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New Votes Expected From Nevada As Senate Race Tightens; New Vote Count In Arizona Governor's Race Comes In; America's Choice 2022; Interview With Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). Aired 6:50-8p ET
Aired November 12, 2022 - 18:50 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer.
Election Night in America Continues.
The power of one person's vote, a singular vote is on full display right now in Nevada. Take a look at this, these are live images of the vote counting process unfolding right now in Washoe County.
And in any minute now, we are expecting new results from Clark County that's home to Las Vegas and the bulk of Nevada's population. That potentially could push us closer and closer to knowing the winner of Nevada's totally pivotal Senate seat. Republican challenger Adam Laxalt holds a razor thin lead over the Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
His lead has shriveled to only a mere 862 votes. That's 862 votes out of nearly a million votes counted so far. If Cortez Masto does win, Democrats will achieve what seemed almost inconceivable just a few days ago. They could keep control of the U.S. Senate with at least 50 seats. It's now deadlocked with Republicans and Democrats having 49 each as of right now.
Let's begin our coverage right now with CNN's Rosa Flores. She's on the scene for us in Nevada. She's right outside the Clark County Election Center in North Las Vegas. Rosa, four days after the elections, we may now be approaching the totally crucial moments. Update our viewers on the very latest.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, according to Clark County officials, they say that they feel the pressure, they feel the eyes of America on them today because of what's going on inside the building that you see behind me. That's where hundreds of people are working to count these votes. Let me give you a state of play when it comes to the entire state of Nevada and where the remaining ballots are located.
We know that about 1,000 ballots are in Douglas County. We are not expecting for those results to be posted today. There's another 12,000 ballots in Washoe County, that's a swing county home to Reno. We're expecting for those results to post at about 7:30 Pacific Time, 10:30 Eastern time. And there are 34,000 votes here in Clark County where I am home to Vegas. Here's the breakdown of those votes. About 22,000 votes are expected to be processed today. And those are the tallies that we're waiting for. Those are the votes that could be updated at any point in time.
Those include Election Day drop box ballots and also mail-in ballots. Then there are also more than 7,000 ballots that still need to be cured. The deadline for that is Monday. There's another more than 5,000 provisional ballots. The deadline for that is Wednesday.
Now, Clark County officials say that they plan to continue working today through the afternoon, through the evening until they finish processing those 22,000 ballots to make sure that those posts today. That's the nail-biting situation that we are in right now because of the balance of power of the U.S. Senate coming down - could be coming down to Nevada.
Here is the latest when it comes to where that race stands. We have watched as the margin as the advantage that Adam Laxalt had from the morning after the election dwindle, it has shrunk. We've seen it go from 22,000 to 15,000 to less than 10,000, right now is that 862, Wolf. That is a 0.1 percent margin. It doesn't get any more razor thin and that. We will be here. We will be watching. We are looking at our computers constantly to see when those numbers are updated and you will see them here at CNN first. Back to you.
BLITZER: We certainly will. All right. Rosa, thank you very, very much. We'll stay in very close touch with you.
As Democrats edge closer and closer to control potentially of the United States Senate with a key Arizona victory in a tightening race in Nevada right now. CNN's David Chalian, our Political Director is with me here at the magic wall.
So let's break down the numbers in Nevada right now. This is going to be critical.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it's critical and I want to show you why it's critical first, just where we are in the battle for control of the United States Senate, 49 seats have been awarded to the Democrats, 49 seats awarded to the Republicans.
As you know, Democrats are one seat away from staying in the majority. Republicans need two, Nevada's outstanding and Georgia is going into a runoff, so this is why Nevada is so critical. If indeed, Catherine Cortez Masto can close that 862-vote gap, overtake Laxalt and win this race, Democrats would secure the majority.
You were just talking to Rosa down here in Las Vegas in Clark County. This is the population center. Nearly three quarters of the population of the entire state is in Clark County. And Joe Biden won this county by nine percentage points. Catherine Cortez Masto was winning Clark County, but not by as big of a spread, right? She's winning it by seven percentage points. She's at 52 percent overall for the county. Adam Laxalt is 45.1 percent.
Remember, Catherine Cortez Masto is running a bit behind. She may - she needs to over perform in what we see come from Clark County tonight than she is right now. She's got to do better than this to overtake Adam Laxalt. So that's why we are looking, again, 95 percent of the voters out.
I will tell you statewide, Wolf, because I want to show you another key county that we think there are about 50,000 to 55,000 votes overall in the state of Nevada.
BLITZER: They're still have to be counted.
CHALIAN: That still are going to be reported, right? And we know from Clark County officials that we're going to get some 22,000 votes, so a big chunk of that will go away when we get those votes reported. Obviously, there are some smaller counts in the red rural counties throughout the state.
But up here in the Reno area in Washoe County, there is also some votes to be reported there. We're estimating about 94 percent in. This is a tight swing county. We watched this throughout the course of this week go from a Laxalt lead in this county to now a Cortez Masto lead.
