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Now: Voting In 16 States With Biggest Lot Of Delegates At Stake; Any Minute: First Super Tuesday Exit Poll Results. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 05, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yeah. She's very influential.


Thank you so much for being with us this afternoon.

Our special coverage of AMERICA'S CHOICE 2024, Super Tuesday with Wolf Blitzer and Kate Bolduan starts in just about 15 seconds. 14 seconds.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: It's the biggest Election Day of the year so far. Welcome to CNN's special coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: And I'm Kate Bolduan in New York.

The first polls are closing in just a few hours from now. And turnout in states like North Carolina is strong as millions of Americans and 16 states are now voting.

For Republicans, it is a big day, 865 delegates are at stake. Donald Trump expected to win most of them, making the Republican front runner almost unstoppable potentially by the end of this.

BLITZER: By tonight, Trump is expected to be within striking distance of the 1,215 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination, which raises the big question, what does Nikki Haley do next?

Now, in less than an hour, we'll be getting our first early clues about the outcome of tonight's vote. That's where we get the first results from our exit polls.

We have our reporters fanned out across the nation right now as voters are heading to the polls.

I want to start our special coverage with our David Culver. He's joining us tonight from San Jose, California, where people have been filing into vote all day.

David, I know you've been talking to a lot of folks on their way to cast their ballots. What's motivating these people out there to vote in this primary?

DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first response to that, Wolf, usually is we're here to perform our civic duty, right? But then you start to peel back the layers a little bit, and two issues have surfaced in the folks we've spoken with already just in the past couple of hours, immigration and economy.

And let's set the scene where we are. This is Santa Clara County election center. This is part of the Silicon Valley area. So, you've got a big range in wealth. And you've got a working class here, too, huge Latino population, about 25 to 30 percent.

The mail-in ballots are going to be the chunk of what comes in here. Interesting to see, all of these stacks, these are the votes have come in. They go through the processing here, and then they continue back through machines like this and get divided up into the many precincts in this area. So, it's incredibly active as they are obviously full speed ahead here on this Super Tuesday.

But go into those voters, the folks who are filling out these ballots, you really get a sense that for a lot of them, this is becoming personal. And I asked one guy who showed up. His name is Pearson Randall (ph). He's 24.

What brought them out here on his lunch hour to cast a primary ballot? He said for him, it was to go a different direction for the country. Here's what he had to say.


CULVER: Do you feel like he's doing what you'd like to see the country continue doing in the next four years?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally, no, I'm not satisfied with President Biden. I would much rather --

CULVER: Did you vote for him before?


CULVER: You're pretty upset with how this has turned out from your past vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct, yes. It is not -- my situation has not improved. Like I thought it would under Biden. What I wish I could see from him was a little bit more confident.


CULVER: So, here's the thing with Randall, I asked him, I said, if not President Biden again, who do you vote for, right? He says, well, I'm not I really comfortable saying that. I said, well, let's go through the process. I started naming the candidates, Nikki Haley. He said no, not the one. He said really he liked Vivek Ramaswamy, not an option on this ballot. I said, what about Donald Trump? He said, you know, I'm really not comfortable answering that question. And then he seems to have echoed what a lot of folks here in California have said to me in recent days, and that is he's not sure who he is going to vote for. Is that positive of an answer? And he's worried about any sort of repercussions. Then he continued along with his thing.

Kate, I think by process of elimination, it seemed to point to one person, Donald Trump. But, obviously, it's between him and the ballot.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, it really speaks to that 7 in 10 that we've seen in polling, 7 in 10 Americans who aren't happy with the idea of a reelection matchup between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. You're really kind of seeing it with that struggle right there.

It's great to see. Thanks.

David Culver is going to be there for us.

Let's go now to Brian Todd, who's in Sandy, Utah, for a look. Polls are open there.

Brian, this is a state the Nikki Haley is watching closely as one that she might have a chance of winning.


Why is that?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, it's because of all the states there go fairly heavily red, Utah is the one state where Donald Trump does the least well, traditionally. In 2016, he lost the Republican caucuses here pretty handily to Ted Cruz. There are other factors here that I'll talk about in just a second.

But first, let me set the scene for you. This is a caucus site. It's not a traditional polling site for primary. It's a caucus site. So the caucusgoers have not come here yet.

