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CNN Live Event/Special
Voting Extended In Mississippi's Largest County; Democratic Gov. Beshear Leading In Kentucky; New CNN Poll: Biden Approval At 39 Percent, 61 Percent Disapprove; Democratic Gov. Beshear Leading in Kentucky; Control of Virginia's State Legislature Up for Grabs; Some in GOP Worry Biden's Bad Polls are Helping Trump's Chances. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 07, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is about eight percent of the population. And it is, if you go back in history to the presidential race, Joe Biden did not do well in the state of Mississippi, but he did in Hinds County.
So the fact that they just have voters in line, if you're the Democratic candidate in a Democratic county, that you have voters in line and the court said, give them an extra hour, let's let people vote, that would encourage you.
I want to come out to the main map, because look, this is not a kind state, it has not been a kind state to Democrats, especially at the presidential level, but even at the statewide level in a very long time.
So Democrats who think they might be having a good night, easy.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Easy.
KING: But, a court leaving the ballot opened, Dianne saying there are lines there, and this race that we know is unusually competitive, it means you keep watching it.
Now let's come back to where we are as we wait. We still have no votes in in Mississippi. We do here, another one, again, in this tough national climate for Democrats, you have an incumbent Democratic governor in a very red state, 56 percent of the voting now, right?
I told you earlier, watch down here and a lot of them are starting to slowly fill in, right? These are the conservative counties, but Daniel Cameron, getting only 51 percent of the vote there. Let's just go back in time to 2019, Andy Beshear getting 46 percent, so the incumbent doing a little better. But here's what you look at here. Go back to the presidential race,
Donald Trump getting 74 percent here. And so the margins -- the margins are not going Daniel Cameron's way if you know that in the urban areas that Andy Beshear is running it up.
TAPPER: But take it back to Matt Bevin, if you could.
KING: Pick one. Here we go. Yes. Matt Bevin, 2019.
TAPPER: So Matt Bevin, 2019. But the thing the thing to point out here is that Matt Bevin was incredibly unpopular. So the idea that Daniel Cameron and again, this is early, the votes are still coming in in Muhlenberg County --
KING: But let's come to real time, so remember that, 4,500 votes for Matt Bevin in the fall --
TAPPER: Fifty-two percent.
KING: Fifty-two percent. You come back here we are now.
TAPPER: So he's underperforming. As of right now, we can still -- but he is underperforming, Daniel Cameron and Matt Bevin, and again, this is going to be filled in. he is going to do better than that. But --
KING: Could be early ballots, which tend to be more Democratic, but to your point, here's another way to look at it. Here's the race filling in right now, right? And so this is compared to 2019, right? Is Andy Beshear over performing himself? Yes.
In every one of these counties, even the ones that are red, Andy Beshear, at the moment, 56 percent of the vote in. This can change, but at the moment, he is running ahead of his election four years ago, in most of the state.
If you're an incumbent and you're over performing your last election, I can't we have to see how much of these are mail-in ballots, how much of these are early ballots. There is more to come.
But if you're Andy Beshear at the moment, you're looking at this map. You're winning those two counties out there I told you about you know, Trump won. Andy Beshear won. Can he hold them? He's holding them.
He's adding to his wins out here. More blue counties than he had last time at the moment, he should do it.
But if you're in the Beshear headquarters, you're now up to 56 percent of the estimated vote. He won by 6,000 votes last time.
KING: He is ahead by 45-plus, 46-plus now. A ways to go, but if you're a Democratic incumbent in this climate, you like what you see on the map.
TAPPER: Right. And again, early yet. We still have 44 percent of the vote left to come in.
My point is Daniel Cameron is regarded within the GOP and even I think just within political circles in Kentucky, nonpartisan ones, as something of a superstar, right?
TAPPER: He is regarded highly as somebody with a very bright political future. You do not want Matt Bevin to be overperforming you in any way, shape, or form. He was a political dud.
KING: Well, he was a dud who also had some -- he had some institutional Republican state problems because he ran against Mitch McConnell.
TAPPER: People hated him.
KING: In the tea party primary --
TAPPER: People hated him.
KING; And then he became governor, but a lot of Republicans still didn't like him.
KING: And McConnell didn't like him because he ran against him in a primary. He lost, but then he became governor. So yes, Cameron is much more liked in the party, and you see the numbers go.
We have to get to the final number, but you're right. He is considered a rising star.
KING: A rising state star who they like to be a national star for the Republican Party. He was, as one of the Republican attorneys general, that if Andy Beshear can hold on to this, you know, he's not a very flashy guy, right? He's not -- you know, a lot of people say, oh, he's boring. Oh, he's dull.
Oh, guess what, if he holds on to this, he's going to get a lot of attention of how did you do that here?
TAPPER: Right. And again, it is caveats, he still could win. I'm not saying he won't. And if he doesn't, he still could go on to become a senator and a presidential. I'm not saying anything along those lines. I'm just saying he wants to be doing much better right now than he is right now.
KING: Yes. He is not running up numbers in the rural areas where Trump did so well. Again, he's at 59 percent. You go back to the presidential race right there, Trump is at 77.
