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CNN Live Event/Special
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) Holds Slight Lead Over Walker In Tight Georgia Race; Biden Says, We're Going To Win Tonight In Georgia; CNN Projects Sen. Raphael Warnock Will Win Georgia Senate Race; Sen. Raphael Warnock Projected To Win In The Georgia Runoff; Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Weighs In On Sen. Warnock Winning The Georgia Senate Race; Herschel Walker Expected To Concede. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 06, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats currently hold 50 Senate seats, including one they picked in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Republicans have 49. They are hoping to get this one last remaining Senate seat, so as to have the balance of power be 50/50.
Let's go to Pamela Brown right now, who is at the voting desk. Pamela, what's the latest?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a lot of focus on the counties in the Atlanta area for good reason, given how tight this race is. And I just spoke to an official in Cobb County there, and I'm told around 76,000 votes are still outstanding. Day of votes, that means people who went to the polls today there in Cobb County, those votes are still outstanding. So, we're still expecting a pretty large amount from there. And there's about 12,000 or so outstanding votes from mail-in ballots as well.
Now, I asked a source when we're going to find out more, when more votes will drop from there. And this person said, as soon as they drive back from the polling areas with the memory cards, they're plug- in and uploaded to the system. So, we'll just have to wait and see. But it is certainly getting down to the wire now.
And I just also talked to Gabriel Sterling, the election official there on the ground there that we've been talking to throughout the night, and he said, after 10:00, this is when we are going to be getting a better picture now of the outstanding votes in these urban areas in the Atlanta area and also learn more about when we are going to get to find out what those votes are.
TAPPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thank you so much.
Let's take a look at some these counties where the vote is still outstanding. Because, John, the reason why we're hearing from Jeff Zeleny that there are people in the Walker campaign who are still kind of nervous, even though he's only 13,785 votes behind, and then certainly with 10, 11 percent of the vote outstanding, that could be quickly covered up, i's because a lot of the outstanding vote is in these Democratic-leaning counties that are very populous. JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Most of it is right there. Most of the votes still to be counted is inside that circle. And what you notice about that circle? Not only is it blue, to your point, to your point not only is it blue, Pamela was just talking about Cobb County. Raphael Warnock is getting 62 percent of the vote right now. It does mean it won't come up a little bit more than that, but that's one there.
So, you're here in Cobb County over there, you can come across to the other side, back in the day, George W. Bush carried this county, it used to be a Republican county. Look at that, 90 percent of the vote now in, 62 percent of the vote for Raphael Warnock. So, not only is the vote is in these blue areas, but so far in the early vote and the day of vote counted so far, Senator Warnock is keeping these big edges in this county.
Again, Fulton County, we're up to 67 percent now. Let me get rid of the circle so it doesn't distract people. 67 percent, he's still above 80 percent. So, as the rest of that comes in, is it possible Herschel Walker does better than 19 percent? Of course, it is, of course, it is. The question is, is it enough when you get to this point?
So, you come back out, 15,373 votes again, again, most of the vote outstanding here. Not all of it. You can look at this way as well to understand where the rest of it is. There are some small pockets of votes. You see the red circles are Republican areas. So, there are some Republican votes out there.
But you see these big circles and so many circles here, this is, again, Fulton County, the suburban counties around it, that when you come back to the normal map, not only are they blue when you go county by county, they're very deep blue.
And so, if you are in the Warnock campaign, you are ahead, up to 90 percent of the vote now and you know what has happened in the last several elections. This is the area that tends to come in late. You just heard, describing they're driving the voting cards from the precincts (INAUDIBLE) and you watch votes are changing, it's 12,419 votes, they are changing as we have this conversation because a few -- sometimes there's a couple hundred, sometimes it's several thousands, and off you go. But you're up to 91 percent now.
If you are in Vegas, that is your bet. We're not done yet. But because you know where the outstanding votes are, that is why there is some pessimism in the Walker campaign.
TAPPER: Do you have a button that can show me where and whether either these candidates are underperforming what they did last time or Brian Kemp?
KING: Yes. And I will do with a caveat that we're not done yet.
So, the key one there is this. Herschel Walker trailed, right? A month ago, Herschel Walker trailed. That's why we're having the runoff. We had three candidates then. Nobody got above 50, but he trailed, right? He was trailing. So, he needed to do better. Let's put it this way, he needed to do better, right?
Where is Herschel Walker overperforming? He is overperforming in some of these red counties. That means his percentages are higher now than they were a month ago, and that's significant. That's a lot of places, right. But look what is gray. So, here's the flip side of that question. That's where he is overperforming. Where is he underperforming? Well, he's underperforming in all of the blue areas on the map.
TAPPER: All the population centers.
KING: Yes, and all the population centers, exactly.
TAPPER: That means he did better in these population centers last time, even though he came up short, than he is doing tonight?
KING: Right. With the asterisk, to be fair to him, we need to double check that when we get to 100, but at the moment, that is his problem, that you are so far in the night, you are underperforming in the places where the people are. The toxicity in the suburbs of the Trump brand and Walker himself, I think, has additional problems unique to him in the suburbs.
That is what you are seeing here. This is the suburbs.
TAPPER: So, the other question I have is, because there were three candidates on the ballot last time, it is possible for both Warnock and Walker to be overperforming this time. This is a matter of math because there's only two of them. Can you show me where Warnock is overperforming and underperforming his last time on the ballot in November?
KING: And so you see -- where is the overperforming? He's running a little stronger in a lot of these rural counties. And, again, that is a couple hundred votes, right?
TAPPER: This is Warnock?
KING: That's Walker, I'm sorry. Let's go back and hit the (INAUDIBLE) over there, Walker overperforming. This is where Walker is overperforming in the general election. But it's true, it was the same thing. I looked at this earlier. That's what I did. , I was looking at this earlier. He is running by 5 percentages. It is a tiny, modest amount.
TAPPER: He's doing better in more places then he was a month ago then Walker was doing a month ago?
