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CNN Projection: Democrats Keep Control Of Senate; GOP Finger- Pointing Begins After Midterm Failures; Dems Keep Arizona Senate Seat; Race For AZ Gov Down To The Wire; Georgia Senate Runoff Will Be Held December 6; CNN Projection: Democrats Keep Control Of The Senate; Gen Z Candidate Wins Florida's 10th Congressional District. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 12, 2022 - 23:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: -- 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.

CNN's David Chalian is over at the magic wall for us. David, breakdown what made tonight possible for Senate Democrats?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Sure, Wolf. Take a look where we are. Democrats, these are races we have called, OK. Democrats have 50, that's all they need to maintain their majority. Republicans have 49. And they -- we only have one race outstanding on the map now that's gray here, that's in Georgia for that December 6 runoff.

So there is no path to the majority anymore for Republicans. Democrats haven't. How did we get here? Democrats needed to hold their own. They were in the majority, they had 50. And their mission critical was hold what they've got. Yes, it would be nice to expand that, but hold what we've got.

And so, how they got here was that Maggie Hassan up in New Hampshire really soundly defeated Don Bolduc in an 9 percentage point rates there in New Hampshire. That was the first one of their vulnerable incumbents to get called, OK? Then, in another key contest, John Fetterman in Pennsylvania defeats Mehmet Oz. This is a pickup for the Democrats.

And so now they have a little cushion that if indeed one of their incumbents fall, they are still going to be able to be in the majority. Now we were lingering on Arizona and Nevada for quite a long time. Mark Kelly last night was projected to win the Senate race defeating Blake Masters in Arizona. And that brings us to tonight's drama in Nevada, Wolf.

BLITZER: Well help us understand, David, while you're there, how Nevada went blue.

CHALIAN: Well, how it went blue? So, remember, it was blue. Catherine Cortez Masto is the incumbent here. You see how close this race is. I mean, we still have a bunch of vote out. Catherine Cortez Masto is 4,822 votes ahead of Adam Laxalt. We have projected she is going to win this race. She's going back to the United States Senate.

How did it happen? Well, first of all, up here in Washoe County in the Reno area, earlier this week, Wolf, Adam Laxalt was winning this county. This was red in the first day after the election or so. And then it flipped to blue as more votes came in. You see here 50.3 percent in this county to 46.9 percent. So a little more than a 3 percentage point margin in what has been a bit of a battleground county in Nevada politics.

But it was down here in Clark County, in the Las Vegas area, Wolf, that delivered Catherine Cortez Masto her victory today because we were waiting for those 22,000 votes from Clark County, the largest county, the population center Las Vegas. Three quarters of Nevadans in the state live in Clark County. And Donald -- Joe Biden won this county by more than 9 percentage points just two years ago against Donald Trump when he won this state.

So when we got those votes in, and we saw that Catherine Cortez Masto won 60 percent of them, if not more, she put herself in position to be projected the winner because it was such a large vote share. And whatever else is going to come in, we determined there was no way that Adam Laxalt was going to be able to catch up.

BLITZER: Very important development indeed. All right, David, thank you very much. Stay with us, don't go too far away.

Republicans' lackluster midterm performance is igniting backlash against the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell right now. The House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is taking hits from the Conservative Freedom Caucus at the same time.

Our political panel is here to discuss what's going on. Nia-Malika, let's talk about what some of the Republicans are actually complaining about their own party. I want you to listen to this.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Election day, our voters didn't show up. We didn't get the voters. It's a complete disappointment. I think we've got to reflect now, what didn't happen. I think we didn't have enough of a positive message. We said everything about how bad the Biden agenda was. It's bad. The Democrats are radical, but we have to have a plan of what we stand for.


BLITZER: All right, what did you think there?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, he of course, was the head -- he was in charge. So, it should have been, I didn't have a message, I wasn't able to turn voters out. But voters did show up, right? I mean, it was a fairly favorable electorate in terms of the percentage of older voters, the percentage of white voters, which typically vote Republican.

They just didn't do what they needed to do in terms of connecting with those voters and making sure that they had a message that delivered to them so that they would have faith in the Republican Party. Listen, there's going to be all sorts of recriminations. Rick Scott was somebody who I think went into this, thinking that he could use this as a platform to run for president.


He did put out a message around what the Republicans would do, but it was used against Republicans, right? It was about possibly cutting Medicare and Social Security. And you saw Joe Biden use that against Republicans. So we'll see what happens going forward. But I think you're going to see a lot of finger-pointing.

