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Any Moment: New Vote Count In Nevada Senate Race; Control Of Senate And House Still Up For Grabs As Races Tighten; Awaiting Vote Count In Nevada As Control Of Congress Still Undecided. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 12, 2022 - 20:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Congratulations on your win.

REP. DINA TITUS (D-NV): Thank you very much

BLITZER: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Election night in America continues.

Take a look at this. These are live pictures of the voting counting in Pima County, Arizona. Election officials there are releasing some 20,000 votes that were counted tonight.

They could weigh heavily in the governor's race, but so far is still too early to call. Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Republican Kari Lake.

Arizona is grabbing headlines with its Senate race right now. CNN is projecting the incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Kelly will hold on to his seat.

That means the Senate is now deadlocked with Republicans and Democrats having 49 seats each.

Democrats will keep control of the Senate with at least 50 seats. And that could come from Nevada where new numbers are also being released soon.

Republican Adam Laxalt holds a razor-thin lead over the Democratic incumbent, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto right now. His lead has shriveled to a mere 862 votes. That's 862 votes out of nearly a million counted so far.

We're following all of the key races and all of the latest developments.

Our reporters are out there in the battleground states.

John Berman will break it down at the Magic Wall.

Kyung Lah, let's go to Kyung Lah first live for the latest.

What are you seeing, Kyung? KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we are waiting and

anticipating in the next couple of minutes or so, we are hoping, it has been a bit fluid every single night.

But we are anticipating more numbers will be released by Maricopa County. We understand that the numbers are going to be somewhere between 75,000 to 80,000. These are the latest results. And I just got them in.

If John Berman is there, we are going to take a look, John, at the latest numbers coming in on the governor's race. This is the race that is still too close to call, but we have just gotten new numbers, John.

Katie Hobbs is now at 708,629. Let me say it again, 708,629. That is 52 percent of the vote share. Kari Lake is at 651,156, 651,156. That is 48 percent.

So I'll leave that to John. He's far better at math than I am. But this is the latest result we are getting from Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state of Arizona.

This is the race that we still have, that is still -- I'll leave it to you to decide, but the numbers now just dropping, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So that's the total, the total now from Maricopa County, which, again, hasn't been recorded in our wall yet.

So you can see, Katie Hobbs went from 667,833 to 708,629, to 52 percent. I don't know if there were decimal points there or rounding. Kari Lake went from 607,359 to 651,156.

As I'm looking at this, you can see Kari Lake gained about 43,000 votes. And you can see here that Katie Hobbs gained about 41,000 votes. So in this batch it looked like Kari Lake picked up slightly more votes.

We will break this down. The thing is this is how Kyung gets the numbers. We write them on and then we do math behind the scenes to try to figure out exactly what that means.

What you can see is this seems to have shrunk Katie Hobbs' lead, but only by a little bit as far as I can tell, Wolf. That's what is important.

Because I think we can put up on the screen here a graphic that matters quite a bit, which is -- no, we can't use it now. OK.

Roughly speaking, you know, Kari Lake, who trails, needs to win, you know, 45 -- needs to win about 55 percent of the vote. Kari Lake would need to win about 55 percent of the vote or more to overtake Katie Hobbs.

We are going to crunch the numbers on that last batch of ballots there in Maricopa County. I do not believe what she did just there would constitute that type of a gain.

But it was a better batch for Kari Lake than we have seen in some of these releases, and better than Katie Hobbs in this case.

BLITZER: Yes. But the Democrat, Katie Hobbs, is still ahead.


Let me bring David Chalian in here --


BLITZER: Go ahead.

BERMAN: I can show you. It is updated on our wall. It is updated in our wall right now. So 708,629, 52.1, 47.9. So the lead did shrink there a very little bit.

Sorry to interrupt you, Wolf.

BLITZER: No, no, no. I just wanted to get the analysis of the new numbers with David Chalian.

What is your analysis?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I'm looking here. So Lake got in this batch 43,797, about 3,000 votes it looks like, John, that she netted. It was sort of 51.8 percent for Lake, 48.2 percent in this batch for Hobbs.

Again, John is right. When we looked at -- again, our decision team is now recalculating. Now these votes are in.

So what remains outstanding and then what do the candidates need now, we're going to crunch those numbers.

But this does not match up with what Kari Lake was needing as a percentage of the outstanding vote before this came in. It is a little bit below that.

