CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
GOP Retake Control of U.S. Senate
Aired November 6, 2002 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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MARK SHIELDS, HOST, CAPITAL GANG: Boy, Bob, you'll get your phone calls returned tomorrow, both Robe (ph) and Reed.
AL HUNT, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Mark, if victory has a thousand fathers, it also has a thousand stars, and there are a lot of Republicans stars tonight. I agree with everybody that was previously cited. I'd add one more: Rudy Giuliani, who was brought into district after district, state after state...
SHIELDS: Yes, you're right.
HUNT: ... all over America -- south, north, east, west -- and really was probably, other than the president, the biggest draw for the Republican Party.
CARLSON: I have an oblique star coming up. If Simon loses, as we expect in California, Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiative is winning big out there, and he intends to run for statewide office, probably governor.
SHIELDS: Very, very good point. Is there, in fact, in this night, a sense that there's somebody who has been really an enormous -- how do I want to put it, Kate? I mean, I think you're seeing...
KATE O'BEIRNE, NATIONAL REVIEW: A star is born?
SHIELDS: A newcomer star.
O'BEIRNE: Yes. I think you're seeing some new talent, beginning with Jim Talent, appropriately named in Missouri.
SHIELDS: We haven't called that race.
O'BEIRNE: Well, should he win that race...
O'BEIRNE: ... Jim Talent, who had previously started in the House is going to be an enormous asset, extremely bright conservative in the Senate, and Michael Steele, the very talented black conservative, new lieutenant governor in Maryland.
SHIELDS: Lieutenant governors -- OK. All right, OK. MARGARET CARLSON, TIME MAGAZINE: Jennifer Granholm in Michigan, former attorney general, former beauty queen, ran like a man, and you know, won big, and I think she'll be a national player.
HUNT: Mark Sanford in South Carolina, a young Republican, he beat a touch incumbent Democratic governor. He's a really interesting, clean guy, and I think he's got a real future (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
SHIELDS: Bob Novak, do you see a new star?
NOVAK: Chuck Chocola, partly because I love his name. He is the new Republican congressman from your old stomping ground, Mark -- South Bend, Indiana. That's not an easy place for a Republican to get elected from, and he did it in what -- running against an old hand, Jill Thompson, and kind of an upset.
SHIELDS: First Republican congressman since John Hyler (ph) out there, Bob.
NOVAK: That's right.
SHIELDS: There's a little piece of nickel knowledge for you. I take Kathleen Sebelius in Kansas. She's an amazing -- daughter of the former governor of Ohio, Jack Gilligan, and she won big today in Kansas, while Pat Roberts was supposed to go second term.
Back to Aaron in Atlanta -- thank you, Aaron.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Mark, and all.
That's Jean Carnahan in Missouri tonight, and -- I don't know what she's saying, so why don't we listen and we'll find out? It's the easiest way.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the person we love, the person who has fought for you for so long, who means so much to us in the state of Missouri, Senator Carnahan.
JEAN CARNAHAN (D), MISSOURI SENATE CANDIDATE: Thank you very much! Thank you.
You're the greatest. Thank you. Thank you very, very much for waiting out this evening, because it's been a long, long evening I know for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Jean!
CARNAHAN: Thank you.
(APPLAUSE) I have just called Mr. Talent and conceded this race. I want to congratulate him for his effective and his victorious campaign, but I also want to thank my staff. Will all of you raise their hands that are in here?
There is none more devoted than they, none who were more valiant foot soldiers in the battle, none more deserving of praise than they. And I also want to thank the working men and women who have united so forcefully in this common cause. You -- you fought courageously against overwhelming odds, and you gave yourself tirelessly to an effort in which you firmly believed. We are all the better for the battle.
We proclaimed our hopes and our visions for the future, and we did it with energy, borne of compassion and conviction. Ours is a cause that has not been lessened by defeat or diminished by the heartache we feel this night. As always, others will come to lift the fallen torch; the fire will not go out.
This evening, let me thank you for the deep honor of allowing me to serve the two years of my husband's term. It was truly a momentous time in our nation's history. And it is my hope that those who write of such things in years to come will say, Missouri's first woman to serve in the United States Senate from Missouri.
BROWN: Jean Carnahan conceding defeat tonight, and that seals the deal in this. The Republicans are taking control of the House. Now, we can say they have taken control of the Senate.
And, Judy, watching her, it again occurred to me how much we expect of politicians, to come out on nights like this and the heartache that she has experienced, and I don't mean...
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: No question.