You know, you go back a week ago or so in Rick Scott. And Mitch McConnell was sort of arguing about who was going to be able to take the credit for, you know, taking the Senate there. So it's different now.

BLITZER: For the big win --


BLITZER: -- which didn't happen. Did the Republicans squander some of their chances --

HENDERSON: Yes, yes.

BLITZER: -- because they were --



BLITZER: -- simply focused so much on attacking Biden and the Democrats?

HENDERSON: Yes, I think that's right. They didn't have a message. And candidate -- I mean, Gloria keeps talking about this, Mitch McConnell was talking about this -- candidate quality matters, right? I mean, you look at a candidate like Blake Masters, he's a venture capitalist. And I'm sure voters were like, OK, well, sort of what is -- who are you and why are you here in some ways, right?

You know, again, somebody who did have a record of public service, and you saw that in race after race. Dr. Oz, not really a record of public service. He was on TV, and he quit his show, and now he wants to run for senator. So I think that became an issue for Republicans in the Senate.


BORGER: I think voters also weren't hearing what is your plan --


BORGER: -- to fight inflation in 25 words or less, OK? What is it? Yes, you want to curb immigration at the border? OK, good idea. How exactly are you going to do that? Instead, what they've heard from a lot of Republicans is, you know, Democrats are bad, the election was rigged, and you don't like Joe Biden, so therefore, you're going to like our candidates, which really didn't transfer at all.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think that it was worth to go back this idea of the building blocks into the next election right now. Again, the really the magical numbers we all know in the United States Senate is 60 votes, right? That way, you can prevent any kind of a filibuster from happening, assuming a filibuster, in its case, you know, stays and doesn't get changed.

If you look ahead to the next election, Democrats are in trouble. They have -- and a -- they have 11 more seats that are on the ballot. They have 21 seats they have to defend. Republicans only have to defend 10. If you look at the 10 Republicans, they look like they're in pretty safe seats. If you were to look at the political landscape, you know, at this point too, and let's look at some of these states where these races are going to happen.

There's a good chance we're going to see Kari Lake, assuming she loses, her and Blake Masters could challenge each other to try to take on Kyrsten Sinema next year. You know, we could see in Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz could come back to try to take on Bob Casey, the names that we've seen in this election.

I don't think it necessarily going away. I think some of them will. But I do think it shows the Republican Party at this crossroad, about which candidates they're going to choose, you know, certainly into the next election.

BLITZER: But do you think the Republican is going to want to pick losers?

PRESTON: Listen, who am I to say, you know, you know who they're going to pick? But if you look at it right now, it's interesting. You know, it's going to be an interesting chess game, I think, heading into the next election.

BLITZER: As you know, Gloria, the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, he is going to make what he calls a major, a special announcement.

BORGER: Special.

BLITZER: His word special announcement on Tuesday, presumably whether or not he's going to run for president, again, of the United States. How -- do you think that that's going to change as a result of what happened today?

BORGER: Who can predict what Donald Trump is going to do? Last week, I spoke with somebody who's close to Donald Trump, who had advised him that not only -- and this is before any of this -- who advised him that not only should you put this off, but it was after we knew there was going to be a Georgia run off, not only should you put it off, but you should put it off until January.

When people are, you know, not so sick of politics, and you'll have the stage to yourself, and you don't want to really get involved in the whole political circus of the Georgia runoff, et cetera, et cetera, a lot of people gave the former president that advice. Then he put out this statement saying, you know, this special announcement on Tuesday, you've got to presume that he is likely to announce for the presidency, but given what's occurred tonight, you know, I don't know if that changes his calculation. I don't know if somebody gets to him and says, what's the rush?

CHALIAN: What we do know, though, is that the announcement should it happen that he announced but --

BLITZER: On Tuesday.

CHALIAN: -- is taking place in a different political context than it initially would have.


CHALIAN: That much we know to be true.

BLITZER: Right. And so, it will be received in this new context of a pretty significant rebuke from the voters of the Trump wing of the Republican Party. I mean, a lot of his candidates handpicked in these critical battleground races, did not emerge victorious. I mean, it was part of the problem here. And the key clear, clear rejection in race after race after race and district and state after state of this election denialism, thing that is the Donald Trump, like reason for being right now.


That is his entire, you know, it's an entire thrust of what he believes the party should organize itself around. He talked about Blake Masters.