So Washoe is expected to also deliver some votes that could help Catherine Cortez Masto potentially overtake Adam Laxalt there. Those may come later in the evening. But it's these two blue counties that have the most votes left to deliver, Wolf, which is what's giving hope to the Cortez Masto campaign that they can overtake Laxalt and actually win this race.
BLITZER: And the biggest hope according to Rosa, she said very soon we're going to be getting 22,000 votes in the largest county over there where Las Vegas is, the biggest city clearly in Nevada. Those 22,000 votes, if we get the results there potentially could put her over the top.
CHALIAN: And what is important to understand, when we saw the Clark County votes that came in last night, they split much more advantageously for the Democrat than her current spread in the county. So now she's winning Clark County 52 percent to 45 percent. Last night's votes when they came in, they split 63-32. It was a dramatic improvement from Cortez ...
BLITZER: So if it stays like that--
CHALIAN: ... exactly. So if she can keep up that kind of percentage of victory of the votes as they come in, that is going to help her overtake Laxalt and then actually potentially pad a lead.
BLITZER: Because right now he's only winning by about 800 or 900 votes right now, take a look at this.
CHALIAN: Statewide, yes, there it is.
BLITZER: Yes, 862 votes. And yesterday or 24 hours ago, he was ahead by some 9,000 votes. It's really cut down.
CHALIAN: And you recall, we saw his lead shrink and then we saw it grow again when we got some of the more rural areas, I think we got a Douglas County vote that's Carson City there, that's a Laxalt county in Douglas. He's performing quite well. But these are smaller counties. You see, these are smaller vote totals than what we are going to see out of this huge, enormous democratic county, Clark County.
BLITZER: We're going to where Las Vegas is, that's where most of the people in the state live, 22,000 votes. We just heard her say could come out very, very soon we could get the results and that could be, as I said, very critical to determine whether the incumbent senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, wins re-election or the Challenger Adam Laxalt can stay on top all be very, very narrowly right now. At some point, if we do get results that are in her favor, there's potentially a projection we could make.
CHALIAN: Potentially. It's going - we're going to have to see what the split is, what percentage of these votes that are arriving, what do they look like. We know a lot of them are going to be these late arriving or same day ballots. If indeed, they look overwhelmingly advantageous for the Democrat, for Cortez Masto, that is going to help her overtake this small 862 vote lead over Adam Laxalt.
And if there really a big bucket of votes for her, that could put her in a position to go on and win this race, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, David, what are you going to be looking for in the next half hour, hour or so?
CHALIAN: Well, we're definitely going to be looking for that Clark County vote because that is going to determine the ball game here. When we learn, do the 22,000 votes we get tonight, Wolf, look similar to the votes that we saw last night, meaning, overwhelmingly in the favor of Catherine Cortez Masto, that's going to be a game changer here, or, or does this batch of votes that we receive from Clark County tonight not look like that. Does it look like it's friendlier turf for Adam Laxalt? Perhaps these election day votes, these mail drop-off votes, perhaps Adam Laxalt does better in them.
Then that's going to be able to prevent Catherine Cortez Masto from doing what she needs to do here to win. Remember, overall in the state, Wolf, you're looking at some, you know, nearly a million votes, 900,000 and change votes total cast statewide in this race. We only believe there are 50,000 to 55,000 outstanding votes and we know we're going to get a big chunk of that outstanding vote soon, very soon from Clark County.
And when that comes in, what is remaining, it just becomes a much smaller universe. So this batch of votes from Clark County is going to give us a ton of information about whether or not we will be able to project a winner in this race -- Wolf. BLITZER: And they presumably will be getting the results of those
22,000 uncounted votes in Clark County, the largest county in Nevada, fairly soon. And that will give us a much better sense of where this contest stands.
I also want to go to Arizona for a moment while I have you, David. Tell us a little bit about where it stands right now as far as the governor's race there is concerned. We're still waiting for the results to come in.
CHALIAN: We are indeed. You see here that Katie Hobbs, the Democratic candidate, the current secretary of state there, has a 37,743 vote lead over Kari Lake. 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent. About 85 percent of the vote in. That's our current estimate. And I believe that we had just received a vote total down here in the Tucson area, an update in Pima County. And you see this is a strong Democratic county.
So Katie Hobbs is winning this county with 60.8 percent of the vote to Kari Lake's 39.2 percent of the vote. Still only 83 percent of the county in, so there's still more counting to do in this Democratic stronghold. That is good news for Katie Hobbs, but there's still a lot of vote out here. Obviously the most critical county in Arizona is Maricopa County. This is the population center. And 61 percent of Arizonans live in Maricopa County.
This is where Phoenix is. And remember, Joe Biden won this county by 2 percentage points. It was that victory in Maricopa that actually allowed Joe Biden to win the state of Arizona and propel him to the presidency. You see here Katie Hobbs has an advantage here, a little less than five percentage points, 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent. 82 percent of the vote is in. That's our estimates. So there are still a lot of counting to do in Maricopa.
We've been told to expect tonight at some point to get a similar size vote drop that we got yesterday. So that would be roughly around 80,000 votes or so that we may get out of Maricopa County. The vast majority of those we expect will be those same-day drop-offs, those late earlies if you will. These are mail ballots that people filled out, mail ballots, but actually dropped them off at an election center on election day.