BROWN: ... the political heartache. This is a woman who lost her husband two years ago. It's a tough task.
WOODRUFF: And she's had to grieve in public, she's had to grieve in front of the world, in fact, and then, she's had to come back and fight a very tough challenge from a young, talented and impressive congressman named Jim Talent, and she's just conceded to him.
We have seen history made, Aaron, tonight across the political spectrum. This president's first midterm, newly-elected President George W. Bush not only keeping control of the House, but the Republicans have won back control of the Senate. They appear to be holding down Democrat gains among the governorships, and across the board, we're going to be looking at a very different Washington next week.
BROWN: A very different Washington with very different issues on the table and very different prospects for those issues. About seven-and-a-half hours ago, we said that these election nights are the great drama of democracy, and the drama continues on CNN. Our coverage continues. Thanks for Judy and Jeff and all of the gang behind us here who have worked very long and continue working. Coverage continues with Daryn Kagan and Leon Harris.
Judy and I will see you tomorrow at 10:00 in the morning.
WOODRUFF: That we will. Good night. We'll see you then -- on to Daryn.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And here we stand now, some eight minutes after the hour now of 2:00 a.m. in the east, 11:00 p.m. on the West Coast of what has turned out to be a remarkable evening.
Hello, folks. I'm Leon Harris.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I am Daryn Kagan, along with our guests here. We have Bill Schneider on our left over here, and Stu Rothenberg on our right, to look at what has been an incredible night, an election across America.
HARRIS: And, before we continue, first of all...
HARRIS: ... kudos to the team that has been covering for the last seven-and-a-half hours right here on CNN with Judy Woodruff, Aaron Brown and Jeff Greenfield, and Paula Zahn, earlier in the evening -- kudos to all of you for a great job of following the incredible action that we have seen tonight, and now we almost have all of the answers.
KAGAN: We do. We certainly have the lead story wrapped up, and that is control of the U.S. Senate. It will be in the hands of Republicans; also control of the House. There are a couple of states we're waiting to hear the results of in the Senate races, but it will not affect the control of the U.S. Congress.
HARRIS: All right, well, let's get right to it. Let's take a look at the "Balance of Power" as it stands right now. Let's take a look at some of the boards that we've put together for you now.
Looking at the Senate right now, the "Balance of Power" -- OK, the Democrats were holding 36 seats, Republicans 29 coming in. Now, of the 34 that had been in contention tonight, Democrats picked up 10, Republicans, 21 at this point, now giving the Democrats a tally of 46 seats and the Republicans 50.
And again, as we said, that is as of right now.
KAGAN: As of right now, but some more results to come in.
Also -- OK, let's look at some of the results. This is the latest result to come in. You just heard Jean Carnahan, the incumbent, conceding this race to Jim Talent. That is a pickup for the Republicans. He will be the new senator in the state of Missouri.
HARRIS: And of course, that result is coming within the last couple of minutes here.
And in Minnesota...
KAGAN: We're still waiting for this one.
HARRIS: Still waiting for this one, and again, this was the one that was highly scrutinized, one that we perhaps thought might have been the most important one. And now, with the call coming in from Missouri, perhaps we'll just have to sit down and wait for this one without the excitement now. But again, still no call again on what's happening in the race between Norm Coleman and Walter Mondale there.
KAGAN: And yet, another one we're still waiting for: South Dakota. This is the one that both Tom Daschle and President Bush put so much stock in. Still waiting to hear that; 83 percent reporting, and with that, the Republican Thune appears to be leading the incumbent Johnson.
HARRIS: And if you look at those numbers, it continues to trend of all of those candidates that President Bush had endorsed so strongly in the last couple of weeks.
Now, looking at Colorado again, we are now able to make this prediction here. Wayne Allard here has beaten Tom Strickland in Colorado for that Senate there; this of course, coming from our RealVote information that we've got, along with the other information that we've been using to make these calls.
KAGAN: Now, this is an interesting one. This is one that we thought we might -- this might affect the "Balance of Power" in the Senate. It doesn't. We heard earlier that Mary Landrieu, the incumbent -- the Democratic incumbent from Louisiana will not get the 50 percent she needed, so this one will go into a runoff next month, but it will not affect the "Balance of Power." And those are the other three Republicans. Of course, this is a primary in the state of Louisiana, and then they hold their runoff on December 7.
HARRIS: That's right.
Now, looking at the next one is, I believe, Arkansas there, a pickup for the Democrats there with Mark Pryor winning over Tim Hutchinson in that state. Hutchinson may have been hurt by some personal problems that he had, as well as a too-conservative voting record.
