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Key Race In Keystone State; Senate Races Heating Up as Election Day Draws Closer. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired November 05, 2022 - 09:00   ET




MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Place your bets, I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We're three days away from Election Day. We're all eyes are on a handful of toss up races in Senate and gubernatorial contests so much so that political betting is surging. According to "The Washington Post," "In the election markets, traders can typically buy a share of a candidate, priced between one and 99 cents. Like stocks, investors want to buy low and then unload when the value is much higher."

So for example, if I were to buy one share of a candidate for 50 cents and they turn out to be a winner on Tuesday, I'd earned $1 gaining back 50 cents on top of my original bet. Sites like Predict It have become a source for political insiders to gain wisdom straight from people's pockets. So what do the betting markets tell us? Right now, control for the Senate, trading at 75 cents in the GOP's favor.

Here on the East Coast, Pennsylvania Senate race heating up with Dr. Mehmet Oz trading at 62 cents. Following his recent debate performance, John Fetterman has fallen to 44 cents.

The race to win over working class voters tightening in Ohio between candidates J.D. Vance and Tim Ryan. But Vance is predicted to win 89 cents to Ryan's 14.

In Georgia, fight for control of the entire U.S. Senate could come down to Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock. In the betting market, Walker the stronger pick at 64 cents compared to Warnock's 42.

Now, if you don't believe the conventional polls or the betting, you might want to consider this. A total lunar eclipse predicted to turn the moon blood red on Election Day.

Most importantly, I want to know what you think. Go to and answer this week's poll question, real simple, real straightforward. Will the Republicans take control of the United States Senate?

Where control in the U.S. Senate is up for grabs and will come down to a few battleground states. We've assembled a top political reporters for each of those contests. Joining me now three reporters who know the races best. Tia Mitchell, the Washington Correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Anna Staver, Political Reporter with USA Today's Network Ohio Bureau. And Holly Otterbein, a National Political Reporter at Politico and former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Holly, the Oprah endorsement of John Fetterman got a lot of attention. I read your reporting. You were the one who had the sort of backstory as to how they were able to land it.

When I actually heard her words, it's not what I had anticipated. I want to roll the tape and then explain why. Play it.


OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: If I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons. If I was in North Carolina, as you mentioned, Sister Beasley there.

And if I was in Florida, I'd be supporting Val Demings. If I was in Wisconsin, it would be Mandela Barnes. In Nevada, Cortez Masto. In Texas, Beto O'Rourke. And Raphael Warnock, and incredible Stacey Abrams, of course, in Georgia.


SMERCONISH: So Holly, I get the significance. She made Dr. Oz, the name that he is today. She knows him best, and if she were in Pennsylvania, she wouldn't vote for him.

But she didn't say a single word about Fetterman. She didn't say anything about Oz. There's no fundraiser. There's no rally. There's no commercial airing, you know, in southeastern Pennsylvania viewed that way? How big of a deal is it?

HOLLY OTTERBEIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: I mean, I think your skepticism is right. People tend to overstate the importance of endorsements. I would argue, though, that because, you know, you and I and media in general are just spending even one minute talking about Oprah's endorsement of Fetterman as opposed to his debate performance or his stroke or Democrats hand wringing about his debate performance is a good thing for Fetterman. I mean, he had, you know, really bad media in the last few weeks, and now he's getting a little bit of positive earned media. And that's good for him.

And actually, the top Democratic Senate Super PAC actually just did put an ad up on T.V. today, you know, promoting the endorsement. But that being said, you know, I was talking to a Republican who questioned, you know, does the average voter even put together immediately that Dr. Oz was on Oprah's show and that it's significant because of that. And I think that's a fair question.

SMERCONISH: Tia, Holly is right that the bottom didn't fall out on Fetterman after his debate performance and nor did the bottom fall out on Herschel Walker given all the claims and surrounding issues pertaining to abortion. How come? I mean, why didn't that seemingly hurt Herschel more?

