, 4,892. Sixty-six percent of the vote.

KING: So you see --

BLITZER: But that clearly helps the Republicans right there.

KING: Right, to the point we were making earlier about when the new votes come in, you want them to A. Match or exceed your percentage already in that county. If it's your county, and this is a Republican county. So you want 60 percent here, and Katie Hobbs, 34 percent. So you see, you know, Kari lake over performing her current number, and then you come out to the statewide map and you have, you know, obviously Kari Lake, she is trailing at 49.5. It's a very, very close race that lead has now dropped to 20,336.

Again --

BLITZER: It got closer.

KING: Yes, from this. This is it right here. Just do the math at home, 2,400 votes that is dropped right there. And so if you're Kari Lake, that's what you need to do.

We were just talking about how the Democrats were getting huge percentages, 60 plus, close to 70 percent in a Democratic county. Kari Lake doing the same thing right now in a Republican county. So, you're doing what you need and you're getting your vote.

BLITZER: Seventy six percent of the vote is in.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: So, there's still plenty of votes outstanding.

KING: And most of those votes are here in Maricopa County, and as you watch Maricopa County, this is again, more than 60 percent of the vote. But again, it's a blue county, but look how close it is in the blue county.

Number one, it's a competitive county, it's blue, but it's a very competitive county. And number two, most people nationally think of Kari Lake, as you know, the Donald Trump acolyte and things like that. But instead, what you have here is, you know, she was a Phoenix TV anchor for 10 years. She is very well known in that community. We'll see what happens here.

BLITZER: Well, let's take a look at the Senate race right now and see what the results are.

KING: Move this out of the way.

BLITZER: In this county, the new numbers coming in. Mark Kelly, the Democrat, Blake Masters, the Republican right now in this county.

KING: So let's go back up here to see the new numbers that came in here. Let me pull this up. Let me move it up so you can see the counties. They do it again, these numbers are factored in here, but the question is, are each candidate getting or exceeding what they need in this county? This is Senator Kelly here, 2,545 excuse. Let me blank it out. So, we're not looking funny at home. Forty-six seventy- nine for Blake Masters.

BLITZER: So, clearly, these numbers that are coming in from this county helps the Republican, Blake Masters.

KING: Right. So again, it's a Republican county. So if Kelly was on top of this county, Masters campaign didn't work. But not only is he getting 63 percent, that is in excess of where he was in this county, and then you pull out to the statewide vote. And again, David Chalian smartly laid out earlier if you're at 46 percent, obviously Blake Masters needs to get well above 50 percent of the remaining vote to catch up.

And so in this county, that's gold. That's gold. That means as these new votes came in in this Republican county, the Masters campaign can say, not only are we meeting, but we are exceeding what we need percentage-wise as we get it -- and that's what you need to do.


In the blue counties, the Democrats need to overperform what they need. In the red counties, the Republicans need to overperform what they need. And if you're Blake Masters against a smaller county, you're way more votes still to come in Phoenix. More votes still to come in Maricopa is the Phoenix here. Pima County is Tucson in the suburbs. There are more votes down here.

So, when you're the Republicans, we just saw Kari Lake and now Blake Masters in these smaller red counties. That's what you need to do. That's (INAUDIBLE) --

BLITZER: And we're about to get, I'm told a huge number of votes coming in from the largest county in Arizona, Maricopa County, and that will make a difference presumably on what's going on right now. As soon as those votes come in we'll share them with our viewers, John, so don't go too far away.

Coming up, a closer look at how Republican candidates who denied President Biden's 2020 victory have fared in some of the key races across the country?

Stay with us. We'll be right back.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Take a closer look now at how election denier thins some key races for a Secretary of State. In Michigan and the incumbent Democrat Jocelyn Benson won against an election denier, Kristina Karamo who claims she witnessed fraud as a whole challenger in 2020. She got former President Trump's endorsement before the statewide convention that one her the nomination.

Similar story in Minnesota where incumbent Democrat Steve Simon beat out a Republican Kim Crockett who also earned Trump's endorsement calling the 2020 election rate (ph). In New Mexico, the incumbent Democratic Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver defeated Republican Audrey Trujillo who publicly questioned President Biden's 2020 win. We're also following two major sectors a races that we have not yet called in Arizona, waiting new vote numbers, the race between the Republican Mark Finchem and the Democrat Adrian Fontes remains undecided. Finchem is a state representative and has (INAUDIBLE) backed Trump lies about the election. He's also a self-proclaimed number for the extremist group, the Oath Keepers.

