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CNN's Provides Real-Time Results Of The Midterm Elections; CNN Interviews Mayor Francis Suarez; GOP Sources: McCarthy "Is Going To Have To Fight" To Be Speaker; McConnell Super PAC Teaming Up With Kemp To Help Walker In GA Runoff. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 10, 2022 - 23:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, still 8,054 votes ahead. That was closed to 13,000 just a few minutes ago. Forty-eight point nine to 48.0. So, he is one point ahead in this race. You see 449,000 thousand votes, 441,000. The new votes that just came in are from this northwest county, Washoe County, Reno, and the areas to the north of the border.

I will go to the county. I just want to put the numbers up in front of you here. You see the latest numbers come in. Excuse me, one second, while I turn my back. This is what you're seeing on the side of the screen, 11,182, which is 61%. This is from Washout County. This is 6,565, which is 36%.

So, why does that matter? Number one, you look at the statewide vote, she is trailing right now. So, she needs simple math at home of the additional votes that are being counted and getting reported over the next day or so. She obviously needs to overcome this. She needs to overcome by a smaller margin now because she's getting closer.

So, the reason she closed the gap is that she got 61% of these votes, the 36% for Adam Laxalt. He has been winning so far, 50% of the vote statewide. So, any time in this new vote reports, she can pass that number. She needs to pass him by 51 or 52. But if she is getting 61, she is going to narrow that gap.

I want to bring this down a little bit and move it down here to talk about why this is significant. The biggest batch of votes -- we can move it over here, excuse me, Wolf Blitzer -- biggest batch of votes is here. Still outstanding votes in Las Vegas, the suburbs around, the biggest part of the state. It's close to 75%, 73% to 74% of the population, it will be over 70% of the statewide vote. We were done counting them all.

So, that's the most significant. But this is a swing county in the northwest part of the state. One of these places you look the winner here, especially in a close race. The winner of this county, eight times out of 10, if not more, is going to win the state.

Fifteen percent of the population, second largest county in the state, she is getting 50% in the county right now. The new votes that came in was 61%. She's overperforming yesterday, if you will, and the day before with the early vote counts, which -- again, she is trailing, so she needs that, she is trailing statewide.

Let me show you the governor's race, why this is important. Actually, now, this has changed. This is actually a change in the governor's race. Just moments ago, the incumbent, Steve Sisolak, he is still trailing statewide. This is Republican challenger, Joe Lombardo. A look to just a moment ago, Lombardo was winning in Washoe County. So as these new votes came in in the Senate race, they also tabulate in the governor's race and the democratic candidate has pulled ahead.

I want to go to the statewide numbers in that race. So, we can come and see them here. You see that he is still behind, right? So, he is behind. So, Governor Sisolak, that's what he needs, right? Any vote count, he needs to overwhelmingly make up the gap. He is still behind. When it comes to the Senate race, she is behind by a much smaller margin, right, 800,000 votes, which is why this is so important.

Over the next day or two, maybe later tonight as we get more of those votes, the raw vote total counts, but if you are trailing, you just need to beat that. He is ahead of you. But now, it is getting closer to the point where we're almost at a point where there is an even percentage. It is a point or two behind his.

And so, if you are getting 61% in a swing county like that, you're incredibly encouraged. The question is, you know, and Gary Tuchman is on the ground for us there, how many votes are left and then what percentage of that do you need? Her percentage has shrunk a little bit in what she needs to win, which is progress for her.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Let's go to Gary Tuchman right now. He is on the ground for us in Clark County, the largest county in Nevada right now. That is where Las Vegas is. What do we expect tomorrow? A lot more votes being counted in the county tomorrow?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. The tabulators are done tabulating for the night here at the Clark County election headquarters. They will be back early tomorrow morning.

There are still tens of thousands of votes to tabulate here, at least 50,000 votes. We were told there would be a big release of votes tonight posted on the website. It wasn't so big. It was only 12,000 votes. We started the day with 62,000. So, there are still 50,000.