CHALIAN: That video, I just thought it was one of the most like amazing things, that documentary, where Blake masters after his debate performance in Arizona, is on tape talking to Donald Trump and Donald Trump is telling him, do not go soft. Do not go weak on election denialism. I heard you do that at the debate. Be more like Kari Lake. No matter what they ask her, she says the election was rigged. Be more like her.

Well, both of those candidates may end up on the losing side here. Kari Lake currently behind. We haven't projected it. Blake Masters lost his race. So I'm not sure that being more like Kari Lake was the right advice from Donald Trump. But I just think we see this example after example. And that is now the context that Donald Trump may launch a third bid for the White House. HENDERSON: Yes. And the other context is the conservative chattering class, turning against him, right? You noticed the front pages of the New York Post, had him on the cover is, I think, the nickname was Trumpty Dumpty. They --

BLITZER: Have it grateful.


BORGER: That's not flattering.

HENDERSON: Yes, it wasn't flattering picture of Donald Trump. You see some folks on Fox may be saying, well, maybe it's not a great idea if Donald Trump where he should delay his announcement. I think Kayleigh McEnany even said that, who was his former press secretary. So that is a new environment. That's a new dynamic for Donald Trump to have to deal with this conservative chattering class, who had wrapped their arms around him and boosted his candidacy and kept him, you know, a favorite of rodents.

BORGER: And --

HENDERSON: And so we'll see what happens with that.

BORGER: And one more piece of context is Ron DeSantis.


BORGER: Of course. And in Donald Trump's backyard, Ron DeSantis wins by 20 points. Everybody's looking at him as ascendant. And suddenly Donald Trump is old news.


BORGER: And I'm sure that's just killing him. But so what does he do? I mean, he can't stand being out of the limelight. He wants to get it back. And in his own mind, maybe he thinks this is the way to do it. I don't have any clue about what to --

PRESTON: Who I have a lot of sympathy for today is Tiffany Trump who is getting married down at Mar-a-Lago right now. And you can only imagine, or what she did today. Really imagine what her father was like right now. I mean, this is supposed to be the most important, you know, day of her life. And you have a father who's had probably one of the worst -- one of the many worst days of his life. So, I mean, I would assume Mar-a-Lago is a pretty tense place right now.

BLITZER: I'm sure we're going to be getting a lot of reports on that at some point. All right, guys, everybody stick around. There's a lot more we need to discuss.

Much more coming up on tonight's major breaking news and CNN projection that Democrats will, in fact, keep control of the United States Senate. It's Election Night in America continue. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back, 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. It's Election Night in America continued. More political experts joining us now to discuss the late breaking results.

Ashley Allison, first to you. What are you hearing from your fellow Democrats tonight about what has happened?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They're excited. They're thankful for the grassroots on the ground that did so much work door knocking talking to voters, really turning out voters by mail, early voting and on election day. And they're looking forward actually to Georgia as well, because they think they can still win that seat and expand our margins.

And honestly, they're not giving up hope for the House. They know that it's probably unlikely but they are still encouraged that Dems can hold the House. I also think they feel relieved because it feels like the agenda that they worked so hard to elect Joe Biden with in 2020, paid off because he was able to deliver on some of those promises. And they're excited, they feel really good and are looking forward to the Georgia runoff.

BLITZER: As far as the Georgia runoff is concerned, Kristen Soltis Anderson, does this give us any tea leaves into that Georgia runoff, what has happened tonight?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly Democrats are going to be feeling a little more upbeat and possibly a little more energized. You know, if this had been a race where Georgia was going to decide control of the Senate, there's a chance that you could have Republicans fired up for one last shot at trying to make not the red wave materialized, but at least something to try to flip that chamber.

I did a focus group for the New York Times about a couple of weeks ago. And in my group, I had two voters who said they were voting for Brian Kemp for governor. They liked the job he had done, but they just couldn't vote for Herschel Walker. And I said, well, if it goes to a runoff, and this control of the Senate is being decided in Georgia, would you then turn out and could you see yourself voting for Herschel Walker? And they said, Ah, I guess we could hold our nose and we couldn't make that vote, if control of the Senate was up for grabs.

I don't know if those folks wind up going out and making that vote. If this is not as high stakes, as it would have been had Nevada knock on the way win.

BLITZER: Certainly certainly would have been much higher stakes, indeed.

