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CNN Projects Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) Will Win Re-Election; CNN Projects Ohio Abortion Rights Measure Passes; CNN's Continuing Coverage Of The 2023 U.S. Local Elections And Ohio Referendum On Abortion Rights And Marijuana Legalization. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 07, 2023 - 22:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: 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.

Still undecided as of now the Mississippi governor's race, and, of course, well, here's where we are on that with 43 percent of the vote, incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves is ahead by 55,383, he's a up at 56 percent of the vote. Democrat Brandon Presley, a second cousin of Elvis Presley, has 42.5 percent of the vote.

When it comes to the battle for the Virginia legislature, let's take a look at the Virginia House delegates, Democrats are currently leading in 53 of those races Republicans are leading in 47. That would be, if it holds, a pickup for Democrats of the control of the House of delegates. In the Virginia state Senate, which is currently controlled by Democrats, Democrats are leading in 22 races, Republicans are leading in 18. This has not been decided. This is just where they are leading. But right now, as of as of now on these numbers, it looks like a good night for Democrats.

Over at CNN's -- over -- let's go to M.J. Lee now. And M.J., the president spoke to the Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, this evening.

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. And here at the White House, there is already a mood of celebration. The president has been watching election results come in tonight from the White House residence with a couple of his close advisers. And he just sent out this tweet he said across the country tonight, democracy one and MAGA lost. Voters vote, polls don't. Now, let's go win next year. Of course there's a donation pitch there as well.

Look, there are two things that the campaign and the White House are both saying that they feel vindicated about. First thing is when they look back on this Kentucky race, they say there is a model for Democrats to successfully run on the Biden record. They say that they've seen the governor run on the bipartisan infrastructure law.

And you saw in his speech, the governor's speech tonight, he mentioned the Brent Spence Bridge. This is famously the bridge that brought together President Biden, Mitch McConnell, Beshear, and others in a rare show of bipartisanship. And you will hear the campaign continuing to say that it does help Democrats to run on the Biden record. Of course, what they won't say as readily is that the reason some of these candidates are running separate from the president is because he remains deeply unpopular.

And the second is they are feeling really good about the vindication they are getting, that abortion remains a really salient issue. This is something they felt very good about last year as a show of political force, in a way to drive out their base. And they say that they have gotten that again this year as well and it will remain a top issue heading into next year.

TAPPER: All right. M.J. Lee at the White House, thanks so much. We're getting a new window into Republican reaction now to the abortion rights measure that passed in Ohio.

Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill with that. Manu, what are Republicans saying?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're actually downplaying this loss. I've talked to several of the top Republicans here in the House about the outcome of the Ohio voters approving that constitutional amendment to affirm abortion rights. Several of them said -- simply say that the 2024 election will turn on other issues. They don't believe abortion will be that salient issue that the White House hopes it will be come next year.

That's the view of Jim Jordan who is, of course, an Ohio Republican, someone who tried to become the speaker of the House himself, but he said that the issues in his view will be determined by things like crime, things like immigration. Abortion, he says, will not be in voters; minds, at least he hopes, come next year.

Another House Republican leader told me that he does not believe it will be determinative at all in key House races. And then the speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, someone who's made abortion issues -- anti-abortion issues central to his political identity, I asked him about this and about this being the seventh state to affirm abortion rights, he declined to comment, Jake, said that he wanted to look into this a little bit more here.

But in talking to Republicans they don't believe this is a big problem for them even though last year, the election 2022 did not go their way in large part because of abortion. Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Erin Burnett?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right, Jake. So, okay, Alyssa just heard what Manu is reporting from Jim Jordan, but no comment on what happened in Ohio on abortion but it's going to be crime and immigration to look at, don't look at abortion over there.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Took a similar path to Vivek Ramaswamy, basically saying, maybe it's a messaging thing or it's a different issue. Abortion is the issue.

But I want to note something. The man who is the most responsible for the Dobbs decision, Donald Trump, actually has been ahead of other Republicans in creating distance on the issue of abortion.


What I mean by that is he obviously chose the Supreme Court justices that led to that ruling, but he, about six months back, said a federal ban is a huge mistake. He was criticized by Republican outside groups, by fellow candidates. He does seem to uniquely get how damaging the politics of going all in on a full-on ban are.