And so when we see what those votes look like when they come in tonight, we'll have a better understanding of where this race is going. Again right now, this is a much closer race than that Mark Kelly-Blake Masters Senate race was that we projected yesterday. Just to remind you, you know, Mark Kelly was at nearly 52 percent, Blake Masters at 46 percent now in the vote count. About a six-percentage point spread.
Mark Kelly currently has 131,000 vote lead over Blake Masters. You can see why we were able to project Mark Kelly the winner in that race. But if you go back to the governor's race this is a much closer contest, much more competitive contest. Partly because Kari Lake has real roots in Maricopa County, in the Phoenix area. She's been on TV there for years. She is a known person in this most populous county. And so you can that she is keeping this competitive with Katie Hobbs,
within 5 percentage points. What we are going to be looking for is, when we get the big Maricopa vote drop tonight, does Katie Hobbs -- I'll go back out statewide -- add to this total? Does she net more votes out of this population center to increase her lead here and perhaps, perhaps put this race in projectable territory.
We just need to see what those votes look like, Wolf, when we see them tonight.
BLITZER: Yes, all eyes right now on both Arizona and Nevada, which was the case yesterday as well.
David, don't go too far away. I want you to join me in just a few more minutes. I want to get some more now on the tight and critical Senate race in Nevada. Joining us now Elizabeth Thompson, the editor of the "Nevada Independent."
Elizabeth, thanks so much for joining us once again. You and I have been speaking over the past few days. What are you hearing from each side right now on the ground as we await the votes that are about to come in?
ELIZABETH THOMPSON, EDITOR, "THE NEVADA INDEPENDENT": Well, the tone has changed a little bit from the two campaigns since yesterday, which has been interesting to me and my team here on the ground, which is to say that Catherine Cortez Masto, while being reserved, her campaign is sounding, I think, a little more positive, maybe a little more hopeful than they might have been before.
And Adam Laxalt's campaign, interestingly, seemed this morning in a tweet to be indicating that, although they had not given up, they were prepared as the votes dropped today for a possible loss. They didn't say that outright, but if you read between the lines, that was the word there. So the Laxalt campaign, I think, a little less confident today than they were yesterday, but still not giving up hope.
Because as your viewers just heard, Wolf, this is still a very tight race. We are not comfortable calling this at this point.
BLITZER: Elizabeth, David Chalian, our political director, has a question for you. Go ahead, David.
CHALIAN: Hey, Elizabeth. Yes, I don't think anyone would be comfortable projecting any race with only an 862-vote lead at the moment, which is what Adam Laxalt has here. Is your understanding or what is your understanding once we see the Clark County vote returns come in, this 22,000 votes or so that we're expecting? What would be left to count in Clark County?
THOMPSON: That's an excellent question. We know that we've -- and I expect this to change so I want to just caution viewers to understand that this is a little bit of a moving target. But as was mentioned already here on the air, there are thousands of provisional ballots, approaching 10,000 ballots that need to be checked for signatures. So that's one wildcard in the situation.
Depending on how close things still are after the Clark County numbers drop, which should be happening in the next couple of hours, so we're told, and we're expecting a data dump from Washoe County later this evening, probably a little bit later for your East Coast folks. It'll be around 7:30 here in Nevada for us.
We're hoping based on percentages out of Clark and Washoe that we'll be able to safely determine who wins. But again those provisional ballots, those signature check ballots, and there's still a little bit of a question mark with the rurals. We don't know exactly how many rural ballots are still out there floating around. So it's just -- it's a poker game at this point a little bit. Just waiting to see which numbers drop first and playing the odds.
CHALIAN: And what those signature check ballots that you're calling, the so-called curing process, which by the way is totally part of the process that voters have an opportunity if they are aware that it was a signature or a date or something wrong in the way their own personal verification of who they are on the ballot is called to the attention of elections officials. They're able to get notified, check that out and go and actually cure, correct that information so the ballot can be counted.
Do you have a sense of how many cured ballots, in other words, people have already done that process, checked their signature, fixed it, are going to be part of this count, this initial batch from Clark County tonight, these 22,000 votes?
THOMPSON: Well, that I cannot answer for you. There was a press conference earlier today. The registrar here in Clark County Joe Gloria filled us in as much as I think he was able to on the numbers. But again it's a little bit of a moving target. We're not exactly sure. And of course because there are still ballots just sitting in boxes that have been accounted for, but not yet tabulated, it's hard to answer that question. I wouldn't want to steer the viewers wrong with specific numbers on that right now.
BLITZER: Having said that, Elizabeth, do you have a sense, you and your folks over at the "Nevada Independent" of who the rest of the outstanding vote might actually favor? Would it be Adam Laxalt, the challenger, or Senator Cortez Masto?
THOMPSON: So here's what we're thinking, Wolf. In Clark County which was already mentioned, it leans Democratic. In yesterday's data dump she won about 63 percent of those votes. If she repeats that today when we get the card numbers, that is going to be very close to carrying her across the finish line. Having said that, Washoe County does still matter. There's 13,000 votes there.