KING: So it just shows you that Andy Beshear is competitive with Republican voters.
Joe Biden is getting 22 percent in this county, come back to where we are now, Andy Beshear is getting 40 percent. So again, that's 80 percent of the voting in that one Ohio County.
So Andy Beshear is proving that people who voted for Donald Trump for president are voting for Democrat, Andy Beshear for governor. Plain and simple.
TAPPER: Show me some of the other Democratic counties where Andy Beshear needs to really drive up the vote.
KING: So here's where you just run it up and it is only 30 percent of the vote. Again, we talked about this. Remember, we do in the presidential race. We had such a small percentage of the votes in Philadelphia and Joe Biden had 80 percent.
Well, he only has 30 percent in, he's getting 70 percent. Now again, this -- it is disproportionately early voting that trend Democratic, so watch if it stays, but if --
He got 67 percent in Jefferson County, it's 17 percent of the state population. If he got 67 percent four years ago, if he's at 70 percent, he's going to win the election. If he stays at 70 percent or near 70 percent, in -- big just because of the population. And so he's above his metric there.
Now, you move over here to Fayette County. Again, they are up. So there's two ways to look at this. He's getting 72 percent of the vote, which is three or four points higher than he did four years ago. You're almost done. So there's not a lot more math coming in there.
But that's more than what he -- more than what your metric was if you were using Matt Bevin as your metric. He's ahead of that.
And again, up here in two counties, Donald Trump won both of these counties against Joe Biden. Andy Beshear, he has 10 points. It's 10 points, but it's 10 points in place Donald Trump won with the presidential race, by almost 20 --
KING: You know, by almost 20. So you have Any Beshear proving in places -- I mean, I'm going to do this again. This is Andy Beshear, all of those blue counties right now, he is leading, we're not done. We have to still count votes.
That's Andy Beshear's ability in red state, Kentucky. That's Joe Biden's. Two. Two. It's a red state. It's a conservative state.
You know, Joe Biden was never going to have a chance here. But this is the state that early -- in 2016, when the results started to come in in Kentucky, this was our first clue that we knew Donald Trump was going to win in 2016, but the turnout. He was outperforming Romney, outperforming Bush. People were coming
out of the woodwork to vote for Donald Trump. So Kentucky does give you clues about enthusiasm, and at the moment in 2023, in this national climate for Andy Beshear, at the moment, again, to be fighting this off with a 44,000-vote lead is quite impressive.
One other quick point if I can, I just wanted to come to Ohio on the constitutional right to abortion.
KING: It's leading quite comfortably right now including Donald Trump on Lake County. We used to go out all the time when Ohio was competitive, people would go out to Stark County as a swing County in Ohio, it's where Canton Ohio, with people who would go out there and say this is your bellwether county in America.
Donald Trump won it quite handily. It's not a bellwether county anymore. It's a Republican county and yet, 64 percent at the moment, 20 percent of the vote in in Stark County, 20 percent vote in statewide in a state Donald Trump carried handily, a lot of this up here was red for Trump. It's green for yes, on abortion rights.
TAPPER: Go back to Kentucky for one second, then I'm going to throw it to Dana. Just the one other thing just when it comes to bellwethers, and we don't know how this night is going to end for either Mr. Cameron or Mr. Beshear, but the last five governor's races in Kentucky were bellwethers for how the country was going to vote for president the next year.
The last time Beshear won, a Democrat -- Beshear won, the Democrat took the White House and all the times before that. How Kentucky goes into governor's race for the last five cycles, the White House followed their lead.
We'll see what happens next time and we'll see how it goes tonight -- Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR AND POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. Very, very interesting.
And on that note about Kentucky, how the voters are going to go is what we're watching, but also the two candidates, the characters who we are watching in Kentucky are each very, very interesting because they're both young and they are both unique.
I mean, obviously Daniel Cameron is an African-American running as a Republican in Kentucky and then Andy Beshear, if he wins will be a second-term Democratic governor in Kentucky.
So no matter who wins, it will be an instant national profile and looking at them for what it means for the future of their parties.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Also, the question of you know what politics matters and as Governor Beshear has tried to kind of localize the race to a degree, that is not what Daniel Cameron has tried to do. He's tried to tie Andy Beshear to President Biden multiple times throughout this campaign, based on the numbers right now and who knows, we'll see what they look like.
I mean, it doesn't appear to be working, and remember when Daniel Cameron won a very crowded primary, there were a lot of Republicans who wanted to run against Governor Beshear, he came out and said, you know, the MAGA culture, the Donald J. Trump culture is alive and well in the state of Kentucky and Trump obviously endorsed him in this race. That does not appear to have helped him at this point, based on what we're seeing right now.
BASH: I just want to say, as we're talking about Kentucky, the polls in Mississippi did just close at the top of the hour, about nine minutes ago, we are waiting for those votes to come in.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR OF "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY": Yes, I mean, I think Kentucky is such an interesting example of how voters can sometimes hold multiple thoughts in their minds at the same time.