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Yes, it's a very interesting phenomenon here in Georgia. I actually just wrote an article about it. In some ways, you know, Herschel Walker's scandals have hurt him and how he is perceived by Georgia voters. You know, they deem him less trustworthy, less prepared for the job than Raphael Warnock.


However, that has not swayed conservatives from still supporting Herschel Walker when it comes time to determine who they will vote for in this Senate race. And that's because for many conservatives, many Republicans, this is bigger than the candidate on the ballot, Herschel Walker is the candidate they have, their bigger mission is taking control of the Senate to try to stop President Joe Biden from carrying out more of his agenda. And for them, that trumps everything. And so they're standing beside Herschel Walker, even if they are disturbed or concerned about the different scandals and allegations.

SMERCONISH: Tia, I think you're right. I think there's a lot of that type of voting going on across the country where voters whether they're D or R are looking at a bigger prize, which we're focused on, which is control of the entire Senate.

Anna, let me ask you this, I've got lots of headlines I could put on the screen, maybe I will about just how tight this race is. And then you saw the betting market and the betting market seems to say, no, J.D. Vance is in a more comfortable position. Put those headlines up, by the way, Katherine (ph), that show, you know, horse race in the state of Ohio.

Is it because in Ohio, there's a perception of well, they said the same thing in 2020. They said the same thing, and then in the end, Donald Trump was able to handily defeat Joe Biden.

ANNA STAVER, POLITICAL REPORTER, USA TODAY NETWORK OHIO BUREAU: Yes, I think that's definitely playing into it. You know, President Trump won Ohio by eight points in '16 and eight points in 2020. So, even if Tim Ryan over delivers on Biden and Clinton, you know, by six or seven points, even if he makes this a very close race, I mean, he's still could end up losing on election night because what Tim Ryan has to do is hit three different goals. He's got to turn out his base, and he's got to persuade middle of the road voters and then he's got to pick up Republicans in what are now traditionally more red parts of the state like Appalachia in Northwest Ohio.

SMERCONISH: So, in order for Ryan to be more comfortable, would he need to be right now in the lead and not just deadlocked with J.D. Vance?

STAVER: I think it's possible that he would need to be because what we've seen in the last couple of polls is they've been close, but J.D. Vance has been inching ahead. So, consistently, what we're still seeing is margin of error, but we're starting to see J.D. Vance emerge as being the leader may be 51, 49 consistently. And I think that betting market might be seeing that.

SMERCONISH: Holly Otterbein, all the big guns are coming out for John Fetterman today. You've got President Obama in Pittsburgh, then you've got both President Biden and President Obama in Philadelphia for John Fetterman. I saw a poll this week, I know you saw the Emerson poll this week, we could put it up on the screen that said that Oz -- this is the first one that I've seen that showed Oz with a lead. Most of what we've seen, has been Fetterman in a commanding position. I guess my question to you is, does either of them appear to have momentum at this stage?

OTTERBIEN: I think we have seen momentum for Oz, for sure. I mean, if you look at the polls right before the debate, the polling averages showed Fetterman ahead of Oz by about two to three percentage points. Today, the polling averages show it's about, you know, dead even. So, Oz does have a bit of momentum.

And you know, while I do agree with the idea that the bottom didn't fall out for Fetterman after the debate, the race did tighten. And in a race that is so close in a state like Pennsylvania where it's really built to be very purple, you know, a few points could absolutely make a difference. Now, Democrats will say the race was always going to tighten in these final weeks a little bit more and that's probably partly true. But again, if it's even a difference of a percentage point, that could determine the race.

SMERCONISH: Tia, what's going on in Georgia relative to the position of Kemp and Herschel Walker? What I'm asking are really two questions. First of all, are they campaigning together? And secondly, why does it seem that the Senate race is much tighter than the gubernatorial race where Stacey Abrams is such now a national figure in quality?

MITCHELL: So to answer your first question, the easy answer is no, they are not campaigning together, they have not been sharing the stage. And really, neither have Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams, although they've shared the stage more and intend to speak of each other more than you hear between Kemp and Herschel Walker.

