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Frenetic Final Day Of Campaigning With Congress Up For Grabs; CNN Exclusive Interviews With Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) And Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); CNN In Key Battlegrounds As Candidates Make Final Pitch; Phoenix Area Election Officials Hold News Conference On Election Information & Security; Ukraine Facing Critical Power Shortages. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 07, 2022 - 18:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, we're on the eve of Election Day in America, a pivotal moment for the country with control of Congress and so much more on the line, the candidates making their closing arguments to voters right now on this, the final full day of the campaign.

Plus, two exclusive interviews with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the man who might take her job, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, the House speaker opening up to CNN in her first interview since the brutal attack on her husband at their San Francisco home, McCarthy also speaking exclusively to CNN detailing his plans for the next two years if Republicans win control of the House.

CNN reporters and correspondents are following the sprint to the finish line right now covering the key races in all the major battleground states across the United States.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.

Let's begin our coverage this hour in Pittsburgh with CNN's Jessica Dean. Jessica, control of the Senate could come down to Pennsylvania. Both Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman are out on the campaign trail tonight. What do we expect to hear from them?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're hearing their closing arguments to voters here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania as Election Day is now upon us. We have Mehmet Oz, who is trying to cast himself as an independent voice, as a moderate. He has been enforce bid former President Donald Trump. He appeared with him at a rally over the weekend, but didn't say his name, didn't say the name of the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, either. He really stuck to his script that we have heard from him, really pitching independent and conservative Democrats as well.

In the meantime, John Fetterman really trying to cast Oz as a phony, saying that he is not who he says he is. Fetterman saying instead to voters that he is the person that has been in Pennsylvania, that while he had his stroke back in May, it knocked him down but he got back up, and that's what he'll continue to do. That is the message that we have heard again and again from both of these candidates as they try to make it to the finish line in this race. It is a super tight race. As you mentioned, Wolf, it could very well determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

And that's why so many people are focused on it, to the extent that it is the most expensive Senate race in the country, some $146 million in television ads between Labor Day and tomorrow. And that just gives you a sense of the flooded airwaves here as everyone really looks to Pennsylvania to see what the voters -- and it will be the voters -- decide. Wolf?

BLITZER: There's so much at stake, indeed. Jessica Dean in Pennsylvania for us, thank you very much.

We're also on the campaign trail right now in Georgia following that very close contest between Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is joining us live from Kennesaw, in Georgia, right now. Jeff, so, what messages are the candidates focusing in on during these crucial final hours?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they are delivering their final messages. And, actually, Senator Raphael Warnock is in Columbus, Georgia, right now, talking with supporters there. And Republican Challenger Herschel Walker will be here right outside Atlanta, in Kennesaw, the critical piece of Cobb County, to rally Republicans tonight.

But, Wolf, it is clear, as Jessica was saying, Pennsylvania is the most expensive race, this is the second-most expensive. And Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock is one of those Democratic incumbents who is very worried about the economic headwinds, the inflation concerns that have really complicated his path to re-election.

But they are feeling confident on the eve of election here, largely because of the early vote. 2.5 million Georgians have already cast their ballots. But that means there are a few million more to do so tomorrow when the polls open at 7:00 A.M.

But, Wolf, Republicans are trying to nationalize this race. They're trying to tie Senator Warnock directly to the policies of the Biden administration and President Biden himself. That's what Herschel Walker has been repeating over and over, really connecting him to the president. For Senator Warnock, he's trying to disqualify Herschel Walker in the eyes of voters. But so far, that's been not as successful as they had hoped.

Wolf, this race on the eve of the election is as tight as any in the country. But one difference here, this could still go into overtime. If neither man gets over 50 percent, a runoff is on December 6th. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Georgia for us, thank you very, very much.

President Biden, meanwhile, is in Maryland tonight making one final appeal to Democrats in a very blue state.

CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond is traveling with the president tonight. Jeremy, what are you learning, first of all, about the president's closing message?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, President Biden began his midterm campaign effort right here in the state of Maryland two-and-a-half months ago.


And the message that he's going to be closing with tonight and that we've heard from him in the last couple weeks is largely the same one at its core, it's framing these midterm elections as a choice rather than a referendum on the president and his party.