It's a state that has been basically power sharing at some of these state level positions for some time. Andy Beshear, a Democrat in a pretty red state where he has a Republican Secretary of State, a Republican attorney general. We just called the Secretary of State race and the Attorney General race for the Republicans tonight, so that could very well continue.
Sometimes, and we have to remember this, sometimes voters are not taught totally driven by ideological concerns and in fact, in some of these states and we see this sometimes in Virginia actually quite a lot, they like to see their government kind of split up, so that there isn't full control over the levers of power by one political party.
And particularly at a time where the mood is so incredibly negative and sour, I think we could be seeing so much more of that as we go forward. I think that's what we saw in 2022 when Republicans were expecting a red wave, and voters said, hold on, we're going to split this up a little bit, because we think both parties need a check on their power in this moment.
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I mean, a couple of things.
Kentucky, first of all, still has -- and I kind of love this because as our politics have flattened and become national, right, it starts -- it's mattered a little less what's going on in a state.
Beshear is a family name in Kentucky, right? It's got a long tradition of how they're Democrats --
BASH: His father was Governor.
HUNT: Exactly. Having Democrats win in statewide offices, so there is some of that still at play here, which I think, you know, makes for a little bit more of an interesting thing.
I had one smart democratic source point out that they think in their numbers that that voters are still looking at how people handled COVID and people felt good about how Andy Beshear handled that then, which I thought was potentially interesting.
But I think big picture, you know, what does it say about Joe Biden? And what might happen in 2024? I kind of wonder if it doesn't give a little bit of credence to the argument they're trying to make the Joe Biden has been continually underestimated. And at the end of the day, he's going to come out on top.
Because we did see that, we have seen that and, you know, the numbers are so bad in the polls that I don't necessarily always want to give this to them when they're trying to spin us and tell us no, this is fine. It's fine. It's all going to be fine.
But the reality was, we did count him out after New Hampshire. He came back. There have been several instances where that's happened. Part of me wonders if the trend that you know if it's continuing, what does that mean for him? We'll see.
BASH: Well, the votes are still coming in in Kentucky, in the governor's race as we were just talking about. Also on the abortion rights ballot measure in Ohio. We are also waiting for the results to start coming in, in Mississippi where polls closed almost 12 minutes ago and we're digging deeper into CNN's exclusive new poll, the bleak message for President Biden from a disgruntled electorate.
TAPPER; And we have a key race alert for you, when it comes to the battle for the Virginia legislature. Let me turn right now to the Virginia legislature. In the House of Delegates, Democrats are leading in 40 seats. Republicans are leading in 43. You need 51 of those seats to control the House of Delegates.
In the Virginia State Senate, Democrats are currently leading in 17 seats, Republicans are leading in 18 seats needed to control the State Senate of Virginia, 21. Right now Democrats control the State Senate, Republicans control the House of Delegates.
There is an effort by both parties to control each one. We're getting more results from CNN's new 2024 presidential poll and CNN's David Chalian has those numbers.
David, what are voters saying about the job President Joe Biden has done as president?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Jake, the country has soured on Joe Biden. There's just not another way to put it.
According to our latest CNN poll conducted by SSRS, a national poll gives us this snapshot in time, Biden's approval rating is 39 percent in our poll, 61 percent disapprove of the job he is doing. Look at it by party, you see that even among his fellow Democrats, he's only at 77 percent approval in this poll, only a third of Independents approve of the job he's doing, and of course, as you might imagine, only five percent of Republicans.
How are things going in the country today? Badly say nearly three- quarters of respondents in this poll, 72 percent, things are going badly in the country today. Only 28 percent say they're going well.
Again, that astonishing number on whether or not Biden has the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president, only 25 percent of poll respondents say that he does have the stamina, 74 percent say no.
And I know you're a history buff like I am, and so look here on this chart of where Biden's modern day predecessors were in their approval rating at this point in their presidency. And Jake, you see, Biden is down there between Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter. You may know that is down in the category of one-term presidents. He clearly wants to turn that around, and he's got a year to do so -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, David Chalian, thanks so much.
Erin Burnett, throwing to you in New York.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, so let's talk through some of this. David Axelrod, let's start with where David Chalian just finished.
The territory of one-term presidents going back to Jimmy Carter. I jotted this down, Jimmy Carter was at 32 percent. That's worse.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
BURNETT: Okay, but that's about as bad as it can get.
AXELROD: Yes, I mean, he lost -- look, the difference here is that he isn't running against Ronald Reagan. He's not running against some fresh face. He's running against Donald Trump and that's what gives him hope, and I think also --
BURNETT: Who is the only other person at that low level, close to that low level.
AXELROD: I mean, his numbers are equally bad, though on you know, in other polling and in some -- here, there are comparatives, as we talked about earlier on this foreign leadership question and so on that are discouraging.
I would only say this, whether it's fair or not and Joe Biden has a lot of accomplishments to his credit -- he led the country through the pandemic. And, you know, while inflation is still the prism through which people are looking at the economy; on jobs and some other measures, he's done quite well.
Despite all of those facts, he and maybe no incumbent president at this juncture is going to win a referendum on their own performance. He has to frame the choice and he has to frame it aggressively and he has to frame it right away because if nothing else, these are -- these are flashing red light here.
