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Now: New Results Out Of Arizona; Sources: McCarthy Faces Fight In Bide For Speaker; Biden Overseas For Important Summit After Dodging Red Wave; Dem Sisolak Concedes In NV Governor Race; Dems Expand Leads In Az; Tightrope Senate Race In NV. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 11, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Republicans have 211 seats. Republicans are only seven seats short of the 280 needed to win control of the House, but their hopes of winning a huge majority have slipped away.
Let's go over to John King right now. You're watching all of these information. We're getting more information specifically from Arizona right now.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So let's show you the statewide numbers in the Senate race and the Governor's race, and then I believe we can get some new numbers, but most of the outstanding votes are in Maricopa County. That's Phoenix and the suburbs around it and Pima County, Tucson, and they area around there.
There's a Senate race number right now. Senator Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent with a lead. He is at a comfortable lead. We'll leave that to you to decide at home, 109,311, fifty-two if you round up to 46. He has held that lead, steady lead now since yesterday, and in the small batches we've gotten so far, he has done just fine in terms of what is the percentage he needs to hold that lead versus what Blake Masters needs to catch up.
The Governor's race Wolf, very important Governor's race in a key battleground State is much closer, 20,453 vote lead for Katie Hobbs, 51 if you were to round that up to 50 percent for Kari Lake, the Republican there. It is an open seat here because the Republican Governor, the current Republican Governor can't run for reelection.
So, the Democrat leading, but much more narrowly than the Senate candidate.
BLITZER: Very interesting. I want to go to Pima County, Arizona right now. Constance Hargrove is joining us right now. She is the elections director for Pima County. This is critical right now.
I understand, Constance, that you're getting new results that can give us a sense of what is going on in the Arizona Senate and Governor's races. Let's start with the Senate race. What can you share?
CONSTANCE HARGROVE, ELECTIONS DIRECTOR, PIMA COUNTY: Yes, that's correct. So we've processed another 15,000 ballots. Mark Kelly has gained 10,013 votes and Blake Masters has gained 4,593 votes from that 15,000 that we scanned.
If we go to the Governor's race, Katie Hobbs has gained another 9,795 votes and Kari Lake another 5,040 votes.
BLITZER: How many votes actually ballots are still left in Pima County?
HARGROVE: So once we get finished tonight, because we are still processing ballots, we're hoping to process another maybe 9,000 tonight, we should have 89,000 left to count after tonight.
BLITZER: That's a lot of votes still, 89,000.
John, you have a question.
KING: Eighty-nine thousand votes after tonight. Obviously, we're waiting to get more votes in Maricopa County. Do you have a time of day circled on the calendar to finish, complete?
HARGROVE: Not at the moment. We're hoping by Monday, we will have the majority of these votes counted.
BLITZER: You told us last night, Constance, that you thought all of the votes will be counted by Monday morning. Is that still true?
HARGROVE: I did. That is not true. We just got a large batch about 80,000 from the Recorders Office today that we still have the process, open and get over to be counted. So Monday morning, no, unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Hopefully, you know, Tuesday, if everything goes well, Tuesday, we should get through all of them.
However, there are still ballots that need to be cured and provisional ballots that we need to get from the Recorders Office and they have until five o'clock on Tuesday to get those ballots cured. So, the final batch of ballots will not be processed probably until the 17th.
KING: Let me jump in, you say you've got 80,000 votes today from the Recorders Office, therefore, you have to push that your deadline to finish back. That seems like it was a bit of a surprise to you, maybe at least the size of the number. Is that, I understand provisional ballots, and you might get some late in military ballots. Those tend to be a very small number.
In terms of a large number, are you done? Or could the Recorders Office call tomorrow and say we've got another 20,000 or 40,000? Or do you think you're done now?
HARGROVE: No, they still have a small amount to give us, but I think we have the bulk of the ballots in our possession now.
BLITZER: So are our folks working around the clock? How are they doing? HARGROVE: They're doing well. They're pushing through and they're doing really well. I'm working really hard to get everything done, which is why we haven't posted numbers tonight. We wanted to push and get as many processed as we could before we went home on tonight. So, that's why those numbers are not there yet.
BLITZER: We love talking to you, Constance. Will there be another update later tonight?
HARGROVE: Yes, there will. We will post numbers more than likely within the hour, an hour and a half from now.
BLITZER: How many additional vote counts will you be able to post?
HARGROVE: That should be about 9,800 ballots that we're counting.