And what we've seen the president do in recent weeks is really try and sharpen that contrast. One of the reasons, officials tell me, is because they feel like they've gotten so much more material from Republicans who have been laying out in starker terms what they would do with that Republican majority. We've heard the president talking, for example, about how Republicans would use the debt ceiling as a showdown, as a way to try and decrease spending from the federal government. So, the president has been able to sharpen that contrast.

And what he's also done in these final weeks, Wolf, is he's increasingly talked about economic issues, both in official events and also taking up larger portions of his stump speech, higher up in the order of his remarks, talking about those economic issues. As we know that that is the top issue of concern for voters here and that's certainly something we'll hear once again from the president here tonight.

BLITZER: We certainly will. All right, Jeremy Diamond in Bowie, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., thank you very much.

Let's take a closer look right now at some of these key races. CNN's John King is joining us from the magic wall right now.

John, Republicans look like they're poised potentially to take control of the House of Representatives tomorrow. What seats do they need to pick up for that to actually happen?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that question gets at the challenge for Democrats, 435 House elections all on a new map because of redistricting. But let's look at the current state of play, which gets to your point. Right now, this is the balance of power on the old House map. The map stands, though. Republicans need a net gain of only five seats, a net gain of only five seats to take the majority. The average in a first presidential midterm election, if you go back to President Reagan, the average since then is 30, so, Joe Biden trying to defy history to keep the House. How do we look at this? Let's look at it this way. Let's look at the seats we have identified through our partners at inside elections as the competitive seats. We have 82 of them across the country. And, Wolf, it's hard to see while on T.V., but 57 of them, almost three times as many Democrats defending in these competitive districts as there are Republicans.

That tells you everything about the map. They go coast to coast. They go from Maine to Southern California. There's a Democrat in Alaska. So, the Democrats have to prevent a net gain for Republicans when the historical average is 30. That's upending history. And, again, these races, a lot of them in the suburbs with Democrats of all stripes from East Coast to West Coast, so the House challenge is enormous, the president asking to defy history.

Let's just switch over quickly and look at the Senate as well. If you pull up the battle for control of the Senate, again, the Democrats cannot afford to lose anything. Right now, it's 50/50. The vice president of the United States breaks the tie. The Democrats have to hold all of their races. Actually, let me look at this way. It's more interesting when you come this way. This is how you ranked them, right? And so you have a tossup race where Jeff Zeleny just was. Perhaps the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent is out in Nevada. This is a Republican-held seat at the moment. The incumbent is not running. The Democrats can't afford to lose anything right now, Wolf. If they picked up Pennsylvania, they could afford to lose one.

Republicans think they can get more than one. The Republicans think they can get Nevada, they think they can get Georgia and they actually think they can hold Pennsylvania. And they say, watch New Hampshire, watch Colorado, watch Arizona. So, the Republicans certainly have more options on the table, if you will, when it comes to the Senate. If you come back to the original map, the Democrats simply can't afford to lose anything. If they get Pennsylvania, they can afford to lose one. That's a very narrow margin you have to live in.

BLITZER: As you know, John, it could take days, maybe longer, to know the final results. So, what clues would you be looking for?

KING: So, let me come back to that national map I just set up to show the East Coast. Look, we may -- remember 2018. We were counting House districts out in California for days. I believe it took into a second or third week even. So, we may not know the final margins. In the House, Jeff Zeleny just mentioned, we could have a runoff for the Georgia Senate seat. We may not know the final numbers for sometime but there will be early clues.

Number one, there are two competitive House districts in New Hampshire. There's also a very competitive Senate race, the Democratic incumbent, Maggie Hassan. If Maggie Hassan is in trouble early on election night, if Democrats are losing those House races, that will give you the net first clues, if you will. Then you come down, four competitive House races in Pennsylvania, where you also have that key Senate race. If the Democrats are falling in those House districts, that likely spills over into the Senate race. So, we may not have a final number for some time, Wolf, but as we get through the 8:00, 9:00, close to the 10:00 hour tomorrow, we're going to have a lot of clues from these competitive House districts right here. And, again, a number of those competitive House districts overlap the Senate races. It might take a while to get a final number. We'll have clues very early.

