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CNN Projection: Democrats Keep Control Of Senate; CNN Projects Dem Cisco Aguilar Wins NV Secy Of State Race. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 12, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR:To make everybody aware that the Republican Party was no longer called the Republican Party, but it was now the mega MAGA Republican Party. That was the other piece of the strategy and that had real resonance.
We are seeing the -- I mean, we talked before about the independent voters pushing this way. That is what -- that is in response to.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
CHALIAN: That why did independent voters go to these Democratic candidates? Because the Republican Party was indeed seen as extreme. And I think that that is of concern to those voters in the middle in a pretty significant way.
HENDERSON: Yes. And I think what happened in response to the Paul Pelosi attack, what we saw from some Republicans --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think so.
HENDERSON: -- Kari Lake's joke about it. Glenn Youngkin's joke about it as well, and sort of not exactly a cheering section around what happened, but certainly no vast denunciation of what happened to Paul Pelosi. And that really, I think, just underscored the argument that Joe Biden was trying to make. I mean, he made that link in the speech that he gave a couple of days before the election.
BORGER: You know, if we thought before the election, and polls were showing it, that there was a huge enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, although it seemed --
CHALIAN: At the very ended --
BORGER: At the every ended narrow.
CHALIAN: -- equalize, yes.
BORGER: At the very end, it did narrow but, you know, that didn't materialize. I mean, Democrats were eager to go to the polls. And maybe one of the reasons I think late in the game was the increased visibility of Donald Trump. There was a lot of visibility of Donald Trump after the search on Mar-a-Lago. And that created quite a stir, then it kind of died down, but then he started doing rallies.
And then the Paul Pelosi incident, which Nia points out, which I do believe impacted a lot of people. And so, I'm wondering if in the last weeks of this election, that became front and center, and people were saying, you know, we don't -- this is not the way we want to live. This is not how we want to live. And independent voters --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You heard Schumer also say the abortion rights for women issue --
BORGER: Of course.
BLITZER: -- became an important issue for the Democrats.
BORGER: And the gender gap we all thought was there because of one poll, didn't materialize. So well, you know, there was one report that there was a 15-point gender gap in the Republican favor. And that certainly didn't materialize.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, what you should note, this election wasn't won or lost on on talking about the future or people embracing values. It was really based on fear, right? I mean, you have the independents who have decided that whether it be abortion or whether it be Donald Trump's rallies, whether it be, you know, chipping away at democracy, people went to the polls, basically out of fear.
And I think we saw that before when Donald Trump was elected, right. If you go back to then, there was, you know, there was a lot of reasons why Donald Trump was elected, but at the time, people were afraid. And I think that that says something for the party's over the next couple of years that they've got to figure out what is a message, you know, and maybe it is as simple as what James Carville said many, many, many, many years ago.
It's the economy stupid, right? I mean, it all comes down to our --
BORGER: That it was more.
PRESTON: -- what happens in our wallets.
HENDERSON: But it was more than that this time, right?
PRESTON: No, no, no, no. But fear -- no, I'm saying the positive message has got to be the economy and what have not, what not moving forward. What I'm saying is that abortion and what have you really drove people up because they were afraid of what they saw as policies that were very extreme.
BORGER: And young voters.
BORGER: Young voters.
BLITZER: You know, I'm anxious to hear, David, what do you think, and I want to Hilary Rosen to weigh in on this as well. This win, it's a huge win for the Democrats, that they will retain the majority status in the United States Senate, despite the fact that the other party usually does well in the first midterm after a presidential victory. This is a big win for the Democrats. Does this encourage Biden further to go ahead and seek re-election?
CHALIAN: You know, that's an excellent question. He told us just on Wednesday that over the holidays, he anticipates he's going to be spending some time talking with his family of what --
BLITZER: That's why I ask the question.
CHALIAN: -- about that. And well, you know, I think we have to wait for those conversations to take place. I don't know how many times Joe Biden has to say, his intention is to run for re-election until we actually believe what he's saying.
CHALIAN: But his intention is to run for re-election. You know, he was --
BLITZER: I think this reinforces his intention.
CHALIAN: Well, I have no doubt that this is going to put wind in his sales. There's no doubt that says we will good. I just want to -- as we're discussing this, the House of Representatives is still more likely than not to flip to Republicans at this point. And I think to Mark's point about a direction that the party is going to look for, you know, is there going to be overreach on that? Are they still going to go through with all their investigative plans --
CHALIAN: -- investigation plans despite the overall results of this?
BLITZER: Are they still going to try to impeach Biden.
CHALIAN: Well, as long as impeaching his Cabinet members or launching a Biden impeachment processor targeting his son Hunter, whatever it is, if that is the response to what the voters said in this election, the Republicans are perhaps in danger of overreaching and I that, too, might embolden Joe Biden's thinking if that's what happens about running for reelection.