Now, the Senate race in New Hampshire here, we are projecting here that John Sununu has beaten former Governor Jean Shaheen there, 51 percent to 47.
KAGAN: And we move on to Texas; this, another win for the Republicans -- Cornyn winning over Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas. There was some thought that Kirk could be the first African-American -- the first African-American senator sent from the south since Reconstruction, but instead, it will be John Cornyn going to the U.S. Senate on behalf of Texas.
And in Georgia in the Senate race...
HARRIS: A big surprise.
KAGAN: ... this one -- yes, some people consider this an upset -- Saxby Chambliss beating the incumbent, Max Cleland. This one looks like it was a tight race, but it looks like with 96 percent reporting, Chambliss with a decisive victory over the incumbent Cleland.
And in New Jersey, this was a race that had so much controversy over the withdrawal of Torricelli -- Frank Lautenberg stepping in and stepping back into the U.S. Senate at the age of 78.
And in Iowa, long-time incumbent Tom Harkin beating Greg Ganske.
HARRIS: All right, going to the North Carolina Senate race, another one there we've been watching with great interest, Republican Elizabeth Dole there against Democrat Erskine Bowles, and Elizabeth Dole here now will be going to the Senate. There as you see with a rather convincing win -- 54 percent to 45 percent there.
Now, Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, former governor of Tennessee, now will be going to Washington to represent it in the Senate. This race here was not a tight race at all, as you can see here -- Lamar Alexander going back with quite a margin of victory there.
Now, in South Carolina, the Senate race there, you see Graham there -- Lindsey Graham weighing over the Democratic contender Sanders there. The seat is now being vacated by retiring Senator Strom Thurmond in this race.
KAGAN: We're going to get back to Congress in just a minute, but we are getting word here at CNN that we're ready to call two governor races.
First of all, in the state of California, one that looked a lot closer than was originally expected, but it looks like the incumbent Gray Davis will hold onto his seat, beating the Republican challenger, Bill Simon -- and even though the screen doesn't, there we go -- beating Bill Simon. Earlier in the night, it looked it was a much closer race, but indeed, it looks like Gray Davis will hold on.
And in the state of Wyoming -- as we get to that one -- Dave Freudenthal defeating Eli Bebout as the next governor of Wyoming.
And now, we move onto the House -- we've handled the Senate. Let's go ahead and move onto the House.
HARRIS: All right, let's take a look at the House right now, as you knew -- as we knew, at least, going into this look at the "Balance of Power" now, the Republicans held the advantage of some 223 seats to 211 here. And that's what we saw here before the election. And of course, all 435 seats were up for potential debate (ph). Now, at this particular point that we were calling it, the Democrats have got 198 seats, Republicans with 226, and 10 at this hour still undecided. Now, getting to some of the individual races, here is one that we have been watching very closely, and this is kind of a pickup for the Democrats here. This is the House District 08 in Maryland. Connie Morella, who was the Republican incumbent here and seen as a centrist Republican, did not hold her seat. Chris Van Hollen did beat her in this race, as you see here, 52 percent to 47.
In Iowa, second district here, Jim Leach holds onto his seat against Thomas there. Leach usually (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to invite strong challenges, and this time around, he was able to beat this one back rather convincingly.
And in Iowa in the House District 01, Nussle there defeating Hutchinson there with, again, another convincing margin -- 57 to 43.
KAGAN: I've just had quite a few House races out there, so let's go ahead and check out a few more.
This one in Connecticut, the incumbent Johnson -- this was an incumbent-incumbent, this was through redistricting -- as we move on -- Johnson picking up that seat.
And here's another incumbent-incumbent race; this one House District 17 out of Pennsylvania, Holden beating Gekas.
And in Illinois, a pickup for the Republicans, Shimkus beating Phelps -- another one, three races there where, because of redistricting, you had incumbents facing incumbents in new districts.
HARRIS: Yes, that was a pretty ugly campaign as well. I mean, one candidate was accusing the other one of stalking (ph) in this case.
And now, going to the great state of Ohio, the House District 17 here -- this was one that we were all watching quite closely. The district there in the Youngstown area where Jim Traficant had been representing that district; now it's going to be Tim Ryan going in this case now as the Democrat. Jim Traficant's campaign that he waged from his jail cell in Allentown, Pennsylvania, apparently is going to fall a bit short.
KAGAN: He has other plans now.
HARRIS: He's going to be busy for a while.