So while she did, did make up ground, she got -- netted 3,000 votes here and dug into Katie Hobbs' lead, as you noted, Wolf, Katie Hobbs is still significantly in this race.

BLITZER: Show us the statewide lead right now.

CHALIAN: If you take a look right there, I think it says 34,000 or so votes. I can't -- there we go, 34,742 votes ahead of Kari Lake. So you see Kari Lake dug into Katie Hobbs' lead a little bit. That was 37,000 something votes earlier.

But that is not -- that is not the level at which Kari Lake needs to make up ground. So she's just a little bit underperforming.

Even though she -- she netted more votes out of this batch, it is not quite at the level she needs in order to overtake Hobbs here, at least from what we saw in this batch out of Maricopa.

BLITZER: John Berman, let me get your statewide assessment right now, what we're seeing in this contest.

BERMAN: I'm sorry, Wolf. I'm having a hard time hearing you because my key is open somewhere else. I think if you are talking to me, Wolf --


BERMAN: -- I can show you again where we are right now. You can see Katie Hobbs is ahead by 34,742 votes. A little bit more than 1.6 percent.

And, David, you were just reading out the math there. Give us that math one more time --


BERMAN: -- on what we just saw in Maricopa County.

CHALIAN: So overall, we've got, you know, roughly 85,000 votes. So Hobbs, the Democrat, got 40,000, 4-0, 40,796 votes in this batch.

Let me give you Lake's raw number and then do the percentages, John. Lake got 43,797 votes in this batch. The percentages here, Hobbs got 48 percent. I'm just rounding down a bit. Lake got 52 percent, rounding up a bit.

BERMAN: All right. So you can see it right there. That was this latest batch, 48 percent for Hobbs, 52 percent for Lake. A net of about 3,000 votes.

Which, again, Kari Lake did better in this batch. She needs to do better in just about every batch, and she probably needs to do better than this to close the gap.

What remains to be seen is if what keeps getting released keeps getting more positive for her.

So I'm going to put this up here just to keep this in perspective as we're looking at the overall map here.

You can see, again, the overall lead now for Katie Hobbs has shrunk to 34,000. We are expecting -- I don't know if we are expecting more votes from Maricopa County tonight at all. This may be it for Maricopa County for tonight.

Overall, we had been told there were somewhere between 265,000 and 275,000 votes left from Arizona. This is about 83,000 votes. So less than 200,000 votes left. Less than 200,000 votes left now from Arizona for Kari Lake to try to make up a 34,000-vote deficit -- Wolf?

BLITZER: John, stay with us. I don't want you to go too far away.

We have the expert on Maricopa County joining us right now. Bill Gates is the top election official in Arizona's largest county, Maricopa County. He is joining us right now. We have spoken several times.

Bill, thanks so much for joining us. So what is left to count right now? Are there still votes outstanding?

BILL GATES, CHAIR, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Yes. So we are now down to about 190,000 votes left to be reported. So we've gone under that magic 200,000 line.

BLITZER: When can we expect to see the next round of votes reported?

GATES: We have been keeping a rhythm here that we will continue, which is each evening doing one vote update, result update per day. So, again, sometime in the evening hours tomorrow.


And I anticipate we will see a vote dump of a similar amount as we had. We had about 85,000 tonight. Somewhere right in that area for tomorrow night.

BLITZER: So you think we'll see perhaps another 85,000 votes counted tomorrow night, is that what you are saying?

GATES: Roughly. Approximately in that area.

BLITZER: That's a lot of votes. That could make a difference in these respective contests.

When do you expect to be completely done, Bill, counting votes in Maricopa County?

GATES: So I can confidently -- now, completely, you know, we do have some additional -- may have additional votes at the end that have a cured signature and things like that.

But for the lion's share, this 190,000 number that we are talking about, I'm confident that we will be down to 95 percent to 99 percent of those votes reported by tuesday.

BLITZER: Bill, John Berman has a question for you.

Go ahead, John.

BERMAN: The vote that we are now -- you are now, because I'm not counting it all, you are doing all of the counting now.

The vote you are counting is now all of the late early vote, all of the vote that was physically walked in, mail ballots that were walked in and delivered on election day itself? That's all you are counting and all that is left?

GATES: Almost all that's left. It is definitely a large majority.