BORGER: Can I say one more thing about Biden which is -- might be a little counterintuitive on this, but I was talking to somebody who's close to a person in the White House who's kind of dealing with this. And I think one of the arguments for him not running is why not go out on top.
You have defied history here with this --
BLITZER: Change way. BORGER: -- keeping the Senate, not losing a lot of seats in the House, et cetera, et cetera. You're, you know, you're on top, you're the man and history is on your side here. And the next campaign is going to be worse than the last one, because it's not a COVID campaign, right, you're going to be out there on the campaign trail.
And so I think there's a thought process going on, and I'm sure it's going on inside Joe Biden's head as well as his families, which is, you know, how do you want to be viewed in history?
HENDERSON: You know --
BORGER: It's important to him.
HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, I think the other argument is --
HENDERSON: -- you know, history is on his side in terms of beating Donald Trump, right --
HENDERSON: -- in 2020. Is he the only person who could beat Donald Trump? Donald Trump seems almost certain to run. He would probably be the odds on favorite if it's a big field because he could just divide the field. So I think that's the main argument. And he has a decent record of accomplishment in terms of legislation.
Voters looked at it certainly in this election and sided with the Democrats. The counter argument is maybe he's too old to run. But last time I checked, Donald Trump is around the same age, right?
BORGER: What if it's not Donald Trump he's running against?
BLITZER: I'm anxious to get Hilary Rosen's thoughts on all of this. We'll get to Hilary in a few moments. But first, let's go back to John Berman right now. John, tell us a little bit about the new balance of power in the United States Senate.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This says it all. The Democrats now control 50 seats in the U.S. Senate, the Republicans with 49. This gives the Democrats the majority, no matter what happens in Georgia, where there will be a runoff on December 6. Of course, if the Republicans do win in Georgia, if Herschel Walker beats Raphael Warnock, it would go to 50-50, but Democrats would still control the Senate because Kamala Harris, the vice president would break a tie.
And of course, if Raphael Warnock, the incumbent senator wins there, the Democrats will have 51 seats and that one seat will matter, right? It would give Democrats ever so slightly more participation on each committee. And there were times you will remember that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, two Democratic senators, their votes were split, that they wanted different things, as Joe Biden in the White House was pushing for something. Believe me, Democrats very much want to win that run off in Georgia.
And I think everyone got caught up in the moment because Catherine Cortez Masto, she didn't just win Nevada. Her victory is what put the Democrats over the top in the U.S. Senate. But what just happened in Nevada to do it was she now leaves by 4,982 votes there. She had been behind by about 800 votes there.
And what was, was Clark County. Clark County, there were 22,000 votes that were counted there. And I can actually put up just so that we all know what happened. Those votes came in, and they broke 14,084 for Catherine Cortez Masto, 8,234 for Paul Laxalt. And that was 60 percent, roughly to 35 percent. And that was more than enough, my five looks like an eight, but that was more than enough to put her over the top and give her that margin now of 4,982 votes.
It was that 60 percent margin out of 22,000 votes in Clark County, which did it. And you know, what we're still waiting on some more votes from Washoe County, which in all likelihood may skew a little bit democratic. So her lead could still grow. You know, it's a narrow lead of 5,000 votes.
But what I pointed out to you all before was that by Nevada terms, Nevada terms, it's actually, you know, it's a wider margin that Harry Reid enjoyed over John Ensign in 1997. Harry Reid won by 400 votes. And Laxalt's grandfather -- Adam Laxalt's grandfather actually once beat Harry Reid in a Senate race by a margin that was less than 5,000 votes. So they got a history of doing a close in Nevada right now. So this is actually a pretty wide margin, as we're looking at the Senate here, guys.
BLITZER: All right, standby over there, we're going to get back to you very soon.
You know, Gloria, the December 6, the contest in Georgia now is still very, very important --
BLITZER: -- for the Democrats and the Republicans for that matter, but it's clearly not going to be decisive. The Democrats -- even if the Democratic candidate in Georgia loses, the Democrats will still be the majority in the Senate.
BORGER: Right, but the Democrats are going to really care about it. I mean, look at the recent history of what happened in the Senate. Joe Manchin became the center of attention because he was a moderate Democrat, they don't want that to happen again.
They want to have a clear majority. They want to -- I mean, it's really important to them. The most important thing is, of course, they're in charge and Kamala Harris could break a tie, et cetera, et cetera. But I think that one vote actually does matter in so many ways, because it doesn't give anybody the kind of leverage that say, a Joe Manchin had. And I think, you know, no Democrat will tell you that they're going to fight any less hard for that seats.
BLITZER: And does does this win by the Democrats, that a very important win --
BLITZER: -- does it actually help the Democratic candidate in Georgia, Senator Raphael Warnock, or does it potentially help the challenger, Herschel Walker?