We must point, Wolf, that there are 17 counties in the state. This is the largest county and this is the most democratic county. So, this is an important place to observe because this could change the race dramatically. Wolf?

BLITZER: We will spend the day watching those votes come in. Brianna Keilar is watching all of this unfold for us as well. Brianna, show us where these Nevada votes are actually coming from.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Gary just walked us through the latest in Clark County. Let's look now at a couple of other counties in Nevada and what is still to come. Looking at Washoe County on the very western edge of the state, Nevada's second most populous county which, of course, is home to Reno, officials there just released more than 18,000 new votes. Last night, officials there had told us about 20,000 votes remained, which included early ballots dropped off on election day.

A reminder, though, that more mail-in ballots will continue to arrive by mail between now and Saturday but officials say they do not have an estimate of how many that will be. They did receive about 4,000 by mail yesterday, though.

And then we are also hearing from election officials in Douglas County. It is a smaller county, just south of Washoe, they report about 7,000 votes remaining to count there. This is a county that typically leans red.


So, still a lot to watch, Wolf, as we wait for that Saturday mail-in ballot deadline.

BLITZER: Certainly, we will be watching together with you. Thanks very much.

I want to go to David Chalian right now. David, you are looking at these Nevada votes from what we call our battleground desk right now. What are you seeing?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. So, our decision desk team just put together these new calculations after those votes were tabulated from Washoe County that John was showing you at the board. Now, we think our estimate is approximately 95,000 votes remain uncounted in Nevada.

And after those votes were added, now the new needed to win percentage for Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democratic incumbent, is in this range of 52% to 54%. So, she needs 52% to 54% of that outstanding 95,000 in order to win this race. Now, Laxalt is still in the lead. So, his need percentage range is lower. He needs between 43% and 47%.

But I just want to note, John was explaining this, she just won 61% of that batch in the Reno area. Now that means she significantly overperformed in that batch, what she needs with this outstanding vote. Not every batch will look like that. But that is how people should watch the votes coming in. Does Catherine Cortez Masto start achieving this 52% to 54% range of the remaining votes, Wolf?

BLITZER: Very important, indeed. John King, you are looking closely, Adam Laxalt, the Republican candidate, Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent Democrat, you know, he is ahead by only 8,000 votes. That is not a lot.

KING: And to David's point, she needs 52% and maybe a little more than that of the remaining votes statewide. So, statewide, she's getting 48% right now. So, okay, you would stay at home unless you need to exceed her performance. That is absolutely right. She needs to do better in the remaining count than she has done so far.

But -- and this is a very important but -- most of the votes, most of the votes, the preponderance of them, are here in Clark County where she is getting close to that 52%. So, if she can do a little bit better -- if in Clark County, she can turn that 52% to a 53% or a 54%, closer to 55%, then that would exponentially increase her odds of catching up because most of the votes are here.

So, she is already close to what she needs at the statewide level here. This, obviously, you have to factor in these other counties, and there are other votes, as Brianna just explained.

She can boost her total here where most of those votes are from, marginally, not a ton, and keep doing what she just did here, as David just noted, 60% the last time. She can stay around that ballpark street a little bit maybe, but stay up there, stay well above 50%. It's possible. Out here, you don't expect her to do that, in those counties.

So, it's critical. She is running about 52% right now in Clark County. She needs to boost that number a bit in the remaining votes that come in, the percentage of each installment as we get more votes. And if she does, she is in play, but it is very tight, 8,000 votes. Nevada, like Arizona, very competitive.

BLITZER: Statewide, we are told, there are still about 95,000 uncounted votes in Nevada right now. So, there is potential. There is a lot to unfold. Dana, back to you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf and John. I mean, this is so fascinating because Democrats from, really, the beginning of the cycle looked at Nevada and said that she is the most vulnerable Democrat.


BASH: And they were worried that she is going to lose. She still might. The Republican challenger is still ahead. But, oh, my goodness, it is so close and it is so consequential to the balance of power here in Washington.