So, there's going to be this weird cognitive disconnect. Can he convince the voters? I'm actually fairly moderate on the issue, even though he's who got the country to where it is on the issue.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's sort of, I shouldn't use the word get-out-of-jail free card in this context, I guess, but he's got a pass because of those court appointments. And he hasn't been touched in this campaign. Some of them went after him for opposing the six-week ban and calling it cruel. So, he's positioned himself smartly.

Can I just say one thing about this, though? The Republican Party unanimously in the House elected a speaker a couple of weeks ago, Mike Johnson, who is one of the most ardent anti-abortion rights members of the United States Congress.

For Jim Jordan to say, oh, this isn't going to affect us next year, he's delusional. And every one of those swing districts, those members are going to be held accountable.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's also interesting. You know, there's been a lot of talk about, has Glenn Youngkin charted a new course, a new messaging frame for Republicans here. And we'll see obviously what happens in Virginia. But, you know, we heard him interviewed earlier, and really, fundamentally, his message was a very, you know, what you would traditionally call a pro- life message. I mean, he switched the word limit for ban.

But, you know, he didn't talk at all about protecting the right of a woman to make her own health care decisions, or for that to be between her and her doctor. He didn't use -- if he's serious about trying to find some sort of new middle ground for Republicans, he didn't use any of the language that is meaningful to people who are -- who feel strongly about protecting abortion rights. So --

BURNETT: It's interesting, when we were talking about this briefly off camera, so I'll put it on camera. So, Van, you know, when you look at The New York Times poll broadly mirroring the one that CNN just put out, but it had the battleground states and it has Trump ahead of Biden five out of six, right? So, when you think about how are you going to motivate things? I understand it's a year out, it's a snapshot in time, but if you take the abortion issue, is there a way at this point for it to become a part of the voting in any of those states in a way that could actually get -- harness some of this enthusiasm that you're seeing tonight on that issue and put it behind Biden?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. And I think what you're starting to see tonight, look, you brought this poll out, and it was like you just dropped a big brick on everybody's head because it's all it said is like Democrats, Biden is in trouble. And now tonight, actually it looks like there's reason for hope. There's a heartbeat out there, and the heartbeat is out there when you've got some leadership, you've got people reaching out across the aisle, and when you have issues like abortion.

I think people are going to be cross-pressured between despair and hope, between wanting to send the Democrats a message but not wanting to live in Trump's nightmare world. So, the game is not over. But I think if you look at the difference between the polling data and the performance at the actual polls, you see this thing is still in motion.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN HOST: Part of it is that is the context, right? People didn't think that democracy and election rights issue would be the salient issue during the midterms until there was just person after person who was an election denier who was actually running for office.

It's the same thing with the abortion issue. It's not that the issue itself drives people. It's that do you have someone on the ballot who is speaking in a way that you feel threatened one way or another? And that context will be meaningful depending on the state. It's not just abortion general, right? It's in Ohio.

This -- voters have been asked now multiple times, hey, do you want to enshrine an abortion ban in one way or another, and they're repeatedly rejecting it. The more you're talking about it, the more you're putting it in front of the voters, the more you're creating a salient issue that even if there might not have been one before.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, Republicans are going to have to figure out a new path forward if they're going to win, if we're going to want to win. Abortion has been on the ballot in Kansas, you know, in Kansas, right?

BURNETT: In Kansas, yes.

URBAN: In Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio now, over and over. At some point, the Republican Party has to wake up and say, what are we doing wrong here, right? We have to fix this. We have to fix how we talk about it. We have to fix how we think about it. We're going to keep losing, right? They're going to have to be --

AXELROD: So, the question is, can you do that within the context of a party that demands -- URBAN: Well, that's -- in therein lies a rub, right, because everyone has to get through a primary, right? Kate was talking about earlier, you know, we want to see these -- you know, people want to see in America these really nice political figures who kind of chart a middle path. And, of course, that's what everyone wants to see. But we're not going to get there because the party system is set up to reward extremes on both sides. Those candidates never make it out of a primary. You know, most people in the -- all Congress --

CORNISH: I wouldn't say it's the party system. One would argue it is also gerrymandering and all these --

URBAN: Well, that's what I was going to say. So, when you have 435 members of Congress and there are 400 Congress people who sit at home and don't worry about an opponent, they're more worried about losing in a primary than they are in a general election, right? It makes things being -- it's very tough kind of being moderate, right, in America.