KING: Right, by a very tiny amount in most of these rural areas, but tiny amounts -- yes, right, exactly. That's exactly the right expression because he's doing it here where it matters in the major population centers. In the smaller urban areas, Columbus, Augusta, Savannah, where the Democrats live, this -- he's doing better, this is where he's from, this part of the state here are. He's doing better where the Democrats live. And he's also doing a little better in places that tend to vote red. And that has been, again, Stacey Abrams, a strong Democratic candidate, did horribly in rural Georgia. Raphael Warnock doesn't do great but he does better.
And just as we talked about underperforming for the Republicans in the suburbs, Senator Warnock performs. And maybe it's just Herschel Walker, we'll see how this one ends up, but he tends to overperform.
And then you asked the other question. So, where is Warnock underperforming, only in a few counties. And, again, we are not at the finish line. So, to be fair, you need to look at this when we get to 100 percent. But if you get your indications now, the reason -- and is it is not only a 4,000-vote lead. I mean, this is still a competitive race. The issue is when you just walk around to try to look at the places where there are Republican votes, you are at 99 percent.
I'm just picking these counties randomly just to see. And you just see all of them at 99 percent. I'm not trying to make anyone dizzy at home. But you're seeing the 99 percent in these small Republican rural counties, and then you come up here where the Democratic votes are, like DeKalb, 65 percent. And you're just looking -- you're looking 175,000 votes, 15,000 votes, just by comparison, right? So, you've got a third vote still to be counted here. And you come out to these smaller counties. And even if there is still some to be counted, you are talking 16,000 votes.
So, the people, more than 50 percent of the population is right here in the circle, and that's where mostly outstanding votes are. So, again, 4,000 votes, you are not celebrating yet. But understanding where the outstanding votes are, if you are in Vegas, that is your bet.
TAPPER: Right, I still don't know who is going to win. I'd rather be ahead by 4,000 votes than behind by 4,000 votes.
Let's get more on Cobb County, John, if you could punch it up, because Nick Valencia is there, specifically in Marietta. And, Nick, a key election official is with you. I don't think she has IFB though, so you're going to relay the questions that we have for her?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and we're getting updates here from that election official. I want to bring in the chairwoman of Cobb County Board of Elections, Tori Silas. Tori, we got an update a little while ago from Pamela Brown, who tells me 76,000 Election Day votes, 12,000 mail-in votes. Does that matchup with what you are seeing here?
TORI SILAS, CHAIRWOMAN, COBB COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTORS: Well, we don't have numbers that come in essentially. We basically have precincts that drop off their media and everything.
VALENCIA: Which is what you've got here, the line of cars coming, and dropping off these ballots?
SILAS: Exactly, that's correct. And for the most part, the last that I checked, we were at about 125 precincts that have closed, all of the precincts are closed, but they have made it their way back here. So, we've got, what, 22 more to go.
VALENCIA: So, you're more than halfway there. You have 147 precincts, 122, is that right, that have reported?
SILAS: The last I checked, yes.
VALENCIA: And those are day of ballots, right?
SILAS: That is correct.
VALENCIA: But you also -- you're under a court order here to allow ballots, absentee ballots, received until December 9th. Can you tell us a little bit about it and clarify that?
SILAS: Certainly, certainly. So, there were a number of voters that requested absentee ballots. And based upon the day that they requested it and the day that in which we place their ballot in the mail, a lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, the SPLC, on behalf of those voters. And one of our superior court judges issued an order requiring that we extend the date for a particular group of voters, that being those voters that requested applications prior to the 27th, giving them the opportunity to get their ballots back here by December the 9th, which is a date we were already looking, at because that is the UOCAVA date, the date by which military families and U.S. citizens that are abroad can get their ballots back. But those ballots must have been either returned here in-person or, for that matter, postmarked by today.
VALENCIA: So, to punctuate this point, if it's close, like it has been, it could come down to Cobb County, and that's a realistic possibility?
Jake Tapper and our anchor, John King, they have got some questions for you as well. I know you don't have IFB, so I will just relay it for you. Go ahead, Jake.
TAPPER: Just how smoothly is the process going in counting the ballots right now? It looks, from what we can see from our vantage point, like it's going well. There aren't protests. There are observers from both parties, et cetera.
VALENCIA: Yes, how smoothly has this process gone so far? From what we're seeing, from our vantage point, it seems pretty smooth. But you tell us what you are seeing.
SILAS: No. I think as elections days go, it's been a great day. And it's much that none of our polling locations have delayed in opening. They all opened on right on time. We didn't report any issues with respect to closing. There were no memory cards that were left behind, no issues reported to us by poll managers. And I think that is kind of proven out, if you will, by the fact that I believe that just after 10 P.M., and we have, what, just probably -- as I see cars come in, probably 20 more precincts to return.
VALENCIA: You have got to be grateful for that here.
SILAS: I'll take what I can get.
VALENCIA: John, do you have a question?
KING: Yes. I'll sneak in a question one sec, Nick. I just want to note, as we saw, as we're standing here, Herschel Walker has now pulled ahead. It's 50 percent to 50 percent. But Herschel Walker, the Republican, has a 1,922 vote lead. And this is the magic election night, different results are coming in from different places.
Back to where you are Cobb County in, madam chair just said that there are 22 precincts, I believe, if I had the math right, that are still out. The question is -- and it may be not a fair question because I know she's busy, Nick, but do we know where they are in the county in the sense that the precincts that are on this side of the county, the eastern part, closer to Atlanta, are more Democratic. You notice all the red around the west in the northern part of Cobb County. If they're from the more remote areas out here, then Herschel Walker may have some hope because a lot of Republican voters out here. Do we know what is outstanding in terms of where it is geographically in the county?
VALENCIA: So, this may be an unfair question, and this is a bit of a long question. We were updating while we were speaking, Walker took the lead. Do we know which precincts are still outstanding? Because, you know, for our expert there, John King at the magic wall, it can determine which way this could go and give us sort of an insight to how this is going. Do we know which precincts are still outstanding?
SILAS: Unfortunately, I do not know which ones are still outstanding. It's a situation where, you know, I am provided updates. All of the board members that are here working this evening are provided updates with respect to however many precincts are in. But the list doesn't say that these are the precincts that are outstanding.
VALENCIA: And perhaps another unfair question, but I know the viewers want to know when will you be done counting. Do you know?