Scott Jennings, you just heard President Biden says on an overseas trip in Cambodia, he said that Republicans will now have to decide who they are. Does your Republican Party need to do some serious soul searching right now?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, absolutely. I mean, anytime an election doesn't go, as well as you thought it was going to go, you have to analyze why that is. One of the clear pieces of analysis that I think everyone basically agrees on is that we just don't have a lot of appeal to independent voters right now. And and that's a problem.

I mean, independent voters didn't care for Biden, didn't think his policies were working, a lot of anxiety about the direction of the country, and yet they stuck with Democrats. And so the soul searching that should go on is what kind of candidates can appeal to independent voters? What kind of policies should we put forward as a Republican Party to appeal to those voters?

I mean, they're still going to be there in 2024. We've got a very favorable math in the Senate. We have a chance to maybe take back the White House. But you look at the states that were in play, Wolf, in this midterm, those same states, we're going to see them all on that presidential map one more time in 2024.

Those voters are still going to be there. What can this party do to take advantage of a group of people who aren't sure the Democrats have the right ideas but also weren't sure they wanted to let Republicans grab the steering wheel. That's the mission.


BLITZER: You know, Hilary Rosen, you're a Democrat -- a Democratic strategist, election deniers, a major election denier, some very well- known ones took big losses up and down the ticket, this current election, what does this say about the state of our democracy?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that it means that we are going to have a presidential election that might actually, you know, depend on the results of the voters. And that's where we should be, and that's a good thing. I think, you know, the political consultant in me would love to see Donald Trump announced for President next week and have a big Republican food fight and have them all, you know, complaining about each other for for the next year.

And with Trump, right front and center on this, but I'm not sure that's the best thing for the country. I think that where we found ourselves as Democrats is we want to have a Supreme Court that respects our individual lives, our liberties, our families, we want a Congress that is responsive to the needs of working people. And, you know, that is essentially means that we want a government -- governing from the center.

And I think both parties are actually going to struggle with that a little bit as we go into the next phase of the election process. Because governing from the center is what most voters want. But it's also -- it's not the natural place for political parties to go.

BLITZER: Important point there. Ashely Allison, the Democrats are having a great night, obviously, how will they maintain this momentum through the Georgia runoff?

ALLISON: Well, I think they have to continue to speak to their base. I would not run away from the issue of abortion. I would continue to talk about how Democrats have delivered over the last two years. And if they widen their margin in the Senate, we'll continue to do it. I would talk about voting rights. You know, Georgia, is a kind of an epicenter around voter suppression, but also the history of John Lewis, the late great John Lewis and the Voting Rights Act. That was a bipartisan piece of legislation that was stalled in the Senate.

I think you talk about the economy. If you do that, I think you build your coalition with young people, Asian Americans, Latinos, the LGBTQ community. And then I would talk about Herschel Walker, he's a terrible candidate. He has no record, whatsoever, and really uplift the quality candidate that Raphael Warnock is not just for Georgia, but for our country.

BLITZER: So do you think this is going to be a lopsided election coming up this runoff election on December 6 in Georgia?

ALLISON: I think that every vote -- I think voters are going to turn out on both sides. I have always felt that Raphael Warnock would pull it out. I think that us having the Senate actually does encourage Democratic voters. And I think that to Kristen's point that some Republicans may stay home because Herschel Walker is a disaster.

But I don't think we can take it for granted and just assume that because the Senate doesn't -- controlling the Senate doesn't hang on Georgia, that voter -- that it is a shoe in for Raphael Warnock. We need to get our grassroots activated and deliver Georgia for the Democrats.

BLITZER: Well, let me ask Kristen --

ROSEN: Yes, you need to motivate voters, really. I mean, that's the problem with a runoff, is you need to motivate voters to get back to the polls. The last time we had a runoff in Georgia, actually, you know, the Senate was at stake there. The Senate isn't at stake. So Democrats are going to have to have a proactive reason why that extra seat, why Raphael, Warnock has to come back.

And, you know, I'm not sure that just -- that we don't want to hold our nose and have Herschel Walker is the only reason, we're going to have to have a positive agenda that brings people back to the polls.

BLITZER: Let me get Scott and Kristen to weigh in. Go ahead, Scott.

JENNINGS: Yes, I think one of the big things for Republicans here is the Senate is not on the line. And so there were some Republican voters that obviously didn't love Herschel Walker, but voted for him anyway. And then there were some Republican voters who voted for Brian Kemp and either skipped it, or voted for someone else. Those are the core voters that we have to get to win a runoff.