She only won Washoe by about 10 percent in this most recent data dump. No way to know whether she'll fare slightly better or slightly worse than that. We would expect it to be on the ballpark for Washoe. So we'll be watching Clark County closely. If she lands 65 percent or more in Clark, it's going to be a tough climb for Laxalt to come back from that. If she's less than 65 percent, including towards 60 or even under 60 percent, then most likely we're going to have to wait a couple of hours for those Washoe County votes to come in before we can make the determination.
BLITZER: As you know, Catherine, we've all watched Adam Laxalt's lead shrink as more results have been coming in over the past 24 hours or so. He was up by about 9,000 yesterday. It's now down to 800 or 900 votes. You mentioned the campaign, his campaign sounds less confident today. A source is also telling CNN that the mood inside Adam Laxalt's campaign is, quote, "awful." Has an internal blame game as far as you know, Catherine, already begun?
THOMPSON: Well, that's how it goes, right, Wolf? You've been doing this for a long time. So have I. Yes, of course, when a candidate starts to feel a victory slipping away that they thought was within reach, it's always difficult. Sometimes there's finger pointing. Sometimes there's not. I think that depends very much on the candidate and the campaign itself, and the folks inside.
There will be lots of second guessing I think for Adam Laxalt's team and really for Republicans around the country as has been part of the political discussion and national debate here over the past couple of days. Because I think many of us have been surprised about some of the outcomes over the last few days. So I think a lot of Republican candidates, especially those who are more conservative than moderate are going to be doing some soul searching here in the next few weeks.
BLITZER: Going into the election last Tuesday, Elizabeth, did you ever think that the outcome of this Senate race in your state would be the decisive moment potentially in determining whether the Democrats or the Republicans are the majority in the U.S. Senate? Right now it's 49-49. If the Democratic candidate wins, the incumbent Democratic senator, the Democrats would have 50, guaranteed 50 seats in the U.S. Senate. And as you know, if it's 50-50, the vice president of the United States, according to the U.S. Constitution, as the president of the Senate, and Kamala Harris would be able to break a tie.
So this is really why we're spending so much team focusing in on what's going on in Nevada right now. But did you think that was going to be a possible result of what's happening?
THOMPSON: We actually did. We were expecting this to be a very tight race. We were expecting not to know the winner on election day. These two candidates have been polling essentially within the margin of error in every single survey with a couple of outlier exceptions. For the entire summer, the entire fall, one has never pulled ahead of the other by more than just a few points. And of course so many caveats this year. Nonpartisans voting and ticket splitters and on and on. So yes, we expected it to be extremely tight. I'm not sure we thought it would last until Saturday, though, but here we are.
BLITZER: And we certainly are, Elizabeth Thompson, the editor of the "Nevada Independent." We'll continue our conversations down the road. Thank you very much for joining us. At any moment now, we're expecting once again new votes coming in from
Nevada. And those votes as I said tonight could decide control of the U.S. Senate. It's election night in America continued. Stay with us.
BLITZER: We're waiting right now for new votes in Nevada. And they could come at any minute now and potentially could decide control of the United States Senate. This is a critically important moment. We're watching what's going on.
We're also expecting by the way new votes tonight in Arizona, where there's a very tight governor's race going on. Let's go right now to Maricopa County election center in Phoenix, Arizona, for us. CNN's Kyung Lah is on the scene for us.
Kyung, I understand protesters, they are gathering outside the center as ballots are still being counted in that race between Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake. Tell us what you're seeing right now on the ground.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a few stragglers out here still. But pretty much these protesters, and at one point, there was a sizable number of them, they have pretty much gone home. The sheriff said that he was frankly glad to see them go. This was a security concern here at the elections department because what's happening here is the focus. That is the focus, that is what the elections department hope people are paying attention to.
This process that you're seeing behind me is still happening. They are going through these votes and they don't want the focus to be the noise from the outside, which is really conspiratorial lies and disparagement that were being thrown at these elections workers doing the good duty of democracy. So what we are anticipating this evening, in the next 45 minutes or so, we are anticipating a ballot release, election results.
About 75,000 to 80,000 votes will be released by Maricopa County, this is the most populous county in the state of Arizona. And we should get a better picture of what is happening here between that hotly contested race for governor that is still too close to call, Wolf. There are a lot -- especially, you know, the people who live here in the state, they are anxious to find out what is going to happen in this race.
We still don't know. That result could help paint a closer picture of what is happening in that race -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. We should get those numbers very, very soon. And we'll share them with our viewers as soon as they come in.
Kyung, as you know, the Democrat Senator Mark Kelly is the projected winner in the Arizona Senate race. We made that projection last night. But his challenger, Blake Masters, is alleging misconduct in vote counting in Arizona, a charge shot down by the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. And he's a Republican, Bill Gates. We've interviewed him several times. What more do we know about this? Very disturbing. He has not conceded yet either, right?
LAH: He has not conceded yet. But he has tweeted that once every -- and I'm going to emphasize this word that he put -- legal vote is counted, he is intimating that he will indeed call Senator Mark Kelly, the Democrat. Blake Masters is the Republican. But by saying legal vote, there's, you know, it's a cloak, a concern by some democracy watchers that he doesn't really mean it, that he won't concede. The Masters campaign says at this point they don't, frankly, care.