BLITZER: We'll be very patient, we'll find out. John King, thank you very much. Stand by. I want to get back to you in just a few moments.

I also want to bring in CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash. She's with me here in The Situation Room. Dana, you just heard John lay out the battle for control of the Senate. And I'm curious, you've covered Congress for a long time. What are you going to be looking for?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely -- jump ball is the term that we've heard. I think John even just used it. And it's very true when it comes to the United States Senate. Because not only are there so many incredibly tight races, it is -- well, there are so many incredibly tight race, and any of them can go either way and not be surprising.


And what has been really interesting to watch in terms of messaging and campaign sort of strategy is the way Democrats on the campaign trail have tried in these closing weeks and days and now hours to try to hone in on the economic issue as much as they can.

You hear over and over and over again, well, we have dealt with the inflation issue or at least affordability in your home with prescription drug costs. And we've allowed Medicare to negotiate, and that's going to make you feel better, and things like that.

The big challenge for Democrats is that those are not things and those are not policies and those are not changes that people feel right now. That's down the road. And right now, there is immediate pain, financial pain, and it is really hard for Democrats who are in charge across the board here to address that in a real way. As somebody in the administration said to me, inflation isn't a message problem, it is a policy problem.

KING: I had a Democrat, Wolf, in New Hampshire texted many e today. This is how close these races are. They're worried about any little thing shifting the balance. It's been unseasonably warm in D.C. You're from Buffalo, New York. Pennsylvania has been warm, Boston has been warm, New Hampshire has been warm. This Democrat was saying, thank God people didn't have to have the heat on because of the price of home heating. They just didn't want another reminder. Every day, you drive back to the gas station and see the price, you go to the grocery store, you see that price.

That's what's driving this climate, the headwinds into Democrats' face. And that tells you, little things like that. These races are so close heading into the final day now that the Democrats are nervous about anything.

BLITZER: You and I have covered politics for a long time. Where is the momentum right now? Where do you see it heading?

KING: Nationally, it's with the Republicans. There's no doubt about that. You have to go back to July and August right Dobbs, it was with the Democrats. We have a lot of Republicans saying, whoa, are we going to have some big events, that history that disrupts history, if you will. The history of a president's midterm election is usually bad. But if you look at all the data in the last ten days, two weeks, even a little bit longer than that, it has trended back to Republicans nationally.

Then, though, you have to ask the question, and the dynamic, every one race of these can be hand-to-hand combat. Dana and I were just talking before we came on. In a very tough tea party environment a few years back, Jeanne Shaheen kept her Senate seat in New Hampshire. Why? Because she had a personal brand. I have been in Pennsylvania in a couple of the key battleground House races. Those House members, the Democratic incumbents, they're vulnerable, they hope their personal brand overcomes the national headwinds, because there's no doubts the headwinds are on the Democrats' face and at the Republicans' backs.

BLITZER: Good point. Dana, I want you and our viewers to listen to something that the Democratic strategist and CNN commentator, Hilary Rosen, actually said. I think she said it on State of the Union with you yesterday about what she expects from tomorrow's election results. Listen to this.


HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think we're going to have a bad night.

When voters tell you over and over and over again that they care mostly about the economy, listen to them. Stop talking about democracy being at stake.


BLITZER: So, does that match with what you're hearing out there?

BASH: Yes. It was like people at the White House are saying, this is what our friends are saying. But you know what? In fairness to Hilary, she has been doing this a very long time and she absolutely wants Joe Biden and the Democrats to do well, but you can see and hear the frustration in her voice and she feels free to say this, and that is, yes, when you hear the president and you hear others on the campaign trail talking about the concerns about democracy, every single time they say that, people like Hilary Rosen say, you're taking away from an economic message.

There are others who say that's not accurate when you look at what we need to do right now. What do Democrats need to do? Get out their voters and get out complacent voters. Get out voters how might have gone for Joe Biden in 2020 and now they say, I don't have to go vote right now or I just don't like anybody. But they want -- they're swayed by the notion of this is a fundamental problem for the republic of America. And so that is very much a sort of get out the vote idea. It's also a philosophical idea that the president and even former President Obama care very much about.