We do have some earlier mail-in votes that have been cured. So maybe they had an issue with the signature verification or perhaps voter I.D., or some other issue like that that's been cured. So we have a few of those.

But for the most part these definitely are late earlies that were dropped off on election day.

BERMAN: When you say few, are you talking several thousand or even lower than that, just so we can get a frame of reference?

GATES: Yes, I'm not positive on that.


GATES: But I'm thinking a few thousand at the most.

BERMAN: A few thousand.

And when these vote batches, the counts from these batches are released, are they from a certain area, are all of the votes from this day, the late earlies, put in one giant bucket, you know, randomly counted or is there a shape to what you all are delivering?

Were the 85,000 votes we saw roughly tonight all from one area?

GATES: So here is what I would say about that. In Maricopa County, we had 223 vote centers on Election Day. Anyone, regardless of where they live in Maricopa County, they could go to any one of those vote centers.

So even if we went through -- and I don't at this moment know exactly where the details on which one of these vote centers are involved, that information will be out there. The analysts can talk about that later.

But the point is this. Even if someone -- let's say they live in gilbert in the east valley but they work in, Surprise, in the far northwest valley and they took over the lunch hour, they went and they dropped off their early ballot, you know, it doesn't really tell us anything about where exactly these folks are living.

So in the end it is sort of a -- sort of a bucket for the county. But, again, like after the vote drop last night, we had some of the local Analysts who like to drill into which vote centers these seem to be focused in.

But again, for us here, where we do the central count, it is first in, first out. That's how we report the numbers.

BLITZER: That's the way it should be.

Bill, if you could say something about the people behind you who have been working long, long hours, 14, 15, 18-hour days, what would it be?

GATES: Gratitude. Absolute gratitude for all of my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and I would say all of us here in Maricopa County.

I mean we are now two days into the Veterans Day weekend. They've been working so hard.

We started our hand count audit here, which is how we -- it is established by Arizona law. It is how we check to make sure that the machines are running accurately.

And I was back there talking to the folks there. Republicans, Democrats working together. These people are in great spirits.

And they're not talking about the political issues of the day. They're talking about their families. They're talking about the weather.

And just wonderful to see what a good attitude people have days into this, and even when we do have those detractors out there. But it is not impacting these people. Couldn't be prouder of them.

BLITZER: Yes, and they're doing amazing work. We're grateful to you and to all of them for what you are doing, especially amid some of the criticism that's coming in from various quarters out there. We won't discuss that right now.

Bill Gates, thanks so much for all of your good work. Thanks once again for joining us.

GATES: Thank you.


BLITZER: I want to bring back David Chalian, our political director right now.

David, what do you think? What is needed right now in this governor's race?

CHALIAN: Right. So John Berman was trying to do this in his head, because he is a pretty smart guy, before you guys went into that interview. But our team, at the decision desk, has now crunched the numbers that are outstanding now that we got the vote batch of 85,000 votes from Maricopa.

Now what is outstanding statewide? And 290,000 votes in Arizona. This is an estimate. It is not an exact number, but an estimated 290,000 votes still to be counted.

You heard Bill Gates say there, in Maricopa, it is just under 200,000. So the vast majority of this 290,000 in Arizona is going to come out of Maricopa obviously.

Look now at the new "need" percentages for the candidates. Kari Lake needs in the range of 55 percent to 57 percent of that outstanding vote.

Now, you remember we just broke down the percentages of what she got in this Maricopa batch. It was not that. It was just below that, right?

So she got about 52 percent, I believe it was, out of this batch? She needs 55 percent to 57 percent of everything outstanding to win. She did not meet that target.

Katie Hobbs, of course, is well ahead in the race at the moment. She only needs 44 percent to 45 percent of the remaining ballots to stay on top here and secure victory in this race.

BLITZER: And become the next governor of Arizona.

All right, David, thank you very much. Don't go too far away.

Once again, we could get new vote results at any moment from Nevada. And control of the United States Senate could be decided tonight.

It is election night in America, continued. Stay with us.



BLITZER: Let's go right now to Nevada, and its all-important Senate race. It is the most-watched contest in the country right now because it could determine which party will control the United States Senate.

Let's get to CNN's Rosa Flores. She's just outside the Clark County election center in north Las Vegas.

What is the latest over there, Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are anxiously waiting for the results from Clark County to be posted.

