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CNN Projection: Republican Congresswoman Young Kim Wins California's 40th District; Dem Sen. Cortez Masto Narrows Gap In Nevada Senate Race; Trump Unleashes Social Media Tirade Targeting DeSantis. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 11, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're following all the undecided races, and the stakes for both parties, as ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA continues.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, back in the CNN Election Center.
We're standing by, to see if there are any new shifts, in those key races. As more votes come in, from the pivotal battlegrounds, of Arizona and Nevada, those States, home to two undecided Senate races that are crucial to determining the final balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
Right now, Democrats hold 40 - 48 seats in the U.S. Senate. Republicans have 49. That's a two - that's two seats short of the 51, they need, to win majority control of the Senate.
The fight for control of the House of Representatives also remains undecided. Right now, remember, 218 seats are needed to win the majority in the House. Democrats just won some more of seats. They now have 195. Republicans are holding 209. 31 - 31 House seats remain undecided. They're still in play, right now.
To win House control, Republicans must win seven seats, in those competitive contests that are still playing out, right now. Republicans, very optimistic, about their prospects, since they, are currently leading in 11 races.
Democrats have more of an uphill fight. They must win, right now, they must win 21 competitive seats to hold on to the House. They are currently leading in 16 races.
Right now, our correspondents are standing by in Arizona and Nevada.
First, let's go to Kyung Lah, in Arizona, first.
Kyung, we're closing in, on getting some new results, from Arizona, right now. I know they're working on it, right behind you. What's the latest?
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they've been working 14- hour, 18-hour shifts, a day, to try to get through what the Board of Supervisors is calling just a historic number of early ballots that were returned, on Election Day, so, and these early ballots also received just before Election Day. So, it's a tremendous amount. And they're working through them as quickly but as accurately as possible.
What we are waiting for, in just one hour, we are going to get another picture, into how this race stands, the U.S. Senate race, as well as a critical Governor race, here in Arizona. Approximately 60 to - 60,000 - 60,000-plus votes will be released. These are votes from Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday. We should get a bit more of a picture, of how those early ballots, before Election Day, are going to fall.
But Wolf, it is very important to note that these are not the same day Election Day votes. That is also going to give us a different picture. But what we are looking for, in the next hour or so is to get a better idea of where these races stand.
BLITZER: Huge number expected very, very soon.
Kyung Lah, in Phoenix, Arizona for us. Thank you very much. We'll get back to you quickly.
Gary Tuchman is in North Las Vegas, Nevada, for us, right now. We expect some new numbers, to come in, from Nevada as well, right?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We're over one state north of Arizona, and we're expecting a similar thing to happen here, updated results at any time. We've been promised once, at night, there will be updated results. We haven't been told exactly what time. But we anticipate it will be soon, because it was exactly this time last night that we got the results.
There are still tens of thousands of votes to be counted in Nevada, 17 counties, including this one, Clark County, the most populous county in the state, about three quarters of Nevadans live here.
This building behind me is where we were just inside a short time ago. The tabulating is still going on. We're not allowed to show live pictures inside there, because of security reasons. We are allowed to take pictures. We're also not allowed to show the faces of the workers inside, for those security reasons.
But we know we've been told today that there are at least 63,000 ballots, still to be counted, in this county alone, and includes 50,000 ballots that were either mailed in, or put in drop boxes, on Election Day, on Tuesday, and then another 5,500 provisional ballots, and 7,100 ballots that need to be cured. Those are ballots that sometimes don't have signatures, people are called, "Give us your signature," and then the ballot will be counted.
But either way, there's still a lot of ballots to count. Two very close high-profile races, the Senate race, and the gubernatorial race. Tomorrow is Veterans Day. But the tabulators will be here, tomorrow, like it's any normal workday, because ballots are allowed to be mailed in, until Saturday, as long as they're postmarked by Tuesday. So, they will be counting through Saturday, no matter what.
BLITZER: Yes. And those results could be determined - they could determine the winner.
Gary Tuchman, in North Las Vegas, for us.
Let's go over to David Chalian, right now. So David, you're taking a closer look at Nevada, the Senate race, in Nevada, and what each campaign needs to.
DAVID CHALIAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. And first, with the total outstanding vote, statewide, you see there, our estimate is that approximately 120,000 votes are still outstanding statewide. Now, Gary Tuchman just said, 63,000, in Clark County alone, Las Vegas area there. So, half of this is in Clark County, which will be key to watch.
But what the Decision Desk did here, at CNN, was sort of calculate what each candidate would need to win, what percentage of that outstanding vote, in order to win this race.
So, Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democratic incumbent, who is currently behind, in this race, she would need 53 percent to 56 percent of the remaining 120,000 votes, roughly, in Nevada, in order to win this race.
Adam Laxalt, who, you know, Wolf is ahead in this race, he needs a smaller percentage. He only needs between 41 percent and 44 percent of the remaining votes.