So to do that, Brian Kemp, the governor who's the most popular Republican in Georgia has already signed on and agreed to lend his team and all of his infrastructure for the Republican effort to do that. So automatically, I think you're going to have an upgraded voter turnout operation with Kemp and his people at the top of it. So that's a good thing.

I do think this question of whether the Senate's on the line or not, isn't interest didn't want in terms of motivation. But with Kemp, running the show and his people running the show I just what I'm hearing wool from a lot of Republicans is that gives him a lot of confidence that the best possible technicians and technicians are on the case in Georgia.


BLITZER: All right, Kristen, go ahead.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: Yes, and to put some numbers on that, you know, Brian Kemp won about 2.1 million votes in the state of Georgia, and Herschel Walker, only one 1.9 million votes. I mean, that's 200,000 votes out there that did not materialize for Herschel Walker that did vote for Brian Kemp. Had they been, you know, straight ticket voters, we wouldn't be talking about this runoff today and we'd be sending Herschel Walker to the Senate.

Now, one thing to remember is your average voter is not necessarily really thinking through, gosh, Chuck Schumer, what's the difference between him having 50 plus the vice president or 51? So, you know, trying to make it this really complicated argument about the nuances of Senate power, I think are going to be difficult.

But I do think that saying, look, if you've got Brian Kemp, who is able to come out there and be a force to say it is important for us to make this statement, that there are still sort of ways for Republicans to win, maybe that's one way that Republicans by tapping into whatever Brian Kemp did to get those extra 200,000 votes to try to make that work for them in a runoff.

BLITZER: All right, guys, thanks --

ALLISON: Can I just say one thing, though --

BLITZER: All right, go ahead.

ALLISON: -- about that? The grassroots effort that was built over the last 10 years because of Stacey Abrams, cannot be ignored. And I know she did not win her governor's race. But her role that that played and flipping both -- or both Senate seats and the electoral votes to Joe Biden in 2020, it's still there and it will be activated in full force.

BLITZER: Guys, thanks to all of you. Thanks very, very much.

Once again, CNN is projecting the Democrats will keep control of the United States Senate, but there's still one Senate seat up for grabs. A closer look at what all this means for the Georgia runoff. We'll continue that conversation next.



BLITZER: Decisive Democratic victories in Nevada and Arizona U.S. Senate races helped keep the chamber in the Democratic Party's control. But tonight, the governor's race in Arizona is still too early to call. CNN's Kyung Lah is in Phoenix.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The count continues in Maricopa County 85,000 votes released here in the county. Still more votes to be counted. And still no clear answer on the governor's race here in the state of Arizona.

Republican Kari Lake did manage to close the gap just a bit on Democrat Katie Hobbs, who remains the leader. If you look at the numbers, that margin has shrunk in just a tad but not enough to determine if there is a clear winner at this point.

But the Lake campaign releasing a little information about what it's like inside their campaign headquarters saying that they believe that these numbers offer a glimmer of hope. The campaign saying, quote, there is 100 percent a path and because the vote is still going on, that there is so much we do not know at this stage.

But we do know, CNN has projected a winner in the U.S. Senate race in Arizona, Mark Kelly, the Senator will maintain his seat. The race was called in his favor by CNN today thanking his supporters who backed his race.


SEN. MARK KELLY (D), ARIZONA: You are all the reason that we are successful. And I also want to thank our state's election officials, honorable, Republicans and Democrats who are doing the important work of making sure that Arizonans votes and voices are heard, and their votes are counted as quickly and as transparently as possible.


LAH: Blake Masters has not conceded but indicated in a tweet that he would be open to it after every legal vote is counted. So how many votes do remain? Maricopa County tells us there are about 185,000 to 195,000 votes remaining. The anticipation is on Sunday evening, another release of votes of about 80,000 here in this county.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Phoenix.

BLITZER: CNN's David Chalian is with me over at the magic wall right now. More on the situation in Arizona, what's going on in the governor's race?

CHALIAN: Yes, so you see this is that lead that Katie Hobbs currently has 34,129 vote lead, 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent. You just heard Kyung saying, Wolf, about the outstanding vote. We think there's still about 290,000 or so outstanding votes statewide. Two thirds of that outstanding vote comes from here in Maricopa County, the Phoenix area by far the largest population center.

Remember, this is also a battleground County. Joe Biden won it just by 2 percentage points over Donald Trump when he won this state by 11,000 votes or so. You see here, 52 percent for Hobbs Inside Maricopa County to roughly 48 percent for Kari Lake.