This is Alta High School here in Sandy, Utah. They're going to be coming in that entrance there. We're not allowed in yet because school is in session now as we speak, but in about four hours, the voters will start to arrive for the caucus session, which will be held inside those doors there.

Thirty-two precincts voting here. So it'd be caucusing in 32 different rooms, then casting ballots like this one. This is a kind of a sample ballot here. Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, and the third candidate, Ryan Binkley, on the ballot here. They cast their ballots, then they start counting at about 8:00 p.m. local time, 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Hopefully, we'll be able to bring all of that to you live because we're going to get access inside there once the caucusing begins, talking about the Haley-Trump dynamic here.

Another reason, Kate, why Nikki Haley could do well here in Utah is because she's got some good endorsements on her side. The Republican Governor Spencer Cox has not formally endorsed her, but he has said publicly that he likes Nikki Haley as a candidate. He does not like Donald Trump or Joe Biden as candidates. The governor's wife, Abby Cox, has endorsed Nikki Haley. The lieutenant governor. Deidre Henderson, has endorsed Nikki Haley. So you've got key endorsements there.

You've also got the Mitt Romney factor here in Utah. The retiring U.S. Republican senator, former presidential candidate, we know of course, has been very critical of Donald Trump over the years. Will his pull matter in this state? It might. If she's going to have a chance to pull out of state, it might be here in Utah, and we're going to see how that vote plays out in the next few hours.

Back to Wolf

BLITZER: Brian Todd in Utah for us -- Brian, thank you very much.

We've got an excellent panel of our contributors here.

Let me start with Gloria Borger.

Gloria, polls are going to close in a few hours. It looks -- it looks at least right now like it's going to be another very huge night for Donald Trump.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, of course. A big night for Donald Trump. I think the question everyone will be asking by the end of the night is Nikki Haley going to say in or is she -- is she going to leave?

But I also think what we ought to be looking at tonight very closely as these exit polls and states like North Carolina and Virginia, which will tell us a lot about what the voters believe about these two candidates. We already know that they don't like either one of them very much. We know that according to one poll, more than 70 percent believe Joe Biden is too old to be president.

And there are questions about Donald Trump and how he does with women in suburbia. And I think with independent voters. And so, I think by the end of the evening, maybe we'll have a picture of where the public is right now on Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

BLITZER: Let me get Jonah Goldberg into this conversation because we're looking ahead as well.

So far, in these primaries that we've seen so far, we'll see what happens to that. About 30 percent of the GOP primary voters have voted for someone other than Trump, as you know. So what does that suggest to you about looking down the road?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. So, I don't think, just to pick up on Gloria's saying, I don't think Nikki Haley's going to drop out tonight regardless of the results.

Remember Pat Buchanan, stayed in all the way to the convention in 1992. Bernie Sanders did likewise. She's now in a sort of issue campaign and she's basically building and solidifying behind her. I don't think it's hers to control or anything, but a faction that is just not that into Donald Trump. And that's significant.

Pat Buchanan in 1992 averaged over the course of the all the primaries, about 22 percent. Nikki Haley's overperforming that. And that puts her in a good place sort of no matter what, but not to be president in 2024.

BLITZER: Not to be necessarily the Republican nominee.

GOLDBERG: She will not be the Republican nominee.

BORGER: Well, and the question is, where did those voters go? Do they end up with Joe Biden or do they end up voting for Trump?

LULU GARCIA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We've seen in polling them saying that they're 85 percent of them would go for Donald Trump.

So, what we actually know is that her portion of the Republican Party is very, very small, and I am curious that you think that she might drop out, because I mean, she's right now in her home state of South Carolina, she's not campaigning anywhere. It seems to me that she has a moment right now, that she has to choose. Am I going to be someone who's going to go to the bitter end and represent this very small part of the Republican Party or am I going to be someone who actually is not going to be viewed as obstructionist to what is going to be the Republican nominee, Donald Trump?

GOLDBERG: Yeah, it's a tough decision.


I think she's going to make the decision to stay in. I think she's having -- I know Nikki Haley a little bit. My wife worked for her years ago, I have no relationship with the campaign now. She is -- seems to be enjoying herself a great deal, and I think she's made peace with the fact that she's not going to be the nominee in 2024.

And meanwhile, she's raising a ton of money. She's collecting a lot of names. She's building a national network.

I could be wrong but I just don't think that she anticipates any results tonight and say, okay, now I got to get out.

