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CNN Projects Ohio Abortion Rights Measure Passes; CNN Projects Ohio Votes To Legalize Recreational Marijuana; CNN Projects KY Gov. Andy Beshear Will Win Re-Election. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 07, 2023 - 21:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: I don't know that this is transferable, in off- year elections, or off off-year elections, as this is. You sort of look for the tea leaves, and what, it means, for the next election. And we are looking at a lot of questions. And I don't know how many answers we got.

In this particular case, he is such a unique character. Not only does he have the name ID. But he's well-liked, which is not nothing, in these times, when people just don't like politicians. I mean, I don't know that they ever really loved politicians. But even more so, right now.


BASH: And really, the authenticity factor.

COLLINS: And Abby's right. He over -- that mass shooting happened. It killed a friend of his. He actually had to tell his friend's wife that his friend had been killed, in that.

BASH: Yes.

COLLINS: He also oversaw flooding, and the response there, in the State that I think earned him goodwill, with voters there.

One interesting part was how he chose to lean in on the abortion messaging. That was a national message that he took there. He painted Daniel Cameron as this extremist in that.

Even though, staying and being re-elected, he's not really going to have the power to change those laws, because he still does have a very Republican legislature that he's dealing with. But it is interesting, seeing the different through lines, and what could be potentially helpful, with Democrats still leaning in on abortion, on that message, even in a really red state.

KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: I mean, over and over again, my sources say yes, OK, Biden's got problems. People aren't feeling great. But they really don't like the extremism of the Republican Party. And at the end of the day, that's going to carry Biden in 2024. I mean, we'll see.

I mean, I think, Dana, you're right, to point all the reasons why this is not an exact template, for presidential race.

BASH: Yes.

HUNT: Of course. But I do think there's a lot here for Democrats to learn from.

BASH: And if you look at the opposite, let's say, Beshear lost, then it would be "Oh my gosh. It's a big, big warning time for Joe Biden." I mean, of course, that's what the way it would have been played.

HUNT: Right.

BASH: So, that is, it's certainly better for Joe Biden and better for Democrats, when you look ahead to next year that Andy Beshear won.

And -- but I do think that the key here is what it tells, what it should tell politicians, what it should tell America, about how to actually be an effective politician. And the answer is to be an effective leader.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: But can we also talk about the extremism bit that you just mentioned, Kasie?

HUNT: Yes.

PHILLIP: I mean, Daniel Cameron was supposed to be the kind of friendly face, on a MAGA-friendly Republican. So, he wasn't like a hard-charging flame-thrower. But he was -- he said a lot of positive things, about Donald Trump. He didn't alienate himself, from that.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: He was endorsed by Trump, right?

PHILLIP: He was endorsed by Trump.


PHILLIP: He didn't alienate himself from the far-right. But he did it in a way that made him seem likable.

He was potentially a new face, for the Republican Party, a Black man, in a red state, trying to broaden the -- at least the appearance of the party. That didn't work. I mean, look, there are a multitude of factors here. But I think we should point out, it did not work, in this case, to put a friendlier face, on a MAGA Republican.

TAPPER: I do --

PHILLIP: And there's something to be said for that.

TAPPER: I do want -- you said he -- that Governor Beshear painted Daniel Cameron as an extremist on abortion. But I think his position was rather extreme though, right? I mean, his position was he was --

COLLINS: Right. He just highlighted it.

TAPPER: Yes. I mean, he was anti-abortion. Period. Right? I mean, like he just had a very anti-abortion position.

COLLINS: He had to come out actually, and because of that Beshear ad, of the 12-year-old girl, who said she was raped by her stepfather, Daniel Cameron had to come out and say he did favor exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

TAPPER: So, the other question I have is, we've talked about how, and we'll see what the results are, of the Ohio referendum.

But there, since Roe v. Wade was overturned, since the Dobbs decision, there have been six States that have weighed in, on abortion. And Kansas, Montana and Kentucky are among them. So, I'm not exactly sure what the Kentucky ruling was. But Kentucky has already weighed in, on this issue, on the abortion rights side, I believe.

So, the idea that this issue is going to continue to haunt Republicans, including in red States? And maybe it wouldn't, for example, haunt Republicans, in Alabama, for example. But in States that have trended blue, in the last 20 years? It seems as though Governor Beshear really played that to his advantage, in a major way, because he -- if you look at the maps that John was showing us, a little while ago, he really dominated in the suburbs, in places that Donald Trump won.


TAPPER: In 2020.

PHILLIP: One thing about the abortion dynamics, that we've been seeing is that key distinction, it's when abortion is put to voters, they tend to vote in support of abortion rights, broadly.


But when you see abortion being banned, as it is, in much of the South, it is usually, when existing Republican legislators and governors move to ban it, not putting it to the voters, but they themselves feeling empowered, by whoever put them in office, move to ban it.

And so, that's why I think an argument, against a governor, on this issue of abortion, even when it's not on the ballot, can be very potent, because I think voters understand the role that governors have, and legislators have, in basically passing abortion restrictions, without the voters, actively having a say-so. And they are pushing --

BASH: Which is put up to the test (ph) in Virginia.

PHILLIP: And they are pushing back on that.

BASH: Yes.

PHILLIP: In some cases.

HUNT: Yes. So, Jake, to answer your question. Forgive me, for using Google, to answer your question.

TAPPER: Yes, please do. Please do.

HUNT: Yes. There -- Kentucky voters rejected a ballot measure that would have denied constitutional protection for abortion. So, it was a victory for abortion rights supporters.

But the bottom line is that Kentucky has one of the most draconian bans, in the country. There was a trigger law passed in 2019 that went into effect, when Dobbs was overturned. So, voters there are feeling the effects of what a ban like this does.