SILAS: Technically, we won't be done until December the 9th, to be quite honest, because of those UOCAVA ballots. But this evening, again, I feel confident and comfortable that we are likely to finish earlier than we did last month for the general election. I am hoping probably between 11:00 P.M. and midnight.
VALENCIA: 11:00 P.M. and midnight. Thank you so much for the update.
SILAS: I'm hopeful.
VALENCIA: You are hopeful. We are hopeful. Thank you so much for the time here. We know you're really busy. You're actually working in the back here.
John and Jake, we'll throw it back to you and try to get some more updates as they come in.
TAPPER: Thanks, Nick. And, John, while Walker took the lead, tell us where those votes came from.
KING: Right. So, we were talking to Nick and the chairwoman here in Cobb County, they came from here, to the north and to the east, in Forsyth County. Again, this is one of the Republican ex-urban counties. And you see it's the eighth largest county in the state. And Herschel Walker is getting 66 percent of the vote there. That's where we had a large chunk of the votes reported and that's why he took the lead.
And, again, it's just fascinating to just watch the tug-of-war that is today's Georgia, today's Georgia, where if you go back 20 years ago, there's a lot more red in these suburbs. They have become pretty reliably Democratic suburbs. So, what you have around -- just imagine, wherever you live, right, you live in an urban area, you drive out, you have the close-in suburbs. And then you go a little further out where you start seeing maybe a couple of farms still, and then you're out in the ex-urbs the and the box stores and things like that. That is what this is up here, reliably Republican ex-urban areas, and more rural.
If you go north, again, Atlanta is down here. The closer you get to Atlanta, it's more suburban, ex-urban, starts to get a little bit rural out here, Forsyth County, those ex-urban counties giving Herschel Walker some good votes tonight. His problem is closer in Atlanta and the suburbs around it.
TAPPER: All right. The tug-of-war continues, the seesaw with more than 90 percent of the reported. Will the lead in this neck-and-neck race keep flipping as we await more votes?
Coming in, we're going to talk to a key Senate Democrat about the closeness of this race and the stakes. Stay with us.
TAPPER: And I have a key race alert for you right now. If you look on the big board, with 91 percent of the vote in, Raphael Warnock, the incumbent Democratic senator, has taken the lead once more in this seesaw of a night, Warnock with 50.2 percent of the vote, Republican Herschel Walker has 49.8 percent of the vote. He trails by 0.4 percent. Right now, Raphael Warnock has 14,362 votes ahead with 93 percent of the estimated vote in. Still more votes to count.
Let's go to Phil Mattingly, who is at the White House for us. Phil, our Chief White House Correspondent, What are we hearing about the runoff and the very close results from President Biden?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. As close as things are right now, over the course of the last hour, we've picked up some cautious optimism from White House officials as they have been looking at where the votes stand that has not been reported yet, those places where vote is outstanding.
The president was on Air Force One. He has been on the Air Force One for the last several hours, where one official tells me he has been regularly briefed on what his political team has been seeing. And that briefing clearly -- or those briefings clearly left him very optimistic as well. He just planed after landing at Joint Base Andrews. And shortly before boarding his motorcade back to the White House, he was asked how he was feeling about Georgia. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) how do you react to the Georgia Senate race?
REPORTER: We can't hear you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: The joys of trying to get sound when Air Force One is nearby and a large motorcade. What the president said there is we're going to win, we're going to win Georgia.
Now, obviously, no projection has been made right now, but that underscores the sense of optimism as Democrats and as White House officials have been watching this race play out. It is certainly as close as it can possibly be at this moment in time.
But the key thing one official made clear they're looking at right now is where the outstanding vote is. I'll defer to the expert, John King, on those specifics. But it's very clear that the president and his team right now are seeing things that look to them. How that plays out over the course of the next couple of hours will obviously have to see. But the president pretty definitive, saying he believes, at least at this moment, Senator Raphael Warnock is going to win re-election, as it currently stands.
TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly at the White House for us, thanks so much.
We're joined right now on our panel by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democratic of Minnesota, chair of the Senate Rules Committee. Senator, thanks so much for coming in. I really appreciate it.
So, let me ask you a question. The Democrats already are going to have control of the Senate. They're already won 50 seats, you have already won 50 seats with the pickup in Pennsylvania. Why does it matter on a practical level in terms of control of the Senate if you have 51 seats or 50 plus Vice President Harris?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Sure. Well, let me go to the practical and then the moral. The practical is that it will make it easier for us to get nominations to the floor. We've seen a lot of obstruction on that point. A number of the president's nominees are still waiting for key positions in different agencies, judges, even though we've confirmed 90 of them, we have many more to do. But the moral is Raphael Warnock. We love the guy. He is true, amazing patriot in terms of the work that he's done for his state, the leadership he has shown on health care and we want Reverend Warnock back. We're feeling really good about this, all these votes that are out in Fulton County and in the metropolitan area I think bodes well.
We always knew this was going to be a tough race, Jake. No one thought it was going to be a landslide but we feel good.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Okay. Maybe nobody thought it was going to be a landslide. That is very fair. Now at this moment, Raphael Warnock is almost 26,000 votes ahead. But when you sat down, it was like an 800-vote difference. And I want to ask you --
KLOBUCHAR: That's because I'm good luck.
BASH: I'm asking the question that I'm getting from a lot of Democrats tonight, which is, why was it so close given the way that you and others have described and the reality of what Republicans have said about Herschel Walker?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, let's remember that Georgia has been a red state for quite awhile. And it was only two years ago when the nation was stunned because of the quality of our candidates, when Senator Ossoff and Warnock won in a runoff. I don't think a lot of people were saying -- they were not saying, oh, I would bet that the Senate was going to change hands because two Democrats were going to be two Republicans --
BASH: But Herschel Walker was not on the ballot.
KLOBUCHAR: -- in the Senate. So, let's start with that. This is a changeover.
Secondly, we have the fact that the rules have been stacked against us here. Not many states have a runoff. That's why all the other states have been resolved. This is not necessarily good for Democrats, runoffs. It's hard for working people to vote in a runoff.
So, let's go to the next problem. They stack the rules. They made major changes to the rules, including that you could not register in a runoff. In the last election, tens of thousands of people registered in the runoff. We were not allowed to do that in this election.