BLITZER: If she does drop out, will she endorse Trump?

GOLDBERG: Not tonight. Like she might drop out the next 24 hours, but I don't think there's any reason why she has to endorse Donald Trump in the next 24 hours.

NAVARRO: I mean, I think that for me is the big question. Will she endorse Donald Trump? I mean, it is really serious its question because everything that she said, her entire campaign has been now based around this idea that I am the alternative and to bend the knee, I think would undercut that. BORGER: She won't, but the question also is, what will Donald Trump say about her? I doubt he'll be gracious. Yeah, I doubt he'll be gracious because it's not his way.

BLITZER: It's interesting, Jamie, because Donald Trump and Nikki Haley had a little war of words going on today.

Let me play a clip. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no path for her to win no matter what. Now, today, I should win hopefully every state.

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know why everybody is so adamant that they have to follow Trump's lead to get me out of this race. I'm not ready to get out yet. I'm still sitting there fighting for the people that want a voice.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So I just want to underscore what Jonas said. I don't think she's going to get out, but I spoke to two of her major donors and they don't know what her plants are.

One of them just texted me, hearing anything, question mark. So they're playing and get very close to the vest.

Look, one of the issues is, what is the strategy going forward? Apart from whether or not she endorses Donald Trump, does she see some path if -- the what-if factor, if Trump stumbles, is there a place for a Nikki Haley at a brokered convention? I don't think so. Not -- not with Trump delegates. If she is -- the path forward is to save the Republican Party, in her mind down the road, then how does she endorse him?

BORGER: I don't think she does.

BLITZER: With that first Republican debate, she raised her hand right when she was asked, will you support -- eventually support the Republican nominee? She's made a commitment at that time.

BORGER: She's gone soft on that.

BLITZER: Now, she's walked away from that condition.

BORGER: She is -- she's not -- she's not Chris Christie, but she's really walked away from that answer. And after all she said about Donald Trump, how could she endorse him?

BLITZER: Yeah, it's a strange situation.

All right. Guys, everybody standby. There's a lot more were going to be discussing.

This is CNN special coverage of Super Tuesday continues.

Up next, well take you live to North Carolina, where the governors race is also getting ugly.

Plus, Trump wrapping up his anti-immigrant remarks.


TRUMP: What they're doing to our country is incredible. They're poisoning our country.


BLITZER: So is that message resonating with voters today?

And we're also standing by for the first exit polls. We'll get them to you and give us a clue of what's going on on this important day.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: And welcome back to our special coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries. Voters from coast to coast have been heading to the polls throughout the day, including in battleground state, North Carolina. The state and its 16 electoral votes is emerging as a key piece of President Biden's reelection strategy. Republicans also investing heavily there and hoping to win the state for the fourth general election in a row now.

Dianne Gallagher is in Cornelius, North Carolina, for us this afternoon.

Dianne, you've been talking to voters all day there. What are they telling you?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Abortion, education, immigration, and democracy. Those are the issues that the voters here in Cornelius, North Carolina tell me, have inspired them to come out and cast their ballots in this primary.

And, look, we've seen a steady turnout here. You can see we have a little bit of a line that is building at this point. Of course, the primary day turnout is on top of the roughly 695,000 North Carolinians who cast early and absentee ballots.

And part of that is North Carolina's outsized importance when it comes to being a swing state come November, but it's also because there is a long down-ballot full of competitive races on both Republican and the Democratic side. And voters here are educated. They're informed and they're ready to make their voices heard.

I spoke with voters who voted for Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Nikki Haley today about why they made the choices that they did Trump (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



STRICKLAND: He's the only man that can help us as a country and bring everything back the way it should be, a normal day-to-day living for all Americans.

JARROD MASON, BIDEN VOTER: Joe Biden. I do want to make sure that gun laws in our country, special schools that's take care of, just opportunity for resources. I know abortion laws is always changing, so making sure there's opportunities for ladies that do seek abortion. They can get opportunity to do so and they have equal rights to take care of their body.

BRIAN NELSON, HALEY VOTER: I just do not really agree with Trump's rhetoric and all of his -- well, not all of his policies, but I just think that Republicans deserve a better choice and I think that's Nikki Haley.

GALLAGHER: Is Nikki Haley someone you feel like you could vote for in November?

NELSON: No, I will vote Democrat in November.