But to go back to something you were saying, Abby about, I mean, I was thinking about, yes, David Cameron obviously has a different profile, from Glenn Youngkin, in certain important ways. But we're both saying the same things about them, right?


HUNT: Kinder, gentler Republicans, like --

PHILLIP: I actually think they have a very similar profile --

HUNT: Right.

PHILLIP: -- in some ways, except that maybe Cameron is a little bit more openly embracing of the Trumpism, right?

HUNT: Right. But the --

PHILLIP: But yes.

HUNT: The bottom line here is I don't -- I mean, we're still waiting on the results from Virginia. But I will say, all the Democrats, I'm talking to, are very optimistic. And it really looks like that is just not a package that is selling right now.

TAPPER: So, let's throw to John King, to find out where we are, on this Ohio referendum, dealing with abortion rights.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, about 37 percent of the estimated vote in, so ways to go in the count.

But, and this is a very important "But," yes, the Ohio constitution should have the right to an abortion, in the state constitution, is getting 58 percent of the vote, if you add that up right now, and it's 229,000 votes plus is the margin.

And if you look at the map, the green is yes, on abortion rights, in the state constitution. And if you take a look at that, in Cleveland, in Columbus, in Cincinnati, it's winning in the urban areas. And guess what? It's winning in all the suburban areas, around Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, this is a romp, if you will. Donald Trump won this state by eight points, right? It has a Republican governor, who is anti-abortion. The voters of Ohio? It's not done yet. We're still counting votes, and we have not projected this one yet. But just like in the Kentucky race, it gets overwhelming, at some point. You're just trying to be extra cautious, and count the rest of the votes, as they come in.

So, let's just see where we are. You go up here. Lucas County, this is where Toledo is, sixth largest county in the state. Only 26 percent of the vote in. So, you watch it. You see if the trend shifts. 74 percent right now. So, the one argument could be these are early votes, mail- in votes. So you wait to see if other votes come in. That's what we do. But it's pretty overwhelming.

Then, you come over here to Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Jake -- Cuyahoga, Jake and 78 percent. So, the math is the math.

TAPPER: All right, John, we have a major projection to share with you right now.

CNN projects that voters, in Republican-leaning Ohio, have approved the ballot measure, to establish a state constitutional right, to an abortion, Ohio becoming the seventh state, in the nation, where voters have backed abortion rights, since Roe v. Wade was overturned, last year.

The Ohio vote is likely to reinforce Democrats' plans to make abortion rights central, to their message, in 2024.

Again, CNN projecting the abortion rights ballot measure, in red-Ohio, will be approved.

And that is a celebration, you're looking at, right now, of abortion rights supporters, in Columbus, Ohio, celebrating their victory, this evening, adding to the state constitution, the abortion rights, now enshrined in their state constitution.

Erin Burnett?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, Jake.

And Kate Bedingfield, I mean, that's the celebration that you're focused on. That's the train that you say Biden needs to get on.


BURNETT: There you go.


BURNETT: You have had a -- you've had a tough night.


BURNETT: So, go ahead. BEDINGFIELD: Thank you.

Yes. I mean, look, there are -- there's discussion now. It's funny. I think Dana was saying -- I think it was Dana, who was saying, if Beshear had lost, it would be like "Biden was a drag." And now, because he's won, it's like, "Well, did Joe Biden really help? I don't know."


BEDINGFIELD: But look, Daniel Cameron spent $13 million (ph), in paid advertising, in this race. And most of it was hitting Joe Biden, trying to tie Biden to Beshear. So, Republicans made a really full- throated effort, to try to make this race, about Joe Biden. It did not drag Andy Beshear down.

And so, the other thing I would say, I noticed a CNN reporter, tweeting that the Kentucky governor's race has predicted the presidential cycle.


BEDINGFIELD: For the last five cycles.


BEDINGFIELD: So, if we're going to talk -- if we're going to spend --

URBAN: Calm down, Axelrod. Calm down.

BEDINGFIELD: -- if we're going to spend, tonight, talking about --

AXELROD: No, no, no, I --

BEDINGFIELD: -- a year from now, then let's look at -- let's look at this, and --

AXELROD: I think that's true. And I think what you're seeing around the country --


AXELROD: -- seems to be consistent with what we've seen, all year, in race after race, which is, Democratic turnout is high.


Now, the polls suggest that Republican enthusiasm is greater than Democratic enthusiasm. But in the real-world tests, at least in this year, and in 2022, that hasn't been the case. And the question is does that carry forward into 2024, and how do the complicated feelings about the presidential candidates, enter into it? But --


AXELROD: -- this is a better night. URBAN: Yes. But --

AXELROD: A better night.

JONES: Let me -- before we get to up in the atmosphere, I just want to say, ordinarily, I would be very sad, if a Black guy ran for governor, and lost.

But I'm not sad today, because of Breonna Taylor, was the reason that you saw no movement of African Americans, toward him, not just because he's Republican, but because he had a chance to put in jail, the Police officers who murdered, Breonna Taylor. Prosecutors said there was plenty of evidence to do so. And he chose not to. And so, for some people, they were voting for Andy -- for Beshear. Some people were voting about Breonna Taylor.


AUDIE CORNISH, CNN HOST: Also want to throw out there that Beshear, it's a little bit of a vote for competence, in terms of like --


CORNISH: Right? The voters were happy with --

URBAN: The flood.

CORNISH: -- how he dealt with the floods.


CORNISH: -- how we dealt with COVID. And McConnell --

AXELROD: And shootings.