BURNETT: Oh, so David went through Independents and I just want to say overall of course, right now, you've got Independents -- political Independents, 45 percent Trump, 41 Biden.
And as David was just laying out only a third of Independents think that Joe Biden is doing a good job. You know, there are, you know, many who make the argument that Independents is where you win and lose, that people end up going to their corners and Independents is where a race is lost.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I also say Independent are very affected by the sort of distance to win the election is going to be, it's a year out. We don't know how close they're paying attention and what they see in Trump.
And you know, one of the things I think I'm most compelled by is that, and David and I talked about this earlier, Barack Obama grew his electorate, right? He broadened that coalition. But I don't ever remember anybody saying Joe Biden was added to the ticket, because he really drew the youngs and in the bipods (ph).
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But he do very well on the young.
CORNISH: Maybe, but I don't think --
AXELROD: By the way, the one place he is doing well in these polls is among voters over 65.
BURNETT: By the way, I know what you're shaking around, I know. Are you about to do it again?
CORNISH: I think I know.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am not going to go back. I'm going to go back to my Chalian board. I am just going to say that the one thing that can't be fixed.
CORNISH: I understand the stamina thing.
URBAN: The thing that can't be fixed is stamina. The other point, I just want to put -- that number to point at, 71 to 61, right? The enthusiasm gap. David talked about that. That's substantial.
CORNISH: Well, that's what I'm talking about. I think there is a return --
URBAN: Not substantial. That's huge.
CORNISH: Go ahead.
KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Go ahead, Audie. Go ahead. But can we just go to what is actually happening tonight, right? So we have voters voting tonight. We have -- and we have a long way to go. There are a lot of votes still coming in. Obviously, a lot of races yet to be called. A lot going on.
But so far, we are seeing lower Republican turnout than was anticipated. We are seeing Democrats turnout. We obviously see the numbers in Ohio, abortion clearly motivating voters.
So you know, there is a lot of opportunity here. Yes, is there work for Joe Biden to do on these numbers? Of course, I think he would say that if you were sitting here. But there is an enormous opportunity for him, because these issues, there's enormous space for him to grow.
And so I think we should rather than looking at a poll a year out which yes, does it have some informative information? Of course, it does. All polls do. But no poll is definitive. But people are voting right now.
GRIFFIN: I've been trying to make sense. And I apologize, because we've just been torturing Kate tonight, but I've been trying to make sense of this number that is a dream to Republicans where voters ages 18 to 34, Trump is outperforming with them. Gen Z and millennials are the two biggest voting blocs going into this election.
That is not traditional that they would be siding more with the Republican candidate over the Democrat on issues, whether it's climate change, reproductive rights, they tend to skew liberal. I think it goes back to the magic issue of age. And despite the fact that Donald Trump and Joe Biden are only three years apart, perception becomes reality in politics.
URBAN: The vigor.
BURNETT: So there are, of course, as we all know, in the political discourse in this country, Van, Democrats who say that anyone who votes for Trump somehow has some sort of a closet racist, or that no Latino would vote for Trump because of the wall and his immigration policies. And yet, in those two groups, that is not what you see at all in this poll.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's because these groups are not monolithic. Part of what's going on here, is that there is a college-noncollege dynamic happening among people of color. Sometimes, it looks like a gender gap because you have more Black women with college degrees than Black men.
But there is a college-noncollege dynamic here, and I think what you're beginning to see is the working class is beginning to slide more and more toward the Republican Party, and that's something that I don't think that Democrats are prepared for, have responded to well yet.
Sometimes Democrats seem to like we're the party of people who eat a lot of kale. Right? That that's the most important criteria --
AXELROD: Well, you don't? And want to teach you how to eat kale.
JONES: Exactly. But the good news is --
BURNETT: Who likes kale?
JONES: The good news is this: We are a year out. The good news is that we are a year out and I am glad that we're getting this news on this election night and not one in a year from now.
BURNETT: All right, all stay with us.
Still ahead, will Democratic governor, Andy Beshear's lead hold in Kentucky? The crucial question right now as more results are coming in there.
And standing by right now, for the first big round of results in the Mississippi governor's race, we'll be back with all of that in just a moment.
TAPPER: Let's go now into the key contests in the Virginia legislature where CNN is able to make some projections in the early going in the battle for control of both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate.
In the House of Delegates, CNN can project, the Democrats have won 23 races while Republicans have won eighteen so far. A reminder, 51 seats are needed to control that chamber, which is currently controlled by Republicans.
In the Virginia Senate, CNN can project that five Democrats have won their contest compared to six Republicans; 21 seats are needed to control the Virginia Senate.
Let's look at the other boards that we have going right now. A key race alert, right now with the Kentucky governor's race with 65 percent of the vote in, incumbent Democratic governor, Andy Beshear remains ahead by 38,387 votes with 52 percent of the vote in, still ahead; Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, who has 48 percent. We are still waiting for 35 percent of the vote.