GALLAGHER: Now, that voter you heard from there, that is something that we've seen out here in Cornelius, voters who are registered unaffiliated. And they plan to vote for Joe Biden in December, but they are choosing the Republican ballot as a protest vote against Donald Trump, and picking Nikki Haley instead.

Wolf, polls close here at 7:30 p.m. in North Carolina.

BLITZER: We'll be watching it very, very closely. Dianne, thank you very much.

For more on this critical battleground state, North Carolina with a contentious governor's race also brewing, I'm joined now by the chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Anderson Clayton.


Anderson, thanks very much for joining us.

As you know, fewer than 10 percent of eligible voters opted for early voting this year, well below even recent midterm primaries. Does that translate from your perspective into a lack of enthusiasm from your base?

ANDERSON CLAYTON, CHAIR OF NORTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: No. I think that we see, you know, historically in trends when you have an incumbent president that typically primary elections are a little less competitive. What the North Carolina Democratic Party is tracking this election season though, is the fact that we had Senate Bill 747 and 749 come through our general assembly last year from the super majority that are a GOP has in both of our state house and senate chambers right now that were voter suppression bills, unfortunately.

And we also saw voter ID come back into play in North Carolina. That's unfortunately really targeted elderly and young voters this election season. And so, the North Carolina Democrats took an aim at really understanding where Republicans have put these bills into effect and how they're playing on the ground in North Carolina across the state.

BLITZER: Interesting. A year when age as we all know is going to be an issue for both presidential candidates, what perspective do you bring as the youngest state party leader in the country? I think you're only 26 years old.

CLAYTON: I am indeed. I bring the energy in the aspect of that. There is a Democratic Party that's a brewing right now in North Carolina that were really excited for.

You know, the youngest elected officials in North Carolina are all three black men right now, looking at Jordan Lopez is going to be the youngest elected official going into our state house this year. Chris Suggs, who was a local city councilor in Kingston and Lenore in rural North Carolina right now. And also, Tyler Swanson, who's an elected official here in Wake County.

We're really excited to see the future of the Democratic Party play out strong at the local level and utilize every level of the ballot this year to get people out. North Carolina Democrats were one of a select handful of states that actually elect the council of state.

And what we just heard were alluding to the fact that we've got a lot of competitive council state races this year, including for our state treasurers race, our super -- our superintendent race, our Supreme Court race, and ensuring that voters know that they're 15 statewide candidates in North Carolina this year, that are all going to help Joe Biden, be successful in getting back to the White House because we know but the pathway to the White House runs right through North Carolina.

BLITZER: It's always good to see young people involved in a major political moves right now. As, you know, the Vice President Kamala Harris visited your state of North Carolina what, 10 times since taking office just last week, you joined her motorcade.

How important is North Carolina for President Biden's reelection chances?

CLAYTON: Not just that we heard in the motorcade, which was, to be honest with you, the coolest experience my entire life as a young person, but also as someone that worked for her when she was running for president in 2019 in the Iowa caucuses.

But it was exciting because her campaign also did a stop with 75 young organizers from across North Carolina. We did a youth organizer training around and relational organizing tool called Reach that we are going to implement across the state this year. In particular, on college campuses, to help young people organize young people, because we know that's what's going to drive out the base this year in North Carolina. It's what won Barack Obama, North Carolina in 2008. And it's one of the most important voting blocs that we have.

And her being here, you know, the last visit that she made in North Carolina, she went to A&T, one of our historically Black colleges and universities and our state. And we have the most of them in the entire country in North Carolina. And it's so important for this state to see her because the South deserves to see the first Black woman vice president, come here and really embrace the fact that 55 percent of Black Americans live in the South right now.

And so, I'm excited to understand and be able to see this campaign really take this out and wrap it this year, and say, we're going to organize and we're going to get into places that the Democratic Party is really been absent from over the last decade in my opinion.

BLITZER: Anderson Clayton, the chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, thanks so much for joining us. We'll continue this conversation for sure down the road. Appreciate it very much

And CNN's special coverage of --


BLITZER: Go ahead. What do you say?

CLAYTON: I was going to say, honestly, anyone who would like to get involved to, is where you go. We've got folks on the ground right now and we're trying to get through this primary season. But the general election is really what we're looking at. So, anyone that would like to, all my North Carolinians listening to this right now.