PRESTON: Well, I mean, it certainly is a little boost of Democrats to say that we can win and we can win in some very difficult races. What I'm going to be looking for, though, is to see the infighting in the Republican Party and about who's going into Georgia to actually save Herschel Walker. Will we see Brian Kemp, who has been deputized now by Mitch McConnell --
PRESTON: -- to try to get Herschel Walker over the finish line, right. I mean, that has been done. There's an incredible amount of money going in there. But at the same time, it's Donald Trump thing going to show up. And if Donald Trump shows up in the metro Atlanta area, is that going to be a bad thing for Herschel Walker. Because we know that, you know, those excerpts, those collar counties around big cities where you have women voters who play such an influential role, are they just going to come out and try to support the Democrat Raphael Warnock.
BLITZER: That's a good point indeed.
All right, everybody stand by. CNN is now ready to project another key victory for the Democrats in Nevada. CNN now projects that Cisco Aguilar will win the race for Secretary of State defeating Republican Jim Marchant. Marchant is an election denier, he refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential race.
Aguilar will replace the Republican incumbent who could not seek re- election due to term limits. Very important development indeed, we're watching all of this so closely. We'll have much more on tonight's major breaking news, the CNN projection that Democrats will keep control of the United States Senate.
It's Election Night in America continue. Stay with us.
BLITZER: CNN projects that Democrats will keep their Senate Majority as Catherine Cortez Masto takes the lead in that razor's edge Nevada Senate race. It's Election Night in America continued. More right now, more political experts are joining us now to discuss all these very, very important late breaking results. Ashley Allison, let me start with you. How momentous is this Democratic victory?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's extremely momentous. I mean, I also want to point out, the Secretary of State winning in Nevada is significant for our democracy, defeating a extreme election denier. It again shows that voters wanted to protect our democracy, wanted our economy may be stronger.
It also -- you know, when I look at Nevada, we've talked a lot about the two to one Latino vote for Cortez Masto, young people. I also want to point out a demographic that folks sometimes forget, but is important of the coalition, and that's the Asian American Pacific Islander vote. That's 11 percent of the electorate in the state of Nevada, and they showed turned out in greater numbers than in 2018.
And if you remember, I think it's a symbol of people rejecting the hate, the fear mongering. Donald Trump did so much negative language towards the Asian American community on the -- when COVID hit. And I think that community also stood up and showed out this election cycle. So it's momentous for our country. It shows the diversity of our country and how independence women, young people, black, brown, Asian Americans, all came together and stood up for progress and not going back to hate, lies and cheating.
BLITZER: Yes, very impressive win for the Democrats in the United States Senate, Scott Jennings, moments after the latest Nevada results were officially announced, Senator Josh Hawley, Republican, tweeted this. He tweeted this, he said, "The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Build something new." What's your reaction to that?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, what old party? Does he mean the old president, Donald Trump?
BLITZER: He means the old Republican party.
JENNINGS: Yes, I agree, if that's also means about that. I mean, look, the -- I don't understand people who -- I view political parties as vehicles to winning elections. And traditionally, you know, you try to add more people to your party than take away people. And so, like the other night, Katie -- or Kari Lake in Arizona, you know, as in this rally.
Is anyone here a John McCain supporter? And if few people raise their hands, get out of here. I don't understand. What is the future of the politics of subtraction? You want old Republicans if that's what he calls them. You want new Republicans. He wants someone new Hispanic voters that have come over to the party.
You want new working-class voters. You want any voter you can get to vote for the Republican Party. I don't understand people who are hell bent on making a smaller party. I don't get it. The wages of that are losing. But Wolf, if I will say, there are people I think that don't view Republican politics or politics at all is a vehicle to winning in governing. They view it as a vehicle to something else, and I just disagree. I think parties exist to do one thing, win elections and to do it, you got to have more, not less.
BLITZER: Yes, that's a good point. You know, Kristen, what kind of shakeups do you predict might actually happen within the Republican Party as a result of these Democratic victories?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's hard to know how they'll resolve themselves. But what I imagine is that on the one hand, you've got folks that would like to see the party turn the page, they would like to see the party, nominate someone besides Donald Trump in 2024. And they are going in there collecting all of the evidence that shows that being sort of tied to Donald Trump or his brand of politics, being someone who goes out and focuses on the 2020 election and says that it was rigged, that that's a failing brand of politics.
But at the same time I'm I guarantee you there are folks, part of the House Freedom Caucus, for instance, who are going out and I'm sure they're collecting as much data as they can saying, look, Republican base voters were depressed in this district, in this district, in this district. And if only we had turned out our base, we would be fine.
And that's a debate that raged within the Republican Party 10 years ago when Mitt Romney lost the presidency. You had the GOP autopsy, you had everybody trying to figure out what to do next. What's different this time is there is a clear model for what Republicans can do next.