KING: There's a conversation among Democrats, Wolf, much like the conversation we both covered the Clinton White House. Bill Clinton came to power, the Democratic leadership council after Walter Mondale lost 49 states. This is not a presidential year but there are a lot of Democrats saying, we need to have a family conversation of who we are as a party. We've lost touch with working class voters, people who work with their hands. We've lost ground on the crime issue. We didn't handle the working class economic issues, affordability, as much as inflation.

We should discuss that more after the election. We should respect the process and count the votes tomorrow. But the Democrats are always very public when they're having these family fluids. And what Hilary Rosen said there is the beginning of a conversation that's going to last. First, we need to find out how good or how bad it went but there's a big debate going on.


BLITZER: You and I were in Little Rock, Arkansas, when James Carville was telling bill Clinton, remember, it's the economy, stupid, and it paid off, that kind of advice. Guys, thank you very much. Don't go too far away.

Just ahead, much more in the last-minute scramble for midterm votes. And a CNN exclusive, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, tells us how she first learned about the brutal attack on her husband. Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.


BLITZER: Now, a CNN exclusive, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, giving her first interview since the brutal hammer attack on her husband. That interview to CNN's Anderson Cooper, the speaker recalling how Capitol police were pounding on the door of her Washington home in the early hours of the morning and the thoughts that were racing through her mind.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I was sleeping in Washington, D.C. I had just gotten in the night before from San Francisco. And the -- I hear the doorbell ring and I think -- it's 5:00 something. I look up, I see it's 5:00. They must be at the wrong apartment.


No. It rings again. And then bang, bang, bang, bang, bang on the door.

So, I run to the door and I'm very scared. I see the Capitol police. And they say, we have to come in to talk to you. And I'm thinking my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because I knew he wouldn't be out and about, shall we say. And so they came in at that time. We didn't even know where he was.


BLITZER: And you can see Anderson's full exclusive interview with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, later tonight on AC360 8:00 P.M. Eastern.

Let me get analysis. Dana, you've covered the speaker. You've covered Congress for a long time. What went through your mind as you heard her explain how terrified she was when she heard the pounding on her door here in Washington?

BASH: She's speaking as a mother, as a grandmother and as a wife. I say it in that order because the way she described the thoughts going through her mind, that she thought maybe it was one of her five children, maybe it was one of her grandchildren.

And, look, when the phone rings at 2:00 in the morning, you know it's never good news. When someone is banging on your door and you're the speaker of the House, clearly well-protected, you know it's got to be really, really bad, and just the humanity.

And she doesn't show her emotion very much in public. This is about the most understandable time we would see it, and it's not like she was weeping there but you could tell she had to take a second. I mean, this is trauma for her and for her family. And the fact that she is speaking out about it is important. And we'll see what it means in terms of how she goes from here. But for right now, it's telling a story and making people understand the dangers out there.

BLITZER: Yes. And she got very emotional, understandably so. Her 82- year-old husband, all of a sudden, has been attacked, and people -- the guy who is in there screaming, where is Nancy, where is Nancy.

KING: And if you remember January 6th, they were chanting for her as well, many of the protesters looking for her. And the leaders have become, sadly, accustomed to this, threats against them. When it expands to their families, that's when it gets more nerve-racking for them. Not that they accept or excuse or anyone should accept or excuse the threats on them. But when it's spreads to family members, it tells.

And, look, we're going to count votes tomorrow. The fact that some people in the other party make jokes about this, continue to make jokes about this, the fact that the former president's son tweeted a horrific meme about this, if the Republicans take power in tomorrow's election, I hope they understand the responsibility that comes with power and the responsibility to speak out to all Americans, all Americans, that violence against anyone is not acceptable, violence -- we don't settle our political differences with violence, we settle them with the gift that is playing out right now, voting. It's a tragic moment for the speaker. And it comes at a -- I don't want to bring too much to this, but also comes at a very important political crossroads for the speaker.

BLITZER: You don't joke about an 82-year-old man getting beaten over the head with a hammer.