HUNT: Yeah, it really is, Dana, and it is wild that it is coming down to -- I mean, 8,000 votes, it's like nothing really in the grand scheme of things. And when you think about this -- we have talked so much about the House and what a surprise that was. The Senate has been tracking more, I think, with what people expected it to be.

But something like this -- it may seem like, okay, it's just one race, it's just one senator, but it really represents the same kind of environment across the map, sea change that we saw in the House, the way that Democrats really outperformed because, as you pointed out, they just did not expect her to really have a shot at winning, at least not when the polls were closing on Tuesday night.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, absolutely -- look, everybody was hopeful on the democratic side. But the expectation was one of those two seats, either Nevada or Arizona, would be a loss. And a lot of people were saying that it was more likely to be the Nevada seat. So, we are looking at a possibility that that could hold for the Democrats.

I mean, just to game this out, if Democrats are able to hold on to those two seats and win a Georgia runoff, they would expand a majority in the Senate in a midterm year in which most Democratic presidents lose a lot, including a lot of seats in the House and seats in the Senate. So, it just underscores that this is a weird time. It is a really, really weird year.


And this entire scenario is totally against the tide of history. That is why, you know, we keep talking about Democrats exceeding expectations. We are just having a conversation that most Democrats in Washington or elsewhere did not really expect this to happen.

HUNT: It's a dream.

BASH: Yeah. We have been talking a lot about these Republican candidates underperforming and not being kind of the right fit for whatever race or whatever seat at this time, and that is really because -- not just me saying it, more importantly, it's what Mitch McConnell and some of the Republican leaders thought. This is a different case. Mitch McConnell poured a lot of his super PAC, put a lot of money into this race.

HUNT: Yep.

BASH: They actually betting on Adam Laxalt being different from other Republican candidates in Senate races they were less excited about.

HUNT: Laxalt was not their problem. I mean, he was somebody that they count on compared to Blake Masters in Arizona. I mean, I think they thought they would be much more competitive in Arizona if they had gotten a different nominee.

In fact, some serious infighting between McConnell and the billionaire, Peter Thiel, who McConnell thought was interfering in races when he didn't have any idea what he is actually doing. He was involved in Ohio as well. I mean, that may turn out to be correct.

I mean, there is a lot of finger pointing already going on in the republican side. We barely talked tonight about some reporting that came out in "Politico" that details some of Rick Scott's ambitions, potentially, to run against McConnell. That basically have been completely sidelined because he was out there saying -- I think at one point, he may have said to you, Dana, that he was going to win 55 seats in the Senate and now here we are and they could end up in the 40s.

PHILLIP: And you know what? The economic message, overall, across the board, across the map, something went wrong with the Republicans' economic message. This should have been an environment -- Nevada is a state where in the stronghold for the Democrats -- in Clark County, workers there were hit so hard by this economy, and yet here we are talking about a really, really competitive race. The republican argument did not break through, and I think they're going to be asking themselves why.

BASH: Okay, we are going to be watching the votes change. Every single vote is going to matter as we see them counted in the next days and weeks. Maybe not weeks. Hopefully not weeks, days!

Coming up, a new projection to make in minutes as control of the House hangs in the balance. Our election coverage continues right after a quick break.




BLITZER: Right now, we have a brand-new CNN projection to make for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrat Kim Schrier has won a third term to represent the 8th district in Washington State. She is a former pediatrician.

Let's go over to John King and see what is going on right now. John, a lot of viewers are asking why haven't we have been able to make a projection, a call yet, for control of the House.

KING: Here's where we are right now in called races. Republicans have won 211 seats in the new House. Democrats have won 198 seats. It takes 218 to get a majority. So, Republicans are on the doorstep, on the doorstep. They need seven more races. They are ahead in more than enough races.

So, the probability is -- the probability is that the Republicans will get a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. But we are not there. Two hundred and twenty-two Republicans leading, 213 Democrats leading. Let's focus more on this. Right now, this is where we are and this is done.