And it's in these places where you had split ticket results, or where you had Republicans winning by double digit margins in the types of states that just two years ago, were pretty purple. That's the model. There's not a mystery for what Republicans need to do moving forward. The question is, will the party be able to unite around that kind of vision, or will division reign as we move forward?
BLITZER: I'm anxious Hilary Rosen to get your thoughts on how this huge Democratic when maintaining the majority in the United States Senate will impact, if you think it will at all, impact President Biden's decision whether or not to seek re-election?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think that the entry into the race next week of Donald Trump will have a significant impact on President Biden's decision. Look, you know, there's a -- an odd rivalry between the two of them, obviously, from leftover from prior to 2020. That's one of the reasons that Joe Biden ran for president, was to try and stop the divisive politics that Donald Trump espoused.
I think he will look at how that candidacy is received over the next couple of months. I don't think he's going to make this decision immediately. And I don't think it's going to be based on whether he thinks he can go out on a high or not or what his legacy is, I mean, his commitment to public service, I think is real, and I think he will want to do what he thinks is best.
But I also think he believes that he is the best person to beat Donald Trump. But if Donald Trump's candidacy falls flat, and others emerge, then he has, you know, I think he believes he might have more options. But he's clearly going into these next couple of months with, you know, the wind at his back.
And as we saw from the exit polls, a majority of Democrats actually think that he should run again. So I think all of those things will factor in for him as well as, you know, the obvious family issues and his age and other things.
BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Scott, the unexpected Democratic wins that we're now seeing are also fueling drama for Republicans in leadership. The House Freedom Caucus, for example, is holding Kevin McCarthy's feet to the fire pushing for a number of Biden administration probes and Donald Trump is reportedly fueling revolt in the Senate against Mitch McConnell. So what do you see as their immediate futures?
JENNINGS: Yes, two different situations. Because for McCarthy to get elected speaker, he's got to go to the floor and get 218 votes, which is different than what McConnell will face this week. They are going to have the Senate leadership election apparently on Wednesday. All he has to do is get a majority of the Senate Republican Conference.
So they've got different situations. McConnell's got an easier path. I suspect some of the people who've been carping about delaying the leadership election, the senator doing so for public posturing reasons, and I'm not even sure if anybody's running against Mitch McConnell. I certainly don't think Rick Scott is, at this point, given the debacle that he presided over.
So I think McCarthy has a more complicated problem. And that is that the Freedom Caucus is asking for a bunch of stuff that he probably doesn't want to do, including a key rules change that would essentially be asking McCarthy to put his head the guillotine so they can hold the string on any given day. I mean, he's not going to want to do that.
JENNINGS: And how he navigates that, I think, you know, we'll see. And obviously, the margin here is going to matter, because it doesn't look like it's going to be very big if the Republicans hold on.
BLITZER: Kristen, what do you think?
ROSEN: You know, Wolf, there's one --
SOLTIS ANDERSON: Yes, I --
ROSEN: -- quick thing about the Senate though -- oh, sorry. Go ahead, Kristen.
SOLTIS ANDERSON: Well, what I was going to say on the House is that, in a way, because this margin is likely to be so narrow for Republicans if they take the majority. In some ways, if the Republicans had a 20-seat majority, I almost feel like that might give the Freedom Caucus more leverage because they're an organized block that could hold McCarthy's feet to the fire.
If the margin is only three, four or five seats, you can have blocks of moderates that suddenly can gum up the works as well. And so having that really thin margin increases dramatically the likelihood of chaos, and it may not just be the Freedom Caucus, that is able to be a chaos agent in the Republican Conference.
BLITZER: Hilary, you wanted to make a point.
ROSEN: Yes. First of all, I don't have to -- nobody's really said this yet, but I think the Majority Leader Schumer saying, could we please figure out a way to go forward without the nastiness and ugliness, is a really important point for everybody because, as we know, the 2024 presidential election is going to start next week. And voters are exhausted They, you know, they've said their piece, they turned out in big numbers and they'd like to move on and have actually governing take place.
In the Senate, in particular, I think you have a what could be ongoing deadlock, though, for legislating just like in the House because the two -- that's why the Georgia Senate race is so important. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema are up for re-election in 2024. And those two are not going to be thrilled, going along with an ongoing Democratic agenda if they believe that that's not in their reelection interests.
And so, they're -- you know, it was likely to be ongoing kind of gridlock in Congress while this presidential fight plays out in the Republican Party, and while Joe Biden is making his decision for the Democratic side.
BLITZER: Yes, let's not forget, even though the Democrats will be the majority in the Senate, it looks like the Republicans could become the majority in the House of Representatives and how that all shakes out, is still to be determined.
All right guys, thank you very much. Don't go too far away.