KING: That's a fellow human being. That's somebody's dad, somebody's grandfather, somebody's neighbor. Forget the politics for a minute. I mean, just remember the lessons your mother taught you. I mean, just the fact that people were joking about this or trying to make fun of it on the internet or trying to raise money about it or trying to be snarky about, it's just reprehensible.

BASH: And we know from getting to know just through covering politicians for so many years that -- and this is kind of the point you were trying to make, John, that almost always the rhetorical threats, the political attacks affect the family so much more than the person. It's so much harder for them to take. But this is -- I mean, to say it's next level is an understatement. Imagine being the speaker of the House, and her husband of decades and decades and decades has his skull bashed in by somebody because he was looking for her. He was looking to hurt her and instead hurt her husband. I mean, I can't even imagine what that does to a person. And, again, these are politicians, but they are human beings.

BLITZER: They certainly are, good point. All right, we'll continue to watch this part of the story as well.

Coming up, Donald Trump is headlining a rally in Ohio tonight for the Republican Senate candidate. But does the former president plan to grab the headlines himself?

And a CNN exclusive, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reveals the top items on his agenda if his Republican Party wins control of the House.

Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.



BLITZER: Former President Trump is attending a rally in Ohio on this election eve for the Republican Senate candidate, J.D. Vance.

CNN National Correspondent Kristen Holmes is on the trail outside of Dayton. Kristen, sources are telling CNN that Trump is actively discussing a surprise announcement tonight. Tell our viewers what you're learning.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Wolf. Over the last couple of days, we have learned that Trump started floating the idea of a potential announcement tonight for a third presidential run here at this rally in Ohio. Lots of questions, of course, around this, whether or not it will actually happen. Many of these sources telling us it's not set in stone.

Now, I spoke to a number of Trump advisers who said that they are urging the former president not to announce until after the midterm election.

Now, part of the reason we are hearing why Trump would seize on this night is because he wants to ensure that he gets the credit he believes he deserves if there is, in fact, a red wave.


But I'm talking to a lot of allies and advisers who are here on the ground in Ohio, and, genuinely, Wolf, they seem unsure of what the former president is going to do when he takes the stage. Of course, we have been reporting for weeks that he is eager to launch another presidential bid. He had been looking at the two weeks after the midterms before Thanksgiving.

But one thing is crystal clear. Whether he announces tonight or whether he announces in the next several weeks, he has managed to do what only Donald Trump can do. He has turned the entire focus of the Republican Party back on him, on the night before an election that he is not even on the ballot. Wolf?

BLITZER: Kristen Holmes on the scene for us, thank you very much.

Another CNN exclusive tonight, CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona sitting down with the man who could be potentially the next speaker of the House if Republicans retake the chamber in tomorrow's midterm elections, Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER (voice over): House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is promising to pursue an ambitious agenda if Republicans win back the House on Tuesday.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think the first thing you'll see is a bill to control the border first. You've got to get control over the border.

ZANONA: His closing message a day before the midterms, addressing the falling economic outlook and surging prices.

MCCARTHY: The first thing we're going to do is make sure an economy that's strong. You've got to make sure the new regulations that are adding to inflation has got to get curved back. Then you've got to make sure America is energy independent. If you lower the price of fuel, you also lower transportation costs and others.

ZANONA: But McCarthy also has to keep an eye on the MAGA wing of his party and secure their support to propel him into the speaker's office.

How confident are you that you have the votes to become speaker?

MCCARTHY: Well, we've got an election Tuesday, two days away. I know all the pollsters said last time we'd lose 15 seats and we ended up beating 13 Democrats. So, we're going to work and we're going to run hard. And if we win the majority, I'll run for speaker.

ZANONA: But do you think you will have the votes for speaker?

MCCARTHY: I believe I'll have the votes for speaker, yes. ZANONA: Do you think Trump will support you become speaker?

MCCARTHY: I think Trump would be supportive, yes.

ZANONA: Do you feel like you need his support?

MCCARTHY: I think people who vote for it are all in their confidence. So, I mean, I think that's the most important vote. Nobody on the outside can vote for you.

ZANONA: But he does have influence in the Republican Party?