Let's look at Ohio right now where there is a referendum to put a constitutional right to abortion in the state constitution. Yes, right now is far in the lead with 22 percent of the vote in, 235,720 votes ahead to be precise with 63.4 percent of the vote. No has 36.6 percent of the vote.
In Mississippi, with just a little bit of the vote in, the Democrat Brandon Presley is ahead by 537 votes with 71.4 percent of the vote; incumbent Republican governor ,Tate Reeves has 26.6 percent, but that is just a few votes. We're still waiting for some serious numbers to start coming in in Mississippi.
John Kane, you're looking exactly at what I want you to be looking at, which is Kentucky. We have 66 percent of the vote in. I know we're still waiting. And I know that anything could happen. But boy, Governor Beshear has got to be feeling pretty good right now, I would think.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very good. Very good. And look, there's no reason to get way out ahead of the numbers, right? That is a path. Your eyes tell you. Your eyes don't lie to you. You have a Democratic incumbent and a very tough climate, who just barely won last time by about 6000 votes, who's 37,000 votes ahead with 52% of the vote. 52/48, it's a four-point race. It's competitive. So you can say, why don't you call it? Well, because he's ahead. Let's just say he's ahead. He's running an impressive campaign. He's meeting all his tests. But you see the gray, there are still 13, 14 counties. Last time I counted where we have no votes yet. No votes.
Most of them I'll just pop one up randomly, Monroe County, bottom half of the state is 120 counties in Kentucky. This one's 97 in terms of population, 0.2% of the state population. So they're not a lot of votes there. So Daniel Cameron could get 60% or 70%. That's not a lot of math.
However, you come over here Daviess County, this is the seventh largest county in the state. It's about two, two and a half percent of the statewide population. So you wait, just to be cautious, especially in an age when people are questioning election results or questioning is the media getting out ahead of itself. Let's just count votes, let's just count votes.
But if you're in the Andy Beshear headquarters right now, you're looking at that, and you're thinking we not only met our metrics, in a lot of places, we're exceeding our metrics. I did this earlier. And I said, you know, is he overperforming? How he ran four years ago, right? And I said, let's be careful, because we read about 50% of the vote then. So let's look at it again. Right, let's click that up here. Just about everywhere. I mean, it --
TAPPER: Explain what we're looking at right now, because I don't understand.
KING: So every one of these counties that has illuminated, Andy Beshear is running stronger now than he did four years ago when he won in 2019. So even these red counties, even in places where Daniel Cameron is winning, Andy Beshear is doing better than he did four years ago.
So you say, wow, he's getting, you know -- he's getting whipped here, right, whooped. But he's doing better than he did four years ago. If you come back here, and you look and you come in here, 29% 20 -- you know, it's 27%. So you might not think that's a big deal. But you're --
TAPPER: It adds up.
KING: It adds in the small rural counties, that's how Trump wins in places. Here you see the small rural counties, Trump runs it up, with huge numbers, any votes Andy Beshear can get in these red places, is bonus. So you take that off, and you come back to the real vote. Now, this is the full vote. That's 2019.
TAPPER: That rural county had, he's up like about 1000 votes than where he was last time.
TAPPER: There's 120 counties?
KING: 120 counties. So if you're up 50 votes here, 60 votes there, all performing last time. And so then the question -- if Andy Beshear is doing that, then Daniel Cameron's only option is to take it back in places like this, right, in the Democratic areas and he's not. Andy Beshear is running ahead. He was 67% in Jefferson County, by far, the biggest largest most populous county 17.2%, statewide population. He was at 67%, four years ago. He's running at 72% now.
So if -- it's the simple way to look at it, is Andy Beshear is getting even in these red places. He's getting votes. He's -- somebody is not competitive, but he's getting votes. And Daniel Cameron is not chipping into his margins in the Democratic areas. And again, this is what Andy Beshear is doing at the moment. And you just look at this state. Joe Biden won two counties. He won Jefferson and he won Fayette. Andy Beshear is winning, is even adding. It's not done yet, but he's winning more counties now than he did four years ago, which tells you as an incumbent governor in a tough climate, he's been able to sell to brands that sell that message that this is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about getting through COVID together. This is about building roads together. This is about dealing with disasters together up against a strong candidate. OK, who's this? He's won statewide.
TAPPER: Oh sure. Superstar Republican, people have a lot of hopes and dreams for him. Even if he does not win tonight. You're not -- you haven't heard the last of Daniel Cameron.
Let me ask you a question that we're going to hear from some Biden supporting Democrats tonight and tomorrow assuming that Andy Beshear is lead holds, which is, is this Andy Beshear defying the Biden drag, or are we underestimating Joe Biden? I mean, I know what I think. And I think I know what you think but -- but there are going to be Biden supporting Democrats out there who say, why aren't you giving Biden credit for what's going on here with Andy Beshear?
KING: Because Joe Biden won two counties in this state. You know, it's --
KING: When I first started doing this --
KING: When I first came, it was 1988. Kentucky had Democratic senators. Kentucky was considered semi competitive.
TAPPER: Are you referring to Wendell Ford?