BLITZER: And you think we'll get that 9,800 within an hour or so?
HARGROVE: Within an hour or so. Yes.
BLITZER: All right, John, go ahead.
KING: I just want to -- just one more time, I know I asked this question, but I'm going to be a broken record on this subject because of the people out there including the former President of the United States saying that people are finding votes or Democrats are finding votes in Nevada and Arizona.
Number one, you're not finding votes, you're counting votes, correct? And I just want to reinforce this point for people out there who because they've been told this by people, they believe it and follow that there is hanky-panky happening.
There are Democrats and Republicans, people from both campaigns with eyes on everything you do, correct?
HARGROVE: That is correct. We are not finding votes, we are actually counting votes. And actually, the Secretary of State's website has an approximation of how many ballots we actually have left in both offices. So, we transfer these ballots between the two offices.
And yes, party representatives are here. We've had congressional representatives here, monitoring the process. So no, we're not finding any votes, we are just actually processing the ballots and counting those votes.
BLITZER: And so far, Constance, I take it everything has gone smoothly. Is that correct?
HARGROVE: Yes, everything has gone very well. Yes.
BLITZER: All right. That's encouraging to hear, Constance Hargrove, the Elections Director of Pima County, Arizona. We will stay in touch with you. Thank you very, very much. All right, John. Let's take a look at these new numbers and what do they suggest to you?
KING: Let me slide this down a little bit. I won't lose it, but let me just put it down a little bit since we have the Governor's race up. Let me bring this down.
This is just Pima County. Okay, this is just Pima County. I'll go to statewide in a minute.
But this is a Democratic county. It is second largest county in the State that is South of Maricopa County. So this is Tucson and the suburbs around it, then some rural areas and cities. So these numbers, these new numbers, you see them right here 6,644. They're not included in this math right here.
So the raw numbers are obviously significant. That's how you get who has the most votes at the end, but this percentage is very significant in the sense that if you are the trailing candidate, you need to make up ground and the way to make up ground is to get a higher percentage every time votes come in than the last votes come in.
So Katie Hobbs was getting 60 percent of the vote in Pima County, well, she's getting more than 60 percent of the vote now, because she just got 67 percent in this fact. So when these numbers are factored into those numbers, her percentage in the county is going to go up.
If you're the candidate in the lead, that's gold. But if your Kari Lake in this Democratic county, you're at 40 percent, let's round that up. You've got 44 percent here. So your percentage might go up a bit in the county, but she's going to keep going up, right.
In raw numbers and the percentage, she needs -- so think of it this way, Katie Hobbs is in the lead in this county. She is getting a higher percentage here. So, the building block, county by county 15 of them in Arizona, she is doing well.
Let's switch over to the Senate race here. Let me move this up to the top and move it, try to keep it from disappearing in case I need it again. Here we go right here.
So Mark Kelly, was getting 62 percent in Pima County. In this new batch, 15,000 votes, a little shy of that, 69 percent. So he is not only doing what he needs to do to keep his lead, he is doing better than what he needs to do to keep his lead. Blake Masters 4,593, thirty-one percent, that's less than he had, that's a smaller percentage.
So this particular batch, it doesn't guarantee that it continues, it doesn't mean in the next one, he won't do very well. But as you go through these outstanding votes, still a lot of votes to count, she just told us. But every batch that comes in means the universe of possibilities shrinks, and this is not enough for Blake Masters. It's just simply not enough. It's actually you know, he is going in the wrong direction in that particular batch.
BLITZER: And I just want to be clear, these new numbers that we just got are not necessarily part of the total statewide numbers.
KING: They are not yet because she was giving to them to us live first, and they get reported to the State and then the State calculation goes through and then our data people double check and triple check before it pops up. They may change as it happens.
BLITZER: So, this lead, Kelly, the incumbent Democratic senator, his lead has now gone up, it's more than 109,000.
KING: Right. It'll go up by the math right there. If you do it, it'll go up by the margin here. And again, if you're at 52, you round that up, versus 46, you just need to stay up -- if Mark Kelly stays above 50 percent in the rest of the votes that come in, he wins, right? He wins.
And so, this is again, the biggest bunch is still in Maricopa County, but the second largest batch is where we were just talking to Constance in Pima County. And so, where the most votes are outstanding and being counted, Mark Kelly just again, not only met his bar, but dramatically significantly exceeded his bar.