MCCARTHY: The people who have the most influence are the constituents back home who decide who represents them. So, that is always the people with the most influence.

ZANONA: One way of avoiding potential obstacles from his party elevating some of his more controversial members into positions of power.

MCCARTHY: Marjorie Greene, if she is going to get re-elected, she is going to have committees to serve on.

ZANONA: On oversight, though?

MCCARTHY: She's going to have committees to serve on, just like every other member.

ZANONA: And on the question of investigations and whether impeachment is on the table --

MCCARTHY: What's on the table? Accountability. We will hold the rule of law and we won't play politics with this. We'll never use impeachment for political purposes. It doesn't mean if something rises to the occasion, it would not be used at any other time.


ZANONA (on camera): Now, Kevin McCarthy declined to predict how many seats he thinks Republicans will pick up on Tuesday, but he did project confidence that it's going to be enough to win them the House. He's also projecting confidence that he'll be able to get the votes to become speaker and that he's also going to have the support of both the MAGA wing and former President Donald Trump. Wolf?

BLITZER: CNN's Melanie Zanona, good work, thank you very much.

Let's some more on all of this. Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator Van Jones and CNN Senior Commentator John Kasich.

Governor Kasich, when it comes to his agenda, do you think McCarthy has his finger on the pulse of the Republican Party right now?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, look, there's a lot of slogans. But if you, for example, talk about the border, Wolf, it's not so simple. To solve the border problems means you have got to deal with the cartels, you've got deal with Mexico. It means you also have to deal with immigration. These are very tricky things to do inside a caucus that's going to be that divided. I'm going to keep an eye on that.

But I'm also going to keep an eye on what Joe Biden is likely to do. If the House goes Republican, which it is, I think the Republicans will probably win the Senate as well. Will Joe Biden come out with an agenda and challenge the Republicans to do something comprehensively on immigration? Is he going to challenge them to do something comprehensively when it comes to whether they raised the debt limit and what could the reforms be?

These are the things that I'm interested in seeing, whether Biden wants to get back to the way Biden was when he ran and whether he tries to label the Republicans obstructionists if they don't cooperate. It's going to be very interesting to see all of that.

BLITZER: Van, how do you see it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think that -- I agree there could be a grand bargain on immigration at this point. I think, clearly, the country is suffering because we don't have enough workers. Part of inflation is we don't have enough workers. We're shooting ourselves in the foot. China has become a prison. We should take a big straw, stick it over in China and suck out anybody who wants to come over here and help us, but we won't do it because we're fighting over dumb stuff.

So, there is a tomorrow where we can work together, but tonight, people have to make up their mind.


Who are you going to vote for tomorrow if you haven't already voted? And I think this is one of the most consequential elections and I think the economy is something that Democrats can lean in on with pride. 10 million jobs, prescription drug prices in a much better place, standing up to China with the CHIPS Act. And I'm afraid that the Republican economic agenda, which could make things a lot worse, if they take away prescription drug prices, if they take away social security and Medicare, your grandma is going to move in with you. You think it's bad now. Wait until you're taking care of all your elders and all your seniors because of what they want to do to Medicaid and Medicare and social security.

So, there's still a fight tonight about the future of the country. If you haven't made up your mind, I think if you think it's bad now, Republicans get in there, it could be a lot worse.

BLITZER: And, Governor Kasich, as you heard, former President Trump is weighing the possibility of actually announcing a 2024 presidential run later tonight in your home state of Ohio. How would that impact Republicans in some of these very tight races?

KASICH: Well, look, I think the House is already baked, Wolf, to be honest with you. I've been following this for weeks. And it's not going to change anything there. The Senate is, I'm told, likely to go Republican. And I'm not on here to spin. I'm here to give you an analysis of this. And we're going to have a runoff in Georgia. And it's going to be another amazing situation down there. The question there is are they really going to need that Georgia seat, the Republicans? Could they get to 51 or 52? It's possible. It's still very close in the Senate but there's no question about what's going to happen in the House.

In terms of Trump, he's not going to influence any of that. And I can't believe he's going to make an announcement tonight. But, gosh, who knows what Donald Trump is going to do. It's an ongoing circus. It's amazing that people are riveted on this.