And, so there were many problems with the changes to the rules. But through it all, Reverend Warnock never gave up. He kept to his core values, pushing health care for the people of Georgia and the country, pushing the work we need to do to have people's back when it comes the economy. And mostly, over 30 percent of voters who voted Democratic in this last election, and this is important, said they voted that way because of democracy.
Donald Trump's shadow looming big-time. Right before this election, he actually said he wanted to terminate portions of the Constitution. Georgians noticed. Last time, they stood up, including moderate Republicans and independents. And I predict when all of these votes are, in they are going to be doing it again, standing up for democracy.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Senator, I mean, such an interesting point that you are making about Trump. I think a lot of people tonight are wondering is Georgia really kind of like a battleground state now in politics. But a big change for Democrats happened last week. We all saw you campaigning really hard in Iowa and New Hampshire, and that calendar for the primaries is changing. And now Georgia and Michigan are added to the calendar. Is Georgia making a case for itself as a real battleground? Do you think that that's real or is it just a Trump effect? KLOBUCHAR: No. I think it is a real battleground. We've seen changes
in the south. We have North Carolina, it has a Democratic governor. We have seen changes all over the country.
BASH: Senator, we are going to interrupt you. I want to go to Jake for an announcement.
TAPPER: That's right. We can now make a projection in the final Senate election of the 2022 midterm elections, CNN projects Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock will win re-election in the Georgia Senate runoff, defeating Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
Warnock, who joined the Senate after a special election victory two years ago, is now poised to serve his first full six-year term. Again, CNN is projecting Senator Raphael Warnock will be re-elected in the state of Georgia, a critical win for Democrats.
This is what it means for the balance of power in the Senate. Democrats now have an outright majority of 51 Senate seats. This strengthens their control of the chamber. Republicans have 49 Senate seats. That's one less, one fewer, than they have now.
Let's check in with our correspondents covering the candidates. Eva McKend is with Senator Warnock. And, Eva McKend, I see behind you people celebrating that CNN has projected Raphael Warnock will be reelected to his first full six-year term, Eva.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Jake. Obviously, it's exuberant in here tonight, and this is what Democrats have been telling me all evening, that this really solidifies Georgia as a true battleground state.
Democrats fought hard in the final hour to get that Saturday voting. They are indicating to me that they think that that was really crucial as well in ushering in this victory tonight. But this still shows that Democrats are still in play in the state. They won no other statewide races during the general election, the governor's race on down. But, tonight, they have a victory. Jake?
TAPPER (voice over): A big victory, a huge victory for Democrats. And, Dana Bash, in the midterm elections, not only did Democrats not lose any Senate seats, they actually picked one up. BASH (voice over): It is really remarkable when you see the map. And you know this, Senator, because they were quite literally all over the map campaigning for and with your colleagues. And those who wanted to be in the Senate, like John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, given every headwind that Democrats have had, they are now one up from where you were before.
KLOBUCHAR (voice over): Yes. But could I just celebrate for one moment. Pretty cool. I came on the set, we were 800 votes behind, and suddenly, here we are. And this is what we thought was going to happen. And, again, democracy on the ballot. The fact that Raphael Warnock and so many of our candidates were high quality, had the back of the people of this country, and then finally, no one wants their freedoms taken away.
And the Dobbs decision and what we saw out of that with moderate Republicans and independents joining Democrats who say, wait a minute, reproductive freedom means something to me. All of those issues were on the ballot in Georgia and Raphael Warnock never wavered. And I'm so happy for him today and for the Senate that we're going to have him back. He's a force.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): So, you had raised a lot of concerns about Georgia, the election law that had been put in place there, you and other Democrats had as well, suggesting it was probably Jim Crow-type legislation that was enacted in the state. We're seeing about 3.3 million voters, according to election officials, showed up today. Is there any evidence that those fears were borne out that you and other Democrats raised over the last year?
KLOBUCHAR (voice over): We don't know what the totals would have been if it would have been easier for people to vote. And what we are seeing across the country -- remember, they were trying to ban standard day voting right before the election. Who does? Usually, when parties lose an election, like what happened with Trump and a number of their candidates in the midterms, they stepped back and say, what should we do about changing our policies or their candidates? What they've been saying is let's change the voters. Let's make it harder for people to vote. Georgians respond to that. They don't like.
BASH (voice over): Yes. In the meantime, we should just actually sort of mark the moment. It's a pretty cool shot right there, the picture that we're seeing from Warnock headquarters, because this is not a -- it's a re-election, but it's actually his first full term. He's run the last few years twice.
PHILLIP (voice over): This is the fifth time he's been on the ballot in two years. Two points about this. Obviously, Democrats really, as Senator Klobuchar knows, worked their butts off in the state of Georgia, going back even before 2020. This has been a many years'-long effort to create a ground game where one really did not exist at the statewide level in the state.
But it is also a catastrophic failure for Republicans to lose two Senate seats in a red state where they could have had a fighting chance because of some really key missteps and failures, frankly, to acknowledge what was happening and respond to it. When Trump basically depressed his own vote, that really sealed the deal back in 2020 and set up a chain of events that has led us to this moment.
For the next four years, at least, Georgia is going to have two Democratic senators. And that is going to give Democrats, for a little while longer, a real opportunity to lock in some of these gains that they have been working on for all of these years. And it is going to be that much harder the next time around for Republicans to try to claw this back. I think that this was a key moment for them and they missed their shot.
BASH: Well, they missed their shot.
And Anderson, I'm sure you're going to talk about this with your panel. It was Donald Trump and his influence in a very negative way in Georgia that set off that chain of events that really hurt them there.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yeah, there's no doubt about that. I mean, Van Jones, it is extraordinary to see this turn of events.
VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh, it feels good. It feels good. You know, Georgia. This is Georgia. This is Georgia. The blood of martyrs still in the soil in that state. People that were lynched, people were beaten, people were enslaved in that state. The idea that not once, not twice, five times you had someone like Warnock be able to be a senator. Six years now. He's going to be there for six years. It's a very, very big deal.
And you got to thank the grassroots. You've got to thank color change. You got to thank black voters' matter; you've got to thank the working family's party. You've got grassroots groups who went out there and fought hard.