The difference in the dynamic is number one, Brian Kemp is the incumbent in his race. And the other race, the Democrat is the incumbent. Also we know that during the primary season, Kemp did not have President Trump's endorsement.

Kemp has tried to walk a very fine line with not turning off those Trump allied, those Trump loyal voters but also being someone who, you know, has distanced himself from President Trump since the 2020 election, whereas Herschel Walker was not just Trump endorse, you know, Trump basically took credit for where Herschel Walker has found himself politically. So it's made for an interesting dynamic.


And again, in the race, yes, Brian Kemp, according to polling and according to what we're seeing on the ground, is doing a lot better versus Stacey Abrams with a much tighter Senate race. And that comes down to just that swing state dynamic. But also for Brian Kemp, he's been able to really take advantage of his incumbency.

SMERCONISH: Anna, in Ohio, the race that Tim Ryan has been waging for working class, traditional Democratic voters, working class white voters, seems to be textbook. But if it comes up short, what's the message that that demographic is just no longer to be counted on by the Ds because they've shifted on cultural issues to the Rs?

STAVER: You know, that's one of the big questions for Ohio, generally. The reason we've traditionally been a swing state is because of those working class union Democrats that live in areas like Youngstown, those Rust Belt voters, and they've swung towards the president. And this is a real question about whether they will have moved entirely to the Republican camp or whether they can be won back by Democrats. I mean, obviously, Sherrod Brown carried some of those voters in 2018, but that was a really good year for Democrats.

Generally, I think it's about a question of whether we're seeing a change in what makes a swing state. A lot of the swing states that we see now are out west, where you have a large, highly educated city like a Denver or a Portland, and that sort of overwhelms its rural areas. And that's one of the big questions that we have here in Ohio, looking at the next 10, 15, 20 years.

SMERCONISH: Ladies, stay right where you are. When we come back, I'm going to turn the table and just say, tell me something you think the rest of the country needs to know about these three races? I really appreciate your being here.

From social media, Katherine, what do we have from the world of Twitter, this has come in so far. Independent swing voter in P.A. splitting my ticket?

You know, Joe, I meant to get to this with Holly, and perhaps I will. Pennsylvania's got a rich tradition of ticket splitting. I have this theory that the better Josh Shapiro does -- by the way, can we put Holly back up real quick, Katherine, if you're able to do that?

I have this theory that the -- Holly, listened to me on this. I think Shapiro is going to beat Mastriano handily. And part of me thinks that the better he does, Josh Shapiro the Democrat, the better it might be for Oz, because our state has such a rich tradition of ticket splitting, that you might have people who go in there and say, well, I got to vote for Shapiro. You know, I don't want to go all D maybe I'll go for Oz instead of Fetterman. Does that make any sense to you or not?

OTTERBEIN: I've heard that theory. That makes sense. I mean, I think it makes sense, particularly in the Philadelphia suburbs where you have, you know --


OTTERBEIN: -- exactly that kind of voter who might be attracted to the idea of ticket splitting. That being said, you know, I've talked to a lot of Democrats and Republicans alike who think that, you know, ticket splitting is like pretty rare, and this is an unusual race. Mastriano really has run such a low key campaign that it's just really not comparable to any recent elections. In Pennsylvania, we haven't seen a GOP nominee like this sort of just forfeit the T.V. ad wars to their opponent.

So you know, I think what you're saying is an interesting theory. But I would not be surprised --

SMERCONISH: We will find out.

OTTERBEIN: -- if the -- yes, we'll find out. And I wouldn't be surprised of the Shapiro Mastriano race.

SMERCONISH: By the way, you are most kind to Mastriano describing his campaign as low key. I love that.

All right, back in a second. Up head with our experts in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio. And we're going to drill down on Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Stick with us. Keep voting This week's poll question is simply this. Will Republicans take control of the United States Senate?



SMERCONISH: Back with me now, three experts from three battleground states, Tia Mitchell, the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Anna Staver is a political reporter with USA Today Network in the Ohio Bureau. Holly Otterbein a National Political reporter for Politico, a former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tia, give me something from Georgia that maybe the rest of us are overlooking that you think we need to focus on.