So now let's look at the Governor's race from a statewide perspective. And again, this one is much closer. This one is much closer. So two things about that. Number one, Katie Hobbs more than met the bar she needed at the moment. Number two, that's good. But this one is so close that one vote batch don't -- in a vote batch like this, we have more ways to go. This one is closer.
So this is more significant in the sense that Katie has such a big lead. I'm not saying you know if you're Katie Hobbs, you want to win every different report. Every time votes are reported, you want to come out on top or if you're in a red county, you want to be as close as possible. But this one is still closer.
So we need more votes. We need more to get to the finish line here because she has a smaller lead. But again --
BLITZER: We're just told that Kari Lake has 34 percent of that vote, 34, not 44.
KING: Oh, right, that's yes. Yes, that's right. That's 30 -- well, I blanked them all out, but that's 34 percent. Thank you. Because you want to get the percentages right so people at home, 110 percent, that's the new math, right? That's my fault. That is my fault and I appreciate that.
So we bring these down now just to make the point though, again, Kari Lake did not -- there they go. The votes just changed right there. We just got it. The numbers just changed as we said here. That's Coconino County, I'm told.
Coconino County, those votes just came in there. That changed the vote table there. So it is a 21,978-vote lead. I believe the Pima votes still need to be factored in. That's called, you know, getting numbers on live television, Wolf, but she is ahead and she is getting, so far more votes to come. What matters most is the Maricopa County numbers because they're larger. It's also where Kari Lake is from. She was a familiar TV anchor for a long time.
But at the moment, the Democrats are doing what they need to do with these new batches, actually exceeding the goal that they need. The question is can they continue that momentum as more come in?
BLITZER: David Chalian is taking a very close look at these new numbers that have just come in that we reported first right here on CNN. What do you see, David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, as soon as we do these calculations, we get more votes. And so John just told you, Coconino County votes came in about thirty-eight hundred, thirty-nine hundred votes, that's not part of this calculation.
So now we're roughly around 500,000 votes outstanding. This says 505,000. But we just got nearly 4,000. We're roughly around 501,000 now outstanding votes in Arizona and what we've done after we did that interview that you guys just did on the air with the Tucson -- with the Pima County elections official, we recalculated the numbers based on what she was telling us will be uploaded to the system.
And look here now. Blake Masters, I mean, this number just keeps climbing for the Republican Senate candidate. He now needs 59 to 61 percent of the outstanding vote, the 505,000 that is still outstanding. Mark Kelly needs 37 to 39 percent of the vote that is outstanding.
So you just -- when you look at the vote totals come in, you can see and by the way, the last votes that they just told you about in Coconino County, 70 percent went to Mark Kelly, so that is not going to help Masters. His numbers need to go up, so you see the dramatic uphill climb Masters has to overtake Kelly, but as John said, the biggest bucket is Maricopa, that's what we have to wait to see -- Wolf.
BLITZER: That's the biggest county over there. All right, guys, stand by.
Coming up, we will have much more on these new vote totals that are coming in right now from Arizona with control of both the House and the Senate still hanging in the balance.
Plus, we're digging into the now neck and neck Senate race in Nevada as well. We're expecting new numbers there soon. Stay with us.
Our election coverage continues right after a quick break.
BLITZER: We're following some very, very dramatic new developments in the fight for control of the US Senate, including in Nevada, of course, where the Democratic incumbent is now neck and neck with her Republican opponent.
Let's go to Nevada. CNN's Gary Tuchman is on the scene for us. So Gary, tell us about these new votes that we anticipate are about to drop in Douglas County.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, let's start with Douglas County, Wolf. Douglas County is a county in the Western part of Nevada, population about 50,000, hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since before World War Two. It's a very Republican county and it should be helpful with the mail-in votes for the Republicans. We are expecting it any time now for about 4000 votes to be released, tabulated and then there is an additional 3,000 votes still to come.
Meanwhile, we are now in one of the biggest counties, the biggest county in the State of Nevada, this is Clark County and the mail-in voting here is been very generous to the Democrats. And what I want to tell you is there are still lots of votes inside this building.
There are 23,000 more votes, they are expected to be tabulated tomorrow. In addition to that, there is another 15,000 votes that are provisional ballots that have to be cured that have to be tabulated by next week. That's the deadline. So there's the potential for more than 38,000 votes to still come out of this building.
In addition to that, under Nevada law, votes can come in until Saturday. So mail-in votes came today, more mail-in votes come also tomorrow. So there's a lot of votes still here in Clark County.
BLITZER: Dramatic developments, indeed. Gary Tuchman, we'll get back to you. Thank you very much. I'm back with John King here at the Magic Wall.