In Nevada, where you are following the still undecided race between Republican Jim Marchant and the Democrats Cisco Aguilar. Marchant denies that President Biden legitimately won the 2020 election claims that top congressional Democrats had been installed by what he calls the deep state fall.

There we go. That's Finchem and Marchant in their own words.


MARK FINCHEM (R-AZ) SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, we know it. And they know it. Donald Trump won.

JIM MARCHANT (R-NV) SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: President Trump and I lost an election in 2020, because of a rigged election. I've been working since November 4, 2020, to expose what happened. And what I found out is horrifying. And when I'm Secretary of State of Nevada, we're going to fix it.


COOPER: Let's get more on all of this with our team. I mean, this was a strong rebuke of election denials, you know, in a lot of states that we saw.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. I mean, I really do think this is a big part of the dynamic. I think there's part of the fabric that people were rebelling against. Now, there were big efforts that went into the secretary of state races. There's an organization called iVote that has spent millions and millions of dollars in the secretary of state races against these election deniers.

But this guy, Finchem in Arizona was the guy who in the state House who face down Rusty Bowers, the Speaker of the House, who stood up to Trump and Giuliani and all those folks on the whole issue of election denial, and he was leading the charge on the other side of it. So, he has a deep, rich history in this, and think how dangerous that is.

COOPER: I mean, yes.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Kari Lake, we sort of have to see how that turns out. She's kind of the leader of election deniers, the most one of the most famous ones. And she has said that if she doesn't win, you know, the election was rigged, et cetera, et cetera. So, you know, she's kind of symbolic of that. And if she wins, I think it would give a little momentum. I mean, Secretary of State's according to CNN, 12 Republican nominees who are election deniers, and for one.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, being an election denier, to the extent that Finchem was and a few of these other Mastriano, some of these real extremists, it's not a platform that has appeal beyond a small number of people. And so could you write it to victory and a primary? Maybe. But when you get into a general election, and you look at our exit polls, and you see what the concerns the American people were, if you're Republican, maybe it was inflation and immigration and crime, if you're a Democrat, maybe it was abortion. And these are serious issues that everybody's dealing with every day. And then you're out here running on some niche thing that a small group cares about, and it that most of the time when you're talking about it, you sound crazy.

And so, we were just talking in the break this election rewarded a lot of incumbents, a lot of people with experience, and you said David, and this was a good word. It was like a stability election. And if you're out here ranting about this stuff, it's the opposite of stable.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who won handily last night but then down ballot Republicans who were election deniers in New Hampshire last set it very well to Jake Tapper last night where he said, we can deal with policy but we need to fix crazy right now. And I think that this was this was a pro governance election. It's not really a pro Biden. It's definitely anti Trump, but it's really, we just want things to work and we want to chase the crazy to the sidelines where they should be.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think one of the most important developments is the most normal one, concessions. People who lost conceded that they had lost. I think more than anything else that is squeezing some of the crazy out because you have ordered -- yet you have people who are Republicans and now river Trumpy they were not Trumpy they weren't you have a lot of people who are actually standing up and saying I lost it and it's OK. I think (INAUDBLE).


DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I was going to say Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz on Monday night, or excuse me on Wednesday morning, that what normally happens in elections, right, you call your opponent, you shake his hand, you say, tough race. Congratulations, right. And so that used to be normal. And so, I think that should be celebrated, you know, in this current (INAUDIBLE).

AXELROD: You know, here the overhang on this whole election, like I'm a firm belief that we're still trying to recover from what that pandemic did to us. And I think there's a sense that things that have been sort of out of control. And I think that's true in our politics. And I think that's true in our lives. And so, it makes sense that people, they don't want crazy, they want stable. And --


URBAN: Those independent voters, by the way, if you look, again, go back to the independent voters, which broke for Republicans, I think broke for, excuse me, broke for Democrats and said Republicans, I think they broke for stability and broke in favor of against the election. Now as they broke in favor of stability.

BORGER: I think that has a lot to do with the high turnout, we were just talking about this. We're all applauding high turnout. It's great. It's great. But I think what's going on is if people are afraid of the other side. And so, they're turning out, out of fear. Because there's a fear on one side, that the election deniers are going to ruin democracy and get rid of it. And you know, there's a fear on the other side that the Democrats are going to, you know, bring socialism here. And that's going to be the way the country runs, and the economy will never get better.