MITCHELL: So two things, number one, I think it's very interesting that in this swing state, neither former President Donald Trump nor current President Joe Biden has come to help any of the candidates campaign in this season. But the biggest thing that I think people often overlook about Georgia is we have a runoff system. So if none of the candidates on the -- on -- in any race gets to 50 percent, there will be a runoff in December. That's changed from the 2021 run offs. It used to be a nine-week runoff period. It will now be a four-week runoff period, and it looks very likely that perhaps that Senate race, Warnock, Walker goes to a runoff.

SMERCONISH: Can you imagine if Senate control comes down to your race, Georgia's race, how much money is going to get It spent in the Peach State in that short time, a scary, a frightening amount of dough. Anna Staver, give me something from Ohio. What do you think the rest of us are missing?


STAVER: So we always talk about Democrats needing the three C's here to win, which is Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. They're our biggest cities. But Ryan's really staked his campaign on the legacy cities, so Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown, he has been trying to drive up numbers in these areas where these are the Trump voters that traditionally used to vote Democratic have elected him for the last two decades. And you can see evidence that it might be working in the fact that Donald Trump is coming here Monday morning to campaign with J.D. Vance in Dayton.

SMERCONISH: Interesting. And by the way, isn't Governor DeWine sort of looming over this? Isn't that one of the real -- his popularity is an impediment for Tim Ryan in running against J.D. Vance.

STAVER: Yes. DeWine is actually attending the Trump rally for the first time in a while. He's kind of missed the last few times the president has been here. But also he's wildly popular. It looks like he may win by 12 to 15 percentage points.

And actually he may be benefiting from that, Ryan actually may be benefiting from that ticket splitting you were talking about earlier. So voters who are going for DeWine and also going for Ryan. Anecdotally, we're seeing a lot of those people turn out to boards of elections already.

SMERCONISH: Interesting. Holly Otterbein, Pennsylvania, what do we need to know about the Commonwealth?

OTTERBEIN: People working on the Senate race on both sides tell me that this is still a really, really close race. I think Republicans probably feel a little bit more optimistic, but they don't think they have it in the bag. And both Democrats and Republicans have said to me, this is really an unusual race because what happens in the last week could actually make a difference. So to that point, you've got Joe Biden campaigning for John Fetterman, right, in Philadelphia and Barack Obama. Biden, obviously not that popular. So, you know, could that drag -- have a drag on Fetterman?

And then on the other hand, you've got Mehmet Oz campaigning with Donald Trump. And Doug Mastriano in western Pennsylvania, which, you know, probably not a coincidence that's far from the Philadelphia media market where there's a lot of suburban voters who aren't fans of Trump. But could that have an impact? So I would keep a close eye on what happens at those two rallies.

SMERCONISH: I mean, Oz is still underwater. It didn't preclude him, Holly, from winning the primary. He was perceived by Republicans more negatively than favorably. It was a three-way race and he still pulled it off. And that really hasn't changed, right?

OTTERBEIN: Yes, that's absolutely right. He's still got high unfavorable. This has been one of his biggest challenges in this general election.

Now Republicans solution to dealing with that is not really to rehabilitate his image, they haven't tried much to do that. They've really just tried to drag down Fetterman's favorability ratings, and they have been able to do that to a certain extent, but they're still not as bad as Oz is. And that is a challenge for him in these final days.

SMERCONISH: That was excellent. I thank all three of my guests. I really appreciate your being here. We'll continue to read all of your reporting between now and Tuesday and thereafter. So thank you.

Let's see what you're all saying on my Smerconish, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook pages, social media. What do we got? Katherine?

I think the answer is clear if you look at issues important to American families, the costs of groceries, gas, crime, inflation, interest rates, more than doubled. Kelly Ann, I guess making the argument that Republicans are about to retake control of the Senate.