KING: Wendell Ford was from -- you know, and so it's not anymore. It nationally, it is a red state. However, look, Kate Bedingfield made the point earlier, right? Democrat, if Democrats have a good night tonight, does that tell you that running on issues like abortion, Andy Beshear, he also runs running on his name and his brand. The Biden brand is not strong right now. The Biden brand is not strong right now.
TAPPER: But the issue -- but the issue template might be strong.
KING: On the issue template, maybe. Yes, maybe especially again --
KING: Joe Biden, you know, come to the initiative in Ohio. I'm not going to posit tonight that Joe Biden is going to be competitive in Ohio. That's not a criticism of Joe Biden. Donald Trump won Ohio by eight points. It's been trending Republican for a long time. However, right now with about a quarter of the vote in the Constitution right to abortion, right? Donald Trump won Lake County. Donald Trump won Starr County. Donald Trump won a lot of these green counties that are voting in favor of abortion rights. That issue is working for progressives, abortion right forces, Democrats call them what you will, but the issue is working for them. The issue clearly worked for Andy Beshear, who, you know, it's interesting, we don't have exit polling in Kentucky. It would be fascinating to have a study in Kentucky after this. How much of it is the Beshear brand, which in Kentucky is a lot stronger than the Biden brand, right? It's a family name. It's a legendary family in the state. And how much of it is issues. That's a great study and a great debate. Let's get through the election first.
TAPPER: Too closely watched governor's races in Kentucky and in Mississippi, unfolding right now, as Democrats test their strength in these red states. More votes coming in. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We have a key race alert for you now. We're getting some new votes in from Mississippi, from the important governor's race there and you see that incumbent Republican governor Tate Reeves has taken the lead. He has 397 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger. Governor Reeves with 56.4% of the vote. Democratic challenger Brandon Presley who is second cousins with the great Elvis Presley has 41.1% of the vote.
Now to CNN's Jessica Dean. Oh, you want to go to Kentucky? OK. Cool, the Kentucky governor's race, the Democratic incumbent governor there is 52,168 votes ahead with 52.4% of the vote. Still ahead, still leading over to the Attorney General the Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is 47.6% of the vote. That's with 74% of the vote in. We're still waiting for about a quarter of the vote in. But Governor Beshear has had a commanding lead for much of the night.
In Ohio, where Ohio residents were voting on whether or not there should be a constitutional right to an abortion whether the state constitution should be amended. The yes votes with a commanding lead with about a quarter of the vote in, 219,784 votes ahead. Yes, with a 61% vote count as of now no with 39%. Yes, with a commanding lead as it is had all night. We still have about three quarters of the vote to come in. Now, we go to CNN's Jessica Dean, who is in Virginia, following the high stakes fight for the control of the General Assembly and House of Delegates and the State Senate. Jessica, you have a special guest.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I do. Jake, as we are waiting for all of these results to come in just to give everyone the state of play, as we went into election night, every house and Senate seat in the state of Virginia are up for grabs. And currently Democrats hold the Senate Republicans hold the House. And of course, Democrats are hoping to flip the house. And I'm here with delegate Don Scott, who is the Minority Leader of House Democrats here in Virginia, you're hoping that that changes and you are poised to be House Speaker, the first black person to ever hold that title if it happens. What are you seeing tonight? And what are you taking away as we're watching these election results come in?
DON SCOTT, (D) VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Thank you. I believe that voters are sending a message to all of us. Democrats and Republicans that the number one issue that they care about is freedom. They want bodily autonomy. Women want control of their own bodies. They don't want the government in the middle between them and their doctors. They want to make their own decisions. And people want to have voting choice. People want to make sure that we take care of the everyday kitchen table issues, make sure we take care of economy, go back to the bases, make sure that people have a fair shot in this economy, make sure that we provide in great health care, make sure providing a first-class education to our children, and making sure that we keep our schools safe from gun violence. And I think those are the issues that are resonating with voters today.
DEAN: And, you know, we national media, we've talked a lot about the abortion issue. Democrats have really leans heavily into that here in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin has proposed a 15 week ban with the exception for rate and says for the life of the mother. He has not emphasized it as much on the campaign trail. When asked about it, he'll talk about it. But you all have really leaned into that message. Why? SCOTT: Well, we think that women have told us we didn't have a choice, because this is the concerns of the voters hand. People want to believe that we're living in a country where women can make their own choices about their own bodies. And that's a basic right, that intimacy around your own body and debate to make that decision. My mother is 88 years old. I never thought I have a 14-year-old daughter. I never thought that we live in a world after Roe was overturned that my 88-year-old mother would have more rights than my 14-year-old daughter. And that's what's resonated with voters throughout this week, not leaning into it. We've listened to voters and voters have told us that -- that's what they care about. And so we've come up with policy prescriptions to be able to make sure that we keep Roe, the law and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
DEAN: And this is an off of year election is, is how you say it. There's not really anyone at the top of the ticket to drive turnout. These are very local races. How do you convince your voters it's worth voting?