AXELROD: You know, one -- I'm sorry, Alyssa. One of the things is, we are so polarized that these independent voters actually become very important because the Democrat gets 96% of the Democratic vote, the Republican gets 90% of the --


GRIFFIN: And if there's one person who I hope is hearing, this is Kevin McCarthy, who may be overseeing one of the slimmest majorities in House Republican in recent history. It's not a mandate for wild conspiracies for bringing everything to a screeching halt to investigate people and to subpoena everyone from the Biden administration, do legitimate oversight. That is absolutely the role of Congress. But this is a mandate for working across the aisle for getting things done. And for taking the temperature (INAUDIBLE)


URBAN: But you won't get there without making concessions to have to do those things.

AXELROD: Right. That's the issue.


COOPER: Explain why that is. URBAN: Because you know, right now --

JONES: That's math.

URBAN: -- right now, yes, it's math. Right now, is currently going around, right meeting with Freedom Caucus, folks, different members coming in saying, If you want my vote, here's what I like, I want to impeach you know, they (INAUDIBLE), I want to do these things. I want this that are not getting our vote, and it doesn't have many votes did not get.

JONES: This -- the irony here is that, as Democrats, we're glad we didn't lose a bunch more seats. From a political point of view, that's great. But from a governing point of view, if you're going to have Republican charter be better for a bunch of them to be in charge, because in the lunatic fringe is smaller comparative law.

JENNINGS: Sorry, that was one of the rules are trying to put in, by the way, and I'm trying to get McCarthy to agree to is this idea that you could vacate the chair every time and get mad about something which if you watch what's going on in Great Britain right now, which is musical chairs --

JONES: That part.

JENNINGS: -- that's what they want to do the U.S. House. It's crazy.


COOPER: Coming up, more votes from critical Arizona, the state's largest county is preparing to release new numbers. We're told some surprising information from the exit polls about why Democrats beat expectations in some key races.

Our special coverage continues a moment (ph).



DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back. America's choice to control Congress for the next two years is up in the air tonight. But we are getting some new information about why Democrats did better than expected in some critical races.

Let's go straight to CNN's David Chalian for a closer look. David?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Hey Dana. So, what we've done here is sort of go battleground state by battleground state to look at how candidates did specifically Democratic candidates among voters who told us they somewhat disapprove of Joe Biden's job performance. So just think about this. These are people who say, I somewhat disapprove of Joe Biden's job performance, 51% of them vote for Fetterman, 42% for Oz.

Look in New Hampshire, you'll see even a greater disparity. Seventy- two percent of the somewhat disapproves of Joe Biden actually voted for Maggie Hassan, the Democrat, only 25% of them for Don Bolduc.

In Nevada, which obviously is a much closer race and one that we haven't called yet. And you see it here too. So, among that crowd of somewhat disapprove of Joe Biden, 47% still go with the Democrat, Catherine Cortez Masto 44% of them go with Adam Laxalt.

And in Georgia, which we know is going to that runoff on December 6, 50% of those somewhat disapproves of Joe Biden went for Raphael Warnock, 44% for Walker, 5% for Oliver. Dana.

BASH: David, thank you so much. So going back to what Mitch McConnell said, in the summer, candidates matter dissing his own candidates. This is bearing out in the exit polls that if the candidates were better from the perspective of Republicans, and obviously the perspective of voters, things could have been differently -- different in these (INAUDIBLE).

ABBY PHILIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that is definitely the case. But I also think there's even more going on here than just the candidates themselves. I think this environment has been unusual, pretty much the entirety of this year gas prices at record highs, the economy in a state of inflation and headed toward a recession. And yet, Democrats generically have been performing better than the President. And it's because of this factor that David just explained. And I think some of that has to do with the idea that a lot of people, there's actually a huge swath of the electorate. That's just kind of so, so about Joe Biden, and they're making their decisions kind of independent of that.

That was not always the case with someone like Trump, who was extremely polarizing, but Biden just has a lot of people feeling like, yes. And that is and those people are making decisions separate and apart from how they feel about it.


KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, no, I think that it's clear that there are so many people out there who don't really love the job Biden's doing. You see it, it's obvious in the approval rating. But your point, it's clear, and I think this does have to do with Trump. And I think that this is something McConnell really understands instinctively that Trump has lost Republicans a ton of winnable elections, which is that people just trust Republicans less, right now. They might be unhappy with Biden, but they remember I mean, it wasn't that long ago that Trump was president. He's still in and out of the news all the time, he was hosting rallies in these swing states, right up until the end, reminding people like, hey, this is the kind of chaos that you voted out a couple years ago, like maybe you should be careful about bringing it back.

BASH: I can't believe you didn't use the term normie. I'm really disappointed, Jamie -- Kasie.



GANGEL: Well, I'm a old school. I'll just say normal. I was talking to a senior Republican official tonight who was talking once again about can we wrestle the party back from Donald Trump? Can we be normal again? And he said to me, no one wants to run into a brick wall on purpose. And I think with some of these voters, that's exactly what you're seeing. They want normal, they want competent, there are a lot of centrists out there. And they're willing to put aside that they may not be crazy.


PHILIP: I just add one more thing, just to what Jamie's talking about that. You know, some strategists have suggested to me in the last couple of days, we haven't talked about the attack on Paul Pelosi. And how that was a jolt, a real jolt in this midterm cycle. And what happened in the aftermath of that seeing so many Republicans, including some people who've tried to present themselves as normal, like a Glenn Youngkin, going out there and being callous. And I'm kind of leaning in to --

GANGEL: Offensive.

PHILIP: -- the nastiness of it. And I -- and people on both sides of the aisle have raised that to me as one of the few things in the last couple of weeks of this midterm cycle. That was a real moment in the cycle that broke through to people. And those the reaction of the Republican Party, largely, which was muted in their condemnation, and in some cases, joking about it, and then Trump joking about it did not help.

BASH: Yes, no, that's such a good point. And we should say that Glenn Youngkin, apologized later and then wrote a handwritten letter to the Speaker apologizing, saying that he was out of line. But it does remind us that, you know, when we look back at the Big Sweep elections, in the first midterms of the first term of a president, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, even Bill Clinton, they were voting for I'm just going to keep using your terms, normies. They were voting for -- yes, they were voting in the in 2010. There was the Tea Party, but the Tea Party, they were for something very specific, which is lowering, lowering government spending.

Now it's, do you want to have somebody who is for truth, and maybe they don't have the same philosophy as you, but they are sort of living on planet reality as opposed to some of their alternatives to look for.

HUNT: I think people are saying and you know, certainly when I, you know, talk to some voters who mean, I do this thing when I got on the campaign trail called the Walmart parking lot test, right? Go out to, you know, pick your big box mart store, right, and just talk to people see what they say. And, you know, you tend to get people who are more engaged in politics, if you're in New Hampshire than if you are in Arkansas, it depends on the place exactly. But one of the things that really changed and has changed over the 15 or so years I've been doing this is how angry and disillusioned everybody seems to be on all sides of the aisle.

And what I take from that is that, you know, people don't really want to have to worry about whether the government is sort of functioning on a basic level, they don't want to have to be stressed out about it all the time.

BASH: That's true. That's true. I found that too. But usually, that anger and that disillusionment is taken out on, pick your Democrat, but that is -- that's what the weapon that they have. And it didn't happen.


PHILIP: (INAUDIBLE) talk about this much of this year. But the reality is, is that Republicans are running against the economy, but not really running on anything as it relates to the economy. I mean, given all the different factors that could have played into this, you have to imagine when voters are deciding, OK, do we really think that they're going to do something about it? They didn't actually present a plan. And to this day, I don't think we know really what the plan would have been, or would be to address inflation and cause, and I don't think that helped either.

HUNT: I just think people really still blame Trump and the Republican Party, by extension because the Republican Party I mean, who was it was a Governor Hogan who said he felt like he was on a lifeboat by himself until these election results. Like people the 2020 election as much as we are absolutely a 50-50 country and it was close by almost any metric, it actually wasn't I mean it voters handed Democrats control the White House control of the House and narrow control of the Senate and I don't think that they've forgotten the things that they knew back then.


BASH: Maybe not. Well, coming up, new details on the closely watched races in Arizona and Nevada we're standing by for new vote counts. This is Election Night In America, continue.


BLITZER: Right now, we're getting a behind the scenes look at the vote counting in Arizona.