And by the way, you've got to thank Stacey Abrams. Because it was Stacey Abrams that may that entire thing even possible. This is beyond our ability to imagine before Stacey Abrams. Sometimes your candidacy loses, but your cause wins. So, congratulations to Obama for being there. And also, thank you Donald Trump, for giving us this opportunity to make even more history.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Georgia, after this midterm, after what happened in 2020, maybe remembered as the state that finally broke Donald Trump. Losing Georgia in the presidential election, losing the Senate race, this is not a state Republicans ought to be losing. And so, when we go through this Republican primary, we need to think about the state of Georgia. It's going to be a swing state in 2024.
And if we go down this road again, I suspect we're going to get the same result. I think Brian Kemp does stand out for me, despite the Democrats -- and congratulations to Senator Warnock. I do think Kemp had a good cycle here and did what he needed to do to show the Republicans that he wants to be a team player. And also, the Georgia elections officials, and the people who wrote
the Georgia voting laws. This was called Jim Crow 2.0 by Joe Biden and others, and everybody voted, good turnout, good election, nothing bad happened. Governor Duncan, all the Republicans down there who took all the grief for that, I think, it should be said this work swimmingly in Georgia, even though Republicans did not get a good outcome in the election system.
COOPER: Well, Geoff Duncan, let me ask you. Do you think this could be good for the Republican Party? Or necessary, this is a necessary step?
GEOFF DUNCAN, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA: Yeah. Let me qualify my answer by saying if you are Republican, you are disappointed and the only way to explain this is candidate quality, right. That's the only way to explain it, what a nine plus point delta between Brian Kemp's margin and where it looks where Herschel Walker is going to finish this up at. So, candidate quality does matter.
Look, we've got a lot of work to do. I think Americans wake up all over this country worried about two things. The direction -- or Republicans wake up, worried about two things. Who's going to take a lead in the party? And what's the economy going to do? People are going to be scared to death more to lose their job and they don't know where the Republican Party is headed.
We need a leader to show up, big time. We need a once in a generation leader to show up that actually understands conservativism, understands the values and the outcomes of making conservatives decisions, and truly challenge Joe Biden in '24. If we don't take our medicine here, it's our fault.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I was just e- mailing with a Republican strategist who was a Walker supporter. And here's what he said. Kemp's ground game with McConnell's money nearly saved what Donald Trump ruined. And he said that every Republican statewide won. What's the difference here? The difference was Donald Trump.
And he said, you know, we have to get over this. We just have to get over this dependence. One other thing I want to note is that Ron Klain, the White House Chief of Staff, tonight tweeted that Biden becomes the first president since FDR in '34 to see every senator of his party who is up for reelection reelected.
JENNINGS: Actually --
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Woah! One, Scott, you know I'm going to come back on that one. [laughter]
JENNINGS: That's for you.
ALLISON: Thank you. There still were long lines. People still had to wait two hours. That's still a form of voter suppression. Just because you win does not mean voter suppression doesn't exist. But I'm still excited tonight. And we get to have a senator who I got to meet eight years ago, who was working at Martin Luther King's church, fighting for voting rights and he's going to go back to the United States Capitol and keep fighting.
To Van's point, you cannot underestimate the grass roots. It was a 10- year strategy to get Georgia to this point. It will be a battleground forever. The thing that I want Democrats to take note is, Georgia doesn't have to be the only one. There are states with diverse populations across this country where people and voters are ignored every single day.
And if we invest in organizers, and we invest in these groups, like Color Change, like BlackPAC, like the AAPI vote, which is the largest voting bloc that is growing in this country, Latino voters, young voters, and independents.
We can have a good '24 because it's not just a once in a lifetime leader that gets the economy. It's about getting the American people. And this election cycle, the American people said I want to know about the economy. I want to know about my constitutional rights. I want to know about democracy. I want to know about education. And they were complex voters that we cannot take for granted.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Well, congrats to you tonight. And I just want to note that once again, Donald Trump caused by party Senate seats. I was advising the same Georgia runoffs in 2020 when he lost those seats by, you know, touting the election lies when it was Purdue and Kelly Loeffler. Once again, he put his hand on the scale, he put up a candidate who was highly unqualified, Herschel Walker, to be in the U.S. Senate.
And so now we're in a position where we have to come around and realize you are not even -- we are losing under him. The fact that in Biden's economy, how poorly the country is doing, the fact that by in large, voters right, left, or center say we're on the wrong trajectory. Yet they're not voting for change. That since 1934, that they have not actually had an incumbent not lose seats in the Senate. That is an indictment of the Republican Party. We need to wake up because we are losing the moment.
BORGER: Can I just say something about the voters here in this whole midterm election. We saw a lot of split tickets. People were voting for candidates. They were not just voting up and down the line. They were taking a look at a candidate's character and experience and saying, you know, I want this person. You know, I'm going to vote for the Republican governor in New Hampshire.
COOPER: That's great.
BORGER: Yeah. It's a great -- it's a development in this country. You know, there are a couple of states that are famous for it, Montana being one of them. But it doesn't happen all the time in this country. And now, I think this is a great development. People are paying attention because the stakes are so high.
JONES: We keep talking about candidate quality.
JONES: And we only talk about it on the Republican side, saying they have negative candidate quality. But I just want to say, you know, Reverend Warnock is an extraordinary human being. He's recognizable in our community as somebody who was working hard for people when he wasn't famous, working hard for people when (inaudible) was in rights, believing in these causes when they were not popular.
And so, he is somebody who that they -- resonance that he has with people. People believe him. And I just -- I don't want to only be you had a bad guy on the Republican side. We had a good man on the Democratic side and that's important.
ALLISON: And he did not change.
JONES: He didn't change.
ALLISON: He could've dragged Herschel Walker through the end zone.
ALLISON: Whatever -- whatever is there.
BORGER: What'd you call.
ALLISON: But he could've dragged him. There was so much material, but he was a man of character.
JONES: That worked.
ALLISON: And said, I know who I am and I'm going to run the race that -- now, I just --
JENNINGS: They did run their fair share of negative, I mean, $50 million, $60 million, $70 million in character smashing ads. So, it wasn't a clean campaign, and fine.