But once again, Democrats are keeping control of the United States Senate, but at this hour, as I just noted, control of the House is still very much up for grabs. We'll head to the magic wall for a closer look at the state of play in the remaining House races, that's coming up.
Election Night in America continues, and that's next.
BLITZER: You saw it live here on CNN last hour, CNN projects that Democrats will keep control of the United States Senate holding on to the majority they narrowly won two years ago.
This is truly an extraordinary victory for the Democratic Party as the battle for control of the House of Representatives right now continues to play out.
CNN's John Berman is over at the magic wall for us. John, walk us through what's going on what you see in the House of Representatives as it stands right now.
BERMAN: Yes, who would have thought we would call the Senate for the Democrats before we call the House for Republicans, and they're not there yet? This is where they are. They've secured 211 seats, Democrats 204. You need 218 to gain control of the House of Representatives, which means that Republicans need seven more, the Democrats would need 14 more.
There are exactly 20 seats left that are on called in those races right now. Republicans lead in 10, they only need seven. Democrats lead in 10, they would need 14. Is there the math maybe for the Democrats to do it? It's hard. Admittedly, it will be an uphill battle, but it is not impossible for the Democrats. A few of the districts that they need to focus in on are in California.
Right now, California's 13th Congressional District, it's only an 84- vote margin separating John Duarte from Adam Gray. You can see 46 percent reporting, David Chalian, this is very close. There's a lot of votes still left.
CHALIAN: A lot of votes still left. In this district -- I mean, this, you can't even try to game out because of how close it is, as you noted, I mean, you're just talking about a handful of votes difference right now. So there's a lot of counting to do there. But this is one of those districts, right, where the Republican, John, is currently leading.
And so, if you are trying to plot the path of how Democrats can get those additional 14 seats they need, you know, you would start with the ones where the Democrats are currently leading and maybe hold on to that lead --
BERMAN: Hold every single one. They have to hold -- so just to be clear --
CHALIAN: Exactly, 10 of them.
BERMAN: -- all the seats, they have to hold --
BERMAN: -- every single one of the seats that are still in blue on this board right now and then pick up an additional four, an additional four --
BERMAN: -- of the districts in red. And I was showing you in California right now, this would be the first one they'd want to start where it's only separated by 84 votes.
CHALIAN: Without a doubt. Can you go down south a little bit to the 41st -- no, sorry, a little further south, down to Riverside, the 41st Congressional District there. So we got some more vote in this race tonight from Riverside County, and it actually increased the Republicans lead there, the incumbent Calvert over Rollins there.
So, whereas, Democrats had been watching that, and maybe hoping that that may have been one of the news they got tonight is the Republicans lead actually increased in that race. So that may not be one of the four, you know?
BERMAN: Yes. Well, it wouldn't be -- if you're looking at it, it's one of the closest ones. They would basically need to get the one we were just looking at John Duarte here. Down to the south, David Valadao, who is an incumbent Republican in a district that is plus 12 for the Democrats, the D plus 12 district, and you have a Republican incumbent who of course voted for impeachment here. This is isn't quite as close as that other race but only 39 percent reporting at this point, David.
CHALIAN: And a Republican incumbent who voted for impeachment, but that Donald Trump stayed out of the way. So whereas --
CHALIAN: -- there were lots of other, you know, Republicans that voted for it, not lots, but there were the 10 Republicans that voted for impeachment, and Donald Trump sought his mission in the last year and a half to have them taken out in Republican primaries or forced their hand to retire.
But Valadao to was one that he was convinced, I believe, by Kevin McCarthy, his California pow, to stay away from because they thought Valadao did have a path even in this heavily Democratic district, John --
CHALIAN: -- to get reelected if Trump could stay out of the way and he did.
BERMAN: Yes, you known, again that was just popping through as you were talking there. You would go -- if you look at the California 13th, maybe Democrats have a chance there. California 22nd, maybe they have a chance there. The 41st, which we looked at before, again, as you were saying, the Democrats have actually the margins grown for the Republican there, but still, the Democrats want to pick this one up, that's three of the four they were need to maybe take the majority.
And there is a district in Arizona right now that's very close. Arizona 6th Congressional District just 91 percent in, only 1,300 votes separating the two candidates. And in this district, it does include a little bit of Pima County, which is a D plus eight county. So there is some Democratic votes still to be had in this district.
CHALIAN: And then, of course, there's that district up in Colorado that you've been talking about throughout the week, John, Colorado 3.
BERMAN: This is Colorado 3, which is Lauren Boebert district, which she is leading by 1,100 votes right now, over Adam Frisch. Again, I think the Republicans feel pretty good about this at this point, based on which way it's been trending. This would be an enormous pickup, both for psychological value and because it's a district that is actually about a Republican plus eighth district.