GRIFFIN: To Kate's point about it can't just be the messaging, it has to be the policy, well 15 weeks are supported by 68 percent of Americans. Now, that doesn't mean that many don't want more access to abortion beyond that, but that is a fairly moderate place where the broadest swath of America is, but you have to then actually sell that, and you have to talk about what an overarching vision is.

And this is where the GOP continues to lose it. It is, it's paid parental leave, it's greater access to foster care, it is contraceptives. You have to have a comprehensive plan and say we are going to be the most pro-woman party if we're going to say there's going to be restrictions on one side of abortion.

BURNETT: Right. And also do people vote, you know, when you talk about 68 percent of people support that, okay, but do they think in those terms, right? We were talking about it actually and we didn't get to talk to Tim Scott about it, but he had supported a 20-week ban, then a 15-week ban, right? And it's 62 percent in the exit poll of Ohio of people said they supported legal in most or all cases. So, how do -- do people get to a level at a voting booth of what does most or all mean to me or is it a feeling?

GRIFFIN: Well, exactly, and I think that you have to put it into the stark terms of about, you know, that gets to about 4 months in or roughly 4 months and 15 weeks. And I think for a lot of people, that potentially seems like a reasonable place to be, but it's very different when somebody is in the situation of a crisis pregnancy, which again goes back to why you have to have all the resources on the front end to try to keep as few women from being in that position.

BURNETT: But all this conversation tonight and what we saw in Ohio, Kate, does this put more air into the balloon of the abortion discussion? Because I feel like a couple weeks ago, a lot of people were saying, okay, that had its moment. It had its moment. People are passionate about it. Now, they've lost that passion. Has that changed now?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I'm not sure it had ever changed because voters were clearly still feeling passionate, right? I mean, you're absolutely right that the political discourse, the political conversation had kind of moved on, but that wasn't, turns out actually, where voters are.

So, I think, you know, to Alyssa's point, you know, I think people don't necessarily sit and think about, you know, six weeks versus 15 versus 20, 26. Some do. Most don't. I think most feel this larger sense that their rights are being taken away. Choice is being taken away. Their freedom is being taken away.

And so, you know, in a state like Virginia where I would agree that most voters there would probably tell you that 15 weeks, with some exceptions for the health of the mother, you know, is a reasonable place to be, it doesn't feel like that when what Youngkin and the Republicans are saying is we're pulling back from what's currently allowed, which is 26.

JONES: And, again, it's not the math. It's the meaning. It's the intention. I mean, and so I think the Republican Party has given a signal that they are willing to crush people's rights in the name of some kind of ideology and Democrats are saying, we respect you more than that. It's not going to be the math. It's going to be the intention.

BURNETT: It's just interesting. You've got Republicans at the point where most people agree, but the feeling that's coming from it is different, I guess.

AXELROD: I think there's a patina of extremism that has infected the Republican Party. That isn't a both parties thing. I think it really is a problem for the Republican Party. You can dominate primaries that way. Very hard to win general elections that way.

BURNETT: All right. All stay with us, and there's so much more ahead, as Republicans fight to keep their grip on the governor's office in Mississippi. We are watching that one right now.

And what do tonight's results mean for President Biden after these crucial wins already notched for Democrats in both Kentucky and Ohio?



TAPPER: We have a key race alert for you in Mississippi. The governor's race there, the incumbent Republican governor, Tate Reeves, is still 73,223 votes ahead, 56.4 percent, ahead of Democrat Brandon Presley, who has 42.2 percent of the vote.

Let's go to Virginia now, where there's a ferocious battle for control of the legislature in the House of Delegates. Democrats are leading in 53 of the races and 47 races Republicans are leading. In the state Senate, Democrats are leading in 21 of the races, Republicans in 19. And the Democrats already control the state Senate. Right now, the Republicans control the House of Delegates. If these races continue, as they are right now, that would be a pickup of one of the Houses, one of the legislature's, in Richmond. We'll see how that shakes out.

John King, what have you got for me here?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, let's focus on Mississippi then get back to the broader dynamic. You keep asking the question, is it possible? As you noted, Governor Reeves, the Republican incumbent, Tate Reeves, his lead has increased since the last time we had this conversation. And that has happened even as more votes have come in, in this Democratic belt in the western part of the state.

I just want to show you, just bring in who lives here. If you come in and look at who lives in this part of the state, this is a largely -- you see the deeper the color here, the higher the percentage of black voters in this area. It is a traditionally Democratic area in the western part of the state, and that is where the Democrat, Brandon Presley, is getting votes. But as more of that has filled in, so here's the one place we're still waiting. We have nothing from the largest county in the state, Jackson. The suburbs around it, this gets more rural as you move out here.