Thank you for that, Wolf. I appreciate it.

BLITZER: All right. Good luck. We'll stay in touch.

CNN's special coverage of Super Tuesday continues.

Next, President Biden with a special message for Black voters today. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The way he talks about, the way he acted, the way he dealt with African-American community, I think, has been shameful


BLITZER: Plus, why is Democrat Adam Schiff running ads that actually help out a potential Republican opponent in the closely watched California's Senate race? We'll be right back.



BLITZER: Welcome back to our special Super Tuesday primary coverage.

Looking at live pictures right now to polling location in North Carolina where the line wraps around the building. One of the key issues on the ballot this November will, of course, be the border and immigration. Both President Biden and former President Trump put border security the top of their priority list, both visited the southern border just last its weak on the same day.

And it's an issue that certainly top of mind for voters who live along the Rio Grande.

Our Ed Lavandera is joining us now from El Paso, where he's been talking to voters.

Ed, what are they telling you?


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf, we're at a polling location in east El Paso and here in Texas, you have to keep your distance from the polling location. So we're about 100 feet away.

But this is the longest we've seen the line throughout the day here at this particular polling location, and the Republican voters that we've spoken with. And this is a state that has been dominated by Republicans for nearly three decades now. And. you know, no surprise, but you hear immigration and the economy, the top of mind issues.

But this primary comes at a fascinating point for the Texas Republican Party because it is a party that is essentially engaged in a civil war and it's the Bush era, Republicans and the new Trump MAGA wing of the party in those two sides are colliding.

And in speaking with voters here today, we spoke with a gentleman named Armando and Sergio, two Republican voters, one voting for Trump, the other, Nikki Haley. And it really captures this tension that exists here among Texas Republicans.


LAVANDERA: Why did you vote for Donald Trump?

ARMANDO, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: Because he fulfills commitments. Last time, he said he was going to do something, he did 100 percent.

LAVANDERA: You voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.


LAVANDERA: And now, you've -- you're tired of him, it sounds like. Is that fair to say? SERGIO: It's not that I'm tired. It's just a lot of the legal issues

and a lot of the stuff that he -- there's a lot of -- he stirs up a lot of hate in this country. And I think we don't need that. I think we just need a different direction


LAVANDERA: And Sergio went on to tell us that if Donald Trump is the nominee in the general election, he and his wife are considering sitting out of the election.

And we should point out that one of the other interesting things to watch here as these votes come through tonight is the issue of immigration and how that is going to affect a new voters in Republican Party. Republicans feel like they are making inroads with traditional Democratic Latino voters along the border, and it'll be interesting to see how they pick up those votes, and compare that with the voters in the suburbs, or the big cities that have been so alienated by Donald Trump -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Ed Lavandera in El Paso for us -- Ed, it's great to see you. He's going to be there for us all, all throughout the afternoon and evening.

And here with me, let's talk about this major issue.

Adam, we hear from El Paso, Texas, to San Jose, Texas, to Cornelius, North Carolina. They're all the reporters that we've heard from so far on the ground is immigration is what they're hearing. Border security is what they're hearing from voters. We've heard this throughout the primary.

But it's still going nowhere in Washington. It's in the details. It's the -- everyone's angry about it, but how to fix it. Is there any bipartisan -- is there any bipartisanship possible on this?


BOLDUAN: Well, but then what -- how does this -- how do votes today translate into any progress on it?

KINZINGER: Yeah, they don't. Here's the thing and I want to first off say I actually worked the border as the Air National Guard pilot and it's a mess. It's been a mess.

And this immigration issues actually been an issue for a long time, but its really come to the forefront now. The Democrats had, and maybe still have a real opportunity not to win on the issue of immigration I don't think. But to begin to flip the script, because as you know, there was a negotiation for the strictest border bill that ever would have come out.

And this, by the way, in my time in Congress, there were at least three attempts to do bipartisan immigration reform. It was always tanked by the far-right every time. Joe Biden and the Democratic campaign machine has got to be hammering this issue over and over. They talk about it and maybe at the State of the Union, Joe Biden will talk about it. But this has got to be a daily discussion.

I fear the Democrats are fighting a little bit of, they don't want to antagonize their left base a little bit in this, they're staying quiet, but this is what America is going to vote on. And they have an opportunity again, not to win on the issue, but at least chip away at the Republican advantage.