But obviously, since such a huge chunk of the outstanding vote, is from Clark County, this percentage, 53 percent to 56 percent, is not entirely out of the realm of possibility, for Catherine Cortez Masto. So, that's why we've got to count more votes, before we can see which way this race will fall, Wolf.
BLITZER: David Chalian, thank you very much.
Let's go back to John King. He's with me over here, at the Magic Wall, right now.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: Sure.
BLITZER: You're tracking these votes that are coming in, in Arizona and Nevada, right now. These are crucial.
KING: Right. And to David's point, it's possible, for Senator Cortez Masto, because the bulk of the outstanding votes are here, Las Vegas, and the suburbs around it. That's Clark County.
Why do we keep saying it's possible? Because this is more than 73 percent of the statewide population. How much of the voting percentage will it be? We don't have exact number on that yet. But it'll be 70 percent, roughly in that ballpark, maybe a little higher, the voting population, depending on turnout.
So, this is the bulk of the election here. And so, that's why we want to wait. And if you come out to the statewide numbers, she is behind 15,000 - just shy of 16,000 votes. So, as David just laid out, her math is more difficult. But it is still well within reach.
Let's go Arizona, for a second. I just want to show you, we've gone through this now. Senator Kelly's lead is now 104,570 votes. It was 85,000, I think, when I came to the office, today. It's grown a little bit, as some smaller results have come in.
Kyung just noted we're waiting for Maricopa County. Again, just like Nevada, this will most influence the final outcome, because Maricopa County is 61 percent, little more than 61 percent of the statewide population. So, it's going to be six in 10 or more of the votes cast in the State of Arizona, were going to come from here. We'll know the final number soon.
But every vote counts, right? So, we want to come down here. It's Santa Cruz County. Let's move over to the corner here. You get - I want to bring up the blackboard, because I just want to show you something here as we go.
You see, Cochise County is a Republican county, right? You see it play out there. So, I want to give you some votes. And I want to show you where sometimes good news can be not so good news.
In the new report, in the governor's race here that just came in a little bit ago, Katie Hobbs got 1,426. Kari Lake got more. It's a modest number of votes, 1,513. So, that's 49 percent, if you round up. It's 48.5 percent. And this is, I'll give it 52 percent. It's 51.5 percent. So, let's do the same round-up, and give it to 52 percent.
Want to go to Senate race, real quick. Excuse me for turning my back at home. I know I just want to get these numbers right, when I turn them in here.
1,488 for Senator Kelly. That's 50 percent. And 1,387, you see very competitive. This is one vote report. So, this is not a statewide number. It's one vote report. And that's 47 percent.
So now, I want to show you why I said sometimes good news, or encouraging news. Kari Lake got more votes. That's good news, right? Sure. It's good news. But I just want to bring this down a little bit. We bring this down, on top of this one. This is a Republican county that Donald Trump carried by 20 points, right?
So, in a Republican county, Donald Trump carried by 20 points, you do not want to be roughly splitting the vote. 52 percent - 52 percent - it's 51 percent-49 percent. I rounded up here. So, someone at home is saying that's 101 percent. I rounded up the numbers here, because of the smaller percentages. But you see, right here, in the raw numbers, that's more votes that's - you always want more votes. But this is a county Donald Trump carried by 20 points. So, in this county, you want to be - you need a much more lopsided number.
Same here, in this county that Donald Trump carried by 20 points? This is just one vote report. This is not the county. As you see, county- wide, the Republican candidate is leading.
But as later votes come in, and you have a smaller pool of votes available to count, David laid out Blake Masters needs bigger math statewide. Let me come out to the statewide numbers here, and understand what - the point I'm making here. He's trailing statewide. So, in areas that are red on the map, you need to run it up. That's simply how it works.
The Democrats are likely to win the blue counties. Republicans need to win the red counties. Those red counties are smaller. So, they need bigger margins to offset the bigger blue counties.
And, in this particular one vote report, he's leading in this county, but that's simply not good enough. That makes his math - every time he comes in under 50, whether it's a big vote report, or a small vote report, every time Blake Masters comes in under 50, it makes his math harder. Doesn't mean it's over. But every report that comes in makes it more difficult, and you see the numbers there, 104,570.
We have a ways to go. We have some more votes in Pima County, larger county. But notice the blue. It doesn't mean the votes that will come in will favor the Democrat. But this is a county Joe Biden carried by 20 points.
Maricopa County, much more votes, here and, also a much more competitive county, this is a county that Joe Biden carried by just a little over two points. So, this is the more competitive county. It is blue. Senator Kelly is winning. Katie Hobbs is winning by a slightly smaller margin. We don't know that that's how the votes still to come will come in.