I just want to point out as we've been saying the Democrats have a path here, there is the possibility that some of these blue districts that they're leading in could ultimately turn red. And one of those districts where it could very well happen as Arizona's first where right now you have a Democrat ahead, but only by 2,500 votes.
And we've been talking about the Arizona vote coming in, including around Maricopa County, the last batch release from Maricopa County was actually slightly more Republican increase or a decrease the lead for Katie Hobbs in the governor's race. And it also decreased the lead for the Democrat in this congressional race here. So very hard for the Democrats, I think, we can say but not impossible, guys.
BLITZER: Yes, we're going to spend a lot of time over the next few days taking a look at these House races, and to see if the Democrats or the Republicans -- looks like the Republicans have a better shot right now. But we'll see what happens when all the votes are counted, whether the Democrats or the Republicans are the majority in the House. We do know the Democrats are the majority -- will be the majority of the United States Senate, as a result of our projection tonight.
John Berman, stay with us. Don't go too far away. We'll have much more tonight's breaking news. We're watching all of this unfold. Hold on one moment, we're just told that the President Biden is speaking right now. I want to hear what he's saying.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's got a majority again. And we're focusing now on Georgia. We feel good about where we are. And I know I'm a cockeyed optimist, I understand that, from the beginning, but I'm not surprised by the turnout. I'm incredibly pleased by the turnout. And I think it's a reflection of the quality of our candidates. And the -- they're all running on the same program.
There wasn't anybody who wasn't running on what we did. They're all staying with -- sticking with it. And so I feel good, and I'm looking forward to the next couple of years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is your life and your agenda better with 50 or 51, compared to what you were facing?
BIDEN: Say it again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is your life or your agenda better with 50 or 51, compared to what you were facing?
BIDEN: It's always better with 51, because we're in a situation where you don't have to have an even makeup of the committees. And so that's why it's important, mostly. But it's just simply better. The bigger the numbers, the better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, it tell you about the state of the republican Party as it stands today, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you hope to get done in the lame duck? And how does it impact your ability to get voting rights and then Roe done in Congress next year?
BIDEN: Well, it kind of depends. And I think, rather than -- I'd rather talk with the Republican leadership when that's settled as to what we're going to try to get done in the lame duck and just take it slow, in terms of what the priorities are.
We're going to try to get as much done as we can to continue to fulfill the agenda. We're also going to have to be waiting on what happens with this -- with the court case on student debt, which I've -- is very important to me. And so there's a lot to be done, but we're just -- we're going to slow down and get a chance to talk to the --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you feel stronger coming into the meeting with President Xi Jinping? Do you feel that with this result you're coming in stronger with President Xi Jinping?
BIDEN: I know I'm coming in stronger, but I don't need that. I know Xi Jinping. I've spent more time with him than any other world leader. I know him well. He knows me. There's no -- we have very little misunderstanding. We just got to figure out where the red lines are and what we -- what are the most important things to each of us going into the next two years. And his circumstance has changed, to state the obvious, at home.
And so, we're going to have a, I think -- I've always had straightforward discussions with him. There's never any miscalculation about what each of us -- where each of us stand. And I think that's critically important in our relationship.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does it mean for the Republican Party as it stands today, Mr. President?
BIDEN: Well, I heard someone on television as I was coming down here -- and I'm not sure whether it was one of you guys, or whether he was a pundit, or -- he said -- they said, "What about Trump and the Republican Party?" He said, "All Trump has done is reveal who the Republican Party is." And so, I think the Republican Party is going to have to make -- like other -- like our parties in the past have done, it's going to have to decide who they are. And (INAUDIBLE) --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are you going to go to Georgia to campaign? And are you still confident that Democrats could keep the House?
BIDEN: I -- confident they could, yes. Whether they will -- look, it's an out -- it's a stretch. Everything has to fall our way. I just got off the phone with Congressman Levin who just won. There's several more seats in California. It's -- I'm not predicting it's -- but I'm predicting that, as I've said all along, it'd be perilously close. We can win it. Whether we're going to win it remains to be seen.
Thank you all.
BLITZER: So there's President Biden. He's in Phnom Penh in Cambodia at the ASEAN conference. He just arrived there from Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt where he attended the climate summit, then he's going to be going to Indonesia for a G20 summit. But clearly, what's happening here in the United States, the election is very much on his mind.
You know, Gloria, the President, he's pretty happy right now.
BORGER: Yes, I think it was subdued a little bit.
BORGER: You know, he wasn't jumping for joy, because he doesn't know how the House is going to turn out. And he didn't want to say, well, it's closer. But it was interesting to me because he reacted like a senator, when he was asked about the 51 votes. And he, you know, what's so good about that, what's better about that than 50-50. He said, well, you don't have to have an even make up of committee assignments, which is, of course --
BLITZER: He knows the Senate.
BORGER: The way senator would look at it.
BLITZER: He spent a long time with it.