And so, it is easier to get Republicans to 218. But the reason we are still here and we have not projected the republican majority is because it is still mathematically possible.

Let me give you a scenario where Democrats could take the House back. We know they're already performing better than expected. This map has a lot more blue than Kevin McCarthy and rest of the Republicans thought it would have after Tuesday.

Let's go through a scenario. I want to stress it's a scenario as we get through. Ten Democrats get there. Let me show. Let's walk this through. These are in uncalled races, right? These are three races where our team, which studies the data very closely, believe Democrats are likely to win. Right? So, if you add those three to the 198, that will get you to 201.

In this race, I just want to note, for anyone watching the data, the Republican candidate is still ahead. It is just outside of Washington, D.C. It stretches up into northwestern Maryland. The lead has been narrowing. The outstanding vote is in Montgomery County, a Washington, D.C. suburb. I live there. It's an overwhelming democratic area. Our team has projected as those votes come in that Democrat is likely to win.

But this is why this is a scenario. Not done yet. But that will get you to 201. How do you get to further from there? You bring up here. There are 11 more races where the Democratic candidate is ahead and likely to win but it is not there yet, including several in California because of the jungle primary. You have Democrats running against Democrats. So, in several of those races, we are so certain that Democrat will win. We just don't know which Democrat yet.

You have 201 and then you have 11 more. If that plays out that way -- let me bring that up. Let me do this the other way. Sorry about that. One and two and bring this in. let's get back to the play. This gets us up to 212 when it slides away. This is the one I wanted to get. It happens, 212. So, then you up to 212. You need 218. Can Democrats get six more?

Well, here is the next step in this. There are two states, Alaska and Maine, that have so-called ranked choice voting. You vote, nobody gets 50%. The bottom candidates after the top two get drop out and you look at the ballots, who is your second choice, who is your third choice.

In both Alaska -- let me show you this. We talked about the Maine race. We did this earlier today. She won last time in the special election, right? She is running against Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, famous name in Alaska.


Mary Peltola, who is Democratic incumbent, has 47.3%. It's possible as the vote count gets her above 50. But if it doesn't, then Begich drops out, second choice, and it's very possible, the Democrats believe, just like in the special election, she will get to the finish line. We will see. We are not there yet.

That's why we say it is possible, when you add it. If you add those as well, now you come down here, and you have 214. Realistic. Quite realistic Democrats could get to that number. Now, the question is, can they get four more? Can they get to 218?

So, let's walk through and look at that. You come in here, and you look at Alaska. I just want to acknowledge a straight-up. Number one, this is a scenario. Number two, this last four is a reach. It's hard. It's difficult. It's hard for Democrats to get to 218.

These districts that you see in the pink or purple shade, they include Lauren Boebert here in Western Colorado. She's a Trump acolyte, very well-known in conservative circles, right? She is ahead now. She was trailing last night. They are still counting votes out here.

Adam Frisch, former council member, running a tough race, benefiting from a big win by the Democratic governor, good win by the Democratic senator. But Lauren Boebert is ahead at the moment with about 98% counted. This one here, I said it was a reach, right? She's getting close to a narrow victory, but she's not there yet, so it is still possible for her to pull that out.

Another one of these races come back in. Another one of these races out in California, a name you may have heard earlier in the Trump administration. David Valadao is one of the impeachment 10, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump. He is ahead right now, but this is the district that Joe Biden carried by nearly 13 points and only about a third of the vote has been counted.

A lot of mail balloting in California. It's much more of a tradition and it tends to lean Democratic. So, we have votes to count here. Congressman Valadao may well be reelected. But it is possible that this is still within reach of the Democrats, which is why we say, when you pull this out, you take the likely, the races where they are ahead, the ranked choice voting where we think there is a very, very good possibility, and then these for -- this is why it is a reach, right? It gets there.

But it is possible. It is possible, if they get those four, this turns into 218. Now, the probability -- and it's more likely -- you get that narrow republican majority. Look where we are. Republicans only need seven. Democrats need to pull off -- it's like drawing through an inside straight.

Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, drawing an inside straight, won the electoral college. It is possible. The probability is that you get a small republican majority. But a democratic win is still possible.

BLITZER: Possible indeed. All right, thanks very, John, for that.

Coming up, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis turns heads after winning reelection in a very dominating fashion. So, what do voters think of him? Could he challenge Donald Trump for the republican presidential nomination in 2024? Stay right there.




BASH: While control of Congress a still undetermined tonight, we saw a decisive win in Florida for Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. It's raising his national profile even higher and feeling even more speculation about a 2024 run for the White House. David Chalian is looking at that. David?

CHALIAN: Dana, some of the numbers behind that decisive, impressive reelection victory that Ron DeSantis had, they are just eye-popping. So, look at the exit polls from Florida. Among independent voters in the Florida governor's race, DeSantis won them by eight-percentage points, 53% to Charlie Crist's 45%. They made up 30% of the electorate. This is an 18-point swing from four years ago when he lost the independents by 10-percentage points. It gets even better for him among Latino voters. So, take a look here, in the Florida governor's race, Latinos split 58% for DeSantis, 40% for Christ. They made up 21% of the overall electorate. An 18-point advantage for DeSantis after he lost Latinos by 10 points four years ago, a 28-point swing.

His opinion of governor and job approval, 59% of Florida voters this week said they approve of the job he did. Forty-one percent said they did not approve. And what about asking Florida voters if they think their governor should run for president? Well, 45% say yes, they want to see Ron DeSantis run in 2024 among the Florida voters. A slim majority, 52%, say no.

But no doubt this next number will get a lot of attention at Mar-a- Lago and maybe a reason why we are seeing the press releases as we are. Do you want Donald Trump to run for president in 2024, we asked Florida voters, in this election this year? Only a third of Florida voters, 33%, said yes. Sixty-four percent of Florida voters, Dana, said they don't want to see Trump run in 2024.

BASH: Okay, I think you are right, that might explain a lot of what we are seeing tonight. Thank you so much, David. Appreciate it.

Joining us now is Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Thank you so much for coming on at this late hour. Let's talk about Miami-Dade. I want to talk about the results there. Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis won 55% of the vote in Miami-Dade County. Just six years ago, in 2016, Hillary Clinton won the county with 63%. How do you explain the dramatic republican gains in that area?

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA: Yeah, Dana, thank you. It's about a 40-point swing from the 2016 election where Hillary won by 30 points and the governor and U.S. Senator Rubio won by about 10 points. So, what I attributed to is the policies of Republicans in Miami.


In the case of the city of Miami, we kept taxes low, we reduced taxes to the lowest rate in our history, we kept people safe, we are on the precipice of having one of the lowest homicide rates per capita in our history, and we lean into innovation. We have 1.4% unemployment rate. We are number one in the nation in wage growth, number one in tech job growth, and number one in direct foreign investment.

So, we have had a robust economy and those policies have helped create prosperity in our community. I think that is what has gained the confidence of voters in the county.

BASH: The swing had a lot to do with how Hispanics voted. They went 58% for DeSantis in Florida. He only got 2020 -- excuse me, in 2020, he only got 44%. So, as a fellow Republican, what do you make of that and how do you explain that?

SUAREZ: I think the beauty of Hispanics in Florida is that they're incredibly diverse. There's an incredibly diverse set of Hispanic communities in the state of Florida. I think part of it is -- you know, Democrats tried to sort of brand them monolithically with Latinx. I'm not sure how that works in other parts of the country, but it doesn't seem to work in Florida.

Of course, you know, you have a situation where the first lady said that Hispanics in Texas were as unique as a San Antonio taco. That certainly doesn't resonate with Hispanics in South Florida.

I think the fact that you have candidates that are tailoring their messages to Hispanics who are pro-America, believe in the American dream, and who love this country tremendously, many of which are exiles from socialist and communist regimes, and feel that Republicans better understand the sort of trauma that they left their countries from. I think that has been a message that has resonated with South Florida Hispanics.