Adam Laxalt, the challenger to the incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, he is ahead now by only 798 votes. Few hours ago, he was ahead by some 9,000 votes.
KING: So, every vote always counts. Every vote always counts. Even in a blowout, your vote counts. However, every vote counts extra now, 798-vote lead, if you're Adam Laxalt or the incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. So what did Gary just say?
Number one, the bulk of the votes are down here in Clark County, Las Vegas area, the suburbs around it. That's where the bulk of them are. Number two, we expect any minute to get some votes from here in Douglas County. These votes the next installment we get absolutely critical to Adam Laxalt in the sense that he has such a tiny lead right now, just inside 800 votes. He's been getting 66 percent in this Republican county, Donald Trump carried this county by 30 points, by 30 points. And so there he's up by a little over 30 points.
And so the question is, can you keep that performance, right? And he needs it now. He would like to be higher -- he would like to be higher than 66 percent, but it is imperative for him in areas that are red on the map, areas that are known as Republican areas. Absolutely critical now for Adam Laxalt to get high percentages in those areas, because Catherine Cortez Masto is sneaking up at him.
So we're waiting for the votes we get here. Sixth largest of 17 counties in the States, about two percent, a little less than that of the State population, but every vote counts now when you have just shy of 800-vote lead, you want it.
And then next we'll come votes from Washoe County. Washoe County up here in the Northwest corner of the State. If you've been there, maybe it was in Reno, maybe up here in the more rural areas. This is a swing county. This is the historical swing county inside Nevada. Often, even though most of the votes are in Clark County, a lot of people will say you know the color of Washoe County at the end of the count will tell you who won the State. That's not always true, but it's a good place to watch as a swing county here and you can see why.
You see why right here. The incumbent Senator Cortez Masto, 50 percent to 47 percent, and the first two days of the count, Adam Laxalt was ahead. I might be a little off on that, but he was ahead early on in the count, and then she passed him.
So when you get more votes from this swing county, does she stretch the lead in the county and maybe catch up statewide? Or does he come back and counter himself and maybe build his lead a little bit? It's incredible. Every vote matters.
And so now we're looking at the Western part of the State here, right? This is more Republican, this is more swing, the bulk of the votes are down here. Most of the votes in the central counties, the Republican areas are in. I'm just going to tap just to take a peek here just to see where we are in percentages.
Elko County, top Northwest corner of the State, we have it at 90 percent of the estimate. So that means you could get a couple hundred more votes in there, maybe a little more than that. We'll get through it.
But as Gary was just smartly noting, the bulk is down here. We'll get those -- maybe we'll get some tonight. I think more likely we get tomorrow and throughout the weekend.
So if you're Adam Laxalt and you're waiting here. And you know, one, two counties are about to report votes, or if you're Cortez Masto, your 798 votes again, ahead, you're waiting on Douglas County, hoping it stretches. If it doesn't, that is a sign of trouble.
BLITZER: Because the bulk of the population is down and near Las Vegas.
KING: Right. The bulk of it is right here. It's seventy three, seventy-four percent of the population. It doesn't mean that will be the percentage of the vote count when we're done, but it would be somewhere around there, more than seven of 10 votes cast in this election are likely to be right there in Democratic Clark County. But you know, 52 again, Joe Biden won by nine points. That's seven. Right? That seven points, so at the moment, Cortez Masto, at the moment, we're not done with the final vote count yet. At the moment, she is underperforming President Biden a little bit in Clark County. That could be significant if it ends up that way, but we're not there yet.
BLITZER: Ninety-five percent of the votes there in Clark County reporting so far.
KING: Ninety-five percent. Gary just laid out the rest to come. It matters.
BLITZER: Very close.
KING: Every vote report matters when your lead is 798 votes.
BLITZER: It certainly does.
We're awaiting new numbers from both Arizona and Nevada right now. That could give us a clearer idea about the battle for control of Congress. Plus, the mounting pressure right now on Kevin McCarthy from his right flank to make concessions in his bid for the Speaker's gavel. Should is key. Should Republicans win the House.
Our election coverage continues right after a quick break.
BLITZER: As we wait for new votes in Nevada and Arizona that could -- that could change the balance of power in the Senate, we are also following the ever changing balance of power in the House of Representatives.
Democrats now up to 200 seats, Republicans have won 211 seats so far, Republicans are only seven seats short of the 218 needed to win control of the House.