So, here's the mathematical challenge, right? No votes. It's a predominantly Democratic area. So, you say, wait, let's just wait and be cautious. It would be, you know, just not right to call the race until you get votes from this area. However, the Democratic candidate four years ago beat Tate Reeves by 40,000 votes in Heinz County. So, let's just hypothetically say that happened here. That would still not be enough, right? And so you're still looking, there's more votes coming in, but there's still some votes out in the Republican area. So, this looks like the governor is on a path, but we need to wait and see what happens in here.

So, that's the one thing outstanding, plus those Virginia races.

But now let's just go back to that dynamic. So, what's happening tonight, right? At the beginning of the night, we said, what does tonight tell us? Will tonight tell us important things that we can carry over into 2024?

TAPPER: I think it is.

KING: Right. So, that's the challenge, right?

So, a Democratic incumbent, a guy who says, we should work with the other party, talks a lot about roads and infrastructure, sounds like Joe Biden, right, presents themselves as a moderate. Okay, let's say, ish, okay, wish wins convincingly, right, wins convincingly. That's a big deal in a very red state. That's a big deal. That's a yes for Democrats, right?

So, then you come up to Ohio, a red state. Abortion right forces not only winning but winning by 11 points right now, right, in a state Donald Trump won by eight. Wow, that's a big deal, right? And so now you have what's happening in Virginia, where if the Democrats hold the state Senate, that's another victory for the abortion position.


That's another victory --

TAPPER: And pick up the House of Delegates.

KING: If they do that, that's a huge rebuke of Governor Youngkin.

TAPPER: Well, you also didn't mention the fact that one of the reasons, I think, Beshear won, one of the reasons of many, is that he painted the attorney general as an anti-abortion extremist.

KING: Exactly.

TAPPER: And so, I mean, the abortion theme, I think, is a big part.

KING: Yes. So, Democrats, yes, it's help without a doubt, helping Democrats in a red state. Constitutional amendment passing, again, pro-abortion rights amendment passing in a red state.

And so then you come to Virginia, I'm just going to bring up the 2020 map here. We don't have live feed from the legislative race. But in a state, Joe Biden won by ten points and Governor Youngkin won just barely by three points, two years later, Governor Youngkin was trying to say, I can win in the suburbs, I can elect these legislators, and we will ban abortion after 15 weeks. If he does not get the assembly, that would be another. We'll see what happens with the results. That would be another.

So, we're having this conversation about momentum for the Democrats. We're still waiting on Virginia. But momentum for the Democrats and the abortion issue, the way they characterize it in Kentucky, momentum in Ohio.

And yet, what were we talking about earlier tonight? Our brand new CNN poll, let me just come back to the presidential race, that shows Joe Biden in a ton of trouble, a ton of trouble. Our national poll, combined that with The New York Times/Siena College poll, where he was losing here, losing here, losing here, losing here, losing here and losing here. And so --

TAPPER: That's not good.

KING: That's not good. Thank you very much. That's excellent.

And so what this looks like is this.


KING: Donald Trump -- five of those six states, Donald Trump won in 2016 and was president. In 2020, Joe Biden takes them back, and he's president. So, which is it? Are Democratic issues having a great night in Kentucky, red state, Ohio, red state, Virginia, bluish purple state. So Democrats should be celebrating or should we be looking at the Biden poll and Democrats should be saying, oh no, right?

And so this is David Chalian. You're looking at this poll. Is this -- yes, it's a good, tonight looks like a good night for the Democrats. Is there a carryover?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Tonight is undoubtedly a good night for the Democrats. There's no doubt about it. And it's not just issues. You noted Beshear's identity as part of this, his political identity.

I think what we are seeing tonight is that -- and, by the way, tonight, guys, builds on a year of successes and special elections.

TAPPER: Oh, yes.

CHALIAN: Builds on last year's midterm elections where they overperformed expectations largely on the issues of abortion rights and democracy.

So, Democrats have been on a run here. And I think when we look at the poll, you see that there is a Biden problem more than there is a Democratic Party problem.