So when we get that 85,000 additional votes from Maricopa tomorrow, we should watch carefully to see is, Kari Lake hitting her target? Is she getting 55 percent of that vote? Or is she getting more like 48 percent of the vote, which is what she has now America.

But because if that's all she's taken in, it's not going to be enough to overtake Katie Hobbs. There's clearly still a path. But as each vote count comes in, that path diminishes.

If indeed she doesn't approve performance in Maricopa and start getting around 55 percent of the vote to start. I'll just come out statewide again to see the lead to start digging into that 34,000-vote lead that have settled.

BLITZER: Still too early for us to make a projection.

CHALIAN: We need more time (ph).

BLITZER: Right now, let's take a look -- let's go from Arizona to Georgia right now. Take a closer look --


BLITZER: -- at the runoff, the Georgia senatorial runoff on December 6.

CHALIAN: So these are the uncalled races on the map for the United States Senate. There's only one, Georgia. December 6 is when that will happen now in a runoff. This is where things were in the original round. You see here, Raphael Warnock had 49.4 percent of the vote. Herschel Walker 48.5 percent of the vote.

This was a third -- the 35,429-vote lead from Warnock, but what number is missing here? 50 percent plus one, that's why we're going to run off. Neither candidate hit that 50 percent plus one mark.


And so what is going to be critical is to see now that this state is not going to be all about party control. Now that this is not what we are all waiting for to learn which party will control the Senate. We know the Democrats will. Will this contest be as fully engaged between the two parties?

Will voters come out in a motivated fashion to -- if you're on the Democratic side, get to 51, you want more than 50 and keep adding on the Republican side to prevent Democrats from getting to 51.

So, obviously, this is going to go on out for the next three weeks. Millions and millions of dollars of advertising campaign surrogates flying into the state, and this now will be, can the Democrats add some gravy? Can they get to 51, avoid the power sharing, avoid evenly split committees? And can Chuck Schumer have an actual larger majority after this campaign season than they had now?

BLITZER: I'm just curious. Chase Oliver, the third-party Libertarian candidate he got 2.1 percent. Can you blame him for the fact that Raphael Warnock was just shy of 50 percent plus one?

CHALIAN: I mean, he clearly -- people voted for him that may otherwise may have voted for one of the other two candidates to push them closer. But I think it's a tough argument to make, that those votes automatically would have happened.

Some people may not have chosen to vote in the race, but that they found Chase Oliver appealing. So yes, he may have kept them under 50. But it's unclear exactly where his votes would have gone.

BLITZER: All right, let's talk a little bit about the House of Representatives, it's still not settled yet. There are still some votes out there that have to be decided.

CHALIAN: Yes, so let's take a look at the House. These are our uncalled racist. In fact, let me do this first and show you our called races. This is where we currently are. 211 Republicans, 204 Democrats. You need 218. So Republicans are seven, seven seats away from the majority, Democrats are 14 seats away.

So what's left? We have 20 seats currently uncalled across the map. Why are they red and blue? The red ones are where Republican is currently leading. The blue ones are where the Democrat is currently leading. So guess what? 10 races with Democrats leading, 10 with Republicans.

But remember, they need 14, Republicans need seven. So the fact that they're leaving in 10, they could lose three of the races they're currently leading in and the Republicans can still have the majority.

What is clear, Wolf, is that when all these races settle, if it is the need of Republican majority or Democratic majority, it's going to be an extraordinarily narrow majority.

But we can't call the House yet, because we have not mathematically eliminated the chance that Democrats could potentially, potentially, it's a reach, could get those 14 seats and up in the majority.

Once we're able to call these races, get one of the parties to 218, that's when we'll know who will control the House.

BLITZER: Do we have any idea when we'll be able to know the result?

CHALIAN: Well, so many of these races are out in California. And just to show you, you know, an example here, if you click into some of these districts, you see, like in this very close race in the 13th district, we only have 46 percent of the vote in.

If you look down here in the David Valadao district in California 22, yes, he's currently ahead. Only an estimate of 39 percent of the voted. So there's a lot of these counties still to do. It could be quite some time.

BLITZER: Yes. David Chalian, thank you very, very much.

CNN projects the Democrats will achieve what seemed improbable just a few days ago. They will maintain control of the United States Senate with at least 50 seats. It's Election Night in America continued and we'll be right back.