Let's take a closer look right now at some of the tightest House races that are still playing out across the country that potentially could tip the scales.
In Colorado first, controversial Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert is holding on to a narrow lead over Democrat, Adam Frisch. Let's take a look at the numbers in Colorado right now. Her lead is only 1,122 over Adam Frisch right now, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. That's with the 99 percent of the estimated vote now in. Very, very close over there.
In California's newly redrawn 13th District, look at this, the Republican John Duarte has a very slim advantage over Democrat, Adam Gray. Let's take a look closer at the numbers. You can see with 44 percent of the estimated vote now in, Duarte has 50.2 percent to Adam Gray's 49.8 percent. He is ahead by only 267 votes. Also in California right now. Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter is in a real squeaker with Republican Scott Bob. Look at this Porter, 50.8 percent to Scott Baugh's 49.2 percent. She has a lead right now of 2,970 votes, it's still close, 63 percent of the vote is their estimated is now in.
In Arizona take a look at the race between Democrat Jevin Hodge and Republican incumbent David Schweikert. Let's take a look at those numbers. Hodge has 50.8 percent. He's the Democrat. Schweikert as 49.2 percent, Hodge's lead is 4,577. So, right now, he is slightly ahead in that critically important contest as well.
So we're watching the battle for the House of Representatives unfold. Dana, you've covered Congress for a long time. Whoever wins the majority in the House will have an enormous impact over the next two years of the Biden administration.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR AND POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Wolf and it is still -- we still don't see the final numbers. It might take a few days, but does it matter to Kevin McCarthy? Because he is working the phones, has been since Tuesday to try to get the 218 needed in order to become Speaker of the House, assuming that Republicans actually do take control. You have some new reporting on his effort.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. that's right. He has been behind closed doors since, really, since after Tuesday, calling member by member, going down the line securing commitment. That's what I am told from people that are close to the Republican leader that they are actually feeling pretty good that they are marching towards the 218 votes that they need to secure the Speakership.
Now, they recognize full well that there are challenges, that there is the House Freedom Caucus, the far-right faction of the conference that wants him to make some concessions, namely to give themselves more power over the speakership, something that McCarthy himself has resisted.
They know that negotiations have to happen. McCarthy met with the leader of that Freedom Caucus, Scott Perry today. They felt positive, McCarthy allies did, about that meeting, they believe they can ultimately go somewhere but, the first test, Dana, will be next week when the Republicans meet behind closed doors. There is an leadership election there. McCarthy needs to get a majority of Republicans to be nominated for Speaker.
At that meeting McCarthy allies and conservatives, they're talking about the Conservatives, talking about putting up a challenger against a nominal challenger against him to show that he does not yet have the 280 votes, and that they believe a force McCarthy to the bargaining.
BASH: And that's really the key thing to remember here, which is that the role that he's going for isn't just leader of Republicans, it's Leader of the House. The first challenge is to get the majority of Republicans, but he's going to have to get 218 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives to get approved for this constitutional position.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right. I mean, nobody has any question that he has supportive half the conference, right? But 218 votes is going to be the first test for him, because it really goes beyond just whether or not he can become speaker. There's going to be so many twists and turns as we head toward that. I mean, there are a lot of questions about Elise Stefanik, for example, who put out this statement, saying that she's already endorsing Trump for 2024.
BASH: Let's actually, look at that. I'm glad you brought that up.
BASH: I think we have to show. Elise Stefanik who is the number three Republican in the House, she's the one who pushed Liz Cheney out.
HUNT: The Conference Chair.
BASH: She's the Conference Chair. She said the following, "What the media fails to report is that we just won the midterms and flip the House. I'm proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president in 2024. I fully support him running again. That is her saying she supports him. But I also read that and it's not me, just me a lot of people read that as oh, I might be thinking about, potentially, if Kevin McCarthy is weak.