BOLDUAN: Ashley, we've seen over and over again through the primary that Donald Trump is by voters, Donald Trump is trusted more than Joe Biden on the issue of border security and on the issue of immigration by a lot.

How does -- do you -- do you see what the secret sauce is for Joe Biden and the campaign to chip away like Adam's talking about? And it doesn't seem like they've nailed on it yet.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I think Donald Trump has the edge on voters in terms of this issue because of his messaging. It's not that he really got anything. He didn't build a wall, even though he talks about building a wall. Again, he tells these lies to voters and just says it over and over, hoping that people will eventually believe it. So I think that's what voters are feeling when they think about the border.

But to the congressman's point, I think that Democrats need to go full offense on this. If you want a solution, then you need to put Democrats in charge in the House, the Senate, and the White House for us to solve this problem because we have the solutions and it's not just Republicans, it's Donald Trump who called.

You know, the senators were taking a more leadership role and saying we're going to get this done.


But, you know, the next day, Mitch McConnell steps down. People want to be -- lead the Senate, and now, the bill just dissolves. And so, you can't be -- and I wouldn't just do it on the -- on the House and the Senate and White House, I would talk about governors and mayors.

If you want to be Gregg Abbott and send migrants to people in urban communities, then let those urban mayors and those blue-state Democrats say, you know what? We do need a solution. Our President Joe Biden had a solution and you blocked it.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, one thing is just talking about that is -- we've seen, he has employed very successfully, Donald Trump, is the messaging on all -- I mean, messaging on all, on many issues, this one specifically.

I want to play for you, Shermichael, what -- how Donald Trump has spoken today and recently about border security and immigration. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


Our country is being poisoned.

They're poisoning the blood of our country.


BOLDUAN: And he's -- he's also often using the word invasion over and over again. Similar language to what we've -- what we've heard four years ago, similar to what we heard eight years ago. Is this what voters want to hear? If so, why?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I wouldn't use the poisoning the blood if I were advising the former president, but I do think the word invasion has resonance. I mean, Ashley talked about using Democratic mayors and governors to talk about these are the things that Joe Biden would do. I'll use Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, where we are. He's already articulated multiple times the current administration isn't doing enough to address this issue. It's likely going to cause the city of New York $4.5 billion.

You have Black residents, voters will likely Democratic voters saying we don't want these individuals in our areas because we're already facing daily plight. There aren't enough resources for our everyday struggles and now, we're seeing those resources redirected to new individuals.

So I do think that there is resonance there for the average hardworking American who's currently struggling under this economy, who sees, you know what? I don't like the way Joe Biden is handling this. He isn't trustworthy on this issue.

BOLDUAN: Bring this altogether for us, Jamal, because wrapped up in all of this is a key voting bloc that Donald Trump has again with and Joe Biden has had much more success with, it's Hispanic voters.

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I'm going to tilt a little differently from Shermichael and this maybe a surprise.



BOLDUAN: Please, Jamal.

SIMMONS: Listen, I think there's no reason for Joe Biden to go after the Republican voters that you guys might be talking about because he's never going to get them. He's never going to go as far as they want --

BOLDUAN: This is the basis of my initial question, where is a win on this if you're not going to vote anybody? SIMMONS: But there are a bunch of independents and a bunch of Democrats who are concerned about immigration and they want the president to do something about it. But he's -- he wouldn't use words like invasion because the Democratic side, when we think about it, we think about something that has more to do with compassion and justice. And how do we have an orderly process that will allow people who want to come to the country to be able to get in and live in peace, right? So that's why you wouldn't use a term like invasion.

But you would talk about securing the border path to citizenship for people who've been here for a lot of time, those kinds of questions that I think people were actually really want the president to have a stance on. And we've seen it democracy, the economy, and immigration. And it would be very big point on the polls for the Democrats.

BOLDUAN: And we heard it -- we heard a little bit of what you were just hitting on. It's almost like a little bit of both, you can have two thoughts in your head at one time from some of the voters that Dianne Gallagher was talking to in North Carolina. We want to be compassionate. We want to bring them in, but we want to do it legally. We want to protect the border.

SIMMONS: That's right.

BOLDUAN: But how does that translate on Super Tuesday and beyond? Stay with us to find out.

Our special coverage of CNN Super Tuesday continues. We're going to take you live to California were a former baseball great is trying to become the first Republican to win a Senate seat there in more than 35 years, and he's actually getting some help from one of the Democrats also running, Adam Schiff.