CORNISH: -- Mitch McConnell, and the President --


CORNISH: -- all stood side by side, with Beshear, about infrastructure spending.


CORNISH: So, it's not as though he was this like Liberal Democrat, from out of state, something-something.

URBAN: Like if people eat kale.

CORNISH: Yes. He's a political -- he's the sign of a political dynasty.


AXELROD: He's also a really talented presence, on television. And, you see him in these very moving situations, tragedies, in which he shows great empathy.

CORNISH: Leadership.


AXELROD: And I will tell you that without question, he will be now leaping into the discussion, about 2028 --

JONES: Impressive (ph).

AXELROD: -- and the presidential race.

BURNETT: Well, and but to this point, OK? So, you look at what's happening, tonight. Huge victory in Ohio for abortion rights. Democratic, very significant victory, in Kentucky, in a red state. You talk about the enthusiasm.

AXELROD: Competitive race, going on, in Mississippi.

BURNETT: You're not seeing the enthusiasm -- competitive race going on. So, there's all that strength, that energy, that enthusiasm.


URBAN: So --

BURNETT: And then, you got a poll that's abysmal for Biden, right?


BURNETT: So, what's the gap there?

AXELROD: Well, that's what we're going to find out. But --

CORNISH: Yes. Well, no, can I jump in here?



CORNISH: I mean, the details do matter. And when it comes to the Ohio ballot measure, it was specifically talked about not just abortion, but about your contraceptive rights, but about miscarriage, also about not being penalized --


CORNISH: -- if you end up --

BURNETT: But in a world, where these things are happening, it is a little jarring --

CORNISH: But I'm not saying it's not a --

BURNETT: -- to the incumbent Democratic president doing so poorly.

CORNISH: -- it's not a yes-no, abortion yes-no. That's not how it's actually playing out, vote to vote, state to state.

In Kentucky, the ads about abortion didn't actually mention abortion. So, I think the lessons we want to take away is how did people talk about these things? How did they frame it for the voters? And is that something you can bring forward for the next couple of months?

URBAN: Yes. And I'd just say, also, if you look at the polls, I've not been able to drill down on this. But there's a gap, between where Biden is, in down ballot, Democrats, right?

So Biden, terrible numbers. In Pennsylvania, for example, and the New York Times, in the polling that I've seen, Biden does terribly. Bob Casey's kind of holding his own, right? In most of these States, the down ballot candidates, Democrats, are still OK. There's a drag from --

AXELROD: This does --

FARAH GRIFFIN: But that is the --

URBAN: There's a disconnect.

FARAH GRIFFIN: That's the opposite of the Trump factor here.

URBAN: No, no.

FARAH GRIFFIN: So, while Trump had a really good night, in terms of his polling that we put out. His candidates are not doing well. Daniel Cameron --

AXELROD: Well, he didn't have a good night in the polling.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Well he did better than --

AXELROD: He really didn't.

FARAH GRIFFIN: To say, he did better than Biden.

AXELROD: I mean, he's as unpopular as Biden.

FARAH GRIFFIN: But just note that Daniel Cameron's closing message was, "I'm backed by Donald Trump." And he lost.

I would note that Kentucky Secretary of State won re-election, Michael Adams, a Republican, who had beat election deniers, to become Secretary of State, and won by 61 percent, outperforming Daniel Cameron.

JONES: Right.

FARAH GRIFFIN: So again, election deniers go down, and Trump is a drag on the ticket.

BURNETT: Right. And it is interesting, when you get to the top, and you get to these polls, what does that actually really mean, right? Because when you got, rubber meets the road, you're seeing something a bit different.

All right, well, contests in Ohio and Kentucky are now decided. We have made those calls.

And we are now waiting to see another crucial race. That is the Mississippi governor's race, and how that will play out. A lot of votes still outstanding there. Too early to call it.

And we expect to hear from the Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear, at any moment, now that he is projected to win re-election.

We'll be right back.



TAPPER: And we're bringing you live pictures, from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, is expected to speak any minute now, about his re-election victory. Standby for that.

But right now, let's go to Kaitlan Collins.


COLLINS: Yes. I want to talk about the stakes of tonight's race, and the 2024 election, with Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, also from Ohio.

We just made a key race alert there. Obviously, Vivek, voters there, voting yes on issue one, to enshrine the right to an abortion, in the state's constitution. Do you think that's a warning sign for Republicans?

VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I voted no on that, earlier today, before flying down here to Miami.

But my view is on the merits, our pro-life movement, and I am part of it, needs to be better about the way we discuss this issue, actually talk about greater access to adoption, to child care, further -- even go further to sexual responsibility for men.

I think that too few of us are talking about these issues that can say "We're not in this." It's not about a men's rights versus women's rights issue. It's a human rights issue.

The fact of the matter is Clarence Thomas brought up an example, in the Dobbs case, of a pregnant woman, who was assaulted, and asks the question of "Who in this country would say that that criminal doesn't deserve liability for that death?"

I haven't met one yet, Kaitlan.

And so, I think we're more united on the pro-life instincts than the pro-life movement has actually been good at representing so far. But we need to talk about the issue very differently, in order to bring people along here.

I will say that it was also outspent in Ohio, by many multiples, the yes versus no. And so, the influence of money in politics, I think, showed up in this result as well.

COLLINS: Well, a lot of money was spent on the other side.

But do you really think it's a messaging issue, and not just that voters clearly believe that they should have the rights that they had, when before Roe versus Wade was overturned?

RAMASWAMY: Well, I think some of this is substance. It's not just messaging, actually being, walking the walk, when it comes to being pro-life on, access to contraception, to adoption, to even child care.