Look, I've said throughout the course of the whole cycle, both sides have good issues to motivate their base, abortion, although it seems to have diminished. I've got to play a Michael Moore clip for you later in the program. But abortion, democracy being at risk, January 6, you know, that's the arsenal of the Democrats.

On the Republican side of the aisle, you know this, it's inflation and the economy. More broadly, it's crime and its border. So, everybody's got something to get their folks out. And regardless of who you might be voting for, please go vote.

Up ahead, we've assembled the most knowledgeable minds from three more key states. When we come back, we're going to drill down next on Nevada. Did you note my pronunciation Nevada, I've got it down, Utah and Arizona. Make sure you're going to in answering this week's poll question. Will the Republicans take control of the United States Senate on Tuesday?



SMERCONISH: Switching our focus now to three key races happening on the other side of the country where the betting odds seem to be suggesting some clear front runners. As more people bet, the price of a share increases meaning if I buy one share of a winning candidate for 25 cents I'll get 75 cents back in winnings. So, let's see how the candidates are shaping up in the predicted betting market.

In Nevada despite reports that this race might be the closest in polling. It's Republican Adam Laxalt leading with 74 cents on the dollar. Catherine Cortez Masto sits at just 28 cents. Can you fill that gap even wider than predicted showing a win by Republican Senator Mike Lee to be worth 94 cents. An independent win by Evan McMullen averaging a mere six cents.

In Arizona, it's shaping up to be a neck and neck race between Blake Masters and Mark Kelly. Masters currently trading at 54 cents. Kelly close behind at 50.

Joining me now are three experts who know these races well. Elizabeth Thompson is Editor in Chief of the Nevada Independent, Ben Winslow is a Political Reporter at Fox 13 News in Utah, Brahm Resnik, KPNX Anchor and Political Reporter in Arizona. Welcome to all of you.

Ben, let me begin with you. Evan McMullin was recently a guest of mine here on the program and I said to him, hey, if you win, does the state suffer because you don't get committee assignments? Here's what he said to me.



EVAN MCMULLIN (I-UT), SENATE CANDIDATE: Senate rule 25 says that every Senator is required to have at least two committee assignments and then you can possibly have a third from a smaller category. But I will have committee assignments. And there's never been, at least since World War II, a senator elected as an independent who has not had committee assignments, so, of course. I will.

But more importantly I will have -- if we prevail in this race Utah will have one of the most influential votes in the Senate. It will be our opportunity to have a voice in the Senate that we have not had ever.


SMERCONISH: Ben Winslow, if he can pull this off he's the new Joe Manchin, right? I mean, all roads would have to lead through Evan McMullin, because he truly would be an independent.

BEN WINSLOW, REPORTER, FOX 13 NEWS KSTU: It is an interesting position. He is trying to say he would be more in the vein of Senator Mitt Romney, our other senator who occasionally bucks his own party because he would be an unaffiliated or independent voter. McMullin would certainly be -- subject to be courted by both parties, if they want to get a particular piece of agenda passed. So at least that's what he's trying to sell voters on is, look, Utah grows in influence. We become a state that is a key vote if you want to get something done in the Senate.

SMERCONISH: And, Ben, let's remind everybody what went on here because it's really unusual. Democrats folded their tent, right? They said, hey, we're not going to be able to take out Mike Lee, but maybe this guy would have a shot, so we'll coalesce around him.

WINSLOW: Yes, it was a very, very -- I wouldn't say perfect storm, but an odd storm that happened here. What we had is we are a very red state. It's weird to even be on here with you because we are so Republican, that that's just how it is. Except for this circumstance kind of happened where Evan McMullin is creating this coalition.

He's got Republicans who may not like the direction that the party is going right now. He's got Democrats who obviously don't like what the Republicans are doing. And then he's got these independents out there, these unaffiliated voters, who he's trying to bring together as sort of a coalition creating his own base. And, yes, to get as much ground as he has, the Democrats -- the Democratic Party in Utah had to make a choice, at their convention, their delegates opted not to advance any candidate at all.

They had a candidate. They opted not to nominate that person, leaving the slate wide open, putting their chips on McMullin as it were.