So, we asked in our poll, in dealing with the nation's issues, Biden is mostly part of the problem or the solution. Overall, 61 percent said he's part of the problem. Look at this breakdown here. Obviously, 95 percent of Republicans say he's part of the problem. Two thirds of independents, 67 percent say in dealing with the nation's issues, Biden is mostly part of the problem, and a quarter of Democrats.

Now, one other data point for you from our poll. Look at the generic congressional ballot. This is the, which party do you want to control Congress for next year. It's tied 48 percent to 47 percent. So, the generic Democrat for running for Congress here is overperforming what Joe Biden is doing.

And Joe Biden's problem, as we talked about with black voters, Latino voters, young voters, it's in his own house. He has work to do, which, by the way, is why the Biden folks feel somewhat like they do have a path out of this doldrum moment that they're in because they have to revitalize and enthuse their own folks who have already been with them. It's not a guarantee that he can do that, but that's a lot easier than trying to go in and dig in and convert people.

And so it is within his own house that we see this diminishment of support. A quarter of Democrats say he's part of the problem. That's not -- I mean, Andy Beshear didn't win that big without winning a slew of Trump voters also. This -- what we're seeing tonight is the Democratic brand is not in trouble here. Joe Biden is in trouble.

KING: So, can Joe Biden in the year between now and then, A, his personal structural issues, vitality, is he up to the job? That's a big problem. The issues portfolios, as David notes, the Democrats seem to be able to use it to their advantage. That's it. Can he can he reinforce his personal characteristics on which are weak at the moment and get the issues portfolio that helps even in a place like this? You got a whole year. We'll see.

TAPPER: Yes. And this will be the first post-Roe presidential election we've ever had, which is another wild card thrown into the entire mix.

A key race for Republicans is still undecided right now with more than half of the vote reported in the Mississippi's governor race.


Up next, we're going to talk to a Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, about tonight's results and what that all says about the political climate in 2024. Stay with us.


BURNETT: All right, we have a key race alert right now in the state of Mississippi in the governor's race. As you can see, Tate Reeves of the Republican right now ahead 56.4 percent, ahead of the Republican -- the Democrat, I'm sorry, Brandon Presley at 42.2 percent. Heinz County, where Jackson is, is still outstanding. And, obviously, that's significant, often quite predictive. So, no one making a call as we await for Heinz County there, but closely watching the Mississippi governor's race right now. Abby? Thanks Erin.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Thanks, Erin. While we wait on that, let's just get more tonight on some of the key races and the 2024 race with Republican Presidential Candidate Chris Christie, who's also the former governor of the state of New Jersey.

Governor Christie, in Ohio tonight, the big story is that voters have yet again voted to codify abortion rights there. Is the Republican Party on the wrong side of this issue when it comes to the average American voter?


CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Abby, look, I think that, you know, for 50 years, conservatives have been arguing that this was not a Federal issue, that it should be decided state by state. I've certainly felt that way. And I think you've got to let it be decided state by state, and that's exactly what's happening. And so the voters are getting their opportunity to speak.

The Supreme Court took that away from voters for 50 years with Roe versus Wade. I support voters making these choices and states making these choices. And whatever the results are, are what the people want them to be. And that was my whole argument with Roe from the beginning in terms of what they did legally.

They took this out of the hands of the people and put it in the hands of nine justices on the Supreme Court. That was wrong. And now let each state make their own decisions. You're gonna have great variation across the country in terms of what people want. PHILLIP: So back in 2015, you supported a 20-week federal abortion

ban. I think you know, as well as I do, a lot of folks on the right, some of these anti-abortion groups, they really do want this to come to the federal level. Likely, if there's a Republican president, if you were the Republican president, they would want to bring it to your desk. If they did that. Given what we've seen tonight, would you sign a bill that banned abortion at the federal level at any amount of weeks?

CHRISTIE: I think I just answered that, Abby. What I said was that, you know, the people of the state should have the right to make this call. They have the right to make this call now.

PHILLIP: So just to be clear, so that's a no you would not support?

CHRISTIE: Well why don't you let me -- Abby?

PHILLIP: You would not sign anything at the federal level that bans abortion?

CHRISTIE: Abby, Abby, if you let me finish my answer, I'd be happy to give you a complete answer. What I'm saying to you is that I want this entire 50 state experiment to go forward. And let's see what all 50 states have to say about this. If at some point there was a clear consensus amongst all 50 states about some number of weeks, that would be something I'd be willing to consider, but would have to be a consensus that was formed by the 50 states.