And as I said, a missing lever that we really ought to embrace, on the right, is greater sexual responsibility for men, codified in the law, in an era of genetic paternity tests, put more of a burden, financially and otherwise, on the father, when it's a confirmed paternity test. I think those are winning pads forward for us. That combined with different messaging, yes, I do believe will win many Americans over.

If you look at a state, like Iowa, not that different, in many respects than Ohio, I mean, they're very different States. But when you look at a red versus blue divide? Iowa went for a six-week ban, with growing majorities, for this -- legislators, who supported it. So, I do think the framing and the messaging and the context actually does matter.

COLLINS: But Iowa is --

RAMASWAMY: I don't think this should be a sign that the Republican Party should abandon a pro-life position.

COLLINS: Iowa is Iowa, home to a lot of evangelicals. I mean, Ohio is a deeply red state.


COLLINS: You don't think this is a sign that your party is on the wrong side of the abortion issue?

RAMASWAMY: I think it is a sign that the Republican Party needs to graduate, in how not only we talk about this issue, but putting substance, into what it means to be pro-life.

And I, for my part, I'm doing that. I think I'm the only candidate talking about codifying in the law, greater sexual responsibility for men. But I think the less we make this about men's rights versus women's rights?

COLLINS: But is that what voters want, you think?

RAMASWAMY: But really in substance, say we're all in this together.

I think so. I think so, absolutely.

COLLINS: But a right to an abortion?

RAMASWAMY: And it's going to be up to the voters, to decide.

It should be driven by the States. And so, it's up to the people, to speak up at the State level. But I do think that if we frame this issue correctly, this need not be some sort of final sign that we take.

This was a lost battle in Ohio today. I'm disappointed about that. I think there are deep reflections, in the Republican Party, and in the pro-life movement, about how to improve from here.

But abandoning the pro-life cause, I don't think is the right answer. I think the right answer is opening up other ways, where we can walk the walk, in terms of being pro-life, from adoption, to contraception, to sexual responsibility for men, and codified into law.


RAMASWAMY: And I favor all of those things.

COLLINS: Just to be clear, you think the issue is how Republicans are talking about abortion, or talking about contraception and adoption, not the actual issue of being against abortion access?

RAMASWAMY: Not just talking about it, as I mentioned, Kaitlan, but I think being willing to stand, for substantive provisions in the law, that codify greater responsibility, for men, in cases of confirmed paternity tests, and also greater access to options, like contraception, adoption, and otherwise.

So, I think that substantive difference can make a difference. It's not just a verbal question. But yes, I do think that that will change the outcomes, versus what we're seeing, tonight.

COLLINS: Yes, well, clearly voters in Ohio disagreed, since they just voted to pass this by -- that they did vote to pass this. Indeed, it now is part of the state's constitution.

You've talked about how this is a State's issue. Obviously, you're running to be the Republican candidate, for president. If you were president, would you sign a federal abortion ban, into law, if it was on your desk?

RAMASWAMY: I've been crystal clear about this. I would not. And the reason why is I'm a 10th Amendment absolutist. I practice what I preach, and my commitment to the Constitution. This should not be a federal issue.

So, here's what I'd do, from a federal perspective. Stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood. I think the federal government has no place, in tilting the scales, using money. But I do not think it is the place for the federal government, to get involved in either codifying Roe versus Wade into law.

But unlike many other Republican candidates, I stand on the side of principle, because that's a constitutional limit. Roe versus Wade was correctly overturned. But we have to practice what we preach, when it comes to the Constitution.

This is an issue for the States. And I say this as somebody who's disappointed by the outcome in Ohio today. But for me, it is about principle over politics, when it comes to my commitment to the Constitution.

I also think that if we federalize this issue, as Republicans?


RAMASWAMY: When the shoe fits the other foot, and Democrats are in charge? It will not go well, for the pro-life cause, at the federal level either.


RAMASWAMY: More babies, unborn babies will die, over the next 30 years, I believe --

COLLINS: I will say --

RAMASWAMY: -- if this issue is federalized.

COLLINS: I will say --

RAMASWAMY: So, I stand by that.

COLLINS: -- Mr. Ramaswamy that -- I mean, Donald Trump predicted who -- put those Supreme Court justices in place that overturned Roe versus Wade, that this is hurting Republicans, at the ballot box.

But we have other news about another race in your home state.


COLLINS: I want you to stand by for just a moment. We're going to get that update, and then we'll come back to you, in just a moment.

TAPPER: We have a new projection for you, from Ohio. CNN is projecting that Ohioans have approved a ballot measure, to legalize recreational marijuana use, for adults. Ohio becomes the 24th state, in the nation, to make recreational pot use, legal.

Again, CNN projects the Ohio ballot initiative on marijuana has been approved.


COLLINS: And, Mr. Ramaswamy, we were just talking about how you voted on issue one, the abortion rights issue.

How did you vote on the marijuana issue, this morning?


RAMASWAMY: I voted no, on that one, specifically for two reasons.

One is, I think, it's an abandonment of the rule of law, when you have one set of rules, at the federal level, but state laws that contradict federal law. I don't think that helps our commitment to the rule of law. I think it creates a lot of confusion in this country.

And also the tax proceeds here were directed towards purposes that I think have no place, equity programs or otherwise that are completely irrelevant to the measure at issue.

So, having studied it, I came down on the side of no.

But I did hear the update that you just provided. And, at the end of the day, we live in a constitutional republic. That means we live by what the people vote for, according to the rules of that constitutional republic. And so, that is what it is.

COLLINS: Do you --

RAMASWAMY: And I understand that. But I disagree with the outcome that was reached.