SMERCONISH: Elizabeth, Nevada, Nevada. How am I doing?

ELIZABETH THOMPSON, EDITOR, THE NEVADA INDEPENDENT: Well done, sir. Thank you for pronouncing the name of our state correctly this morning.

SMERCONISH: So why is the first Latina in the U.S. Senate seemingly struggling? Maybe that's too strong of a word, but not doing better with that particular demographic in this race.

THOMPSON: Well, the tides have turned towards the Republicans this year in many states. And indeed, in Nevada, as we've watched the polling all year long every single federal and statewide race, polling is within in the margin of error. But because Biden's approval rating in Nevada is so low, hovering somewhere between 45 and 47 for most of this year he's not really helping the top of the ticket candidates in Nevada. Indeed, Biden hasn't even been to Nevada to campaign for Cortez Masto, although former President Obama was here a couple of days ago to try to help her out.

But the way the winds are blowing in Nevada, based on the economic struggles here, inflation, gas prices, it's all about the economy in Nevada this year in the election. And I think that's one reason why watchers are thinking that the state could go red.

SMERCONISH: Is your race, this Senate race in Nevada, one of the few where the residual of COVID can be felt, meaning that the shutdown really hit the strip hard, really hit the economy hard, and many think it was not handled well by Democrats, or am I overstating it?

THOMPSON: No, I think there's an aspect to that, but what's tricky about it is that we have about 30 percent of the electorate here in Nevada does not belong to a major party. Many of them are non- partisans. We have a huge block of non-partisan voters now in Nevada and no one knows which way they're going to swing. So that's really the big question mark.

So, you're not wrong in the way you characterize it but there's a big unknown in there in terms of turnout and which way are the independents going to swing based on how the economy is doing, what their concerns are, and how well the Democrats have done or not done with it. There are a lot of folks in Nevada who work on the Democratic side of the aisle who are pretty worried this weekend.

SMERCONISH: Brahm, you can like or dislike her politics, but she's telegenic. And if she wins, and you know who I'm talking about, she's going to become the new Ron DeSantis of the GOP, right?


[09:35:03] SMERCONISH: I might be.

RESNIK: She is very talented. She is very talented and very charismatic. On the other side there are her policies and who she links up with. She could be the next -- she's a mix of Donald Trump at the federal level and Ron DeSantis at the state level. When you look at her policies, COVID policies, she is a COVID denier, and in the strongest way wants to have a created commission to look at how COVID the pandemic was handled here and maybe charge people with crimes. That's not something many people think of.

This is a state that has the highest second COVID death rate. Another politician might look at that in a different way. On the issue of education very much in the DeSantis vein wanting -- she supports the Hillsdale curriculum, pretty far right curriculum for our schools. So, you know, there's all that.

The policy level and then there is the democracy issue which for us here in Arizona is an issue on every race on the statewide ballot right now. It's the reason we have, you know, reporters from all over the world in Arizona right now covering this election.

SMERCONISH: I want to make a point about that. Let me first run a clip of Kari Lake that will allow me to make that point. Catherine, roll that tape would you?


KARI LAKE (R-AZ), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I know for a fact we will no longer accept rigged elections. Who's with me on that?

We have a wide open border, the cartels are in control. We have this illegitimate President Biden who is allowing it to happen.

Yes, but the fake news wants us to think that that guy got 81 million votes. OK. All right.


SMERCONISH: Brahm, the prospect exists for Arizona to elect a U.S. senator, governor and secretary of state who are all 2020 election deniers. To me, that's a frightening prospect. Is the so-called assault on democracy a major issue, the top issue? Or is it the economy?

RESNIK: Well, you left out the attorney general, another statewide candidate also an election denier who can sue a lot of people, right?


RESNIK: So don't ignore that. So, that's a really good question. You know, capital D, democracy, do voters get that? I think on the Democratic side, they do. They understand that it's more about threats to your vote, the end of early voting, voting entirely on Election Day. Other measures our legislature could take to somehow suppress the vote, curtail the vote, that is a big issue. For a lot of voters here, however, I'm sitting in Phoenix. The inflation rate is 13 percent. They're looking at the gas prices. They're looking at the grocery bills. And they're saying, hang on, this isn't right, I want change.