BLITZER: Well, Van, what do you think?

JONES: Well, look, I think Trump never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to put his party first. That's basically his M.O. And I think that it could -- you could have somebody who can't stand the fact that people are talking about every Republican in the country except for him. And so he just can't stand it, in which case he might want to jump in there and just belly flop and just mess up the party for everybody else.

I do think if he does that, it will send a shockwave through the Democratic Party and say, listen, we're about to be back in the same mess we were just in two years ago.

But, listen, who knows? I mean, he's winning just right now, the fact that we're talking about him. This is what he wants. Maybe just the fact that we're talking about him will appease him enough that he'll actually let democracy function normal way today and tomorrow.

BLITZER: Well, Governor Kasich, what about that? Is he just seeking publicity right now? Does he just want all of us to be talking about him?

KASICH: Of course. But let me tell you, Wolf, when Van and I have a beer, we don't talk about Donald Trump. We talk about other things that affect the country. And, look, what we have to watch seriously is what is Joe Biden going to do. How is he going to approach this? Is he going the look at the election results and say, I need to figure out how to compromise? That doesn't mean give away the store. But what does he want to do to do prescription drugs and what can he do with Republicans. Van mentioned immigration, very, very important subject. There are areas where Biden can hopefully carve a path to say to Republicans, let's get something done.

On the other hand, over in the House, I'm very concerned that Republicans are going to spend their time trying to get in the position of investigating everything and can't pass anything. We're going to watch. It's going to be a regular reality show.

BLITZER: We will see.

JONES: When we have a beer, I have soda, but go ahead.

BLITZER: John Kasich, Van Jones, guys, thank you very, very much.

All right, just ahead, in the key battleground state, thousands of mail-in ballots are at risk of rejection. We'll take a closer look at the urgent efforts underway to get those votes counted.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: This just in. Democratic Senate Candidate John Fetterman's campaign has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania seeking to overturn the state Supreme Court ruling invalidating mail-in ballots that are incorrectly dated. Election workers in Pennsylvania are rushing to get thousands of voters to fix their mail-in ballots ahead of tomorrow's midterm elections.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us from Pittsburgh right now. Brian, tell us about this last-minute scramble in Pennsylvania to get these votes counted.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is an urgent scramble and an important one because thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots tonight are in danger of not being counted, in danger of being rejected. About 3,400 of them in the Philadelphia area, and about 1,000 of those absentee mail-in ballots here in Allegheny County, in Pittsburgh, are in danger of being rejected. Why? Because of this, an error on this envelope.

This is the voter declaration envelope. If you're an absentee and mail-in voter in Pennsylvania, you mail this in. Your secret ballot is inside this. But you have got to sign it right here and then put the correct date on which you signed it right below. And in Philadelphia and here in the Pittsburgh area, about 4,400 people did not put a date at all or put the incorrect date on there. And under a new ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just a couple days ago, those votes cannot be counted.

Now, the Fetterman campaign and state Democrats are suing in federal court to try to reverse that ruling but we don't know how that's going to go. So, thousands of these mail-in ballots are in danger of not being counted because of poorly dated envelopes.


Now, there is a remedy. You can come in and cure your vote at a county election office here in Pittsburgh or in Philadelphia. You had all day today and you have all day tomorrow to do that, or you can vote provisionally at the ballot box on election day, and that vote will be counted a few days later.

It's crucial, Wolf, because mail-in and absentee voting accounted for about a third of the voting overall in Pennsylvania in 2020. It's a lot of it. It's overwhelmingly Democrat as far as the overall percentage of votes that are counted there. BLITZER: An important development indeed. Brian Todd reporting for us

-- thank you, Brian.

TODD: Right now, I want to turn to Arizona and Maricopa County, the state's most populous county.

CNN's Sara Sidner is in Phoenix for us where Maricopa County election officials just tell the news conference about election misinformation and security.

Sara, what did they say?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, basically what they're saying here is they have seen in the last few days a lot of misinformation targeted at Maricopa County. They are trying to knock it down over and over again. They had this press conference which they started having because of these issues to try to tamp down on some of that.