Moving on to California, District 18, Dennis Cardoza vs. Dick Monteith, as you see there right now, we've got with 79 percent of the precinct reporting -- we can't call this one yet, and we're not going to -- but we're right now seeing that Cardoza is ahead. And we're being reminded that this was Gary Condit's district, and he is now going to be running it.
Now, in going to the House District 05 in Florida, there we had a three-way-run out there with Brown Waite, and now being -- holding on right now. It looks like a pickup there for the Republicans over Thurman and Gargan. KAGAN: All right, and a couple of more House races here, as we wait to hear from Jim Talent. He will be the senator-elect from Missouri.
In Florida, a pickup for the Republicans as Shaw beats Roberts.
Another one -- now, here's a face that's a recognizable face in 2000 -- Kathleen Harris becoming a congresswoman, Congresswoman Harris, as she makes a run for Congress and leaves Florida, at least the state office, behind. And that's a pickup for the Republicans as well.
And in South Dakota, this was a very interesting race, because you had a governor running against an upstart, up-and-comer. I think, Bill Schneider, didn't you pick this as one of your faces to watch?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I certainly did.
KAGAN: Stephanie Herseth -- well, we'll be watching, but we won't be watching her...
SCHNEIDER: You won't be watching her in Congress.
KAGAN: ... to Congress not yet, but it's probably not the last we have heard from her.
HARRIS: All right, going now to Arizona House District 01 here, we've got Rick Renzi, a Mexican-born businessman. He basically here has beaten Cordova -- actually, we are not saying that he has beaten, but with 70 percent -- that's what we're saying right now is the lead.
KAGAN: This is a brand-new district. It's a...
HARRIS: But right now, we do want to go to someone that we believe is going to declare himself a winner. Jim Talent here, now the -- who we believe may be declared the winner of the race there for the Senate seat in Missouri.
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JIM TALENT (R-MO), SENATOR-ELECT: Thank you. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're our hero!
TALENT: Thank you very much. We were...
Thank you. Thank you all. I would have started a minute ago, but we were waiting on Brenda (ph). That happens sometimes (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
Believe it or not, I'm almost speechless. I want to say...
Thank you. Well, I have tossed out the canned speeches after tonight. I want to just say really three things.
And the first is, I appreciated very much the phone call that I got from Mrs. Carnahan and her comments on television. She...
I've known Jean and I knew Mel for a long time, and she conducted herself with the dignity and the grace with which she has conducted herself in office and in this campaign. And I am grateful to her for the way she has conducted herself and for her call.
I know what it is like to make a call like that when you have lost a close race. It isn't easy. It takes a lot of courage.
The second thing I want to do is to thank all of you again from the bottom of my heart.
We have -- we have behind us the dedicated team which has led this campaign for the last 14, 15 months and which has shepherded me all over the state of Missouri. I've often felt like the hood ornament of a nice car, and they just sort of steered me around all over the place and pulled off a great victory. And I am grateful to them, more grateful than I can ever say to them.
I'm grateful to Kit Bond for his hard efforts and his advice.
I'm -- thank you, Kit. I'm grateful to our state party chairman, Ann Wagner (ph), for her great work...
... and to John Hancock (ph), who, unusually for him, is trying to stay out of the limelight. John, come on up. John.
HARRIS: Well, as you can see, spirits are quite high there at the Talent campaign headquarters there in Missouri, and it's been a long night for them. They've been waiting for a long time to get this result, because the margin was a razor-thin one in this race with Jean Carnahan.
Our Carol Lin has been there. She's been all night covering this race. Let's go check in with her right now -- Carol. CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Leon, they're airing CNN right now, so I'm going to have to block out the echo that is probably going to be airing behind me. But I just want to give you some highlights from Jean Carnahan's speech.
She came out to greet some of her supporters, many of whom had tears in their eyes. We knew that an announcement was going to be imminent, because of just the expressions on people's faces here.
I'm going to try to block out the echo by plugging my ear.
At any rate, what she was saying is she wanted to thank her staff, and she wanted to say that they were working courageously against tremendous odds. She quoted her late husband, a favorite saying of his, "Don't let the fire go out," and she promises that the fire will not, obviously implying that the Democratic Party here is still going to be working towards many of their goals in Washington in one form or another.
In the meantime, Jim Talent, by all consensus here -- not at the Democratic headquarters, but several political analysts I have spoken to over the last several days -- he ran an excellent campaign. He is known to be very cerebral (ph), very policy-driven, and generally a pretty nice guy. I mean, he made the point of writing thank you notes after all of his events. He went heavily after the African-American vote, strategy, very interesting in recruiting a very popular Democratic congressman, Clay Lacey (ph) here, to introduce him at a rally.