I'll add one more thing. I think the pandemic is a very understated or maybe not so well understood issue in shaping voters' feelings right now, the way they look at the world. I know certainly Kari Lake is taking advantage of that. I think it affects everybody in different ways here and we don't quite understand how that's playing into this election.

SMERCONISH: Ben, thank you for wearing the red. Utah is a red state. But you're not a Trump red state, are you?

WINSLOW: No, we never quite warmed to President Trump. He did, you know, well. He won the state obviously in the last election cycles but that's kind of led to this division where you see some, you know, some Republicans who aren't exactly on board with the president, the former president and, you know, where that goes.

We're obviously not a Biden state either, you know, to be clear. But that's led to this opening for McMullin who again is trying to create this sort of independent coalition of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters altogether. And it has resulted in a surprisingly closer race than I think Senator Lee who expected incumbent advantage, Republican advantage, is getting.

SMERCONISH: Elizabeth, one thing. Speaking of Trump, one thing that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell agree on is Adam Laxalt, right? This is one race where they see eye to eye, and they're both for this guy. How come?

THOMPSON: Well, he's the Republican candidate who stands to unseat Catherine Cortez Masto from the U.S. Senate. He got the nomination. He got through the primary. Obviously, they're going to be 100 percent behind him and try to launch him, finally, into Washington, D.C., where I think he's wanted to be for some time.

SMERCONISH: When we come back, I'm going to ask each of you to tell me something I've not raised that you think the rest of the country needs to know about the three states that you are reporting on. So, thank you so much for being here. We'll be back in just a sec to do that.

From the world of social media, in the meantime, what do we have Catherine? From Twitter.

Smerconish, ticket splitting is moronic. Like voting to get nothing accomplished.

Ticket splitting is moronic. Really? So when I voted in Pennsylvania, which I did by ballot this week, I should have just voted for all Ds or all Rs.

[09:40:07] What if I know the state representative candidate because I've gotten to know him or her? This is a hypothetical. And regardless of party -- like they're a solid person, oh, no, I can't do that because I need to vote for Rs or Ds. Nope.

Still to come, our expert voices return for even more analysis, stick with us. And I want to remind you have you voted yet at This is the question. I mean, there's only one question, will Republicans take control of the United States Senate? Go vote.


SMERCONISH: Back with us now, three powerful voices from three important states as we draw closer and closer to the midterms. Elizabeth Thompson, editor-in-chief of the "Nevada Independent" joins us from Las Vegas. Ben Winslow, political reporter at Fox 13 News joins us from Salt Lake City, Utah. Brahm Resnik, KPNX anchor and political reporter joins us from Arizona.


OK. Brahm, make me look smart. Give me something to take away about Arizona that I might not know.

RESNIK: Well, we are so focused on the vote. I'll tell you two things. Republicans in Arizona during midterms have a built-in six to eight- point turnout advantage. We're looking to see that again this year.

However, it appears the Republican vote will show up late, so if you're watching our returns on election night, don't be surprised if the Democrats show up in the lead on the first vote dump 8:00 p.m. Arizona time. But Republicans gain ground as more ballots are counted.

SMERCONISH: Interesting. Sort of the reverse, right, of what we saw in the presidential cycle last?

RESNIK: That's where we learned it. That's what happened in the presidential cycle here in 2020. The Republican voting behavior changed. They used to be the ones who get the early ballot, fill it out, put it in the mail. Not anymore.

They're being coached by people like Donald Trump, by party leaders, by people like Kari Lake. Either put your ballot in the mail right away or come to the polls on Election Day and vote there. And we're seeing more on that.

SMERCONISH: Elizabeth from Nevada -- thank you, Brahm. Elizabeth, what do you got from Nevada that we night not know?