ALLISON: It could have been a lot worse.
JENNINGS: They did what they had to do. But I think on Van's point, one thing I learned about this entire election, people with personal brands, apart from somebody else did well in both parties. Warnock had a brand apart from politics. But the Kemp's and the DeWine's and the DeSantis' and the Abbott's in the Republican Party, they didn't depend on Donald Trump or some other person to define who they are.
And I do think this ticket splitting, Gloria, there's something about being able to define and own who you are that people are responding to.
BORGER: Right. JENNINGS: They don't want you to be a wholly owned subsidiary of some other person or thing. They just want you to be who you are. And Warnock I think got that right in this race. Walker got tagged with Trump and the candidates in the Senate race that got tag that way with Trump, all across the board, lost. And that's a big lesson for the next cycle.
DUNCAN: Every Republican ought to hold Donald Trump accountable for this. And I think the part that bothers me the most, and I spent a lot of time trying to dissect this, is that Donald Trump, it's not out of ignorance or miscalculation, it's out of selfishness. He's not picking these candidates because he thinks it's good for the country or the party. He gave up caring about this country when he lied about the election.
He cares about himself and these candidates that he is picking are pawns. And he's playing a serious game and he's costing us the economy. As a Republican, I'm watching a crumbling economy. I'm watching a foreign policy. I'm watching a border. These are things I care about for my future and my kid's future. That's why we're all in this game.
And we need to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I hope sooner than later he's in the rearview mirror. We need to use this as a pivot point for us to move forward with the GOP 2.0, or call it what you want. We need a new direction that allows us to capitalize on the shortcomings.
GRIFFIN: And very well said. And I think I just want to issue the word of caution, that we have seen Donald Trump come back from the ashes many times. You know, he did poorly in these midterms. The insurrection, he comes back in as the leader the party. It needs to be a wake-up moment. The way that you believe in Raphael Warnock, I want candidates on the Republican side that I believe in that way. And that is just not being put up in some these races.
So, it's time to have that moment of, are we going to keep losing with Donald Trump or are we going to move on?
BORGER: You know, the strategy, the Trump strategy was that the waters would part for him after the midterm elections. And of course, just the opposite has happened. Not to mention his legal problems, not to mention throwing aside the Constitution, et cetera, et cetera. If Republicans don't have the guts to separate, if not divorce at this point, I mean, Republicans in leadership roles, not rank and file, I mean, people leading, then there is a problem.
There is a good group of candidates out there, as you were talking about, Scott. The question is where the followers are going to be. And I think followers want to win. If they believe in what the Republican Party stands for, they want to win.
GRIFFIN: Party leaders, by the way, we've done this historically. Republican Party leaders need to come together and decide how much do we want to lose? Are we willing to band to gather? And by the way, not run 15 or 20 people in 2024. Put our money and our efforts behind a couple of people who can actually beat (inaudible).
ALLISON: But you're going to have to be honest then with the voters. You're going to have to say that Donald Trump lied to them. And that means that at times you lied to them, too. And I do not know if many Republican leaders are going to actually want to do that.
JONES: On the Democrat side, I appreciate you didn't let that -- this hang.
JONES: That was a mic drop.
DUNCAN: There's a difference between want to and need to, right. People might not want to say that they made a mistake and then follow down a rabbit trail about an election fraud and conspiracy theories, you know, all their different nuances in their states, but we need to. To heal and rebuild this party, we need to move past Donald Trump and call it for what it is. It was a mistake and we need to move on.
COOPER: But so many of, I mean, the prominent Republicans in the Senate have -- who once opposed Donald Trump, sold their souls in order to curry favor?
UNKNOWN: That's what I mean.
ALLISON: And so --
COOPER: How do they bounce back from that?
ALLISON: I mean. we've been talking about redemption and grace. And I believe in all of that. But this is still politics, right. And so, people --
BORGER: What does that have to do with redemption and grace?
ALLISON: No, but people --
JONES: I want to talk about pir party --
COOPER: Let her finish. Let her finish. Let her finish.
ALLISON: I just don't think -- I just don't think people are -- the seas have not parted. But they haven't also drowned Donald Trump. And it's because folks are not sure on where they want to fall. And the truth telling that is going to have to happen around why Donald Trump was able to get these types of candidates to win in primaries, and why he was able to get a mob of people to come on January 6th requires some real honesty that I don't know exists in the Republican leadership. Maybe it does. I'm hopeful -- for my country, I'm hopeful, but I haven't seen it yet
UNKNOWN: I mean, he --
COOPER: I think he talked about terminating the Constitution a couple of days ago. And there's still a lot of --
JENNINGS: I've lived through all these undulations. And you're right, he has come back. I just -- I'm telling you in the last month, something has changed.
DUNCAN: Yes, I agree.
JENNINGS: Something has changed. And you had a number of people in Washington, but you've got people out in the middle the country saying, you know what, I'm glad he was there. I liked what he did. I voted for the man. I knocked on doors. But I do not want to lose anymore and I'm tired of carrying this guy's bags. And this has been one of the worst months of his political life. I'm telling you something has changed. And that's what primaries are for. You're right. That's what primaries are for.
COOPER: I want to just quickly go over to Jeff Zeleny at Herschel Walker headquarters. Are we going to hear from Walker tonight, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We are, Anderson. I'm getting word that Herschel Walker is poised to address his crowd of supporters who are still gathering here. They've been told not to leave this arena here at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.
Certainly, a calm air has gone throughout the room here. There was a celebratory, for really quite a lot of the evening as the lead was seesawing back and forth with Senator Raphael Warnock. But we are expecting Herschel Walker to speak here.
I'm told he's been huddling with his advisors and his wife, Julie Blanchard, who is perhaps his closest adviser. Officials I'm speaking to believe he will offer a concession speech, but we certainly will see what he does here behind me here. He is not giving any indication that he would not do that.
Republicans certainly are talking here about how close this race was and they do believe it was close because he made this referendum on Joe Biden. Of course, there will be many recriminations about the type of candidate -- the type of campaign he ran, the type of candidate he was. But for now, at least, tonight the final race of this election cycle is over. And one more handpicked candidate by former President Donald Trump has been defeated.