BASH: As you know, the Republican Party tried to expand its reach into the Hispanic community across the country. In fact, one Republican operative I was with in Nevada said to us that they want other states to be a lot more like Florida, meaning the Republican Party to become more diverse. It does not look at this early hour like they had a lot of success this year. Why not?

SUAREZ: I think, first, you have to understand that the fact that we have been talking about success among Hispanic Republicans is something that we have never talked about in the past, right? Hispanics were dominated by Democrats for a long time and have been dominated by Democrats for a while.

I think the fact that we are debating about how big of an impact Republicans have with Hispanics, I think, shows growth among Hispanics and Republicans. But I also do acknowledge that the gains among Hispanics were not the same across the country as they were in Florida and certainly in South Florida.

And I think what you will see is probably more surrogates coming from the South Florida area campaigning across the country because I think it's important to have people that connect with Hispanics and that understand the nuances of different Hispanic cultures to be able to communicate a message that resonates and that convinces them to support republican causes.

BASH: Mayor Suarez, President Trump may announce his third presidential run next week. Ron DeSantis is also talked about as a presidential contender in 2024. I know that you have not been that wild about either as a candidate, but would you support either of them as a nominee of the Republican Party?

SUAREZ: I think it is -- I understand it's logical to start talking about the next cycle already and the next election. I think we first have to figure out -- we are still counting votes tonight -- the ramifications of this cycle.

BASH: He wants to announce on Tuesday. Do you want him not to? President Trump is planning on announcing on Tuesday. Should he hold off?

SUAREZ: There is nothing that I can say that is going to motivate the former president to do one thing or another. I think we will see what he does on Tuesday. I think we will see what the governor does. I think we will see what they do with each other because, obviously, right now, it seems like the president is engaging heavily with the governor and we will see how the governor responds. We will see where the chips fall.

There's a variety of other candidates who have also expressed interest in running. I think we will know a lot by the first quarter of next year.

BASH: Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

SUAREZ: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: And coming up, President Biden just revealed some details about his phone call with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. This as we are learning more about McCarthy's backroom dealings as he is trying to become the next speaker of the House.




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The fight for control of Congress playing out in real time tonight as new numbers come in from critical battleground states. We are learning new information about Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's quest to become the next House speaker.

CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill. So, what are you picking up? Hey, Manu Raju, you are on the show. It's Anderson. Hi, Manu.



COOPER: We will try to check in with him. Poor guy has been running around all day. Scott, let's go to you. I don't know why Kevin McCarthy wants this job, but he really does. Is he going to get it?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: He wanted it for a long time. I think for most of this year, he thought it was going to be a dream come true.

But with this probable slim margin that he is going to have, it's going to be more like a nightmare on most days because there's going to be a faction of Republicans in the conference who, in order to get their votes on the floor -- in order to become speaker, it's not just a simple vote in your party. You have to go to the floor and get 218 votes.

There are people making noise about withholding their votes from him, Republicans on the floor, if McCarthy won't give them certain kinds of things. What those things look like in the end, we don't know. That's just to get the job. That doesn't even get into what it will take then to govern.

So, it is going to be -- I mean, look, in a complex crisis situation, this is a chance where you can look like a genius or look up on this time as the most miserable of your life. We will see which one happens with Kevin.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I was working in the House in 2015 for the Freedom Caucus when they first used the motion to vacate to basically threaten John Boehner speakership. It didn't ultimately work in that he didn't leave office then. He ended up resigning months later. It put pressure on him.

And then Paul Ryan, who was the dream for Republicans to be speaker, lived in constant fear of his right flank and ultimately resigned. I think Kevin will squeak through and get the speakership, but that's not even a foregone conclusion, but I predict it will be the shortest speakership in recent history because of the pressure from his right flank.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look at what he has done to get the speakership, the deal with the devil. He, you know, after January 6th, he goes on the floor, he criticizes Donald Trump, and then in short order he is at Mar-a-Lago doing the thumbs up picture with him because he wants to become speaker of the House and it was a way to protect himself from the right flank.