Now, we also heard there were a few more people who complained about voter intimidation. We talked to the sheriff who said in 2020 they were a bit surprised at the reaction here and what happened here in Arizona during the presidential election, and they have made moves and changes to have more security at areas where people go and vote. He also said one of the things that caused violence to ramp up is having leaders in parties or people who are the candidates in the race refuse to accept the election results.

Take a listen.


SHERIFF PAUL PENZONE, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: The men and women who put on uniforms like these are going to go out and put their lives on the line to keep not only the vote and the people counting the vote safe, but the entire community. You put their safety at risk, adversely affect their families. Shame on you that you should even consider being in leadership if you or willing to do that for your own gain.


SIDNER: You hear him talking directly to those who may stop and say, hey, we do not accept this vote. I will tell you that every single vote has to be in the hands of election -- the election officials by 7:00 p.m. tomorrow local time -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Sara, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, false claims, disinformation and wild conspiracy theories. We'll take a closer look at what's circulating out there on this, the eve of the midterm elections.


BLITZER: So how can you spot the very different kinds of falsehoods and conspiracy theories that circulate on social media throughout Election Day and the days after?

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more on what we can all expect.

Donie, walk us through the biggest election conspiracy theories we're likely to see on election night.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf. Yeah, lots of uncertainties as we head into this Election Day, but one thing is for sure, we are going to see a tidal wave of misinformation online tomorrow.

I want to show you a clip from the last election day, in 2020, a video that started to circulate. It claimed to show ballots that were being burned, ballots that were marked for Trump. That video got millions of views on social media, it was even shared by one of the then- president's son but it turned out to be totally bogus, totally false, but a lot of people use that as the idea that there was something wrong with the last election.

So these lies really stick. We spoke to an Arizona election official about some of the doubts and concerns that people have. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you trust anyone anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we had won the election, there's no question that Kari Lake will win.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): We asked Maricopa County board of supervisor chairmans Bill Gates, who happens to be a Republican, to address their concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'd want to ask them about the extent that they can verify that ballots that were mailed out are actually filled out by the people they were intended for and returned by them and not filled out by anybody else.

BILL GATES, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISOR CHAIRMAN: On the envelope itself, they fill out an affidavit and they sign an affidavit that indicates that it was them. And then if that signature doesn't match the signature that we have in the voter registration records, we will call them up and try and confirm did they actually do this.

O'SULLIVAN: I think there are some election officials that have gone through FBI-type training to look at signatures and compare them, right?

GATES: Yes, absolutely.


O'SULLIVAN: Look, Wolf, there are thousands of hard working election officials and volunteers all across the country working hard to make sure these elections are secure. Don't let a few false viral videos undermine that. I think it's a good day on any day on social media to take a breath

and that goes for tomorrow on Election Day.

BLITZER: Good point. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you very much.

Now, we'll have more news on the mid-term elections just ahead. And we'll go live to Ukraine where Russian attacks have led to a critical shortage of power.



BLITZER: More election news just ahead. Let's turn to the critical energy shortages in Ukraine brought about by Russian attacks on infrastructure there.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is on the ground for us in Eastern Ukraine right now.

So, Nic, how dire is the power problem?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's dire. It's critical in Kyiv. The concern is that just one or two more Russian strikes could hit that critical part of the infrastructure that will take the city down and black it out. It can cause heating and a number of things it to go down. Here in the east of the country, I was sitting down with the mayor today. This region here hangs quite literally on a thread.

If the main power lines coming in here get taken down and the real concern is that Russia's aiming to do that. It would take down the water. It would take down the gas.

I spent the day with pensioners in bunkers in their houses today, watching them prepare for winter. When there are small heaters, which there are, this old lady who survived world war ii, when the heater goes off and the lights go off, we just put on a coat, wrap ourselves in a blanket and get into bed and try to ride it out.

People here are bracing for a bad winter. The mayor is concerned. A lot of the old folks here, they may not make it, Wolf.

BLITZER: Nic Robertson reporting for us. Nic, thank you very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'll be back tomorrow at Noon Eastern with Erin Burnett for a special election day coverage here on CNN.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.