But to the point David keeps making about the percentages, I just showed you a modest number of votes, from a Republican county, and the math simply - those percentages were simply not large enough for the Republicans. They need to do better, the next time.
BLITZER: And there's still a huge number of votes that we anticipate, coming in--
BLITZER: --fairly soon from Maricopa County.
KING: Right. And again, you look at the percentages, right? We lay out what do they need to catch up, right? It's more important to look at the percentage of - or you can look at it either way you want, I guess.
But, from our perspective, we look at OK, in this case, Kari Lake is trailing, but not by much. That's a very competitive race, right? She's very well in the hunt here. So what does she need every time? So every time you get one, where she doesn't meet that percentage, guess what? That means the percentage gets larger.
And so, that's why you look at them, even if it's 1,300 votes, 1,500 votes. But you're right. We're waiting for a lot more votes, right here. Tens of thousands of votes still to be reported--
KING: --in Maricopa.
BLITZER: --in that state.
BLITZER: Maricopa County that we're watching, right now.
We're standing by for new vote totals, coming in, from both Arizona and Nevada. They're coming in very, very soon. We'll update you, as soon as we get them. This is critical.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: As we anticipated, our new numbers are coming in, important new numbers, coming in, from both Arizona and Nevada, right now.
John, you got the numbers.
KING: Let me go to the Senate race. That's what we're watching most closely. Not that the governor's race doesn't matter. Let me bring up. We have some new numbers. This is what we've been waiting for. It's the largest county, and it's the largest place of outstanding votes, Clark County, right here.
Let me just pull up our chalkboard here, and make it easier to do this here. Let's bring this up right here.
All right, you have Senator Cortez Masto. She's the Democratic incumbent. You see her on the top. Blake Masters is the Republican challenger. He is trailing.
These votes have just come in. It's a decent number of votes. Now, there are tens of thousands of votes out. So, this is not going to get you to the finish line by any means.
But 7,480 votes in Clark County. 4,195 votes, for Adam Laxalt in this. So that's 61 percent. And that's 34 percent. And so, you're looking at these votes, right now. And again, so, in Clark County, she was running at 52 percent, if you round it up. He was running at 46 percent, if you round it up. In this one new installment? There are others to come, right? But this is what you're looking for in a campaign. And if you're with us in 2020, you watched us go through this math, right?
So, she's at 52 percent. She wants every - whether it's 10 votes coming in, or 11,000 votes coming in and change, 11,500 votes and change coming in? You want to be in the lead. She's getting 61 percent. That is encouraging news for the Cortez Masto campaign.
And this makes his math harder. That's simply straight up. You see that right there. So, if this is one drop, but it's 11,500 votes - and 11,600 votes and change, if you add that up, right there, she was at 51 percent.
Let me come out to the statewide number. Just more important, he was leading statewide. So now, what you have is she is gaining, right? She is trailing, statewide. She gets these votes. That's at a higher percentage than she needs. Now, she needs that consistently. Throughout the night, she needs in the 50s. She's getting 61 percent.
BLITZER: This gap is really narrowing.
KING: Yes. That gap narrows.
BLITZER: Only 12,671, Laxalt ahead--
BLITZER: --of Catherine Cortez Masto.
KING: Right. Because - and let's go through. It's narrowing. You make a point. Because let's go through some other counties, as we go through it here. I'm just going to erase this, and close it out.
We also got some votes. Let me move this map up a little bit here, so you can see. I might - this might take two steps, because it's a little hard. Come up here, and you go over to Carson City. It's a smaller county. Again, this is a smaller county, 83 percent of the vote in.
But let me bring this up. We just got some votes from - let me make sure I have the right ones here. OK, this is Carson City, Nevada. So, we just got these votes in. Again, this is a much smaller report.
The Democratic incumbent getting 928 votes to 625 votes. Again, she is trailing. So, whenever she comes in, she wants to - in the next - in the new installment, she wants to be ahead. And again, at home, I'm sorry, for turning my back. I know it's rude. But we want to get these numbers right, and make sure we get it right. So, 38 percent, here.
And again, so you look at this, though, there's a couple ways to look at this. Number one, let's look at the county, right? Carson City. We're looking at Carson City here. It's Republican, 11-point Republican. That's a - Donald Trump carried it by 11 points, right? So, in any installment, whether it's 20 votes, or 10,000 votes, a Democrat getting more votes in this county is good news for the Democrat because it's a Republican county. You see, Senator Laxalt - I'm sorry, Adam Laxalt of the Senate - related to Senator Laxalt's family from the past.
But Adam Laxalt at 51 - 53 percent in this county. In this report, Cortez Masto at 56 percent. Simple math at home, this is good for her. She's making up ground in this county.
So then you pull it out to the statewide level, and that's why she's making up ground there. Because, as you go through these reports, and you go through, in a place that traditionally votes Republican? And again, the final result - he's still leading in that county, the final results, he may be leading in that county.