Meantime, the right flank now is saying, oh, we don't like you so much. The majority is as large -- if they get the majority, it will not be as large as he thought it would be. Maybe it will be a few seats, if that, and we will see. And he is going to be in constant turmoil if he gets the job. They are saying they don't want him to get the job. It's just going to be a mess.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Listen, I think it's going to be tough getting there. I think once he is there, the House members are so eager to conduct oversight. They have full plates of things to do. I think they will be able to manage through that. That will keep things going. You are going to have tough fights on the debt ceiling. Smart of things which, I think, will be very tricky for them to negotiate.

But I don't think -- let's assume they get the majority first. We are not there yet. We are still a way there. But I think it is going to go a lot more smoothly than people think.

COOPER: We have Manu Raju. Let's check in with Manu Raju. Manu, what are you hearing in Capitol Hill?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The hard-right faction of the House Republican Conference wants to extract some leverage. In fact, one member said tonight, Bob Good, he's a Virginia Republican, he indicated tonight that they want to put up a challenger to Kevin McCarthy because -- not necessarily because they think that that challenger will win, but they want to demonstrate that Kevin McCarthy does not have 218 votes in the full House.

And as a result, there will have to be some deals cut to get a whole wide range of concessions about, essentially, giving them more power over the speakership, assuming that McCarthy would have agreed to these changes. They essentially would be able to push him out of office if they did not like something that he has done.

Among the wide range of other measures, make themselves more powerful and weaken the power of the leadership, something that the leadership very likely will resist. McCarthy has rejected a number of those suggestions.

Now, McCarthy also has had conversation, we have learned, with President Biden himself. Just yesterday, they had a brief discussion, a short discussion. Joe Biden, earlier tonight, revealed some details about the short talk. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I congratulated him. I said, if you win the majority, congratulations. But congratulations so far if you have made some gain (ph).


RAJU: So, Biden there saying that he congratulated McCarthy if he were to have won the majority, not conceding yet that McCarthy, in fact, will be in the majority. Of course, we have not called that yet either.

But these two men, if indeed the Republicans are in the majority, will have to learn how to work together. They don't have much of a working relationship. In fact, they have very little interaction between the two of them over the last two years.

As we have seen, Republican new speaker facing a president from the opposite party, that can be a very adversarial relationship as we've have seen Pelosi versus Trump or Obama versus Boehner.


We'll see how that relationship works out as well.

COOPER: Manu Raju, thank you so much.

Scott, what is the process? I mean, if McCarthy won't agree to these demands, I mean, who is in charge? Who gets to decide that he is not going to be speaker?

JENNINGS: Well, I think what would happen -- I mean, Alyssa has been there and been through some of these wars, also David worked on Capitol Hill, too. I mean, they go to a conference meeting and the conference will decide who the leaders are. They will come out of that. But then you go to the House floor and there is a vote of the whole House of Representatives.

And so, if members of your own party -- if you have -- let's say 222, needs to 218, I'm not moderately good at math but it just takes a few of them to withhold their votes. And if you don't have the support, then you're not the speaker. And so, in theory, you have this worked out in advance, but with margins like this and unpredictable characters like this, it's a little bit of a chaotic moment.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: Here's the challenge. Alyssa said this might be the shortest speakership in time. This could be the shortest majority as well. If they are pushing to the right and pushing to the right in order to keep power, they're also going to make it more difficult for those swing district members to get reelected in two years.

COOPER: Coming up, Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker is getting some high-powered help to get through in Georgia from Governor Brian Kemp. That's next.




BASH: The Senate candidates in Georgia are gearing up for the December runoff, and Republican Herschel Walker is getting help from someone who knows the ropes there pretty well, Governor Brian Kemp.

Thank you so much for coming back to the table, David Chalian.


BASH: What do you think of that? It's so interesting about Kemp helping. I mean, it makes sense, I guess, if the balance of power potentially is at stake in Georgia, he is a movement Republican, a good Republican, but it's not like he was working so hard to help him leading up to the election.