The voters have spoken in their opinion and they will continue to look forward to six years in the U.S. Senate for Senator Mark Kelly. But Blake Masters in saying what you were talking about, Wolf, that was strongly pushed back by the Republicans who are the majority here in the Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County. They say that this is the way it works. The Republicans who are complaining about it know that this is the way it works. This is the way it worked in 2020, in 2018.
They are standing behind their process and they are leaning in on the fact that this is what state law has set in stone and they are following the law -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And the -- of course and Mark Kelly, the Democrat, reelected for another six years to the United States Senate.
Kyung Lah, we'll gets back to you. Thank you very, very much.
I want to go over to David Chalian at the magic wall for us.
David, let's hone in right now on these new vote counts that are coming in from Arizona in the governor's race there. Tell our viewers what you're seeing.
CHALIAN: Yes. Just moments ago we got an update from Pima County, that's down here in Tucson. I'll go into the count in a moment. Just to give you that statewide total again, Katie Hobbs has a 37,743 vote lead over Kari Lake. And this total, this Pima County vote report basically netted Katie Hobbs an additional 5,000 votes added to her lead there.
So let's go in here to Pima County. That's the Tucson area. I'm now going to bring down, Wolf, the chalk board here that I wrote out these latest totals on. So we got this report. 12,579 votes went to Katie Hobbs in this update from Pima County tonight. Kari Lake got 7,110 votes. So when you look at the percentages, Katie Hobbs got 64 percent of this Pima vote batch compared to Kari Lake's 36 percent.
By the way, you see here Katie Hobbs is winning the county 60-40. This latest vote batch she's doing better than that. She did 64-36. And what our decision desk did, Wolf, after these votes came in, they recalculated the sort of outstanding vote in Arizona now. So how many votes in Arizona are currently outstanding statewide after this vote came in? We think about 375,000 votes remain outstanding in Arizona.
And here's what's key to watch, these percentages. OK. Kari Lake now needs between a range of 54 percent to 56 percent of the outstanding vote statewide in order to win this race. Katie Hobbs who is in the lead obviously needs a smaller percentage of the outstanding vote. She needs in the range of 44 percent to 46 percent. Well, as you could see here in this last vote batch, I mean, Kari Lake is nowhere near in Pima County at least getting that kind of level that she needs to win this race.
And again, just a reminder as I pull out statewide in Arizona, right now Kari Lake has 49 percent of the vote. She needs to significantly increase her performance with the rest of the votes that we see coming in from Arizona tonight to hit that range I just showed you in order to overtake Katie Hobbs and win this race. She's nowhere close to that mid-50 percent range that she needs in this race -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're also told, as you know, David, that Maricopa County is about to release a whole bunch of additional votes right now that could have a dramatic impact on this governor's contest in Arizona.
CHALIAN: Yes. And in Maricopa County, which again largest county, Phoenix, right now it' a little less than a five-percentage point race. Katie Hobbs has 52.4 percent in Maricopa. Kari Lake has 47.6. Again her current total in Maricopa is well below as a percentage of what she would need to get out of the remaining vote in Maricopa.
So when those 80,000 votes come in tonight from Maricopa County look to see, is Katie Hobbs sort -- is Kari Lake, excuse me, sort of staying where her current vote total is, 47 percent, 48 percent, or is she starting to get a much larger share of the vote that comes in from Maricopa tonight and hitting that, you know, 54 percent range, in order to make up big ground? So remember, again, I'll go out statewide, right now Katie Hobbs, after we added those Pima County votes, has a 37,743 vote lead.
That's a significant ground for Kari Lake to make up. Totally she can do it. There's a lot of outstanding vote as you saw throughout the whole state, but she's got to start really increasing her performance when we see the votes come in tonight.
BLITZER: And we will see that fairly soon. David Chalian, don't go too far away. We could get new votes at any moment from Nevada as well.
And control of the Senate could be decided tonight It's election night in America continue. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Looking at live pictures, beautiful pictures I must say of the US Capitol. Control of the US Senate, by the way could be decided tonight. It could be decided very, very soon. Our coverage continues right here.
At any minute now, we are expecting new results from Clark County. That's the home to Las Vegas, and that's the largest county in Nevada right now. The bulk of Nevada's population is right there.
CNN's John Berman is joining us right now. He is at the Magic Wall. So break down the latest numbers we're getting in Nevada, John, because the stakes right now are enormous, whether the Democrats retake, still have the majority in the US Senate, that's at play.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The stakes could not be higher. There are only two states left on this map that haven't been decided yet. Nevada, which I'll show you in a minute; and of course, Georgia, which we know is going to runoff on December 6. If Democrats win either one of these races, either one of these races would get them to that number of 50.
You can see right now it's tied 49/49 in the chamber. If they win Nevada, that puts them at 50, and because Vice President Kamala Harris is a Democrat, she would break a tie and that will get Democrats control before even the runoff in Georgia.