So, certainly that will be one of the ongoing lessons of this campaign. Even talking to some Republican supporters here, they believe that this was a very winnable race. Look at this very close margin here. They believe this was a race that Republicans could have and should have won.
So, look for many lessons and, you know, recriminations and finger- pointing in the hours to come. But for now, at least, tonight we are expecting Herschel Walker to take the stage here. Of course, he rose to prominence in Georgia because of his football fame. And he will deliver perhaps his final speech of his political life here at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Anderson?
COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks. We'll check in back with you as we await Herschel Walker. And also, Raphael Warnock, Senator Warnock, in likely speaking tonight. Let's go back to Jake at NBC (ph). Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Anderson, thanks so much. While we wait for possibly Herschel Walker and definitely re-elected Senator Raphael Warnock to speak, let's chat some more with our august panel, including of course, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from the great state of Minnesota.
Look, obviously, Raphael Warnock, Senator Warnock ran almost a textbook campaign and I don't want to take anything from his victory because he really -- he did a lot. I have to ask, though, it really seems as though Donald Trump does you guys a favor by picking these candidates for the Republican primaries that are very deferential to him and very supported by the MAGA base, but just lose election after election when it comes to independent middle of the road moderate Republican and Democratic voters.
Whether it's Mastriano and Oz in Pennsylvania, Masters and Kelly Ward in Arizona, and on and on and on. I know you don't want him to run for reelection, but like, he's constantly doing Democrats favors by picking these candidates who can't win.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I guess I think of it a different way. I think that why can't the Republican Party say goodbye? Why can't the Republican Party stand up to him, like Liz Cheney has done, like Adam Kinzinger has done, and a great political risk in her case? He didn't run again, in her case, she got defeated, but they stood up to him.
And I think more people are going to have to do that. And when more people do it, then they actually don't lose. But what's happened here is repeatedly they don't stand up to him. And look at what is happening. You are right. Some of the biggest vote getters in the country were actually people that maybe you didn't hear of. Steve Simon, secretary of state candidate Minnesota, who got the most in our state was running against an election denier.
Or Fontes in Arizona, in Maricopa County despite Mark Kelly's incredible victory, and Katie Hobbs and the like. He did the best in that county. A lot of this has to do with Donald Trump, I agree. But at the same time, I love that we put up candidates that are the real deal. And the state saw through whatever political lens they had, or the, of course, everything everyone's been through with COVID and inflation all over the world.
And they said, you know what, I believe Raphael Warnock is going to have my back and he's going to help our country, and he's the right guy in terms of our democracy. And that we saw all over the country. Everyone that counted us out. we know this. Including maybe a few pundits on this network had counted us out, but we never gave up.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I just wonder, I mean, just a question that I have. You know, in this state of Georgia, the coalition the Democrats needed to win, you know, suburban women, moderates, independents, black voters, just voters of color in general. Just a couple of days ago, President Biden said the next nominee for the party, maybe it will be him, maybe it will be someone else. But the next nominee of the party needs to be able to prove that they can win voters of color. I just wonder if you agree with that and if Georgia tonight makes that case very strongly?
KLOBUCHAR: Yeah. Of course, and I think what you've seen in Georgia is the work of someone who didn't win this time, Stacey Abrams, in building a network and bringing people into the Democratic Party that hadn't voted before. And Raphael and John did the same thing around their state. So, that is a big piece of it.
But also, we've seen across the country they are bringing in independent voters, moderate Republicans, particularly on and reproductive freedom when the Republicans doubled down, so many of those people racing to the governor's offices and state capitals on the Republican side to see who could be the first one after the overturn of Roe v. Wade to permanently ban abortion in their states.
That was part of this election. And not just in Georgia, but across the country. Democrats stood up for a woman's right to make her own decisions about her health care.
BASH: But you know, when you talk about coalitions and where the Democrats are versus the Republicans, we'll see where the demographics of this shake out if we get those numbers, but certainly, we saw in the real election in November.
That this is a real example of Republicans doing well with mostly white voters, who don't have a college education, and Democrats doing well with those who do have a college education, and because you have Georgia, which has not just the city, but the suburbs and exurbs.
TAPPER: I want to go to Atlanta right now where Jeff Zeleny is at Herschel Walker's campaign headquarters. Jeff, I don't know what you're hearing from individuals there about whether or not Mr. Walker is going to come out and speak. Tell us what you're hearing about Herschel Walker's failure.
ZELENY: Jake, I am learning from a senior adviser to the Walker campaign that Herschel Walker will come and address the crowd here before him in just a few moments. And I'm told he will concede this race. I'm told he will concede the race to Senator Raphael Warnock. And it's a race that he described just last night at his final campaign rally as the greatest honor of his life.
He said the Heisman trophy, here of course, from Georgia, other awards were big. But he said running for public office in his home state of Georgia was the biggest honor of his life. And tonight, I'm told he will concede.
Now, he has not been a big proponent of election denialism necessarily. But he has not necessarily pushback on it either. And of course, he was recruited into this race by former President Donald Trump to run. But I'm told he has no appetite for continuing this. He has no appetite for going forward with this race.
In fact, the crowd behind me here was watching on the screen on Fox News as they called this race. And just a hush went over the crowd and really, not much reaction at all. So, there is no sense here at least that this is going to go beyond this evening. Perhaps it will in the mind of some supporters who simply cannot accept election results. But Herschel Walker, at least for his part, I am told will concede here shortly in Atlanta, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much. So, if that is in fact what happens, and I want to predicate that with an if, because Herschel Walker has been nothing, if not, unpredictable. If he does concede, then he will be just the latest in a string of election denying candidates who support Donald Trump's election lies, who themselves have run, got the nominations because of Donald Trump, and then lost and then have conceded.
There are a couple of exceptions in Arizona, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, both are there doing their unhinged thing. But most of the elections deniers that Trump picked, ran, lost, have actually conceded, which I think is an important thing.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. We have seen that. We saw that in Nevada, Adam Laxalt, who was the state attorney general who tried to push to overturn the election results. He conceded. We saw Mehmet Oz concede in Pennsylvania. Blake Masters also denied the election results in 2020, he conceded. We'll see if Herschel Walker decides to that here.