COLLINS: Do you feel out of touch with your other Ohioans, and given the fact that you voted no, on the abortion rights issue, and you voted no, on the marijuana issue, and both appear -- or both have passed?

RAMASWAMY: And we're talking about 40s-plus percent in each case. So, I think to call that out-of-touch-with-Ohioans, I think, is out of touch, Kaitlan, with all due respect. We do have --

COLLINS: I was just asking your thoughts.

RAMASWAMY: -- issues, we do need to sort out in this country.

Yes. I don't think you're asking my thoughts. You were asking me, if I feel out of touch, because I sided with 45 percent of people rather than 55 percent of people, or wherever the numbers end up shaking out.

The reality is, I think we have legitimate substantive debates, we ought to have, in this country. My view is let's have them respectfully, in the open, where every citizen's voice and vote counts equally. And you know what? That's the way a constitutional republic works.

Our side, I think, needs to do a better job of not only how we message but how we stand for the substance of our principles. I think there's a reasonable conversation to be had, about the federal -- at the federal level, about how we evolve our drug laws.

But I think the disconnect between state-level laws that are drastically different than the federal laws, create confusion, and create, I would say, an abandonment of the culture of the rule of law in this country. And that's why I voted no.

COLLINS: Yes. Vivek Ramaswamy, great to have you with us, on that Ohio news, given you are an Ohio voter. Thank you so much. We'll see you in Miami, tomorrow night.

Obviously. I mean, he said he voted yes -- or voted no, on the abortion rights issue, to hear him talk about how he believes the issue is how Republicans are talking about male responsibility for pregnancies, adoption. He thinks that's the issue, not necessarily the stance that abortion access should be limited.

TAPPER: We just talked about the fact that, that the same people, same body politic that voted to send Mike DeWine and J.D. Vance to the Senate, voted to legalize abortion, and recreational marijuana use, this evening?

PHILLIP: Yes, what is going on, in Ohio?

TAPPER: I mean, what's going on in Ohio? I mean, this is before they legalized marijuana usage.

PHILLIP: Look, I mean, Kaitlan, to your point about the -- look, you always go to the messaging problem, when you have a policy problem. I think that that's kind of what you're seeing here with Ramaswamy.

It's not, I don't think that voters don't understand what banning abortion, or not banning abortion means. I mean, this has been a dominant issue, in American politics, for 50 years. And so, right now, voters are just getting a chance to vote on it. They haven't really had that opportunity, in a long time.

BASH: Yes.

PHILLIP: And when they are voting on it, they are deciding it's really a question, I think, for voters of, "What do I want my government to do? And what do I want" --

HUNT: Yes.

PHILLIP: -- "to be able to do by yourself?" Now even if you don't yourself want to don't -- you don't agree with abortion, you would never have one, you don't think people should have one? When you ask people the question, "What should my government do?" We are finding that they are saying, "I don't want my government to be a part of those decisions."

TAPPER: But you think it's a --

BASH: And you're --

TAPPER: -- you think it's a libertarian argument?

PHILLIP: I don't think it's libertarian in a political sense. I think it is just simply that -- I mean I've talked to voters about this. And they just simply say, "That's not what I would do. But I just don't think that the government should be in charge of that." BASH: Well, except for on abortion, well that there are a lot of Republicans who consider themselves libertarian, except abortion, because they don't -- they consider that in its own category.

But what I do think is really fascinating, and listening to Vivek Ramaswamy, is how many knots, Republicans are sort of putting themselves in, to figure out a way, to talk about anything other than what you were pressing him on, which is the fundamental rights that many, many women think that they had, rightly so, and that were taken away, with the Dobbs decision.

And the fact that he was talking about it through the prism of men, and what men could do, I'm not really sure how that's going to --

HUNT: I mean, can we just call a spade a spade, with Vivek?

BASH: -- how that's going to fly.

HUNT: I mean?

TAPPER: I'm sorry. I do need to interrupt, because one of the big winners of the evening, Kentucky incumbent governor, Beshear, is about to speak.

Let's go to that live, in Louisville.





GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): Thank you, Kentucky.


BESHEAR: Tonight, Kentucky made a choice.


BESHEAR: A choice not to move to the right or to the left, but to move forward, for every single family.



BESHEAR: A choice to reject Team R or Team D, and to state clearly that we are one, Team Kentucky.


BESHEAR: A choice of Jack Harlow over Sarah Huckabee Sanders.


BESHEAR: And tonight --


BESHEAR: -- and tonight, the people of Kentucky elected me, as just the third two consecutive term governor in our history.


BESHEAR: But folks, this wasn't my win. This was our victory.


BESHEAR: It was a victory that sends a loud clear message, a message that candidates should run for something, and not against someone.


BESHEAR: That a candidate should show vision and not sow division.



BESHEAR: And a clear statement that anger politics should end right here, and right now.


BESHEAR: Just -- just look at what we were up against. Five Super PACs. My opponent's super PAC, Mitch McConnell's Super PAC, Rand Paul's Super PAC, the Club for Growth --


BESHEAR: -- the Republican Governors Association, all running ads, full of hate and division.

And you know what? We beat them all at the same time.



BESHEAR: This election shows who we are, as Kentuckians. We are a proud people, who take care of each other. We believe in the golden rule that says we love our neighbor as ourselves. And the parable of the Good Samaritan that says we are all each other's neighbors.


BESHEAR: No exceptions.



BESHEAR: Our neighbors aren't just Democrats. They're not just Republicans. They're not just Independents. Every single person is a child of God. And they are all, our neighbor.


BESHEAR: We get through the hard times, and we get through them together. We get to the good times, and we get to them together. And wow, are we getting to them?