HUNT: Certainly, she's thinking about the future. Let me just finish this one thought because it's -- I mean, some people who cover Trump are looking at this as she wants to be his vice-presidential running mate if he runs for president in 2024. But I think for those of us on the Hill, or who have been on the Hill for a long time, if Donald Trump is going to come out and trash, Kevin McCarthy, he is going to need an alternative. And she's essentially saying, look, I will be that alternative. And I think I don't want to get ahead of you. But we have this quote from Jason Miller, too, that we --
BASH: Yeah, let's weigh that. And then I want to bring you in, Abby. This is Jason Miller, giving a little bit of advice to Kevin McCarthy as it relates to being speaker and Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MILLER, TRUMP ADVISER: I do think that Kevin McCarthy needs to -- if he wants to have a chance of being Speaker, he's been much more declarative that he is supporting President Trump. I thought that would Elise Stefanik did yesterday was very smart. And the fact of the matter is, it's going to be a MAGA centric caucus for the Republicans in the House and even for the Senate. We need leadership to match.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, I have a bit of a different read on the Stefanik situation. I mean, part of it is that she is trying to put pressure on McCarthy, but really in the eyes of Trump to basically say, I am more loyal to Trump and you ought to be too. Because what Stephen (ph) Miller is trying to say is that they don't see McCarthy as being sufficiently loyal. Someone, you know, reached out to me yesterday, to basically say, she's not going after the speakership. She announced that she is supporting McCarthy and his speakership claim. She said that she is happy to be Conference Chair. But what she has been doing to position herself vis-a-vis Trump is very clear, and it's not going unnoticed. I mean, this has been ongoing for her for at least the last one.
PHILLIP: -- which is a three to four year.
BASH: No question.
PHILLIP: And he --
BASH: She used to be a moderate.
PHILLIP: Not only did she used to be a moderate, but she made a name for herself as one of Trumps biggest defenders, and she is not backing down on that, even if it means to put some more pressure on, in a very tenuous moment.
BASH: Yeah. What Jason Miller said, though, speaks to a larger question is whether or not Donald Trump still does have the juice given what we saw on Election Day.
RAJU: And I actually disagree with him saying there's a MAGA centric.
BASH: Yes, that's what I mean.
RAJU: Because there are actually a number of Republicans from Blue districts, moderate Republicans who won Biden district swing districts, and that's what Kevin McCarthy is going to have to be mindful of as he tries to protect if he gets a majority, a narrow majority.
BASH: OK. Well, we're going to have a lot more to talk about.
HUNT: It is bottom line.
BASH: Yeah, it is.
BASH: When he turns out winning isn't that easy.
BASH: Ahead, new vote counts from Nevada and Arizona, including the two key races in both states, which could determine the balance of power in the Senate.
Plus, should Republicans take control of Congress, which we do not know yet in the House. We'll look at how that might affect the Biden agenda as the President touches down in Cambodia for his first foreign trip since the midterms. Stay with us.
COOPER: And welcome back. We are standing by for new numbers and following the fast-changing developments and key races in Nevada and Arizona. Welcome to those contests, could determine the course of President Biden's remaining agenda as well as his legacy.
Welcome back to our continuing coverage. President Biden has just arrived in the Cambodian Capital Phnom Penh. CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly is there live for us. Phil, what's on the agenda?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, obviously, there are very high stakes meetings that are scheduled in the days ahead. The trilateral with the leaders of South Korea and Japan. And, of course, that long awaited face-to-face bilateral sit down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But what's remarkable about this moment is just how intertwined what we're seeing back home where the President left kind of bolstered by results that far exceeded anybody's expectations, even some of those in the White House. And what that means on the international stage as well. It's something that really kind of lays out the stage for the next two years of his time in office. Because to some degree, Anderson, the President has viewed both the International and the domestic as so acutely knitted together in his philosophy of things. And that means he's entering these critical meetings here in Cambodia for the ASEAN Summit for a really high stakes G20 Summit in Bali in a couple of days, with the win at his back. And I think there's no question about that. When you talk to officials, they consistently focus on the results of these midterm elections results. I would note that as they continue to roll in on the vote totals, White House advisors are keeping a very close eye on and keeping the Precedent informed of and how it serves to bolster the case the President has tried to make two world leaders in his first two years in office saying they are clear evidence that the theory of the case, the President has long tried to convince foreign leaders is reality is in fact becoming the practical reality of the case here.
So how the President views these next two years from an international context? I think there's no question that meeting with President Xi Jinping is critically important. Obviously, it has been the animating feature of the President and his administration, how the U.S. competes with China. But particularly how it works on the home front as well.
The President and his team have been mapping out what the next steps look like, for their domestic agenda. There's going to be some serious discussions and serious action that has to be taken before the new Congress even sets into place. One thing they know for sure, the makeup of that new Congress, when it comes into place in January. It's going to be far different than most people expected. And one that one advisor told me earlier today, day by day is only seeming to be more or better for the Biden administration. Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah, Phil, I appreciate it. Thank you.