BLITZER: Welcome back, CNN, as you know can't project that the Democrats will keep control of the United States Senate. That's after the incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Adam Laxalt. Laxalt was a prominent election denier who helped lead challengers to the 2020 election -- presidential election results in his state.

Our political panel is here with us to discuss. You know, and Gloria, a reminder that in some races across the country, Democratic PACs, you know, Political Action Committees, they actually ran ads to boost some of these Republican election deniers thinking they would be more vulnerable in a general election to a Democratic candidate. Did it pay off?

BORGER: Well, they were right. They ended up being right. I think of New Hampshire Don Bolduc, for example. But generally, I don't think stunts are great like that. If you want to just play the results, you could say, oh, sure.

But I think in elections, you want to spend your money on the candidates that you really want to support. I don't know if they'll end up doing that again. But in hindsight, they're going to say, see, we did it, and it worked.

BLITZER: What do you think?

PRESTON: I mean, look, this is why people hate politics, right? Because we compare it to sports, and there's winners, there's losers and any which way to win. The fact of the matter is, you got to win. And I think that as much as people might get angry at it, you got to win, right.

So like, you know, people can be moral, you know, people can be highbrow about it. But at the end of the day when the new Congress sits, Democrats are going to be in a much better place, perhaps --

BORGER: There's no room for morality and politics.

PRESTON: Yes, and who cares what morality and politics, right?


CHALIAN: It was a morally bankrupt -- BORGER: Totally.

CHALIAN: -- position to take.

BORGER: Totally.

CHALIAN: But it is one that paid off, not just in New Hampshire, in the Maryland governor's, race in the Michigan House race where Peter Meijer.

BORGER: Meijer. One of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump --

BORGER: Right.

CHALIAN: -- than ousted in a Republican primary, Democrats helped boost that primary candidate. And they were right. It was easier to beat him than it was going to be to beat Peter Meijer and they did so. So it paid off as a political tactic. I don't think it should never get good reviews. If your party and your president is closing out the campaign on the need to protect democracy and you are spending dollars on promoting --

BLITZER: A lot of dollars.

CHALIAN: -- election deniers.

BORGER: Stunt.

HENDERSON: That's a discordant note.


HENDERSON: Yes, and it could have could have backfired, right. I mean Democrats are lucky that they're going to scheme to do this a did end up paying off.


You see the results across the map in a number of races. But listen, it was also ultimately Republican voters who were drawn to these different candidates because they were Trump as candidates, because they were election deniers.

But again, this is another way that Democrats for savvy this go round in picking their spots and spending money in these different races and assessing correctly that voters wanted sort of moderate candidates, right? They didn't want election deniers, they didn't want sort of extreme MAGA candidates.

PRESTON: You know, Wolf, I think that as we're trying to sit here tonight and dive deep into what is really happening inside the Republicans minds right now, we only have to wait a few days, because down in Florida on Tuesday, the Republican Governors Association is going to meet and it's an incredibly -- you don't hear a lot about it nationally -- but it's an incredibly powerful organization that corporate interests are very much invested into.

And you're going to have all these governors, including Doug Ducey from Arizona, who's the co-chair of the Republican Governors Association, coming together to try to figure out what went wrong and I think we're going to get some answers.

BLITZER: Speaking of Tuesday in Florida, do you think the Democrats win in the senate contests is going to have an impact on Donald Trump's so called special announcement is going to make Tuesday?

PRESTON: Roll the dice. I mean, I don't, I mean, as of yesterday, he was all about him. But you got to wonder, like, who was trying to get to him tonight as we've been discussing --


PRESTON: -- to tell him to back off.

HENDERSON: I think everybody is, right? I mean, folks in his inner circle, and Jason Miller, even trying to counsel him to not do this not to sort of suck up all the oxygen in the room, and possibly way down Walker's chances in December to win this Senate race. But listen, Donald Trump is Donald Trump. He has -- wants everybody to tune in on Tuesday to see what he says.

Maybe it'll be head fake. Maybe he will announce, I don't know what the other --

CHALIAN: I do think but --

BORGER: -- one of the -- it's sort of the bizarre results of this election may be that Donald Trump is seen as we can -- weakened politically inside the Republican Party. Therefore, more Republicans say I'm not afraid to challenge him from the nomination, and more and more choose to take the plunge and get into the race.

I think Larry Hogan recently said that he was on a like a boat all by himself. And now it's like a very crowded --


HARRY: ... a boat of folks that are are getting on board to try and challenge him. And a crowded Republican presidential field could benefit Donald Trump because of the way that the Republican Party apportions delegates. It's a winner take all system.