But, in this installment, she is making up ground, and meeting the number. This is it. This is what you're going to look at every time. Is she getting the percentage of votes she needs to, if - in the end, if she keeps getting it to narrow the gap? That is in excess of what she needs. So, this is good news.
As we move it up, further, she's the incumbent senator trailing in the race right now. Can she make up all the ground? That's why we're going to count all the votes. But that is encouraging news for her there.
I think I'm going to look - looks - I think we have one more here. We do. We do. So, let's just bring it up here. Let me bring up on the map, one more time, for Nevada Senate, to go through it. This is a much smaller vote total. But we were just showing you two where you had Cortez Masto gaining.
But look at this. This is Elko County, again, much smaller vote total. About 308, 29 percent. 689, 65 percent, if you round that up. So again, this is a much smaller county, and it's a much smaller installment of votes. But this is the seesaw on the back and forth, right?
In the Laxalt campaign, that meets his test. The question - the issue is this is much smaller. You want to meet your test, in every single one of these reports. He didn't make it with a larger pool of votes. He does make it here. This is the challenge as these come in. Sometimes, you get a couple hundred votes. This is just - this is a 1,000 votes, just shy of that.
Sometimes, you get them large and small. But, in the campaigns, they're doing the same math we're doing. What percentage now? What percentage do we need? Now that this is in, what percentage do we need?
I just want to come over here, because we also have a couple of new votes, in Arizona, we make sure I get this right.
OK, we're going to come to Pinal County, which is right above - right below Phoenix here. And so again, this is the Senate race, right? So this is a Republican county that Donald Trump carried by 17 points.
Let's bring up the Senate blackboard here, so we can get it right. And let's move it up here. Right, so watch this. So 3,925, 4,404. The nuns are not going to be happy with that handwriting! 52 percent. They're especially not going to be happy with that!
So, 52 percent, 46 percent, right? So, in this county - we move this down. A narrow victory for the Republican, in this vote installment in a county, though that Donald Trump carried by 17 points. So that right there, that's six points, that's six points, right?
Now, he's leading in this county. He has 54 percent. He's running at 54 percent, in this county. In this one, he came in at 52 percent. So, he's matching what he's getting in the county. It's good. It's good. It's good you're making up ground, right? He has more votes than him. Politics is simple math, its arithmetic. The challenger has more votes than the leader. That means he's catching up.
But is that enough to catch up to this, when you come out to the statewide gap? That's the issue. Again, that was a little bit higher. So, he's made up some ground. The question is, as you make up ground, are you making up enough? Is that percentage meeting the test that you need?
And you need to get it in the biggest counties, and that's Maricopa and Pima. But you need to - when the small ones come in, Wolf, you need those too. Literally, in a race like this, it sounds like a cliche, but every vote does count. And every percentage counts.
BLITZER: Let's not forget. If the Democrat were to win the Senate seat, in Arizona, and the Democrat were to win, in Nevada, they would be the majority in the U.S. Senate.
KING: And so, let's come out to the full Senate map, to make the point you're making here. As we come back out, and we just--
BLITZER: And this is why we're here, talking about these votes. It's so critical, right now.
KING: Right. These are the three uncalled races, right? So, if you come off the map, and you look at the Senate, right now, it's 50-50, if you count Georgia, and if you count that lead, right, if you count that lead?
But if you want to do it on this map, just this is this - this is why three nights after Election Night, the stakes are so high here. And let's just look at the races that we have called. This is where we are. Republicans have 49 seats. Democrats have 48 seats. Those numbers, they will not go down. That's what they have, now.
The question is can they go up? Democrats need only 50, right, because they have the Vice President of the United States. We're not going to know this until December 6, and the count after, all right?
And so, you make the point. Senator Kelly is leading here, right now, over 100,000 votes. If you're in his campaign, you're somewhat optimistic, but you have to keep counting. That would get Democrats to 49. The Republican is leading here, right now. That would get Republicans to 50.
Republicans need 51, right? So, in this scenario, Republicans would still need Georgia. Because, in this scenario, if Democrats win Georgia, it's a tie again, like it is right now, and the Vice President breaks the tie.
If she keeps closing the gap, and can take the lead, then the Democrats can get to 50, with Arizona and Nevada, and then Georgia is a trophy. It's critically important to the people of Georgia. You'd rather have 51 than 50. But that's - that would be the challenge. So what - how much Georgia matters? Of course, it does. It's a big state. It's a big Senate race.
KING: But how much it matters depends on the outcome of these two western states.
BLITZER: And as we point out, if it's 50-50, the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate. She breaks the tie, and the Democrats continue to be the majority.
BLITZER: If it's 51, she gets to leave town a little bit more often.
KING: She can go--
BLITZER: She doesn't have to be there to break the tie.