I want to get more of the impact of this election of the President's agenda and its potential legacy from our panel here. Ashley, before the results started to come in, there was a lot of democratic hand wringing a lot of Democrats on television saying and before the election, well, look, there's going to be a lot of soul searching the Democratic Party after the big red, you know, tidal wave comes. Vin was on the program just yesterday saying that may not happen now. There may not be some soul searching that might need to take place in the Democratic party. Do you think there needs to be and how does that impact Biden's agenda?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Democrats will take a step back and say what do we do for 2024 in terms of who's at the top of the ticket, and there will be contested Senate races as well. And we want to hold on to the Senate. One thing that I think Democrats did, right, that I don't think we need to reevaluate is that maybe for the first time, we didn't allow one issue to lead the way. We saw that there were so many issues. You know, a lot of people said that this election changed after Dobbs. I actually think this election change on May 14, when people were murdered in a Kroger in Buffalo. And then kids were murdered in schools in Texas, and then the country was mourning, and then a constitutional right was taken away.
And rather than taking the bait of saying, voters were only going to think about one issue, which was the economy, Dem said, people can think about multiple things. And they campaigned on multiple things. And if Dems do some soul searching, it's to say do more in the next two years and continue to deliver for voters, don't run to timid.
ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: What I think will be interesting to watch in terms of Biden's issues moving forward and how he leads this country is not so much the policies that he puts at the top of his agenda, but how he practices that.
And we heard in his speech the other day talking about how he felt as though this election showed that the democracy is in good shape, and we had record turnout. But he also said, now's the time, if Republicans take over the House and potentially the Senate, now's the time to work across the aisle. And he vowed when he comes back from this foreign trip, to bring leaders from both sides of the aisle to the White House and have talks about how they can work together. That's going to be the goal. He can talk about bipartisanship until the cows come home. But until we actually see it, we're not going to see any change. And he and he vowed to bring this country together. He vowed to lower the temperature and he vowed to work across the aisle. We just haven't seen that yet.
COOPER: Let's play something that he said, I think was on Thursday about bipartisanship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm prepared to work with Republicans, but the American people made it clear, they expect Republicans to work with me as well. And folks, I always go for any good ideas, whether it's Democrat or Republican and move the country forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, he's likely to get more of a hand from Republicans in the Senate than he is in the House. I mean, just as a functional matter, the many of the wins he had in the first two years were bipartisan wins that were born out of across the odd relationships coming out of the U.S. Senate.
Now, some of those people are retiring. You know, Rob Portman was in the middle of that stuff, along with others. In the House, the attitude to work with Biden, I just don't think he's going to be as strong as you will have, among some of these Senate Republicans. What he's going to get out of the House is investigations of Hunter Biden, which they now consider to be an investigation of Joe Biden, other things.
But in the Senate, you know, a lot of Republicans over there have interpreted these close elections in the last few cycles as the American people saying, we want you guys to work within the 40-yard lines, to find ways, you know, throw out the extremes pick stuff between the 40-yard lines, and he may find a few senators who want to.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: Well, the House the House situation is completely antithetical to the idea of compromise because the people who -- the tail is wagging the dog over there now, if the Republicans are in control. And the last -- the last word that comes out of the mouths of Marjorie Taylor Greene and that crowd is compromised which they consider a tantamount to treason they're going to want to talk about impeachment investigations and how can we destroy the Biden administration?
So, you know, Phil said it's getting better all the time for Democrats, and certainly, in control if they hold on to control as senators now seems more likely, that is true, but the House picture is going to make the next two years a lot more difficult.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And, you know, never underestimate the ability to overreach. And I remember Newt Gingrich in the 90s, the -- you know, you take you take charge, and then you overreach and you turn the public off. And that can be an issue with its investigation after investigation after investigation. And then, so I think Republicans in the House in particular have to be really careful about that. I don't think the Senate would behave that way.
But the other thing I think Democrats have to think about is Donald Trump. He was he was their best weapon in this election. And so, what do they do? Otherwise, you know, without him.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: I'm not as bullish as Scott that the Senate is actually going to work with Biden just because it's a presidential election year going into 2024. They're going to want to clock wins against him and weaken him.
COOPER: We're standing by for the release of new batch of vote counts from Nevada and Arizona, crunching all the numbers and they come in the fight for control of Congress. Plus, we have another key projection in the works back right after this.
BLITZER: We have a major projection to make right now. CNN can project that Republican Joe Lombardo will be the next Governor of Nevada. Lombardo defeats Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak. Sisolak served a one term. Joe Lombardo is the current Clark County Sheriff. But now he will become the next Governor of Nevada. Dana, back to you.