CHALIAN: At the end of 2020, when the Georgia races made it a 50-50 Senate, Schumer and McConnell had to come up with a power sharing arrangement, even though Democrats would control it because of Vice President Harris's tie vote. They had to negotiate how the committees would be arranged, what this 50-50 Senate would look like, if indeed the Democrats -- if Warnock hangs on in this runoff, those conversations don't need to take place, right? Like Schumer doesn't have to go McConnell, they --
BLITZER: Those 51-49.
HENDERSON: Democrats are going to go all in in Georgia and try to push Warnock over the, you know, the finish line in December, December 6, is this rough. It part of, it is, that Democrats have wanted to turn a southern state, at least purple for many, many decades. And they were able to do that in 2020. And we'll see if they're able to do that on now.
They've got this interesting coalition down there. African American voters, increasingly -- folks from the north, making Georgia, a different, you know, state. And so we'll see. The other thing is, I think Warnock is somebody -- you talk to Republicans, they think he is one of the most talented Democratic politicians out there, right? And so if you have him in the Senate, he's on the Democratic bench, right, and he's somebody that could presumably run for president at some point.
So Democrats are going to focus millions and millions of dollars. They're going to send everybody and their mother down there to try to campaign and get Warnock over there. And of course, Republicans will do the same thing.
PRESTON: You know, I also think it's worth noting that the President is overseas right now and he has this victory at a time when the whole world is looking at America right now, looking at the United States and wondering what the heck is going on. You know, we're supposed to be a leader in democracy. You know, we're the ones who set election monitors around the world to ensure that free and fair elections occur.
And, in fact, we're having our own problems here back in the US. And I do think that, we got to make sure we don't understate the fact that he's overseas right now, coming with a little bit of wind behind his back, not a whole lot, but a little bit of wind. And he's not going to be injured, so to speak, from domestic politics as he's trying to deal with some of these real big global issues that they're trying to tackle.
CHALIAN: And what he said in those remarks, which he was -- the -- it was clearly the sentence he was coming to say and why he wanted to get on camera to say it, which is, all these Democratic candidates ran on the Biden agenda.
CHALIAN: And that's what he wanted to underscore there, is that what he has put in place over the last year and a half? Nobody ran away from that. No, yes. You know, in Arizona, Mark Kelly could have a bone to pick with him over immigration policy, but on the whole of what passed and with all these incumbent senators votes, they were tied to the Biden agenda. And they didn't run away from it. They run on him.
HENDERSON: Yes. He also made a point about Republicans, right? He said, you know, Republicans have essentially revealed themselves as the party of Trump and ultra MAGA. And that's the point he wanted to make again and again in the closing stretch of this campaign.
BORGER: Look, I'm sure he's also thrilled that the Senate controlled by Democrats is not going to go down the intense oversight rabbit hole --
BORGER: -- which, clearly, I think the House Republicans intend to do. And they're, you know, they're already talking about their multiple investigations of Hunter Biden and Joe Biden in the exit from Afghanistan, and do we impeach Joe Biden, et cetera, et cetera. Well, now he doesn't have to worry about the Senate doing that.
BLITZER: And there's Democratic win in the United States Senate, as the President is overseas attending these conferences with Asian leaders in Cambodia, right now, they're going to the G20. Clearly, he understands it strengthens his hand with these world leaders.
PRESTON: Well, look, I mean, just looking at what we've seen some -- from some of the Republicans we're talking about stopping aid to Ukraine. I mean, the idea that, that United States is going to pull back because, you know, we've given too much to Ukraine right now. And perhaps we shouldn't be doing that.
Now, that's coming from the real, real far right of the Republican conference in the House, but it's still happening. And yet Joe Biden can say, well, American people certainly didn't want to follow your path. They chose to follow my path.
CHALIAN: And Joe Biden talks about all the time, that when he, from the moment he became president and started traveling internationally and would go out on the world's stage, he always tells reporters what these world leaders want to know from him, he says America's back. And they're kind of like, are you sure?
You know, because it doesn't necessarily look that way to us, is the conversation that Biden sort of explains this is happening behind the scenes. And he now has a data point --
CHALIAN: -- to say, yes, I'm pretty sure in the sense of this, right? I know, the biggest projection tonight is control of the United States Senate. Perhaps the most important projections that we've made last night and tonight are the secretary of state races in Arizona and Nevada, because Jim Marchant and Finchem --
CHALIAN: -- Mark Finchem losing those races, that is a big win for democracy. It just this, they were pure election deniers, their intent to oversee elections in these critical battleground states was driven by their politics and their agenda, and not just the fair processing of elections. That was a real threat.