We're awaiting new votes coming in from Arizona, right now, where hundreds of thousands of votes are still uncounted.
Plus, some new projections to make, in minutes.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We have two projections to make, in the U.S. House of Representatives, right now.
In California's 40th District, Republican congresswoman, Young Kim, has won a second term in office. She was first elected in 2020, and was one of the first Korean-American women, elected to the U.S. Congress.
Our other new projection, right now, Montana Republican, Ryan Zinke, is coming back to Congress. He served two years, in the House, before joining the Trump cabinet, as the Interior Secretary. He will now be heading back to the House of Representatives.
So, let's take a closer look at the state of play for control of the House right now. With these two new CNN projections, Republicans have won 211 seats. They're just seven away, from taking over control, the majority, in the House of Representatives.
Let's go back to Dana Bash for more. Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN CO-ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: Thank you so much, Wolf.
And I want to bring in David Chalian, to talk about what we're seeing in Nevada, in that Senate race. It looks as though the incumbent Democrat has the ability to pull ahead there.
But let's - David, let's get the kind of context that only you, David Chalian, can bring us.
CHALIAN: Well, thanks Dana. But John was just - as John was taking in the Nevada vote that you just saw, and he was showing the Clark County breakdown of the vote that came in? You saw that among that batch of votes, from Clark County, Catherine Cortez Masto won 61 percent, in that batch. Well, look here. That is well above her need number. So, after those votes were counted, 105,000 votes remain uncounted, in Nevada, Dana, OK?
And Catherine Cortez Masto's need of the remaining vote is in a range here because these are estimates. So, this is just a range, between 53 percent and 56 percent. Well, in that big batch, she just got 61 percent, well over the need range of where she is. So, if she keeps performing like that, as votes come in, that would signal to you, hey, she can make up some ground here.
Adam Laxalt, his number's lower. He only needs about 41 percent to 43 percent of what's out there, because he's ahead in the race, right now. If he gets that he'll be able to hang on to that lead, Dana.
BASH: OK. Thank you, David.
And as David was talking, I got a text, from somebody, in Cortez Masto's camp, saying that they are cautiously optimistic giving - given the trends that we just reported that we're seeing with Clark County, which of course, is the most populous county in Nevada. It's where Las Vegas is.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY": Yes. And I think Democrats, going into this week, were hopeful, but really nervous, about this race. She was very, very vulnerable.
But a couple of things that we've been seeing in the numbers, first of all, what David just described, which is that where the votes are coming from, are where Democrats expect that they will do pretty well. There's that. But when we looked? We talked a little bit about this yesterday. We looked a little bit into the exit polls. One of the big concerns for Democrats, with Senator Cortez Masto was whether she would hold her own, with Latino voters, a huge chunk of the Democratic electorate, in that state. And she largely did. She performed about as well as Biden in 2020, and about as well as the Democrat - as the Democrat, four years ago, in the other Senate race.
And so I do think that she is performing, even though, I think, many Democrats are still kind of white-knuckled about this race. They are very hopeful as we sit here, tonight.
BASH: And they - and they should be white-knuckled about this race.
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes.
BASH: Because it is - it's very close, in this particular contest. But also, if you kind of look back at history? Nevada is always like this. Even Harry Reid had some nail-biter races--
BASH: --where he won by just a few hundred votes.
HUNT: Sure. And, to Abby's point, I mean, the emails that I was getting at the beginning of the night, when the initial data came in, on Nevada, was that it was going to be Republican, from top to bottom, that Cortez Masto was gone.
And then, as we started to learn that there was this difference, in the environment than we had initially seen or thought about or been reporting for weeks, that that was actually going to shift? And those same people that were telling me she had lost at, 7 PM, or 9 PM at night, were now saying that once these batches of votes come in, they are potentially likely to win the race. I mean, they're much more confident now than they were.
Now, I mean, one of the things that I think is driving this too, is that I mean, this was a pretty generic - it was almost as much of a generic ballot test as she could get, with a Senate race, right?
Cortez Masto not necessarily a character that's well-known outside the beltway, for anything in particular. It's not like there were two characters, like the Fetterman-Oz race, or the Herschel Walker-Raphael Warnock race.
And so, from that perspective, that really could - the fact that, frankly, a lot of the polling was wrong, a lot of the data that campaigns were using to make decisions was incorrect, could carry her.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: There was a big name there, though, Laxalt. You're all too young, to remember.
BASH: No! PHILLIP: It's a big - it's a big one there (ph).
GANGEL: But when I covered the Senate?
BASH: Thank you for saying that, Jamie, but no.
GANGEL: I did get an interesting call from another Senate race, about this race. And that was from a strategist on the Herschel Walker campaign. They have been watching this very, very closely. 48 hours ago, they thought Laxalt had it. Today, I spoke to them this morning. They thought that she has it.