PHILLIP: So I just wanna be clear. If anti-abortion groups came to you and said, we want to know what your position is on any federal ban, you would say, no support for a federal ban unless all 50 states voted in favor of a federal ban. Is that correct?

CHRISTIE: No, that's incorrect. You mischaracterized my position. What I said was there's going to be all kinds of different positions. In my home state of New Jersey, you can have an abortion up to the ninth month. In the state of Oklahoma, there's no abortion unless the woman's health or her life is at risk.

And there's going to be all kinds of different variations in between. If bringing all those together, there was a consensus at some midpoint that could get 60 votes in the United States Senate and come to a president's desk. I'd consider that. But I don't see that happening anytime soon. And quite frankly, I want all the states to be able to make their own judgments on this before the federal government even considers weighing in.

PHILLIP: So, also tonight in a very red state, the state of Kentucky, the Democratic incumbent, He beat a rising star in your party, Daniel Cameron. Cameron was also notably endorsed by Trump. He was embraced by him and embraced Trump himself. Was that a mistake on his part?

CHRISTIE: Daniel Cameron was a rising star in the Republican Party until he decided to throw his lot in with Donald Trump. I mean, let's face it, Donald Trump is political and electoral poison down ballot. Down ballot, his endorsement has led to Republican defeats in the House, in the Senate, rather, and the House in '18. In '20, we lost the United States Senate and the White House. In '22, we underperformed miserably. And tonight you're seeing us lose again.

Daniel Cameron made a huge mistake by embracing Donald Trump and selling his soul to him. That's what he did. And the voters of Kentucky, very red state as you noted, gave their verdict on politicians who sell their soul to Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: It's looking to be, Governor Christie, a potentially good night for Democrats in Kentucky and Ohio on that ballot measure, even in the state, the Commonwealth of Virginia. Is there a risk here that Republicans are too overconfident that Biden can be beat when it seems like voters seem open at least to the Democratic party and even some of the policies that have been on the table in this off-year election?

CHRISTIE: Any Republican who's overconfident about beating Joe Biden next year is a foolish Republican. The President's incumbency will be a very strong tool on his behalf. And so if he is the candidate for the Democratic Party, which appears he will be, he will always be a difficult opponent.


He defeated an incumbent president himself just three years ago. So I don't think anybody should be overconfident. But what we should be concerned about is if we're going to absolutely put a loser up against him.

Donald Trump lost to him in 2020. Donald Trump has led us to losers up and down the ticket for the House, for the Senate, and in governorships. This has been a disastrous run for the Republican Party with Trump picking these candidates and embracing them and independent voters all across this country rejecting him.

That's why, Abby, I've been out there making the case against Donald Trump in a way that none of these other candidates have. The other four candidates are gonna be on the stage with me tomorrow night all raised their hand and said they would support Donald Trump, even if he was a convicted felon.

I mean, this is the path to defeat. We have to defeat Donald Trump in the primary to have any chance of beating Joe Biden in the general election. That's why I want to continue to make this argument on the debate stage. Folks should go to and donate to keep me up on that stage, because I'm the only one who's willing to take it directly to Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: All right, Governor Christie, thank you.

CHRISTIE: Abby, thanks for having me. Always good talking to you.

PHILLIP: And back to you, Erin.

BURNETT (voice-over): All right, Abby, well, stay with us because we're getting more votes from the governor's race in Mississippi, the Republican incumbent right now holding his lead, but most crucial county still outstanding.

Plus that high stakes battle for control of the Virginia legislature is still unfolding. We're gonna get updates and show you how much it may matter for the 2024 election after this break.



TAPPER: We got another key race alert for you. It's in Mississippi. Governor Tate Reeves, the Republican incumbent, is 73,203 votes ahead, with 55.5 percent of the vote. That's ahead of Democratic challenger Brandon Presley, who has 43 percent of the vote. That's with 62 percent of the estimated vote in. That's a sizable amount of the vote in.

John King, there's still quite some vote to come in. We got about 37 percent of the vote still remaining to come in, but 62 percent, that is a lot and the margin here, 12 points or so, is quite sizable.

KING: It is and so you're getting close. You're getting close to the range unless the numbers change dramatically and change dramatically very quickly. And this is what we're waiting for. The last couple of times you've been here, Hinds County. So we just started, that's our first.

TAPPER: Just to remind people, I'm sorry to interrupt. The biggest county.