We are refreshing our computers and we will bring you those results as soon as we have them as the eyes of America zoom in to Nevada and Clark County here where I am, right now.

It is just past 5:00 p.m. Pacific time. Now, that's the statutory deadline for mail-in ballots. That's important because, by law, all mail-in ballots that are received in registrars, like the one you see behind me, across this state have to be counted by law.

Earlier, Clark County officials telling CNN they had received 268 mail-in ballot just today. But the registrar said he was going to make another trip to the USPS at 5:00 p.m. to make sure that all of those battle are counted.

We are asking to see if, indeed, more battle railroad receive. We are waiting to hear back on that.

Let me give you a quick state of play of the more than 50,000 battle that still remain to be counted here in the state of Nevada.

There are more than 1,000 in the GOP stronghold of Douglas County. We are not expecting those results to be posted tonight.

There are another 12,000 in Washoe County. That is a swing county. And we're expecting to learn more and for results to be posted at about 7:30 Pacific time, 10:30 Eastern time.

Then the 34,000 here in Clark County, where I am, by far, the biggest batch of ballots, we are expecting 22,000 of those votes to be posted tonight. That is a mix of Election Day drop-off battle and mail-in ballots. The

rest are more than 7,000 ballots that still need to be cured. The deadline for that is Monday. More than 5,000 provisional ballots. The deadline for that is Wednesday -- Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Rosa, we will stay in very, very close touch with you. Thank you very much for your excellent reporting.

I want to be back to CNN's John Berman. He is joining us from the Magic Wall right now.

Break down from your perspective over there, John, what is happening in Nevada.

BERMAN: Let me just first tell you, Wolf -- and don't get mad at me -- I want to temper your expectations, everyone.

We did just get some new votes from one county in Nevada. It is Lander County, which is .2 percent of the population.

How many votes did we get? We got five votes.


BERMAN: Five votes to report here. Adam Laxalt got three of them. Catherine Cortez Masto got two of them.

I will write down the percentages. That was 60 percent of the batch. She got 40 percent.

All joking aside, what did that do? In the Senate, that changed -- in the Senate race, that changed his lead from 862 votes to 863 votes. His margin just went up by one single vote. That's how closely everyone is watching this race right now.

Wolf, you know, we are sitting here and it is Saturday night. Let me tell you how we got to this point. It is really interesting.

If you look back at how the vote has been counted, on Wednesday night -- which is a full night after the polls closed there -- you could see Adam Laxalt had a lead of some 22,690 votes.

By 9:00 that night, just two hours later, there was a release from Clark County, his lead had shrunk to less than 18,000.

A couple of hours after that, a Republican batch came out, the lead grew again. It then shrunk after some Washoe vote. It shrunk more after Clark County vote. It shrunk more after some Washoe vote.

The Republican vote came in, it grew a little bit again. Clark County came in, it shrunk a lot. All of a sudden, Friday night, just last night, down to 798 votes.


A little more Republican vote came in. It grew it to almost 2,000. Washoe over here, which skewed Democratic, brought it back down to 821.

Then we were at 862, where we were until just about five minutes ago when we got those five new votes in, pushing the lead to 863 votes -- Wolf?

BLITZER: So 863. It is a lot less than the, what, 9,000, 10,000 it was not that long ago?

John Berman, thank you very much. Once again, don't go too far away from that Magic Wall.

As we have been telling our viewers, we are waiting for new vote totals from Nevada where control of the United States Senate could be decided, and it could be decided tonight. We will bring you the new numbers live as soon as they're released.

It is election night in America, continued. There's a lot going on right now. Stay with us.



BLITZER: We could get new votes, a lot of new votes at any moment now from Nevada and control of the United States Senate could be decided tonight. It's Election Night in America continued. Welcome back.

More political experts joining me now to discuss the latest results. Scott Jennings, first to you, an unexpected surge for Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada right now. She was a candidate once deemed the Democrats most vulnerable going into this election. So, what has happened to those predictions?

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER ADVISER TO SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: Yes, you're right, Wolf. The Republicans really thought Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, in that order, at least for me, were the big three. And obviously Pennsylvania, lost and Georgia is going to a runoff. And so, holding this one was critical. And, you know, Laxalt was a little bit different kind of candidate than Oz or Walker, a little bit of political experience. And Masto, as you pointed out, was thought to be a little weaker. So, the hopes were high for this.