CHALIAN: Listen, first of all, it's a dream come true for Herschel Walker just because this is the most experienced ground operation, political operation in the state that just had a very substantial victory. So, what politician would not want to inherit that entire infrastructure with this four-week extended race now? But the Herschel Walker campaign is not paying for this, right?

BASH: No, no, no, they're benefiting.

CHALIAN: This is all designed to benefit from it perhaps. This is all designed by Mitch McConnell and Steven Law at the Super PAC, the guy that runs McConnell's Super PAC, as a way to try and put their best foot forward. Now, listen, I think there are two runoffs. There is one where it does not matter for Senate control because Arizona and Nevada have already decided it, and then there's an entirely different race if indeed Senate control comes back.

PHILLIP: You know, what's also interesting also, what is going to happen in Georgia is that Republicans are not going to be able to internalize any lessons if any from what happened on Tuesday in the Georgia runoff because they are stuck with the Trump candidate. They cannot do anything about Herschel Walker who is Trump-endorsed, Trump liked in all kinds of ways when it comes to his personal life, when it comes to his politics. And they have to sell that.

And Brian Kemp, who basically ran against Trump, has to sell a Herschel Walker. And Mitch McConnell, who would love to get away from Donald Trump, now has to sell a Herschel Walker. That is -- if you are a Republican, it is like that's the deck you've been dealt and you just have to play with it, but it's really not the best-case scenario because they can't move away from something that caused a lot of winnable losses.

BASH: It comes down to that really being the difference between Republican control or not. They are going to be selling that, not (ph) Herschel Walker.

HUNT: Well, but I mean, I do think Trump -- and so I actually really want to dig into what David was saying in a second. First, they are going to be dealing with, if this is a runoff for Senate control, if Arizona and Nevada split and one goes to each party, then Donald Trump is going to be potentially announcing a presidential bid, right, as this runoff is unfolding. Now, it's a four-week time slot.

He is going to want to be involved, God forbid, Ron DeSantis goes to campaign for Herschel Walker. Is Trump going to just let him do that without showing up in Georgia himself? I mean, people in Georgia are going to be, no, stay away. But who can control Donald Trump? No one can control Donald Trump.

So, I mean, I just think those dynamics, it's totally different in the event that Senate control is not on the line. I think -- I was turning this over in my head. I don't think I have my head around whether it makes it more less likely that we have a senator Walker?

CHALIAN: I don't know -- go ahead. I don't know that --

PHILLIP: I don't know that we know who's going to win, but certainly, if this is a race that is about who controls the Senate, Republicans, the argument they have to make is that this seat is a check on Joe Biden and that is going to be really important for them to bring out their base.

What they have to do in Georgia basically is convince -- they either have to find a bunch of new voters or convince a lot of Republican- leaning voters who actively chose not to vote for Herschel Walker but did vote for Brian Kemp to come out again in another race and cast a ballot for Herschel Walker. That's really hard to do.

So, they can either do that or they need to find some brand-new voters to make up that difference.


But the only way to do it is to say -- I mean, the best way, I think, to do it is to say that this is a seat that is a check on Joe Biden.

HUNT: I think, yes, that's absolutely the argument they need to make. I mean, I think your point is absolutely the right one that they know that they have an uphill climb for all of the reasons that you just outlined. Figuring out how to motivate people -- I mean, honestly, Herschel Walker's best chance to be a senator was to have Brian Kemp pull him over the finish line on that first round.

URBAN: What we don't know, if it is not for Senate control, right, if this is not for Senate control, just what is that drop off going to be from what we saw, initial turnout on Tuesday? So significant. Does that go back to just the redder, purplish nature of the state?

PHILLIP: Remember, the drop off is the reason that they lost the seat two years ago in the first place. There was a drop off in the general auction to the runoff.

BASH: Even if that was for control. All right, thanks so much everybody. Thank you for watching. Our election coverage continues, next. Stay with CNN for all of the latest results.