When you dig in to Nevada, this is what we are waiting for next. We are waiting for Clark County, the largest county population-wise in Nevada, by far. It is about seventy-three, seventy-four percent of the entire population. We are expecting them to release the count from 22,000 votes -- 22,000 votes.
Now, I'm going to do some math for you because in Clark County, in general, it is split about 52 percent to 45 percent. Fifty-two percent For the Democrat, Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent; 45 percent for the Republican, Adam Laxalt. She has been winning, you can see by about seven points, but in the vote that's been counted after Tuesday in the mail-in vote, it's actually skewed more blue, more in favor of Catherine Cortez Masto. She has been getting 60 percent or higher of the vote that's been counted the last couple days in Clark County.
What does that mean? I'm going to do some advanced math for you, which isn't easy for me, but I think it actually illustrates why everyone is so keen to figure out what's going to happen maybe in the next few minutes. Twenty-two thousand votes coming in sometime minutes or hours from now. If she wins 60 percent, which is what she has been doing there, that will give her 13,200 votes in this batch from Clark County, it would give Adam Laxalt 8,800 votes.
The difference there -- the difference is 4,400. She would net 4,400 votes, and in truth, you would probably net more than 4,400 votes because if she gets over 60, he doesn't typically get 40. He gets around 35. But 4,400 votes, and you will notice and I'm going to pull out an entire State, you will notice Adam Laxalt's lead is 862 votes.
So if Catherine Cortez Masto nets 4,400 votes from just Clark County, that would put her in the lead by several thousand votes, Wolf, and that would be before even we see other votes. We are expecting 12,000 votes to be counted from Washoe County, again, which has been skewing slightly Democratic, and then there is the matter of provisional votes.
But 4,400 votes, if that's what she gets tonight, I'm not saying she will, but that's an interesting target, that would give her a lead for the first time in many, many days. Adam Laxalt has been leading since Tuesday, sometimes by as much as 22,000 votes -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And that county is a largely Democratic county, so it is very, very possible, she could get that. That would be very, very significant for the incumbent Senator there. We're watching it very closely.
Any other points you want to make, John?
BERMAN: No, it's just in Nevada. It's really interesting when you do look at this State because you see a whole lot of red. You see a whole lot of red, but it's red, where not a lot of people live. If you combine Las Vegas or Clark County, 73 percent with Washoe County, which is the Reno area, which itself is about 15 percent, that's a lot. You're close to 90 percent of the county.
The issue is in these red counties, and there are a bunch of them, you can go here, Douglas is the most populous one. You can see that Adam Laxalt, Republicans typically win by a lot. They run up huge margins in these red counties, 69 percent in Lyon County, 71 percent in Churchill County.
BERMAN: Pershing County, 71 percent. So Republicans win outright in these red counties, which is why Democrats in Clark County again, which is a lot closer, it is a lot closer, they need to do very, very well consistently, and they are bigger, there's more population. It does take longer to count there, so that is what we're waiting to see.
You know, Wolf, I do have one point of historical reference here that you will appreciate having covered the Senate for so long. You know, you look at how close this race is, right now, well, Nevada has had some close races before. This was the 1998 Senate race, Harry Reid was the incumbent against John Ensign who was a Congressman at the time. Harry Reid won by 401 votes. Four hundred and one votes in the 1998 election.
So, it is possible, as close as this is, it is not even the closest Senate race that we've seen in the last few decades in Nevada -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It underscores how every single vote is so, so important. Your math is excellent. John Berman, thank you very much.
BERMAN: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll get back to you very soon.
Once again, we're awaiting those new votes, the new count in Nevada, they could come at any minute now and could potentially set the scene for who is going to be in charge of the US Senate. What happens in Nevada tonight could determine whether the Democrats or the Republicans will control the next US Senate It's ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA CONTINUED.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
We're waiting for new votes to come in from Clark County, Nevada right now, the largest county in the State. They could come at any moment and potentially could determine, which party controls the US Senate.
Right now, fewer than 900 votes separate the incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and her Trump-backed Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt. The race is still too close to call.
Our political panel is here to discuss what's going on. Big picture, Nia-Malika Henderson, where are we right now? Because by all accounts, this is a decisive, potentially decisive moment for the future of the US Senate?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. I mean, we're in some ways where Democrats never thought they would be, right, potentially on the cusp of keeping the Senate, potentially in the cost of actually growing their Senate margins, depending on what happens in Georgia. This race, particularly in Nevada, no one really thought that Catherine Cortez Masto, who was a first term Senator, could pull this out.
And if you've seen over the last couple of days, she has steadily cut into Adam Laxalt's lead. You hear Adam Laxalt on Twitter, essentially saying, you know, if the trend continues, it would be difficult for him to climb back in this, but we'll see what happens.