And who -- so Donald -- if there are 10 people splitting the vote, if Donald Trump still has 25 percent, 30 percent support inside the party, was the Republican primary voters? He can win contests and collect delegates --

BORGER: Yes, that happen in 2016, that was (inaudible).


BORGER: One of my resources -- the resource who speaks with Donald Trump regularly reminded me that he never does anything that he thinks will make him look weak. So if he were to back out of a presidential announcement, because Ron DeSantis won by 20 points, and Republicans are mad at him because they lost the Senate, then he would look weak. So maybe we'll have a new presidential candidate this week.

BLITZER: Excellent analysis from every one of you. Guys, thank you very, very much for joining me tonight. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: Election Night in America continues in a historic first that a signal of a new generation of politicians, 25-year-old Democrat Maxwell Frost won Florida's 10th Congressional District. He's the first member of Generation Z to be elected to the United States Congress.

For us is taking the seat vacated by Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, who lost the Senate run against Senator Marco Rubio. Congressman Maxwell Frost is joining us now. First of all, congratulations on your win. Thanks very much for joining us.

Let's take a little closer look at the latest numbers from the Orlando base district that you want. And you beat the Republican candidate Calvin Wimbish by double digits. So Congressman-elect, how do you do that?

MAXWELL FROST (D), FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: Well, thanks so much for having me on. You know, for me, it's two things. Number one, it's the message and two, it's the way we got the message out.

Our message was all about love and all about bringing people together around common shared values that people want to have health care, that people want to live in a country free of gun violence that people want seeking legal access to abortion.

And then on getting out the message, look, like I'm an organizer. I've been organizing for the past decade, and believe that we have to meet people where they're at.

So yes, traditional means of TV and mail and all that, but also social media, knocking on doors and making phone calls, making sure that we meet people where they're at, even if they're not a prime voter. And that's how we expanded the electorate and how we were able to win.

BLITZER: So what will be your main priorities, Congressman-elect for the upcoming term?

BLITZER: Well, there's many things. The first thing which isn't as exciting, I think, for most folks is our district office. I mean, we just had two hurricanes here in Central Florida. It's important for me that we're able to provide for people to help them through getting that FEMA assistance, and making sure that government is working for people at the local level. On the national level, there's many different things, protecting our democracy is incredibly important. Ensuring that yes, voting is a right but that it's also an accessible, right, that people are actually able to go vote and exercise being a part of this democracy. And then gun violence, I'm a survivor of gun violence myself. We live in a country where the leading cause of death for children is guns.

And so there's a lot of work we need to do there as well. And then the last thing I'd say is the economy. We have to make sure that we bring up wages, of thrive global wages that every person in our country has access to health care and has the ability to be healthy and not pick between prescriptions and rent. And so these are all the things that we need to work on the Congress.


BLITZER: Will you work with Republican members across the aisle to get things done?

FROST: Yes, 100 percent. I will. And, you know, I think what we're seeing here, and we'll see how the house shakes up is that this Congress is looking like whether or not Republicans take the majority or not, it will be a slim majority either way. And that means people are going to have to work together to ensure that we're providing for folks.

But what I want to see Democrats do is not come to the negotiating table already at the compromise. You know, we have a mandate in this country to fight for the future. We believe in a future where everybody has health care or people live free of gun violence. And I really believe there's a bipartisan way to get there. But it's important that we stick to our values, and really rally the American people around them.

BLITZER: I know you've said Congress needs different perspectives, your words, do the Democrats need younger people in its rank, and in its leadership, for that matter?

FROST: Yes, I mean, we know that Gen Z millennials make up a third of this country. But we're nowhere near a third of government both on the local and national scale. And so I do believe we need a lot younger people in government.

I do believe in a younger people involved in the decision-making process. And I think a huge way of doing that, in the general sense, is just electing young people at the office across the country.

And look, I'm not one of these people that believes that we need to just only have young people we may have a diversity of opinion. But right now we're lacking.

BLITZER: Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost, congratulations once again for your win. Thanks very much for joining us. I look forward to having many conversations with you down the road. Appreciate it very much. Of course.

FROST: Of course. Thanks for having me on.

BLITZER: And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.

Join me every Monday through Friday weekdays, 6:00 p.m. Eastern in the Situation Room. Much more in tonight's breaking news, Democrats holding on to the Senate. That's coming up next on CNN Newsroom.