BESHEAR: Kentucky is on a historic win streak. The two best years of economic development, in the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


BESHEAR: We're building the Brent Spence companion bridge without tolls.


BESHEAR: We're four-laning the entire Mountain Parkway.


BESHEAR: And we're pushing I-69 forward so fast that Indiana is scrambling to catch up.


BESHEAR: We're bringing clean drinking water, to our counties, and we are running high speed internet access, to every home in Kentucky.


BESHEAR: We're building the two biggest battery plants, on planet Earth.


BESHEAR: And the cleanest, greenest recycled paper mill in this country.


BESHEAR: We have record high budget surpluses and record low unemployment. We created almost 50,000 new jobs, $27.8 billion in new private sector investments.

So tonight, I stand here, excited and optimistic, about what we're going to do, these next four years, together.




BESHEAR: Over these next four years, it's time for a couple things.



BESHEAR: First, it's time to get our educators the big pay raise they deserve.


BESHEAR: It's time for universal pre-K for every Kentucky child.


BESHEAR: We're going to keep attracting new jobs, and new industries, building our workforce, building the Kentucky we have always dreamed of.


BESHEAR: And it's amazing that we're here. Because we have been through a lot together, devastating tornadoes in the West, historic flooding in the East. And after each, I made a promise, a promise that I would help rebuild every home, and every life. And thanks to the people of Kentucky, and thanks to this election, we're going to see that promise through.


BESHEAR: I pledge, tonight, to continue to be a governor, who serves all our people, regardless of your party, and regardless of who you voted for.


BESHEAR: These next four years, we have an opportunity, an opportunity, to come further together. This is our chance to build that Commonwealth, we have always dreamed of, to stop the fighting, to push away the division.


BESHEAR: To recognize that we have more that unites us that can ever pull us apart, and that the opportunity, right in front of us, is more promising than at any time in our lifetimes.


BESHEAR: I have a lot of thank-yous. First, to my parents.


BESHEAR: To Steve and Jane Beshear, thank you for all your support, your service and your leadership. I love you.


BESHEAR: To my wife, Britainy.


BESHEAR: And to my kids, Will and Lila.


BESHEAR: You were the reason, I do this, but you're the reason I do everything. I love you all so much.


BESHEAR: Hadley is here, tonight.




BESHEAR: She is the brave young woman, who came forward, to share her story, to speak, for so many that couldn't speak for themselves. And because of her courage?


BESHEAR: Because of her courage, this Commonwealth is going to be a better place.


BESHEAR: And people are going to reach out for the help they need. Thank you, Hadley.


BESHEAR: Thanks to my close friends, here tonight.

And I just want to take a minute, to recognize that we've lost some incredible people recently, who stood on a similar stage, with us, just four years ago. I know they're smiling down. I know they're so pleased at where we're going. And I know they know that we love them, and that we will see them, again.

I want to say thank you to every volunteer and field organizer that did the hard work of knocking doors.


BURNETT: Here, our now re-elected Governor of Kentucky, according to our projection, giving his acceptance speech.


BESHEAR: That type energy that helped us win.


BURNETT: Interesting, David, that someone, as we were listening here, it was commentary saying this was an acceptance speech that tended to --


BESHEAR: I want to thank the entire campaign staff, and my campaign manager --


BURNETT: -- sort of an announcement. I mean, it did sound very big.


BURNETT: And it seems --

AXELROD: This seems like a --

BESHEAR: -- Eric Hyers --

AXELROD: -- this seems like something you want to take down the road.

BESHEAR: -- who ran a perfect race.



AXELROD: And I don't mean just the roads of Kentucky, which he mentioned at some length there.


AXELROD: But around the country.

And there's no doubt he's going to be a person that people are interested. And we've all seen him, as I said earlier, at these tragic moments. But --

JONES: And well, I mean --

AXELROD: But the whole idea, I think, if you think about what the country will be looking for, down the road?


AXELROD: It's going to be someone, who can bring people together. It's going to be youth. It's going to be energy. And it's going to be projecting a vision of the future.


JONES: And we haven't had a guy like that since Bill Clinton, a good southern governor, that's able to reach across the party divide, the racial divide. So, I think, tonight's an important night, for the country that there's help on the way, not for 2024, maybe 2028.

BEDINGFIELD: David, he's 45. He will be 46, on November 29th.


BEDINGFIELD: He -- obviously it's a red state. He wins. One of his key lines there, to the point that David was making, about the roads that he's talking about, in the future, not left, not right, but forward.

URBAN: And toll-free, by the way, just toll-free.

BEDINGFIELD: Right, which he said toll-free.

URBAN: Toll-free, he mentioned that.

BEDINGFIELD: That's a local part of the politics is the toll-free.

URBAN: The people of Kentucky are very grateful about it.

AXELROD: I don't know. He outspent -- he outspent Cameron by $18 million. So, it wasn't exactly toll-free.

URBAN: Well, listen, he's obviously -- he comes from -- he comes from a political dynasty in Kentucky. He's obviously a gifted political athlete.


URBAN: We're going to see him around. He gave a great speech. He's a personable guy. He's out there.

JONES: Good family.

CORNISH: But before --

URBAN: He's going to -- you're going to see him again.

BEDINGFIELD: I'll say --

CORNISH: There's also --


CORNISH: -- pent-up demand for leadership. I mean, one thing about being in a gerontocracy is that if everyone at the top of all of these tickets is elderly?

URBAN: Ouch.


Then, there's a whole generation --


CORNISH: -- of people, who aren't necessarily getting their shot.


CORNISH: I mean, listen to us all talking about 2028. So, I think that there's going to be a hunger, for, voters as they see speeches, like his, or any other, in the next couple of years to say, "Gosh, who's next?"