Plus, Nikki Haley shutting down calls for her to exit race.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know why everybody so adamant that they have to follow Trump's lead to get me out of this race.


BOLDUAN: One of Nikki Haley's top fundraisers is our guests.



BLITZER: Welcome back to our special coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries. A lot of eyes right now on California as we await the results of the very high-stakes Senate race out there.

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, the front runner, followed by progressive Congresswoman Katie Porter. But hot on her tail is the Republican candidate, Steve Garvey, a former L.A. Dodgers star. And Congresswoman Barbara Lee comes in a distant fourth.

A Republican hasn't won a Senate seat in California in more than 35 years. But with a razor thin majority, Democrats aren't taking anything for granted right now.

Let's get straight to Nick Watt. He's in Santa Ana, California, for us.

Nick, this so-called jungle primary is rather unusual and it's creating intraparty rivalries right now. Explain, first of all, how it works.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Wolf, jungle primary sounds exciting and it kind of is. I mean, this race is a nail-biter, but not really for who comes in first. All eyes are on who comes in second.

As you mentioned, Adam Schiff, veteran member of the House, is ahead in the polls. He was pretty much a quiet member of the House for years and he was front and center in Trumps first impeachment to the point where Trump gave him a nickname. He wore that as a badge of honor, and that really boosted Schiff's profile.

Now, the reason that three high-profile Dems are fighting for this seat is Senate seats in California don't come up very often. Dianne Feinstein held that seat for about 30 years before she died last September. So they know this is a big prize. And so Katie Porter, she's also been pretty high-profile the past few years, known for the whiteboard and Congress and for really grilling corporate people coming in front of congressional committees.


And, of course, Barbara Lee, who is a progressive veteran from up in the Bay Area, and then Steve Garvey, the wildcard here, the Republican candidate, the former Dodger, Padre star. He's a 75 year old want to be political rookie.

And, you know, we just spoke to one voter outside, an older gentleman with a walking frame and he said, I'm a baseball fan. I respect Steve Garvey. You can guess who I voted for -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And it's interesting here, because of this so-called bundle primary format, Adam Schiff is doing something rather surprising. He's boxing out Porter to boost a Republican. Take a look at this. Watch this.


AD ANNOUNCER: Conservative Republican Steve Garvey voted for Trump twice, surging in the polls. Fox News says he'd boost Republican control.

Democrat Adam Schiff stands up for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Turn out on the Democratic side, as you know, Nick, is expected to be low. Could this tactic backfire?

WATT: Well, I mean, it depends what you mean by back far. I mean, will a Republican -- will Steve Garvey win this race and end up with a seat in the Senate? That is very unlikely. Dem voters out-number of Republicans here by about two to one.

You know, the last Republican to win a statewide race in California was Arnold Schwarzenegger back in 2006, very different time, very unusual candidate. But what Schiff is trying to do here, Schiff wants Garvey to be his opponent for the general election, because he knows he has a much better chance of beating Garvey than he has a fellow Dem.

I mean, you know, take Katie Porter, for example. If she was running, would she may be get the kind of more liberal, progressive vote? Would Schiff stance on Israel then become a bit of a problem for him? So that is the issue.

The other issue is money. If it's Dem on Dem in November, the Dems are going to waste a lot of money fighting each other, money they could be using to try to fight and win some of those key House seats here in California, that they're going to need if they want to get control back of the House -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yeah, there's general primary, the top two candidates who emerge today in this Super Tuesday primary, the top two candidates will run in November. So, we'll see how that all unfolds rather unusual situation.

Nick, thanks very much.

Our special coverage continues. Will Nikki Haley continue her campaign after tonight? We'll talk to one of her top fundraisers. That's next.

Plus, we're only minutes away from getting the first exit polling results from today's important vote. They could give us a huge clue on what's going on. Standby for that.



BOLDUAN: Nikki Haley is facing some key tests when polls close about two hours from now, and we're keeping a close eye on early results in Vermont and Virginia. They're among her best chances to win tonight and could be early indicators of whether her presidential bid lives beyond tonight and Super Tuesday.

Haley is vowing to stay in the race as long as the way she puts it is that she's competitive. As of now, she has no more campaign events scheduled on the -- on the

campaign calendar.