PHILLIP: But that's such an important point, because the reason we are so obsessively focused on these two races is because it actually has an enormous amount of bearing on what the next month looks like--
HUNT: Sure does.
PHILLIP: --in the State of Georgia. If Democrats hold on to both of these seats out west?
BASH: Nevada and Arizona.
PHILLIP: Nevada and Arizona, it means that they've got a majority.
HUNT: They control the Senate.
PHILLIP: And they control the Senate. If they lose one, it means that Georgia will decide who controls the Senate.
BASH: Right. I was just thinking about being at Nevada, and we talked to a guy, who was a Crossing Guard. And he said, "I'm not going to vote." I said, "Why not?" And he said, "Just because I don't trust any of these people." And I remember looking and saying, "Oh my Gosh! They need to get all these votes out because we know how close it's going to be."
All right, all eyes remain on Arizona, where the battle for the Senate and governor's mansion remain too close to call. The state's most populous county is set to release thousands of new votes in just a few minutes. Don't go anywhere.
BLITZER: New numbers are in, and more are coming very, very soon, from Arizona, which has turned out to be a pivotal player, in this midterm election, and could very well decide the balance of power in Congress.
Brianna Keilar is over at the Voting Desk, for us, tracking what's going on, in Arizona, right now.
What are you seeing?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let's talk about what remains here, in Arizona. About 618,000 votes still need to be counted, in the entire state. So, let's look at some of these counties, where we're still waiting on votes.
In Maricopa County, the most populous county, in Arizona, of course where Phoenix is, about 400,000 ballots remain to be counted. Of those 400,000, 290,000 are ballots that were dropped off, at voting sites, on Election Day.
County officials say this was a record number, 70 percent higher than any previous election, and they have not started counting them yet. Counting these ballots takes longer than in-person Election Day votes because officials must verify the signatures before tabulating them. So, this batch of 290,000 votes could be critical, in determining who wins the gubernatorial and the Senate races, in the state.
Originally, officials said, they expected to have 95 percent to 99 percent of these votes counted by Friday. But in an update today, they said they now expect it to take even longer.
So, the remaining 110,000 that we're waiting on include 90,000 early votes that were submitted before Election Day. And those 17,000 votes that were cast on Election Day they were put in what is called Box 3, because they couldn't be run through the tabulators because of a printer problem.
We are expecting to get some updated numbers, from Maricopa County officials, around 10 PM Eastern, tonight. This batch will include those early vote ballots, received Saturday, Sunday and Monday, before Election Day.
And there's also a significant batch of votes left to count in Pima County. This is of course Arizona's second most populous county. This is where Tucson is. We got an update from officials there, tonight. They say there are still roughly 120,000 ballots left to be counted. And they say it will take a few days to have final results here.
The Elections Director telling us tonight that about 20,000 votes will be uploaded each day. Officials will continue counting through the weekend, and will get through most but not all of the outstanding ballots by Monday, Wolf.
BLITZER: Good report. Thanks very much, Brianna, for that.
John King is with me, over here, at the Magic Wall.
Show us, right now, why Arizona is so critically important.
KING: Well, number one, critically important to the balance of power, in the Senate, in the sense that you come back out to the full map, and you see that's 50-50. This is the current balance of power in terms of leading in the races. But in the races that we've called it's 49-48, right?
So, one party - Republicans, for a majority, need to get to 51. Democrats, only 50, because they have Vice President Harris, to break the tie. So, you have it, right now.
The Republicans have 49 seats, right? So, the Republicans need two of these three, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. Georgia runoff is December 6. These will be settled in the next couple of days. It may take a couple of days, before we can call them. I want to come back to a follow, on that point in a minute.
But so they're critical - absolutely critically important, because if the Democrats - if the Democrats can win them both, that gets the Democrats to 50. And this would be to get to 51. But if the Democrats can win both of these western States, then they keep their majority, and this is an added number.
If Republicans get one of these, they still need this. If they get both of these? That would get Republicans to 51. That's important to remember. Democrats only need 50, for a majority, because of the Vice President. Republicans need 51. So, think - you always have to remember that, in the context.
Now, if you want to come into the States, one of the things we're looking at, as Brianna just smartly went through the counties that are left, do we have to wait till we get to the very last vote to call these elections? We don't know the answer to that. It depends on the margins, right? If somebody is ahead by 100,000 votes, and there are only 90,000 votes to be counted? Well, that's simple math you can do at home.
But one of the things we look for, as we go through this? And this is preliminary. I want to make clear, this is preliminary. Joe Biden won this state.
Joe Biden won this state. Let's go back and just show you the margin in 2020 presidential election, 10,457 votes. This is a very competitive state. This state hadn't gone for a Democrat for president since 1996. So, Joe Biden won it very narrowly, right?