This, you know, if the Democrats are able to keep the Senate, this means a huge amount for Biden's presidency, right? It means that he can get Judges through, it means that if he has to get administration officials, Cabinet official through, that it will be that much easier and it will be a massive, massive defeat for Mitch McConnell and for Republicans in general, who all along over the last many months thought that this was the best political environment in a generation, and they thought they were going to be able to capitalize on it. It doesn't look like they're going to be able, too.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But it was a great and political environment for Republicans. It was a great political environment for Republicans. Inflation is an issue according to exit polls that, you know, two-thirds of the American public are worried about, they think we're in a recession. And Republicans were sort of measuring the drapes everywhere, and that didn't occur because of other issues, like abortion, and because -- and I'm going to echo Mitch McConnell here, candidate quality mattered.
That's past tense now. It did matter. So you look at all of these races and you say, well, why did -- you know, why didn't it work out the way that Republicans thought they were going to work out? Candidate quality, Donald Trump inserting himself into this, and I also believe one other thing, which was very interesting to me, which was that experience seemed to matter with these candidates.
Voters weren't just buying someone who suddenly decided that he wanted to run for office.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, and what I think we've learned is also that Biden's unpopularity wasn't as much of a weight around these candidates, especially in some of these key Senate races.
You look, you know, how Mark Kelly in Arizona winning in the Independents by double digits, even, you know, Warnock really performing with Independents over Walker in Georgia. The same with Fetterman in Pennsylvania. These candidates were able to carve out an identity in many places, apart from the President.
Now, Nevada actually was one place where these candidates were sort of tracking a bit more with the national trend and everything that Nia and Gloria were saying is true. I think it's even more true when you look at the House.
I think the Senate for a long time has been a 50/50 proposition, not just the current makeup of the Senate, but who would control the Senate after this election was a bit of a coin flip. I mean, these races were close all along.
This Nevada race was a margin of error race, but Nia is totally right. I don't think there's a Republican or a Democrat who did not think that Catherine Cortez Masto was potentially the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent on the map, and the fact that she is in the hunt here and possibly on the cusp of overtaking Laxalt, when you are the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent on the map means you're doing something to overperform the expectations.
BLITZER: Plus, going into the election on Tuesday, she was seen as extremely vulnerable.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Incredibly vulnerable because she hadn't really made a name for herself in Washington, DC, very quiet, didn't really interact with the media and quite frankly didn't have a signature accomplishment to go back and say you know, this was mine.
PRESTON: You know, when we talk about power in Washington, we talked about building blocks, right? We're all focused on this election right now. Democrats really are incredibly lucky if they're able to keep it at 50/50, not only for Joe Biden, but if you look ahead to 2024, they have 21 seats that are up for reelection. Republicans only have 10.
And if you look at those seats right there, it is going to give Joe Biden a really big headache, because many of them tend to be a little bit more conservative. The Joe Manchin's of the world. You might even see Jon Tester, who is considered very liberal, distance himself as well from Joe Biden.
So even though we talked about how important it is for Democrats to hold this for nominations, and what have you in the Senate, at least hold the majority, it is going to be a tough sledding for him for the next couple of years.
BORGER: But Mark Kelly distanced himself from Joe Biden when he had to do it on immigration. During the debate, he said, well, you know, our immigration policy is chaotic. That's really distancing yourself.
So these candidates --
BLITZER: And he won.
BORGER: Right, and these candidates felt the need to sort of distance themselves when they had to, and a brace when they thought that it worked and they kept Joe Biden out of places they didn't want him, and Biden, by the way, not his first rodeo, understood that that was what he needed to do.
HENDERSON: Yes, and in the meantime, he was giving speeches on democracy, on abortion. He was doing stuff with student loans, for instance, in the infrastructure bill, so he was giving Democrats in these different States issues they could run on.
I think the other thing is, voters are just keyed in, in a way to these issues and these elections because they know what matters. They've seen 2016, 2018, 2020, so they are just educated in a way that I think we might not have seen years ago.
And I think for Democrats as well, this isn't their first rodeo. In Georgia, they have a really great ground game. Obviously in Nevada, the Harry Reid machine still lives even though he has passed away.
And so this, I think, was a surprise to not only Democrats, it was a surprise to a lot of reporters that Democrats given the political environment have been able to do so well.
BLITZER: Everybody standby. We have a projection to make right now.
Democrat, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has flipped a seat in Washington State. She beat Joe Kent, a Trump-endorsed election denier who defeated Jaime Herrera Beutler in the primary. She was one of the 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump.
CNN's John Berman is over at the Magic Wall for us.
So John, update our viewers what this latest projection for this win by this Democrat potentially means.
BERMAN: Let me just show you quickly this district. This is a district south of Seattle and it is Republican plus four. It is a Republican drawn district right now. Two years ago, Donald Trump would have actually won it by four points. So now, you're actually seeing Democrats not just surviving and winning in Democratic districts, but they're now beginning to win in the West Coast in districts that are Republican here.
The big picture here is where it gets very interesting, okay, there are -- these are the races that CNN has now projected winners. You can see Republicans are leading, and 211, Democrats are leading in 204. There are 20 districts that have not been projected yet that CNN has not called winners yet. You can see that the Republicans, of those need to win seven, the Democrats would need to win 14.
Democrats would need 14 districts to control the majority, the Republicans would need seven to take over the majority. Now, who is leading in these remaining 20 districts? You can see Republicans lead in 10, they only need seven; Democrats are leading in 10, they would need 14. They're close.