SCOTT: Well, Tip O'Neill said years ago, all politics is local. And what it is, is once you connect to your local voters in my community where I live in Portsmouth, and every single look at we have 100 unique seats in the House of Delegates. And every single one of those communities are different. So what may be a top priority and one district may be different. And so it's so important that you connect with each and every community. And if we do that, then voters will come out and off of year elections like this, it's about a 30% to 40% turnout and presidential year 75% of registered voters turnout. So we need to make sure that we're connecting with those voters, getting as many as we can to turn out and we're getting in some areas where Democrats will take charge hopefully, because we're getting crazy turnout. We're getting turnout that's -- that's mimicking presidential youth turnout.
DEAN: All right delegate Don Scott, thanks so much for stopping by. We appreciate it. Jake, we're sending back to you.
TAPPER: Thanks Jessica, really appreciate it. I'm back here at the Magic Wall, one of my favorite places to be in the entire world. And we're looking at this map, which has an interesting we placed Hawaii and Alaska we were just noting.
TAPPER: This is -- they haven't moved, right? This is wrong?
KING: They have not moved. We often --
KING: We often have data here on big busy election night. We have 50 states. So they're down there a little bit. Yes, it's --
TAPPER: OK. Because I wanted to make sure because I am making -- KING: There are Middle School -- our kids in middle school right now
are saying that's not how I teach you to jog.
TAPPER: OK. So I was making Christmas plans that --
TAPPER: So OK.
KING: It's a sort of a flight.
TAPPER: I was going to say, but also probably less warm. So -- but these fights, especially in Virginia, and especially in Kentucky right now, they're being fought in the suburbs. And tell me about what's going on in the suburbs, especially in Kentucky right now.
KING: So we're going to watch to see if a pattern emerges, right?
KING: Throughout the night, this is what the Democrats are hoping. Number one, we're up to 74% now. And the governor, the Democratic incumbent has a 51,000-vote lead. So we're still waiting. Still waiting to see these gray counties. We're being cautious here. But that is a governor on the path, not there yet, not to the finish line. But he is on the path to re-election in a very tough climate, a Democrat in a red state in the middle of this income economy, the middle of the President being underwater. This is -- this is a very impressive path. We're not to the finish line yet.
So let's show you. Andy Beshear, you see all that -- you see all that blue out there. Let me just bring this up here. Let's just look at suburban counties. OK. And this will pull out of the way just a second. You can see more of it. But you see in the suburban counties here, especially the bigger ones, around Louisville, around Lexington, around Frankfort, the Cincinnati suburbs here. Andy Beshear winning most of the suburban counties. That's how you win competitive elections in tight states. Democrats tend to run it up in the urban areas. Republicans tend to run it up in the rural areas and the competitive battlegrounds. You're from one of them Philadelphia, the collar counties around Philadelphia. That's where close elections are won. Democrats have succeeded in the suburbs in recent years when I started this. That's how George H.W. Bush became president. He ran around Philadelphia. He won in.
KING: So look at this in Kentucky tonight, right? There's one, the Democrat is winning in the suburbs. One of the things he ran on was abortion. Republicans are harsh on abortion. Stay with me. For Andy Beshear, we're not to the finish line, that message appears to be working.
So let's come up here now to a different issue in a very different state. In Ohio, the question is, the constitutional right to an abortion. TAPPER: Yeah.
KING: About a quarter of the vote in, Donald Trump won this state by eight points. It has a Republican governor, Republican statewide -- Republican officials, yes, on a constitutional right to abortion is getting 60% of the vote right now in a red state. And so this is the entire state. And you see the green is yes. All right, these are more rural areas. But so again, let's bring up the same comparison. Take a look at it. You bring up the -- the suburban counties. That's a lot of green, right? This is the American suburbs, just like in Kansas. The Kansas City suburbs in Kansas, the Topeka suburbs, that was the first vote after the Dobbs decision.
In a very red state, suburban voters in Kansas who vote Republican for President, who vote Republican for a lot of things said no, on this issue. Suburban voters in Ohio who vote Republican on a lot of things, right, let's -- let's just circled some of these counties. Let's do this. That one's democratic. But watch this. Now, you're going to see -- you're going to see some blue in here. Let's come up here. You're going to see some blue in here for Joe Biden in 2020. But you're also going to see something else.
KING: See that red?
TAPPER: Lot of red.
KING: These are in counties won by Donald Trump. Some of them convincingly, voters are saying we want a constitutional right to an abortion, right? And so here's the question. Right, here's the question. I mean, I'm not going to your state, not your Commonwealth, not tonight. This is Commonwealth night, though.
So as you come back to Ohio, you come back to issue one. And you see this in the suburbs, we see it in Kentucky. We see it in Ohio. Does it happen in Virginia? That is the question. If we can slide over here, then we just look, we're waiting for these results to come in, right?
Here's the current balance of power, right? You have, you know, Republicans up narrowly in the House of Delegates, you have Democrats up narrowly in the State Senate. And so then you come -- let's just use the Senate map, this is what we're looking at now. Redrawn districts, this is the state of play. We don't have a live data feed from Virginia because of legislative races. But where are the key races? The key races are up here in the Washington suburbs and down here in the Richmond suburbs.