And these Democratic wins in those two secretary of state races, that is what Joe Biden can take back on the world stage to say, yes, we are, you know, we are making sure that we're not just trying to promote democracy around the world, but we're trying to make sure we're cleaning ours up at home as well. BORGER: Yes. And where authoritarian leaders don't win and it was interesting what he said about Xi, he said, we have to figure out where the red lines are. I've always had straightforward discussions with him. So it'd be nice to be a fly on the wall in those discussions.
BLITZER: Yes, very important. Historic night here that we're watching unfold live right here on CNN. The CNN projection that Democrats will keep control of the Senate, you've heard it, very, very significant develop indeed.
Our special coverage continues right after this.
BLITZER: Once again, CNN projects that Democrats will keep their Senate Majority as Catherine Cortez Masto takes the lead in that razor's edge Nevada Senate race. But there's still a major governor's race that still, were told, too early to call. Election officials in Arizona are still counting ballots in the race between Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake. Hobbs leads in the vote, but again, it's too early to call the race because of the number of votes that have not yet been counted. Standby. We'll get more numbers soon.
Arizona's Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones is joining us right now. Allie, thank you so much for joining us. Where are we in terms of the vote count where you are?
ALLIE BONES, ARIZONA ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, good evening, Wolf. It's great to be with you again. So we have about 300,000 ballots left to count statewide in Arizona. Most of our rural counties are pretty well done with counting. We have five rural counties that are still going through ballots. We expect to get more numbers from them some tomorrow, but most of them on Monday. And then we'll continue to see Maricopa and Pima County get through the vast majority of the vote there.
BLITZER: So, when's the next actual drop? When will we get a whole bunch of new vote tabulations?
BONES: So we are expecting that Maricopa County will have another vote drop tomorrow. We're also expecting to hear from Pinal County tomorrow, which is one of those rural counties that I was talking about. And then like I said, most of the other rural counties on Monday. Pima County, it's unclear if we're going to hear anything more from them tomorrow or if it will be Monday.
BLITZER: Are there still what they call Election Day drop off ballots still outstanding?
BONES: So that's the large portion of what Maricopa and Pima County are still working through, are those late early days, as we call them. So early ballots that were mailed to voters that they dropped off on election day. So that's going on -- and the mass majority of votes that we're working our way through here in Arizona, and we expect to see those definitely for Maricopa more tomorrow and then again on Monday.
BLITZER: As you know, Republican Mark Finchem, a prominent election denier lost to Democrat Adrian Fontes in the race for Arizona's Secretary of State position. CNN has just projected that Democrat, Cisco Aguilar, will defeat Trump-backed election denier Jim Marchant in Nevada, in that Secretary of State contest. What are these wins being for election integrity in future contests?
BONES: I think this is great for election integrity and a complete repudiation of the election denialism that we have been seeing across the country. And I hope, especially for our amazing election workers all across the state and across this country, that it tells them, it sends them the message that voters do believe in the work that they're doing. And, you know, that it's important work, and we believe that they are trustworthy, and that they are acting with integrity, as we know that they are.
BLITZER: What's your message to those election deniers? And we keep hearing yesterday, sometimes today, over the past few days, that there were all sorts of fraud in the Current vote count?
Bones: Yes. I mean, we continue to hear this but, of course, there's absolutely no proof that there is any fraud. And, again, Arizona takes time to count our votes. It is the integrity of our elections that is ensuring, you know, that the count is accurate, and that every vote is being counted that should be counted.
And so, you know, there's no fraud that's happening. Those votes are being counted, and everything is going as it should be going here in Arizona. And I think, you know, one of the things too is over the last couple of years, our votes have taken this long.
We're used to this happening and I think with our races being as close as they are, we don't always know the outcome of the elections, four, five, six, seven days out. And our elections officials are working even faster than they have in the past. And we just thank them so much for the hard work that they're doing.
BLITZER: Yes, some of them are working 14, 15, 18 hours a day to get the job done --
BLITZER: -- and to do it right. The Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones, thanks once again for joining us.
BONES: Thanks so much. Have a good night.
BLITZER: All right, and to our viewers, you saw the news break right here on CNN tonight, Democrats will keep control of the United States Senate. A big, big moment for the Democrats.
It's Election Night in America continued and we'll have much more just ahead.
BLITZER: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Election Night in America continues.
And there's been a huge development just a little while ago. CNN projected Democrats will achieve what seemed almost inconceivable just a few days ago, they will keep control of the United States Senate with at least 50 seats, at least 50 seats. That's because CNN has called the Senate race in Nevada projecting that Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection.
Over the last few days here, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt had seen his lead, shrivel and shrivel until she overtook him earlier this evening. And just minutes ago, President Biden commented on all of this while overseas in Cambodia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I think the Republican Party is going to have to make -- like other -- like our parties in the past have done, it's going to have to decide who they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And in Arizona, new vote tallies tonight are ramping up the drama in the governor's race there. Democrat Katie Hobbs leaves Republican Kari Lake, but the race is still too early to call.