KING: The biggest county in the state by far, 8 percent of the statewide population and also a very Democratic county, right? So if you're in Philadelphia, I'm sorry it's Pennsylvania, this is Philadelphia for in Ohio this is Cleveland right here in California this is Los Angeles this is where you know you're gonna get a lot of Democratic votes however the question is it enough?

86 percent at 13 percent of voted so that you look at that you think I thought well we're behind but that's big math. Can he hold 86 percent as we get up to 100? That's really the challenge here because if you look at this you come back I just want to bring it out again so here's the race right now let's go back four years ago.

And look, Tate Reeves won, you know, 52-46 or six point race 47 if you round that up a five-point race it bring that up. So what happened here? You know, it was 78-22, but you see the vote margin there so 40,000 votes right? 40,000 votes the Democrat won Hinds county by then, and you come back here now we don't know how much brain and he's gonna win Hinds county the Democrats go to win Hinds county, we don't know how by how much?

But look, if it's a 40,000-vote margin, it's not enough. Because we're filling in everywhere else. You see these other gray areas, there will be, you know, a few more thousand more votes coming in. 62 percent, a fair amount of votes still coming in. But the percentages out here, as you get into these places where you see 80 percent of the vote in, you move over here and see tiny small county, still only 4 percent of the vote in a blue place, but 81 percent here. So there's just not much more math to be done.

The big math to be done is all right here and so I'm just gonna see as we wait here with the 13 percent a minute ago we're still there. So now you wait and you see mathematically possible, maybe mathematically probable your eyes don't lie.

TAPPER: So, I know you don't like it when I touch your map but could you --

KING: Be my guest.

TAPPER: Are you sure?

KING: Sure.

TAPPER: So I'm just gonna go to Hinds county so I don't have to touch. Okay, Hinds County so it's about a 7,000-vote margin right with 13 percent so translating that out if he if Brandon Presley kept up this margin and won by 65,000 votes in just this one county

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Possible not probable but possible, 65,000. I know it's not enough in that one county but that gets in spitting distance --

KING: That's why we haven't called it because you just -- you just you'd be conservative and let's just count them. Some people in a hurry.

TAPPER: I'm not saying I'd put my hands on. I'm not saying I would bet on any money on it, but what I'm just saying it's possible.

KING: Yet, it's possible in the back half of the book but we're not in the final chapter until we know where that gets us. Does it get it close enough to then grind it out from 80 percent to 95 percent in the places where all the votes aren't in yet. Again, I would say improbable, but not impossible, which is why we count votes, which is why every now and then we are surprised.

TAPPER: Yeah, now are there enough telltale signs though that would cause people to be calling the race right now?

KING: Oh, there are just some people, again, you just did the math. You did exactly the way people on decision desks are doing it, right? So this was a 40,000-vote margin four years ago, if he keeps this percentage and if turnout is equal, then he has the potential to be higher than a 40,000-vote margin. Jim Hood had 70 something, he's at 86, so it's conceivable that instead of a 40,000-vote margin it's a 50 or 55 or maybe even a 60,000-vote margin. So then you're saying, okay, well what would that get you, and then what do I still have out here on the board, right? So you have no votes at all here, but it's 0.6 percent of the population, right?

[22:45:01] Now, it's Presley's gonna win here. He's going to win here. And he's gonna win probably by a sizable margin. This is a Democrat plus 41 in a presidential year. Joe Biden won this county. Again, it's only one percent population, but he won it by 40 points.

TAPPER: So tell me, show me how Joe Biden won this county. What did he get?

KING: There you go. 70 percent.

TAPPER: Okay, so he, 4,000 votes.

KING: 4,000 votes.

TAPPER: Okay, and show me the other one that.

KING: Where were we? We were down here and let's just make sure were in the same place for this year now we get you know you know if you're you know case

TAPPER: So, it was also what was it for Jim for Joe Bident on those?

KING: Now, we're really going down again and we come here by now.

TAPPER: And some 5,000. I mean --

KING: So, if you get, let's get back to that right race

TAPPER: But if we're not going to have that kind of turnout though.

KING: But you know I said that's not a presidential turnout, but you're talking about if it was 2,000 instead of 4,000 right? So this is why it matters to discuss.

TAPPER: It's a very improbable

KING: Correct.

TAPPER: I would not put any money on.

KING: Correct, but --

TAPPER: But, who knows?

KING: But we can't?