BURNETT: Right. Well, at the least what you see in the polls is such incredible dissatisfaction, right, with the choices that voters have, right? So, there'll be a hunger, to hear anything new.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, I was going to say before we coordinate him, the future Democratic leader for 2028? He ran --

CORNISH: What do you mean, Alyssa?

FARAH GRIFFIN: He ran as a consummate moderate.


FARAH GRIFFIN: He actually intentionally addressed the abortion issue, without using the word, "Abortion," did not make it a focal point. He focused on effective results for the State of Kentucky.

JONES: Right.

FARAH GRIFFIN: He talked about the bipartisan infrastructure results he delivered, how he responded to floods. So, I think that he actually ran border-line right-of-center on particular issues. This is somebody with tremendous talent. There's a future there. But this is also not where the National Democratic Party is.

AXELROD: I think if Scott Jennings, were here, and not in Kentucky, with his friend, Daniel Cameron, he would disagree with you a little, because whenever I've had a discussion with him, he'd say, he -- and not for the cameras, he'd say, he's really a liberal in disguise.


AXELROD: So, I think that, you know, I'm not sure. And no one's coronating him.


AXELROD: Listen, the first person to -- that first tweet I saw congratulate him, came from J.B. Pritzker, the Governor of Illinois, who's been investing in campaigns, all around the country. There are lots of young Democrats --

JONES: And the other thing too --

AXELROD: -- Democratic leaders, who are waiting to emerge.

JONES: Yes, the other thing too is I think we'd spent a lot more time, on people's position, as opposed to personality.

AXELROD: Yes, yes.


JONES: People are looking for something, like they have --

URBAN: Right.

JONES: Half the stuff we talk about?

AXELROD: You're right.

JONES: Regular folks can't follow that all.

But if somebody is a leader and somebody can bring people together? I think they get a shot.

BEDINGFIELD: Yes. And I think that also, we talked a little bit about reaching across the aisle. And, I would disagree a little bit, Alyssa, in that I think there are actually a lot of Democrats, in our party, who do want to reach across the aisle, who get me -- are met with a lot of opposition, by Republicans.

And I think one of the things that gets lost sometimes, particularly in primaries, when people are, when this sort of most -- the most extreme voices are the most vocal, is that actually the majority of Americans want to see their leaders reach across the aisle, and they want to see them work together. And that frequently gets lost.

But it is actually, at the end of the day, it is something that motivates people to turn out and vote. Obviously, Governor Beshear is somebody who can do that. But I think there are other Democrats who can do that.


BURNETT: Is there anything Biden can learn from this?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, look, I think this is actually a very Biden-esque campaign. Biden also talks a lot about reaching across the aisle. In fact, during the 2019 primary, he was pilloried, for talking about being able to reach across the aisle, and he was told that's not what Democratic voters want to hear.


AXELROD: Yes. But that --

BEDINGFIELD: And that's actually been the core of his message.

AXELROD: You're so right.

BEDINGFIELD: And he's been able to get things done.

AXELROD: You're so right, because --

BURNETT: Looks how (ph) David.

AXELROD: Because if you look at the candidates, who have been nominated, by the Democratic Party, over the last many cycles, it isn't generally the most liberal candidate. It's generally more center-left candidates, who have the ability to work across parties.

BURNETT: Exactly.

URBAN: And then they get in. And then they govern --


URBAN: -- they govern center-left, once they get in.

BURNETT: All right.

AXELROD: No, I'm saying they're center-left.



AXELROD: Looks like you're sending that pause (ph) doing pretty well --

BURNETT: We got plenty of time left.

BEDINGFIELD: Bipartisan infrastructure laws.

BURNETT: And the Democrats, of course, are celebrating, in Kentucky, a significant win there, for Governor Beshear.



TAPPER: All right. The big question, of course. But do they have a shot in Mississippi? We're waiting for more votes to drop in the governor's race there.

And, of course, can Democrats beat back this Republican push, for full control of the Virginia Legislature?

Critical results coming up. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back. We have another key race alert, for you now, in the great State of Mississippi.

Governor Tate Reeves, the incumbent Republican is 47,541 votes ahead with 56.6 percent of the vote. He's ahead of his Democratic challenger, Brandon Presley, who has 41.9 percent of the vote. It's about one-third of the vote is in, 34 percent of the vote is in.

And let us go to look at the votes, with our friend, John King.

I know it's only about a third of the vote in. Still, this is not the results that Democrats were hoping for. So, when it comes to Brandon Presley, should he anticipate that he's going to have a Blue Christmas?

KING: I'm going to say --

TAPPER: I'm very proud of myself. This the only one I've told all night.


KING: Thank you very much.

TAPPER: Thank you. Thank you very much.

KING: Yes. So, look, let's just wait till we get Hinds County. This is the biggest county, in the State, by population. It's about 8 percent of the state population.

Remember, when Dianne Gallagher was there earlier, the Democrats went to court, got a judge to extend the voting, a little bit.


KING: So, we have no votes from Hinds County yet.

And so, mathematically, you look at this. Only about a third of the vote in. That's a big lead. That's a big lead. Let's be honest about it. 57 percent to 42 percent, that's a big lead, in a red state, the Republican governor has pulled out to a big early lead.

We do have a lot of gray. That means counties, where we have no votes at all. So, you just want to be cautious, and wait. Again, especially, this is the big one. And it's a Democratic stronghold. But you'd have to see something quite overwhelming there. But you still count them. And we see how we go.

You look around elsewhere. You come down, just looking in the blue counties, to see what you do, is, at this point in the night, you're looking, so what's blue, right? The Democrat's behind. So, what's blue? 80 percent of the vote in. It's a pretty small county population-wise.