BASH: Thanks, Wolf. And this is a sort of bucked the trend of what we have seen in the governor's races since Election Day, which is Democrats have done well, this is not one. This is an incumbent Democrat, who has actually been defeated in a state that was hit incredibly hard by COVID. Because of course, Las Vegas in particular is so tourist and tourism focused.
PHILLIP: Right. And one of the challenges going into this, as we've been discussing, when it comes to the Senate race, is that the unions, which are a huge part of how Democrats get out the vote, it's a huge part of their constituency. A lot of those workers were hit hard in ways that are hard to define with the numbers. The Jobs came back, but not the ones that they had before. And so, there was a lot of unsatisfaction with how that went in Nevada. But I think people are probably wondering, why would the incumbent Governor Sisolak concede right now when we are still counting votes? And we're saying actively that it's possible that the Senate race is winnable for Democrats? And it's partly because he is running at the moment about 14,000 votes behind, Catherine Cortez Masto. So, it's just a tougher Hill for him to climb. And he put out a statement conceding really, I think, you know, he probably didn't have to, but he did. I think seeing the writing on the wall.
BASH: Yeah. And he said, just mentioning, Senator Cortez Masto, who is still locked in this very, very close race. Over the remainder of my term, excuse me, she said, while it seems I will come up short in the polls, I'm excited that Senator Cortes Masto is on a path to win. So that's what he, he claims. But as we talk about that, I also want to talk about the governor's position as it relates to the next election, which is a presidential year and Nevada is a very important state. Now, you have a Republican.
HUNT: Right. You do. And it turns out, I mean, this could be one of the few examples where we have a swing against, Georgia also has a Republican governor, although we saw how Brian Kemp conducted himself back in 2020. So, we know a little bit of information about how that might play out. I mean, in this case, Governor-elect it sounds like Lombardo has said it's possible that there's election fraud, but he has not indulged in the kind of election denialism that we have seen from people like Kari Lake, like Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania. So that, you know, perhaps bodes well.
HUNT: It's distinctly different from where things are. It's actually pretty interesting to me that he is running behind Cortez Masto. And I also think that this statement that he put out, the number now we're talking about, excuse me about the current Governor Sisolak, who is conceding, in many ways it reads to me like he's trying to set an example. Yeah, and say, OK, not all the votes are counted. But I see where this is going. I trust what's going on. You should trust what's going on in the Senate race, because we may get people about to question that.
HUNT: Here's where we are.
RAJU: Yeah, I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the economy was such a huge issue now to everywhere, of course, but in Nevada, in particular, gas prices are very high in the state. Inflation was such a central issue, and that hurt him as well. And he defends a lot of the decisions he made during the pandemic and some of the shutdown decisions in his concession statement.
Cortez Masto's race is tied so much more to the national, has so much more national implications, which could explain presumably why she is running a bit ahead of Sisolak here. And maybe also could explain why some other Democratic Senate candidates are running ahead of the gubernatorial candidates like in Arizona, for instance where Mark Kelly is running ahead of the gubernatorial candidate there. And that could explain why. This is not national race. This is more local.
BASH: Yeah, you're right. I just want to underscore something Kasie just said about the fact that he seems to be trying to set an example and set the table in Nevada as one that is very clean when it comes to election results.
He said, when -- in the first paragraph of his statement, "Obviously it's not the outcome I want but I believe in our election system in democracy and honoring the will of the voters."
HUNT: So, important.
PHILLIP: I think it goes a long way. I mean look there are still a lot of votes left to count but when you know you're going to lose, the right thing to do is to concede gracefully. Luckily, a lot of candidates I think so far in the midterms have done that. It's important for him to do that now because we're not really sure what's going to happen down the ballot if the Senate race turns out to be extremely close. And if the Democrat appears to be in the lead in the coming days.
BASH: OK. Well, coming up election officials in Arizona are set to release new vote count numbers just minutes from now as control of the House, and the Senate still hangs in the balance. Stay right there. This is Election Night in America Continued.
BLITZER: Very high drama out west tonight as new votes have been dropping in both Arizona and Nevada. The Senate races in those two states looking more promising right now for Democrats as additional results are coming in. We're standing by for new numbers from Arizona. We should get those very soon.
Control of the United States Senate and House of Representatives still being decided as Election Night in America continues.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center. We're keeping up very close watch on the votes in those critical U.S. Senate races in Nevada and Arizona.