TAPPER: Right. What you really need to know is you need more votes to come in from Hinds county?

KING: You need, you need to get, you need to see when you get to 50, 60, 70 percent

TAPPER: That's what it.

KING: If that number still above 80 and not just a percentage, what's the turnout compared to the last election? The other raw numbers you need, you need, yes, the percentages help. But if there's only 10,000 votes, the percentage doesn't help you. If there's 100,000 votes, then you're doing business.

TAPPER: We're gonna squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back.



BURNETT: All right, we're back with CNN's live coverage of "America's Choice 2023." We do have some breaking news though to share with you from Capitol Hill right now.

A development there, the House of Representatives just voting to pass a resolution to censure the Democratic representative, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, over comments critical of Israel that she had made in support of Palestinians amid Israel's war against Hamas.

She had defended the use of the phrase from the river to the sea which of course is generally viewed as a call for the extermination, the elimination of Israel. She had defended the use of that phrase and now the censure, which is a major and rare rebuke. The vote was 234 to 188. Four Republicans voted against. Twenty-two Democrats voted in support of the censure resolution.

My panel with me here now, the context here David Axelrod, obviously, I mean, this is a significant development coming on Capitol Hill. This particular issue right now, the war, Israel's war against Hamas, is right now front and center in the political discourse and in polls and crucial, you know, battleground states.

AXELROD: Yes, well Michigan in particular, where Biden got strong support from the Arab American community around Detroit, which is pretty significant, and there's been a precipitous drop in support. There and obviously among young people where there's a tremendous amount of division about the strong support the president's given Israel, given the attacks of Israel on Gaza and Hamas.

But you know, from the River to the Sea does have meaning, and she did distort what the meaning of that was. It does mean the elimination of Israel, and that's certainly what Hamas means by it.

BURNETT: Absolutely.

AXELROD: So, you know, that is, to a lot of folks, me included, an offensive notion.

BURNETT: Kate, you know, interesting in the context here of Biden, who has tried to walk a line here, speaking for a possible ceasefire for humanitarian reasons, a brief one, but still obviously very much in support of Israel's right to defend itself. What do you make of a vote count here on this, in this context? 234 to 188, incredibly split. 22 Republicans though, joining the more Democratic side, and, I'm sorry, Democrats, and four Republicans against.

BEDINGFIELD: Yeah, well, I mean, it speaks to how divided the country is about this and how emotional people are, understandably. I mean, this is a horrific thing. We are seeing just awful, horrible, just incredibly, incredibly awful images every single day, really heart- rending. So, of course, it's understandable that people are upset and that they're emotional. I think, you know, the politics of this, I think what President Biden has tried to do, you know, is to express support for Israel. Let's not forget, I'm not sure there's another country in the world that could be attacked via a terror attack in the way that Israel was on October 7th where the United States would say you don't have a right to retaliate. So the president, I think, has been incredibly supportive. Remember, he also went to Israel in the days after the attack in part to put his arm around Netanyahu to help guide.

So I think that gets lost sometimes in the intense rhetoric, which is understandable, but let's not forget ---

AXELROD: -- essentially accused the president of being a party to a genocide. I mean, that's very-

BURNETT: Are you surprised, David, by the split, though, that we've seen in this country, sort of, I think it has taken some by surprise to see the backlash on the Democratic left on this issue. This didn't used to be an issue where there was a lot of space between the two parties.

AXELROD: Now, listen, I mean, this has been going on for years. The BDS movement on college campuses has been festering for years and years and years, and it's been quietly festering. And now to raise its ugly head and it's for everyone to see. And I think, look, it should be widely condemned. I mean, this is a great step here on the floor. Shouldn't be acceptable in any form.


GRIFFIN: There's a massive generational shift on this issue that I think Democrats have to wrap their arms around. When you have someone like Hillary Clinton definitively saying people who are calling for a ceasefire do not understand Hamas and then having students walk out, a consummate Democrat who's worked in foreign policy her entire career. Young people, there is polling that shows they don't understand the Holocaust, they don't understand the history of the region, why the Israeli statehood came about. You can support the Palestinian people, you can support a two-state solution, but you have to be able to condemn terrorism, which is where I think Rashida Tlaib screwed up.

BURNETT: All right. All of you, thank you very much.

As our continuing coverage of the breaking election developments continues, we've got more key races to call in these hours ahead, and our coverage continues with Laura Coates and Abby Phillip after a brief break.