Joining me right now is Eric Levine. He's a top donor and fundraiser for Nikki Haley.

It's good to have you here.


BOLDUAN: Talk to me about best-case scenario for tonight. From your perspective, what's best-case scenario realistically for Nikki Haley?

LEVINE: Yeah, I think, realistically, Donald Trump's going to win most, if not all, the states. He's going to get a majority of the votes.

But for Nikki Haley, if she continues to get 30 to 40 percent in each of these states, it really demonstrates there's a wing of the part that continues to reject Donald Trump as its nominee. And the real test for Trump is going to be, can he win them back? And the message today is it's not a good message.

I personally have been barred from MAGA-world. I've donated to Nikki.

BOLDUAN: Oh, he promised that, yes.

LEVINE: He promised that. I can't go on his Ferris wheels.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. I was going to say, do you know what MAGA world is?

LEVINE: It's some amusement park, but I don't -- I can't go there, whatever -- whatever it happens to be.

And then he puts out a shortlist for vice presidents. And who does he include on that? Tulsi Gabbard. Tulsi Gabbard in 2016 was the vice chair of the DNC. She left being a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to join the Bernie Sanders campaign.

I was unaware there was a Bernie Sanders wing of the Republican Party that he wanted to win back. I'm not sure by putting out a shortlist like that, he's going to be enticing Reagan Republicans like me and the other 30, 40 percent to come back home to vote for him in a general election.

BOLDUAN: If Nikki Haley doesn't hit that 30, 40 percent in strong fashion tonight, do you -- if she does not do well, do you still want to see her to continue to actively campaign beyond today?

LEVINE: That's obviously going to have to be her choice. I'm hopeful that she does continue to do 30, 40 percent because I do believe that a significant part of the party that rejects the isolationist wing of the party and really does believe in a strong national --

BOLDUAN: Do you think it's more a cause than a campaign at this point?

LEVINE: I think it's evolving into that, and we need -- we need someone to -- we need an avatar. And right now, she's our avatar.

If you -- look, if she starts pulling 10, 15 percent across the country in Super Tuesday states, she has to get out of the race at that point. I don't think that's going to happen, but then she would have to because then it'll be Trump versus Biden.


BOLDUAN: Look, money hasn't been her problem.


BOLDUAN: I mean, you've been fundraising for her. The campaign raised $28 million in January and February, outraising Trump in January. Why do you think she continues -- despite how she's not winning in primaries, how -- she continues to appeal to donors?

LEVINE: To your point, I think she's become a cause and she's become our spokesperson. Look --

BOLDUAN: So where did the 20, 30, 40 percent go if she leaves the race?

LEVINE: That's a great question. I really don't know because my wing of the party wants to support Ukraine. I want to support Israel, and I want to support Taiwan, and I want to secure the border.

And I don't think it's necessary that we have to do all four simultaneously. Let's get the wins where we can.

BOLDUAN: Talk to me about the struggle. I'm not going to ask you the question. We were talking about in the break because you think it's a useless question to ask if who you would vote for when Nikki Haley's out, if you vote for Donald Trump. What is the struggle though for you in if Nikki Haley is not running? What you do, do you not vote? Is that an option for you?

LEVINE: Here's the struggle. Joe Biden is a cognitively impaired octogenarian whose policies I disagree with in the extreme. I think this distance he's putting between the United States and Israel now is disgraceful. I think the way he's handled Ukraine is just simply not doing enough. He's always a day late and a dollar short and he hasn't been forceful enough in dealing with China.

The border, of course, is a crisis, even he now admits that. So I can't vote Democratic and the antisemitism on the radical left on these college campuses, and, of course, the country have convinced me as an American Jew, I cannot vote Democratic. So can I vote Republican? Can I vote for Donald Trump?

It's tough because Donald Trump has said -- has implied he's going to get out of NATO.

BOLDUAN: He says he doesn't want -- he doesn't want your support as well.

LEVINE: And how does he win?

BOLDUAN: Well, this is the struggle, and this is what we are presented with, on a very important day with so many states voting and a huge night for Nikki Haley, as one of her big donors.

Thank you for coming in.

LEVINE: Thank you

BOLDUAN: Appreciate your time.

All right. Next, the first exit polling numbers, they are coming in as we are learning when the Trump campaign believes that they will have secured enough delegates to make Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.

CNN's special coverage continues.