But quite obviously, the Democrat get-out-to-vote machine turned into high gear in Nevada. And, you know, we'll see when the votes come in, Wolf, but it's looking a little dicey for Mr. Laxalt tonight.

WOLF: It certainly is. Kristen, let me get your thoughts because as you know a source has told CNN that the mood inside the Laxalt campaign is, quote, awful. The mood tonight is awful. Has the internal blame game within the Republican Party already begun?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there are certainly a lot of folks that want to suggest single reasons why we lost as a party in some of these races. There are a lot of folks that would say you had bad candidates, but in the case of Nevada, Adam Laxalt was not considered a particularly controversial candidate, or at least, if you were ranking the Republican candidates in order of who is most at risk, he was probably not on that list.

But he is suffering from what a lot of Republicans around the country suffered from which is in a year that was supposed to be very good for Republicans, the CNN exit polls show that independents broke very slightly for Catherine Cortez Masto. Groups like voters who somewhat disapprove of President Biden or who think the economy is doing not so good. Those should have been the types of voters that were going for Adam Laxalt, saying, let's send someone new to Washington.

And instead, when we look at those exit poll results, those sorts of voters actually broke very slightly for the Democratic candidate. And so that's made it harder for Republicans to put together this majority. I don't think you can point to one single cause. And I think Nevada is one where it's not just a candidate quality issue.

BLITZER: You know, Hilary Rosen, you're a Democratic strategist, very well known. You were pretty pessimistic about how the Democrats were going to do in this midterm election just a few days ago. What's your analysis right now, and specifically about the potential for the Democrats potential? We don't know what's going to happen becoming the majority -- keeping the majority in the House of Representatives.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you mean, in the Senate? We don't know what's happening in the house. I think we still expect the Republicans to take the house, which will be unfortunate and nothing to celebrate. Look, I think what we saw in Nevada is similar to what we've seen in Arizona, which is we had candidates, great candidates, sitting senators, who were really focused on what was happening at home, and each place kind of had a local message.

I was upset, you know, because I thought that the economic message wasn't cohesive enough nationally. But it turns out that in Nevada, Senator Cortez Masto talked about how she gets things done with across the aisle. She had a huge liability and abortion, abortion, abortion was very significant in Clark County and in Reno.

When you look at Arizona, Mark Kelly talked about the border a lot. People in Arizona were concerned about the border. And Mark Kelly called for more enforcement and was very aggressive there. So these senators know their states.

And then one final thing, and I'll follow up on what Scott said, which is, you know, Republicans have spent a lot of time since 2020, talking about how untrustworthy voting can be. And that really hurt them in this election. Because that meant that the early voting advantage that Democrats have spent the last -- literally the last month getting ballots in getting people to drop off their ballots at mail drop centers, et cetera, the Republicans were depending on everybody going to the polls on Election Day. And that is just not how it's done anymore. People need that flexibility. They liked that flexibility and Democrats took advantage of it and Republicans didn't as much.

BLITZER: So, Hilary, are you surprised at how well the Democrats seem to be doing right now? [20:35:02]

ROSEN: I'm surprised and thrilled that we're going to hold the Senate I think she's going to win and, you know, could not be more grateful that my pessimism was unfounded around the Senate.

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COLLECTIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN -HARRIS 2020: You know, one thing that I think is interesting, though, is even though Cortez Masto was seen as one of the most vulnerable seats, Democrats didn't let up till the very end, they pushed and pushed and push. They weren't willing to cede it and lose.

And so I think you see that with Latino voters two to one, weighing in favor of Cortez Mastro young people showed up at about 64 percent, based on the exit polls. The young people sided with her.

And then again, the culinary union. I do think I'm not as surprised that Democrats have been doing as well this cycle because there was a lot at stake this election. And I think voters when they went in, they might not have been ecstatic about the President of the United States, or the economy, but it was about who can you trust?

And for the last 20 years -- or two years when you've had a party, sowing doubt on our economy, trying to overthrow our democracy with the insurrection, you know, voters ultimately said, I want to trust the dems. They're trying to do things to improve and I'm going to give them more chances to do it. And I think that's why Dems are actually faring well, and then you just can't ignore how Roe played a significant role in this election. It was an overreach by the Supreme Court and people spoke out and said they don't want that.