THOMPSON: In Nevada, on our ballots under the list of candidates that are your options there is another option called none of these candidates. And this category often attracts a surprising number of voters, especially in years when voters are particularly disgruntled about things as they are this year. Races in Nevada have swung on the basis of none of these candidates getting so many votes, that the outcome you expect is not always the outcome you get.

SMERCONISH: Interesting. I wonder what happens when that category is the majority. Like, who do we turn to then? Ben Winslow, what do you have from Utah that we might not know?

WINSLOW: Well, much has been made that our Senate race is very close. But polling is all over the map. We had one poll came out showing Senator Lee 10 points ahead. He is beloved by the Republican base here. He goes to convention. It's like rock star level volume there.

But the actions are showing it is -- seems to be a much closer race. You know, you've got both candidates running ads constantly, out there hustling, things that we haven't really seen before. However, our voter turnout right now is 22 percent.

County clerks I've been talking to say people, it just seems, are kind of sitting on their ballots just waiting to see what happens. Not sure what they're waiting for but they're waiting to see. It's going to come down to who turns out on Election Day, who turns out in these last days.

We are a vote by mail state. People are getting their ballots in but we're, again, not seeing huge numbers. So again if the Republicans turn out then it is definitely going for Senator Lee.

SMERCONISH: Ben, a very quick follow-up. Has Mitt Romney tipped his hand?

WINSLOW: He has not. He said he is staying out of this. He's friends with both of them. That is one of those things where his endorsement could be a blessing and a curse, it depends how you look at it.

SMERCONISH: I'm fascinated by that Utah race. All these races. And the three of you, Brahm, and Ben, and Elizabeth were excellent. Thank you for getting up early, duly noted. We appreciate it.

Still to come, more of your best and worst tweets and social media comments, and we'll give you the final result of the poll question. When you go to right now please register for the daily newsletter. It's unlike any other. And vote on this question, will Republicans take control of the United States Senate?



SMERCONISH: All right. There it is. That's the result of this week's poll question. Will Republicans take control of the United States Senate?

Twenty-five thousand plus have voted. The no votes 66 percent. Can I make an observation about that? Early this morning after we posted the poll question at I went and took a look when just a few hundred, like two -- 300 had voted, not 25,000, and it was two-thirds with the same answer. Just kind of curious it remained constant. I happen to think that's a little bit of wishful thinking on some of your part who have voted. First of all, it's the complete opposite of the betting market, which is interesting. I think FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver and company were at 55 percent when I went to bed last night for the Rs and not for the Ds. But, of course, none of us know. So, everybody needs to get out and vote between now and Tuesday.

What do we have in terms of social media that has come in this week? I thought my guests were great. Damn, that was great. In fact, I am giving a shout out to Corrina Lamb for booking all six of those excellent guests.

Are you a closeted Republican, Michael? Says Garth Rose. You always seem discouraging to Democratic candidates and voters. Why not try to be a balancing force, give the positives of both sides, and allow voters to vote with their intelligence.

OK. Good advice. Thank you, Garth. No, hold it a second. You're kidding, right? You are not going to get balance from anybody the way you just got it here in the span of this hour on all six of those critical races presenting all of the issues that surround them. So I reject that criticism.

What's next? Nicely. I nicely reject it.

Smerconish, the horse trading in the media is exhausting. Let's encourage people to get out there and vote and let the chips fall where they may.


Well, I just did that. I just said, hey, it's fun to prognosticate but in the end none of us know, so get out and vote. Next.

I have a better question. Has anyone changed their vote since January 6th?

I highly doubt it. I mean, you know, you look at some of the issues of this campaign, whether it's the abortion accusations about Herschel Walker or the debate performance of John Fetterman and I am not equating one with the other other than to make this point, it doesn't seem that anybody's views change about anything. Everybody is so damn rigid and polarized they just want to vote for whomever is wearing their jersey.

I wish I had more time but I don't. So, I'll simply say this, we don't know anything. Go vote and we'll know some things come Tuesday night or maybe Wednesday or Thursday. Thank you.