So, come forward to the Senate race now, and come here, Senator Kelly, leading by 104,000 votes. That makes you happy, if you're a Democratic candidate, knowing how competitive this state was, just two years ago. But we've got about a quarter of the vote to count. That's an estimate.
But one of the questions you ask? And this is preliminary. So, Joe Biden won it two years ago. Is Senator Kelly, at least running equal as Joe Biden? Is he running in a way that would get him a 10,000 or 15,000 vote victory?
Well, right now, let's look - he's over-performing Biden, just about everywhere. Only down here, in the southwest corner of the state, is he underperforming Biden. And again, I want to stress, this is preliminary. When we have 100 percent of the votes, then you can run that analysis, as a final analysis.
But right now, where we are at the moment, Senator Kelly is running ahead of President Biden, Joe Biden, in every county, meaning he's getting a higher percentage of the vote, in every county, except this one, except for Yuma County, in the southwest corner of the state, right?
So, let's ask the question then of Blake Masters, because Donald Trump was very competitive, in this state. He lost it by, we just showed you, a 11,000 votes. So, let's ask the other question, right? Is the Republican over-performing Donald Trump anywhere? And the answer is only in that tiny county, where Joe Biden is not.
So, if you're looking at this map, and again, it's preliminary, if you're Blake Masters, you're underperforming in every county, but one? That's not a good sign. If it stays like this till the end? He'll lose. The question is does it stay like that till the end?
BLITZER: That's a good question. And we'll find out fairly soon.
Stay right here with us. Arizona elected officials tell us they are now set to release new vote count numbers, just minutes from now. Soon as we get them, you'll know those numbers as well.
Plus, is the GOP ready to move away from Donald Trump?
Our special coverage continues next.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And welcome back.
As we are awaiting more midterm election results, former President Donald Trump has officially revealed that he will make a, quote, "Special announcement," on Tuesday night, and in tease of his intensions in 2024.
Before we discuss with the panel, David Chalian joins us, with some of the insights, to share from exit polls, on the GOP attitude toward the former President.
CHALIAN: Yes. And Anderson, it's really interesting to note the difference between the nation overall, and Republicans, on Donald Trump. But also noticing a change for Donald Trump, from when just two years ago, he was president.
So, in the exit polls, across the country, people who voted in the House of Representatives election, this year, 39 percent, according to these exit polls, had a favorable view, of Donald Trump. 58 percent, an unfavorable. That is a significant downgrade, from where he was two years ago, when he had a 46 percent favorability, and 52 percent unfavorable, when he lost the presidential election. Now, among Republicans, this year, 73 percent of Republicans still have a favorable view of Donald Trump, those that voted in this election, 23 percent unfavorable.
And then, we asked, was Trump a factor in your vote, in this election? A slim majority of voters, across the country, 54 percent say no, Donald Trump was not a factor. But where he was a factor? He was a negative factor. 28 percent said they voted to oppose Trump, in their vote, for the House of Representatives, 16 percent said, to support Trump.
And we look at this among Republicans as well. This, I think, maybe one of the most interesting numbers of the night. 62 percent of Republicans say Donald Trump was not a factor in their vote, a non- factor. When he was a factor for Republicans, it was more in support. 31 percent voted to support Trump. Only 4 percent of Republicans, Anderson, voted to oppose Donald Trump.
COOPER: Yes. David Chalian, appreciate it.
Back now, with our panel.
I want to read just from this statement. It's not - it's not the thing we actually have a graphic for, because I think the more interesting statement is how this statement begins, which is "NewsCorp, which is Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and the no longer great New York Post (bring back Col!), is all in for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious, an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations, who didn't have to close up his State, but did, unlike other Republican Governors, whose overall numbers for a Republican, were just average - middle of the pack - including COVID, and who has the advantage of SUNSHINE," capitals, "where people from badly run States up North would go no matter" what - "no matter who the Governor was, just like I did."
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, all of our high school English teachers are having a coronary, right now.
COOPER: Right. But so--
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And this is a former President of the United States.
COOPER: So, he says he's going to make some sort of a statement.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: Authentic!
COOPER: Whether it's "I'm running for president," or "I will announce when I'm running for President." JENNINGS: Yes. He's--
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
JENNINGS: I think he is really feeling the pressure, right now. I don't think - I don't know that they expected the level of anger that they're getting, from all corners of the Republican Party, after pulling that stunt against DeSantis. That's number one.
Number two, I think the size of the DeSantis victory, in Florida, where the President lives, that was loud - that was a loud statement. And they obviously heard it.
For most of his career, in the Republican Party, Trump is used to being the person that is the most praised person, by Republican media outlets, conservative media outlets, whatever.
Today, it's DeSantis. He's the one getting all the praise. He's - he is getting all the attention, right now. And if there's one thing we know about President Trump, Alyssa, and David know this very well, center of attention. That's what matters. And it's DeSantis today. So, to me, all of those variables went in to - that's what came out the other end of that, and--
BORGER: Which is--
JENNINGS: --which is a little scary.