BLITZER: Important point you're making Ashley Ellison. Everybody standby, we're going to get back to all of you right -- once again, all eyes right now on Nevada. Newly counted votes in the Senate race there could finally answer the question of whether Democrats will hold on to that chamber. The United States Senate a lot going on. Stay with us. It's Election Night in America Continued.



BLITZER: We're waiting for new numbers tonight from Nevada that could potentially decide which party controls the United States Senate. But the balance of power is also up in the air in the House of Representatives. CNN's John Berman is joining us right now from the magic wall. So, John, what are you seeing over there as far as the House is concerned?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: It does hang in the balance, which is pretty incredible, when you think about it, well, given how heavily favored Republicans were to retake the House heading into this election. You can see that Republicans right now have been projected to win 211 seats, Democrats 204. Of course, you need 218 to control the House of Representatives. So, Republicans are seven away from retaking the House of Representatives. Democrats are 14 seats away from holding the House of Representatives. There are 20, and I'm writing is up here 20 races that have yet to be called. How many are the Democrats or Republicans leading in? You can see Republicans lead in 10 of the 20 uncalled races. They only need seven to retake the House.

The Democrats lead in 10 of these uncalled races, but they need to get to 14 if they want to hold on here. And one of the questions is, do they have a path to do it? Yes, I mean, right now the Republican path is admittedly easier. They just have to hold all the races they're leading in right now. The Democrats would need to win at least four of these districts right now that are uncalled and currently in red, but they're pretty close. In some of them.

Let's look at Arizona, we've been talking a lot about Arizona, because the governor's race is still too close to call. They're in Arizona, sixth congressional district, you can see just 1,300 votes separate the Republican from the Democrat. And if we look at the counties here, one of the counties that this district includes at least part of the county is Pima County, which does skew toward the Democrats by about eight percent. And there's only 88 percent in there. So maybe that would be an opportunity for the Democrats to pick up some ground there.

California is the place that has the most potential opportunity for the Democrats. Of course, again, they would need to retake the lead in some of these seats. But in some of them, they're close in California's 13th congressional district just 84 votes separate John Duarte and Adam Gray, only 46 percent reporting. So a lot of room there for the Democrats may be to take the lead as more votes are counted.

This district is California's 22nd district, which is interesting. This is actually a D plus 12 district, which is a pretty Democratic district, but the incumbent is David Valadao who voted to impeach Donald Trump. He's one of those pro impeachment Republicans there. So he's done well in this district. But you can see, it's pretty close with only 39 percent in. And further south, there's also a district which is very close, California's 41st, just 1,500 votes, only 47 percent in. I just showed you four districts now where Republicans are leading where if Democrats won and held everything else, they would maintain control of the House, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. We'll see what happens. We're not ready to make a projection as far as the House of Representatives or the Senate for that matter is concerned, at least not yet. John Berman, don't go too far away from that magic wall.

We could get new votes at any moment right now from Nevada, and control of the United States Senate could be decided tonight. It's Election Night in America Continued. Stay with us.


[20:45:02] BLITZER: It's now four days since the midterm elections and the crucial balance of power in Congress is still undetermined. Our political panel is back with us.

And, Gloria, let's talk a little bit about if the Democrats were to win the Senate contest in Nevada and/or Georgia, they would maintain the majority in this -- in the U.S. Senate. Would -- is that something you anticipated just a few days ago?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, of course, Wolf. No, I didn't. I mean, we have always said as David Chalian always says, it's a -- was a coin toss. And I think that we always knew it was going to be close.

I think if we were betting and I would be honest about it right now we'd say, look, it looks like it's going to be a really great year for the Republicans given the state of the economy, given the Supreme Court decision on abortion.

And I don't think what we really took into account was this notion that of candidate quality we've been talking about, that Mitch McConnell had been talking about out. And the fact that voters actually voted on candidates and they decided that they took a look at the candidates they're very important issues at stake. They're worried about their inflation, et cetera, et cetera, but they took a look at the candidates and they made decisions about them, whether it was on their experience or whether they like them, or whether they supported the Supreme Court decision or not.