But, you know, this moment is going to just prompt such a significant amount of soul searching among Republicans about exactly what they did wrong here and how to avoid this next time. Next time, they'll have a more favorable map. They can certainly take back the Senate majority. But they could also fail again if they nominate candidates who are lackluster.
These are racists. Republicans are just beating themselves up. There are racists, but they know they could've won. They left on the table. And now they're on the (inaudible).
BASH: They didn't have a horrible map in 2022, this year, at all. I, mean, they were convinced that they were going to take a seat in Nevada. They didn't. They thought that they were to take a seat in Georgia. They didn't. And the list goes on and on. So, you're right. I mean, the soul searching is already underway, right, even before, because of all the other losses.
And the fact that they didn't do as well as they thought in the House and then other losses in the Senate. But the fact that, if you'll just go back to the point that Jeff was making and this reporting that you had made, if he does concede, the fact that we're here where we'll say -- we praise somebody for conceding, which is the norm, is sad. But because that is where we are and because he is a Trump-backed candidate in the state of Georgia, if he does, it is noteworthy. PHILLIP: It is a good thing, but normal is winning in terms of the
norms of our democracy coming back into fashion. And the reality is, is that the only person who thought they could get away with not conceding an election that they clearly lost was Donald Trump. That's the reality of it. He tried to make it a trend, but it was not a trend.
And I think tonight, if Herschel Walker concedes, it will be really incredibly telling about how far this stuff really goes, which is the answer is, really not very far. The American public is pretty tired of this stuff. I mean, when we look back at the midterm election results, voters were so dissatisfied with the economy, so dissatisfied with both political parties, but also dissatisfied with the state of our politics.
And they said so by rejecting some of the most extreme figures that were out there who were running on things that were just not palatable to where the average American was. And Republicans right now, there are so many Republicans on Capitol Hill who are just shouting, please listen to that message.
And it's still, I think, as we sit here an open question whether or not the party writ-large will as we go into a presidential cycle and as we go into another midterm.
TAPPER: Well, I have to say something to Herschel Walker. Yes, I agree with you 100% he shouldn't get brownie points for doing a normal thing for conceding, which is what adults do in elections. This is a guy who is not a good person. Herschel walker, I mean, now that it's over, I think I can say this, conveyed to voters in Georgia that he regularly would impregnate all sorts of women, and either pay for their abortions, or abandon their children, period.
This is -- that's not -- how Christian Republicans who voted for him, well, is beyond me. And I suspect we're going to hear in the coming days that a lot of them didn't or did -- just didn't vote. Jeff Duncan, lieutenant governor, said the other day, Republican lieutenant governor, who is a serious Christian conservative, said he couldn't vote. He just went into ballot and he went into the vote -- and there's only one election. He went in there and didn't vote.
The man -- and I think he lost the election when his son, Christian Walker, did a, I think it was a TikTok video or an Instagram video talking about --
BASH: And he's responding right now, too.
TAPPER: Talking about how his father had abandoned him. And we know there were at least three other children like that, that Herschel Walker abandoned.
PHILLIP: And can I just say in the birthplace of the American civil rights movement, there is a reason that Raphael Warnock ended his campaign leaning into this idea that Herschel Walker was an insult to Georgia voters. But he was also talking directly to black voters who felt that, who felt that by Republicans basically picking the most popular, most well-known name of a black Republican, of putting them out there, that that was an insult to black voters who expected more from their candidates.
That was part of the pitch from the Warnock campaign at the end. And I think it matters because in Georgia, voting matters, especially to black voters who fought and bled and died for the right to be able to do it. And that's why I think you saw the turnout the way that it was, and the lines as long as they were, and the turnout among black voters for Democrats as high as it was.
TAPPER: Let's bring in Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan who is on our panel. And Geoff, I'm sorry for -- I apologize, but as a father, I find it just so appalling to see somebody behave the way that Herschel Walker did to his kids, just abandoning them, not being part of their lives, and then running as a Christian, running as an observant man. But you tell us. You went into the voting booth and you didn't vote.
DUNCAN: Well, I just want to make sure we clear the record. I walked in the lines, stood there like everybody else did. And I knew exactly what I was going to do because nobody had earned my vote. I walked in, opened up the machine, saw two names, neither one of them had earned my support, hit print, and walked the empty ballot up to the scanner and walked out of the booth.
It was unfortunate, I wanted to get there. I'm a Republican. I've been a conservative my entire life. I've probably been a conservative a lot longer than Herschel Walker or Donald Trump combined. And so, it matters to me, but it certainly -- this is part of the process, Jake. I didn't go in their lightheartedly. I didn't go in there to make a news story.
I went in there to start making a difference, and to be bold enough to be able to look forward instead of looking backwards. And if we're Republicans and we're serious about winning the White House and winning majorities, we're going to have to look forward instead of backwards.
TAPPER: So, you aren't going to vote for Raphael Warnock because he is a progressive Democrat and you are conservative Republican.
TAPPER: Why didn't you vote for Herschel Walker?
DUNCAN: Well, yeah, I've said this along the way, he didn't earn my respect or my vote throughout the process. I mean, was it the part that he actually lived in Texas and try to call Georgia home? Is it the fact that he never articulated a single conservative policy position, not one single one. Was it that he took on the allegations about his personal behavior by calling everybody a liar? Or if you just add them all together. That's why I got to that point.
TAPPER: So, obviously, Governor Brian Kemp, who was overwhelmingly re-elected in November on the same ticket where neither Warnock nor Walker were able to get 50%. Obviously, he did a lot to try to help bring Walker across the finish line. The message seemed to be basically a partisan message of we need Republicans representing us in the U.S. Senate. Did that bother you? Did you think Governor Kemp was wrong to do that?
DUNCAN: No. Governor Kemp has earned the right to endorse anybody he wants to. And certainly, Governor Kemp, while this race was as close as it is, right? I mean, it's going to be within a couple of points and I think a major part of that is Brian Kemp.
But I want Republicans all over the country to look at Brian Kemp and see what he's done and model their campaigns, model their political futures after what he did. He simply got up every day for a year and pointed to his record.