TAPPER: Teeny county.

KING: Yes. So there's not a lot of math to make up here, right?

So, you come in, you look at some of these other blue counties, let's just move up here, only 4 percent of the vote in. But again, 15 (ph) of 82. So, it's in the -- it's in the top half, top third, when it comes to population, but still relatively small. So, my theory on these things is, it looks like Governor Reeves is out to an early lead. However, with the largest counties still out, and a Democratic stronghold still out, where we saw from our own reporter on the scene, long lines, let's let them count votes. And let's see, does Hinds County, when this comes in, does it substantially change those percentages? If it does, then, you keep counting, counting. If it doesn't, then you know the math is not enough.

TAPPER: So, just on the basic math of it, how does Brandon Presley have to do, in these big Democratic counties, in order to make this competitive, like 90 percent of the vote, like what does he have to do?

KING: This is like a Biden in a Philadelphia. You need -- it's around 80 percent of the vote, somewhere like that. And that even might not be enough, in a State, that has not voted Democrat, for governor, in 20-plus years.

Let's not -- we're not -- I'm not trying to tell people at home, "Stay up. Stay up. Stay up. The Democrat might win here." The Democrat is not likely to win, in Mississippi. However, this is a comp -- has been a competitive race into it.

And this is the largest county, in the State, and a Democratic stronghold that even let's just go back to the presidential race. You see all this red. Go back to the presidential race. Joe Biden did not have a good night, in Mississippi. He got 41 percent of the vote. But you see, from Jackson, and up the western part of the state, there are a lot of Democratic counties here, along the river, and the like.

So, can it happen? Yes. So, let's come back, right? So remember, this is the blue part of the State. Now we come back here, and look at the governor's race, and that's what's not filled in, right? So.

TAPPER: So that's the Democratic part of the State?

KING: Yes. This is the stretch Joe Biden won.

Now, these are not -- these are not giant population centers, right? 0.9 percent of the population. 1.5 percent of the population. 0.1 percent of the population. So, there's not a ton of votes out there.

But this is the flip side of what we always say about Donald Trump. It is Donald Trump in most States that runs it up in the rural areas.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: To offset what happens to the Democrats.

So, let's give Mr. Presley a chance. Let's see, let's watch as these votes come in, and see if you have A, are you winning by lopsided percentages, in all these counties? And B, is turnout high? Have you generated Democratic turnout in a way that might change the math?

TAPPER: What are the population centers other than Jackson, where Brandon Presley has to run up the vote? KING: Well that's the hard part in the sense that this is the number one county, in the State, and we have nothing, right? So, we're going to move around a little bit. That's number one.

So now, you're moving around, you're looking at other places. So you come down here, to Biloxi, Jackson County. Fifth, it's the fifth largest, 20 percent of the vote in. He's running ahead. 10 points. That's decent math. Is it enough? That's the question, right? Yes.

TAPPER: How did Biden do in Jackson County?

KING: So, you come back here, and you come to the thing. Boom. 31 percent. So, he's over -- he's over-performing Biden.


KING: Down here. Over-performing Biden. The question is, is it enough, right? Because it was so lopsided, it was so lopsided for Trump here. But there's one.

And then, you come up here, I just want to come up here, south of Tupelo, these are just such small counties, so that's 2 percent of the popular -- 2 percent of the population, 36 percent in, again, so you're looking at 2,000 votes, there, 2,400 votes there. The question is can you double that a little bit more, as you go?

When you're looking at 58,000, you know? But if you can get 2,000 here, a couple hundred here, it's possible. And we'll know more -- we'll -- it's much easier to do the small math, when you get the big math. And we have nothing here right now. So, that will tell us how late you're up and how closely you're counting the small places.

TAPPER: So, so far, Mr. Presley is outperforming Biden, from what we can tell, early on with only 38 percent.

KING: Yes.

TAPPER: But you really have to outperform Biden, in a State, like Mississippi.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Unlike --

KING: Remember, outperforming Biden means you're outperforming 41 percent.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: So, if you need 50 percent, you have to dramatically outperform Biden. That's the issue.

But, again, I'm a big believer in counting. And when you -- when you have the biggest -- when you have the biggest Democratic areas still out, and you know, Joe Biden won that part of the state, then there's every reason to just wait and see. [21:55:00]

We're up to 40 percent of the vote. It's a 58,000 vote lead. Just want to peek around a couple other places, just to see where you see blue. Only 9 percent of the vote in. But again, it's tiny, less than 1 percent of the population. But you're winning 67 percent to 33 percent.

So, there is something. Mr. Presley, Jake, clearly has appeal, in these rural areas. He clearly has sold his message. The question is Trump brought people out of the woodwork to vote. Can Presley do that? Looks bleak at the moment. But we got a lot of votes still to count. So, we watch.

TAPPER: All right, John, thanks so much.

And we have a projection now in a big city mayor's race that we're watching.

In the great City of Philadelphia, CNN projects that Democrat, Cherelle Parker, will become the very first woman, to win the Mayor's office, in that heavily Democratic city. The former City Council Mayor will defeat Republican, David Oh.

Congratulations to Mayor Cherelle Parker, in the great City of Philadelphia.

Another key race that we're watching, the battle for control, of both chambers of the Virginia State Legislature. Democrats have an advantage, right now. But will that hold?

Our election coverage will continue after this.


TAPPER: A key race alert, and a reminder where we are.

A good night, for Democrats, in two key races, this evening. Incumbent governor, Andy Beshear, won re-election, in Kentucky. And an abortion rights ballot measure, passed in ruby-red Ohio.