But I think these were very individual races that were very localized. It wasn't about Joe Biden, per se. And I think in a way, it was more about Donald Trump, who picked a lot of the bad candidates. But it really -- it really wasn't so much about the current president of the United States, as it was people deciding their vote counted, and they wanted to vote locally, and state by state and not on these national issues unless they affected that.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN HOST: And I don't think we can underestimate. When you look at the Senate math, right, what we're seeing now, right, there were four vulnerable Democratic incumbents going in, right, so Maggie Hassan, actually, had a pretty sizable victory in New Hampshire over Bolduc there, a pretty sizable victory there. She won.

We see -- last night, we projected that Mark Kelly is returning to the United States Senate in Arizona, that ended up being like a six-point race, right? We'll see what happens with this Nevada race. Maybe we'll learn tonight. And that Georgia race hangs in this balance of this December 6 runoff, but Warnock actually a little bit ahead of Walker in this first round of going in.

So, I think that to me is one of the surprises like these four Democratic incumbents, none of whom have fallen yet. OK. And I think the fact that it's possible -- again, we don't know how it will all shake out. It's possible that Democrats will actually add a seat here, that they will be at 51 at the end of the day, perhaps, that's one scenario. Well, why is that? That's because Fetterman won Pennsylvanian.

And what Gloria saying about the issues -- the issue of abortion rights, it was very interesting in the exit polls, in Pennsylvania and Michigan, they're the only two states we have where that issue pulled higher than inflation. In all the other states inflation was the number one and nationally was. But in Pennsylvania, it pulled higher. Fetterman was campaigning on that and leaning into that the entirety of the post-Dobbs decision campaign season. And I think that had a big impact for it.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And in that debate, you remember Oz saying on that debate stage that the decision around an abortion should be up to a woman, her doctor and local politicians, right?

BORGER: Right. That was good.

HENDERSON: And that was a you saw in some ways Republicans in race after race, really stumbled around the abortion issue for decades. They had wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, they finally were able to do that was sort of the language around OK, what does a post-Roe country actually look like? So you had some Republicans say comments like Oz did, a Republican, I think in Virginia said something like, well, a woman really couldn't get pregnant if she was raped, echoes of Todd Akin from a campaign a few years ago.

So that really, I think, hurt Republicans. It also, I think, allow Democrats in some of these ads to paint Republicans as extreme. If they want to overturn Roe v. Wade and possibly ban abortion for a 10- year-old girl whose raped or have her submit to a community panel, then what else might they do?

And so that's why you see in some of these exit polls that Democrats are obviously running strong with their own voters, but there's also winning suburban voters, they're also winning moderate voters and independent voters. So it was -- you know, it was a campaign, I think, to reign that we thought very much favored Republicans, but there were all of these other issues that cropped up, and voters are complex. It wasn't just about gas prices or the economy.

BLITZER: And, Mark, it certainly does look like the Democrats could maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate. But in the House of Representatives, at least right now, it looks like the Republicans could become the majority.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And when I tell you that, to me is the biggest surprise right now. As we're looking at the numbers as these races are finally starting to get called, you know, the votes are coming in, last night, it looked better for Republicans, the percentage was better for them. There were more seats that they were ahead, then there were today.

And then you see -- I mean, look, if you see the results of the reaction to what just happened out in Washington State, again, another candidate a democratic pickup in a seat that had Republicans back the candidate, the incumbent in that seat, had Donald Trump not got involved in that race. That would have been a Republican held seat.

When you look at the House of Representatives right now too, when you talk about surprise, Kevin McCarthy is in deep trouble. Yes. Right now, it looks like Republicans will win the House of Representatives. They're going to win it by a handful of seats right now and we've already got like a good portion of the Republican House right now. The real conservative side of the House saying that they want major concessions from Kevin McCarthy if he gives into those concessions to his own people that

Shouldn't have the Republican House right now, the real conservative side of the house saying that they want major concessions from Kevin McCarthy. If he gives into those concessions to his own people, that means he's going to have to give into the concessions, so the more moderates as well, you were talking about a House of Representatives that will be dysfunctional. If you thought it was dysfunctional now, it is going to be absolutely dysfunctional.


CHALIAN: And those concessions are twofold. It's to get to become speaker. First, we'll have to make some concessions to get to a team, then the concessions will come and actually try and govern which is a whole different complication.

BLITZER: It's going to be complicated. All right. Everybody stand by. A lot more to discuss.

In any moment right now, we're expecting new votes, lots of new votes coming in from Nevada. And those votes tonight could potentially decide control of the United States Senate. It's Election Night in America Continued. Stay with us.