BORGER: "Please pay attention to me."
BORGER: But I want to - can I just make one thing that - point about this so-called "Special announcement."
My reporting today, my colleague, Kristen Holmes' reporting today is that lots of people were trying to talk him out of running. So, there is still a possibility, I believe that this could just be a special announcement, not for the presidency, or some kind of head fake, or saying "I'm going to announce later," or we don't know what this is.
And in terms of wanting to get the attention back?
BORGER: That's what this is about.
BORGER: But we don't know - we still don't know what it is.
FARAH GRIFFIN: This - I--
BORGER: And so, we don't know.
FARAH GRIFFIN: I can predict what's happening, behind-the-scenes, right now. I mean, every prominent Republican is begging him not to do this. They have been for weeks to hold it off till after--
COOPER: Are they actually calling him?
FARAH GRIFFIN: Oh, I'm certain.
BORGER: Oh, yes.
FARAH GRIFFIN: I'm certain. And especially, if there's a Georgia Senate runoff, for the control of the Senate, even his closest advisors, I think, are telling him "This is not the time to do it. You're going to look weak. It's going to look reactionary." He, as of now, is definitely planning to do it. But with Donald Trump, nothing's definite until he does it.
BORGER: Oh no?
FARAH GRIFFIN: This may be a game-time decision to go either direction, and I think it should be covered as such. But he cannot stand not having the attention on him.
And I just want to note, a number of Republican governors outperformed Donald Trump. Sununu, DeWine, in the States that he had won in. But it's the fact that it's in his home state in Florida, and that conservative media has wrapped their arms around Ron DeSantis? He can't stand it.
COOPER: By the way, I mean, isn't his daughter getting married this weekend?
COOPER: Isn't - I mean, isn't there?
BORGER: At Mar-a-Lago.
COOPER: Isn't there something he could be doing with his family?
FARAH GRIFFIN: One would think! One would think!
COOPER: I mean, I don't want to get personal, but.
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Listen, I would disagree - I would disagree with Alyssa, on just one piece. Judging by this - by this publication there, this message memo, whatever you want to call, the President put out? It's clear he's not in a good mood.
AXELROD: This man is a student of people (ph).
JONES: Nothing gets past this man!
URBAN: No, I'm just saying. It's clear he's not in a good mood. So, it'd be like putting your hand in a blender, calling Donald Trump, right now. So, I'm not sure there's a long line of Republican, whether they're loyalists or confidants and say - they'll call somebody else. They'll make a phone call, to a staffer, and say, "What kind of mood is the President in?" And they'll say, "Did you see the - did you see the press release? That's kind of mood." And so, they'll say, "Yes, I'll call him tomorrow," right?
Not many people are calling him, right now, saying, "Put it off. Don't put it off." I saw that Jason Miller put out a statement earlier saying "Recommend we wait till after the election," right? I think a lot of people are saying that, and to try to push it out, doing the right thing.
And I agree with both Gloria, and Alyssa saying that he may well - he may go up there, on the podium, and say, "Change my mind," and announce something completely different.
BORGER: Or "I'm going to announce in January."
JENNINGS: Wouldn't it - wouldn't it look weak?
AXELROD: Doesn't it - yes. And it feels like he's pushing--
BORGER: It all looks weak, though, don't they?
AXELROD: --he's madly pushing all the buttons that used to work for him now--
JONES: That's right.
AXELROD: --and they're not working.
AXELROD: And if he goes out there, on Tuesday, having teased this thing, the way he has teased it and it's just a cannon rolls out, and a flag come out that says, "Pop?" I think that he's in a fragile position, right now. I don't think that would help him at all.
COOPER: We're just minutes away from a new batch of votes to be posted from Arizona, as control of the House and Senate is hanging in the balance. Stay right here. Our election coverage continues, in a moment.
BLITZER: At any moment now, election officials, in Arizona, are expected to report thousands of additional votes, in the state's largest county. What will that mean, for the high-stakes races, for senator and governor, in Arizona? We're standing by to find out. Stay with us.
The midterm election, and the battle for control, of the United States Congress, they are still unfolding, right now. This hour, we should know more.
I am Wolf Blitzer. And this is ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA CONTINUED.
So far, tonight, Democrats have made some gains, as we've gotten new vote tallies in the critical Arizona and Nevada Senate races. We'll see if that trend holds up in the next round of results, coming very, very soon.
Remember, these two races should potentially, potentially decide who controls the U.S. Senate. This is the state of play, in the fight, for the Senate, right now. Look at this. Democrats hold 48 Senate seats. Republicans have 49. That 49, that's two seats short of 51 that they need to win back control of the Senate.
The fight for control of the House of Representatives is also undecided, right now.