I mean, Democrats may very well have a path here. So, let me just quickly show you some of the districts they're looking at. They're mostly in California at this point. Some of these districts are pretty tight. You can see California's Third Congressional District, Kevin Kiley, over Kermit Jones leads by six points, but it's only 10,000 votes with 51 percent remaining.
You go down here there's only an 84-vote margin in California's 13th, John Duarte and Adam Gray, only 46 percent reporting. You go further south, you can sort of see similar pictures in some of these districts. You can see Ken Calvert, the incumbent in California's 41st, only leading by 1,500 votes 47 percent reporting.
So that was three -- three. If somehow Democrats were to hold every blue district that is still yet to be called and pick up those three and one more, they have a path at this point -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The key number, 218. That's what you need to be in the Majority in the House of Representatives, 218.
John, standby, we'll get back to you.
Control of the Senate could be determined once again tonight. We're waiting for new votes in Nevada that could come at any moment.
It's ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA CONTINUED.
BLITZER: Control of the United States Senate hanging in the balance tonight and all eyes right now are on Nevada. Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is within striking distance of a Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt. We couldn't know the results of that contest at any moment. Standby for that.
Officials in Nevada wrapping up vote tallies in the State's two most populous counties.
Joining us now from Las Vegas is Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus who just won reelection in her competitive district.
BLITZER: Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. Congratulations on your win.
I'll discuss your victory in a moment, but first, as you heard, we're expecting more votes from Nevada that could impact the razor-thin Senate race here in Washington. Do you think Senator Cortez Masto will also be able to hang on to her seat? You're there in Nevada.
REP. DINA TITUS (D-NV): I did because most of the votes are in the metropolitan areas and Las Vegas is strongly Democratic. The early votes come in about two to one for us and Washoe County also. So, I think Catherine will move ahead and hold that seat.
BLITZER: So you think she'll win?
TITUS: I do.
BLITZER: Despite many predicting what they used to call a red wave, you were reelected once again in a competitive district and Democrats are clearly exceeding expectations across the country.
Congresswoman, why do you think that is?
TITUS: Well, a lot of these prognosticators look at things from 30,000 degrees up. You know, on the ground, we were more optimistic. We had Social Security that is a big issue because a lot of retirees here in Nevada; abortion is a big issue and young people registered, especially young women, culinary, carpenters, building trades. We had an army on the ground, and so we weren't as pessimistic as some parts of the country.
BLITZER: What's the mood like right now among Democrats? Your fellow Democrats on the ground in Nevada?
TITUS: Well, we're glad we held all three of the House seats. All three were very competitive, especially glad that a Democrat was elected Secretary of State because his opponent was an election denier and we knew that would portend bad things for the presidential election.
The legislature stayed Democratic, and we are sorry that we lost the Governor, but we think we will hold Catherine, so it's pretty good odds overall.
BLITZER: What do you say to those critics out there who are complaining that the vote counting process is taking way too long?
TITUS: Well, we'd rather have it done accurately and carefully than too hastily. And that's what our registrar has said. So, there's a lot of scrutiny. There's a lot of double checking. There is no fraud that had been found anywhere. And I think in the end, that it's better to do it in that way.
BLITZER: How worried were you going into the election last Tuesday, Congresswoman, that there would be that so-called red wave?
TITUS: Well, my district changed drastically after redistricting. So, I had a lot of new areas and a lot more Republican areas. But we worked hard. We had just got a win after it and so we were optimistic, but it's kind of cautiously so.
BLITZER: Because, historically speaking, when there is, let's say, a Democratic President, the Republicans do well in that first Midterm Election, and I assume you were bracing for some bad news, right?
TITUS: Well, that's right. I taught Political Science for 35 years and we always talk about that Midterm favoring the party that's out of the White House. Another factor that I should have mentioned is that our strong Hispanic population did not go to the Republicans, like so many people thought it would, and that was another factor in our victories here.
BLITZER: And how do you explain that?
TITUS: Well, the culinary worked very hard. A lot of their members are Hispanic. I represented a big part of the Hispanic district and I have spent a lot of time doing constituent services, helping people with visas and DACA and TPS. So, I think that counted in the long run.
And, you know, the issues were those that Hispanics cared about. You can't just focus on the Hispanic issues. They are issues that everybody is concerned about, and we do better on those, whether it is education or what we did in the Recovery Act or helping small business, that resonated in our Hispanic community.
BLITZER: I assume inflation and the economy was the number one issue for most of the voters out there, at least that's what the polls showed. Is that what you saw?
TITUS: That's right. You know, Las Vegas was the hardest hit during the pandemic. We closed down The Strip for a month, so it was like the Twilight Zone. We had 35 percent unemployment, which we haven't seen since the depression.
But now, we are the fastest recovering part of the country. Airplanes are full. Gaming revenues are up. Unemployment is down to about four percent. So, we just kept hammering that. Yes, we have a way to go. We need to get gas prices down. We need to make corporations pay their share, but look at what we have accomplished.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada, thanks so much for joining us. Once again, congratulation on your win.
TITUS: Thank you very much.