So if the pattern continues, that's what we're looking for, or has Governor Youngkin with the 15-week proposal, found a middle ground that stops the momentum of the abortion right forces. It seems to be working Kentucky tonight. It looks like it's working in Ohio tonight. Here's test number three. Still to be answered.
TAPPER: All right, both parties are watching the numbers come in from Kentucky, from Mississippi, from Ohio, and Virginia as I try to read the message voters are sending.
Coming up, we're learning how the Biden campaign is interpreting these numbers, so far after this quick break.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And a key race alert right now in the state of Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear right now ahead. 15.1% here solidly ahead right now, ahead of Daniel Cameron, the current Attorney General, Republican candidate for governor, 46.9. Right now, we have 82% of the vote in, in Kentucky. So right now Governor Beshear is maintaining that. So obviously extremely solidly that he has right now, 82% of the vote in and we're getting the Biden campaign's reaction to tonight's results so far.
I want to go straight to our Senior White House Correspondent MJ Lee. MJ, obviously, these are in several crucial states, very specific races, but ones that could be hugely significant. So how closely is the President watching them?
MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: (Off mic).
BURNETT: All right, obviously I'm sorry. I wasn't sure if it was just me, sometimes it's just my ear, but obviously we couldn't hear. We get MJ back. We'll go to her, but I do want to go to Jeff Zeleny because he's been following the Republican presidential candidates and what they're looking at tonight.
So Jeff, on that front, how are they responding, not only to tonight's votes as we are watching this come in, but to the poll that we've been, David Chalian has been going through bit by bit here through the night that CNN just came out with which, frankly, is very dismal poll for President Biden.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, a year before the 2024 election, not all Republicans are celebrating President Biden's low approval rating, and those headwinds that are facing him on inflation, on the economy and more. And here is why, a central part of their argument for the last several months at all the debates, including the one here tomorrow night has been that Trump can't win, that Trump cannot beat Joe Biden.
Well, the poll numbers and just the overall sense of the sour mood of the country now are essentially have a race that argument or certainly watered down that argument for Republican candidates. So in a nutshell, Erin, the weakness of President Biden has helped President Trump. I talked to a senior adviser to a Republican candidate tonight and said that Biden's pain has been Trump's gain. And this advisor was not being glib. They said this simply has been a fact of life of this campaign that Biden's weakness has built up President Trump. So this is something that we'll see tomorrow night at the debate here tomorrow, Erin. BURNETT: Right. Thank you, and I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I do want to get to Jake. Because I know, Jake, we've got to keep projection in a crucial race tonight.
TAPPER: That's right, Erin. CNN can now make a projection in a marquee race this evening. CNN is projecting that Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat has been reelected, it says a very significant win for Democrats. Beshear, who ran as a defender of abortion rights in a largely Republican Commonwealth, Kentucky, is defeating Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Again, incumbent Democrat, Andy Beshear, has won a second term as governor in ruby red, Kentucky.
Let's go to Eva McKend now who is in Louisville at Beshear headquarters. Eva McKend, I have to say, not only are we calling it for Beshear, it's not even 9 p.m. yet. Big, big win for the incumbent Democratic governor in red Kentucky.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Jake, it is a significant victory for Governor Beshear. And you know, as I've been speaking to Democrats, they were hopeful. But they did not think that it would be called this early. They say that it's really a testament to the strategy that the governor employed. He's well known, well liked in this state. But he often emphasized an inclusive strategy of reaching out in the final weeks of this campaign to voters that are often described as forgotten voters. And he was at the helm during several natural disasters in this state as well as the pandemic.
I spoke to a woman today and she told me, you know, during the pandemic, he took care of us. By the results tonight, it seems as though voters in Kentucky have rewarded him for it, Jake.
TAPPER: Indeed, Eva McKend in Lowville, Kentucky, thank you so much.
And let's talk about this, is this -- it's already -- I'm already going to go right there. Is this a template for Democrats nationwide? Is that the Beshear template? Is there Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania? Is there something here for others to follow in terms of reaching across the aisle, reaching out to working class Democrats, working class individuals, and on and -- on and on?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Maybe the lesson here is run your own race. I mean, I think when you talk to Democrats who are running on issues and in campaigns across the country, every single one of these races is different in a certain way. And each one of these candidates has to be, as both parties will say the right fit for their state, their district, their, you know -- their geography, and also navigate these issues. I think that's what Andy Beshear did very well.
He identified abortion as an issue that he was being attacked on, but that he could also go on offense on. He had some -- some significant issues in his state in terms of a mass shooting that he performed, I think, very well in terms of dealing with it on a national platform. And those things helped him. He's also well liked. He happens to also have a very well-known family. All of those things, help him playing those things to your advantage help. But you didn't see him here, hugging Joe Biden, hugging national Democrats, even hugging just a national narrative in his state. I don't think you're going to see a lot of that, frankly, from either party in this coming cycle. Because the poll -- what the polls have really show us is that both parties at a national level are particularly toxic in this country.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I don't -- Yes, I don't -- I don't know that this is transferred, you know, in off year elections or off of year elections as this is. You sort of look for the tea leaves and what it means for the next election.