He also invited the Housing and Urban area secretary to come and have a housing development seminar here. He started a group called Talent for Women, profiling Republican women like former presidential adviser Karen Hughes, to show that the Republican Party was going to be friendly towards women.
And women and African-Americans may very well have made the difference in this race for Republicans, each casting up to 40 percent of the total ballots in the state of Missouri, usually making the big difference in these very tight races.
And you can't ignore the fact that President Bush was just here less than 24 hours ago. The coattail effect very strong here, as the candidates were playing off flag-waving issues -- homeland security -- vs. pocketbook issues.
Jean Carnahan talking a lot about getting Medicare to pay for prescription drugs, extending unemployment benefits -- really playing to a very tough economy here in the state of Missouri.
Jim Talent speaking about those issues as well, but really emphasizing homeland security, really emphasizing that he was going to be backing the president at a time that the country may be getting ready to go to war against Iraq.
And clearly, Leon, it's a strategy that worked, but this was a razor-thin margin here. I mean, Jean Carnahan lost by about 30,000 votes. And you heard Jim Talent talking about how he related to that feeling. He lost the governor's race just two years ago by only 20,000 votes. So, he is grateful for the win.
Jean Carnahan very gracious in her concession speech -- Leon.
HARRIS: All right, thank you very much, Carol. So we've got the word from both sides that that race in Missouri there from the Jim Talent camp, they are claiming victory this evening, and Jean Carnahan who has now conceded defeat.
Thanks, Carol -- Carol Lin reporting live for us now -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Now we want to focus on some governor faces, including one that we're ready to project, and that is the state of Alaska.
CNN ready to project that Frank Murkowski, the senator from Alaska, will be the next governor of that state, as he beats the lieutenant governor -- the current lieutenant governor, and that is Fran Ulmer, one of the 10 women that was nominated for governor in this year's race.
Let's go ahead and check out some other governor races -- gubernatorial races that we've been tracking throughout the night.
There you see the Alaska card, Frank Murkowski goes from the Senate. He goes home from a legislative position to an executive position, as he will run Alaska.
Now to Florida, this was an early call, the brother of the president, Jeb Bush, going for a second term in Florida, as he beats Bill McBride.
In the state of New York, this one as expected, George Pataki will hold onto his seat as governor of New York, as he beats Carl McCall.
And here are the others that were running in New York as Independents.
And here in California, we called this one just a little bit ago, the incumbent Gray Davis, despite a lack of incredible popularity in the state of California, he will hold onto his race as he beats the Republican challenger Bill Simon.
HARRIS: All right, we want to talk about the -- some of these governors' races. Here, we see the Texas governor race. They are calling this one for Rick Perry there, with 77 percent of the precincts reporting, defeating the Democratic nominee, Sanchez.
Now, here is the Oklahoma governor's race, and again, now with all of the precincts reporting here, no call being made quite yet. As you can see, it looks like a very -- like a dead tie -- a dead heat here between Henry and Steve Largent, which is something of a surprise, considering that Largent was a heavy favorite. Talk about name recognition. Now, we'll be getting one in Oklahoma the size of maybe the governor now, has more name recognition that Steve Largent, but we'll watch that race.
And here in Georgia, perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the evening. Sonny Perdue, who was not even on the radar screen, but Governor Roy Barnes, the incumbent, a couple of weeks ago, and suddenly within the last couple of days here, we saw this race tighten up, and a lot of people couldn't understand how it was happening. Governor Roy Barnes had an incredible, huge advantage with the war chest. Money didn't matter in this particular case. It did not hold the margin for him, as we saw there, projecting here now that Sonny Perdue is going to be the governor-elect of Georgia.
Now let's talk some more about these governors' races, particularly this big surprise in Georgia, with a couple of people who are with us this evening who have been watching this quite closely themselves.
Ralph Reed, an analyst and political activist himself and who has been quite active in trying to get more and more Republicans elected across the country -- you see him there on the left.
And also joining us is Cynthia Tucker with the "Atlanta Journal Constitution," who, of course, has been watching this race very closely.
And I must say, first of all, congratulations to you and your team, Ralph Reed. You've got to be very happy about the results you've seen so far this evening.
RALPH REED, GOP STRATEGIST: Well, we really are. We're thrilled by Sonny Perdue's victory, thrilled that Saxby Chambliss was able to win a U.S. Senate seat. It was critical. We've picked up two and potentially three congressional seats -- one is too close to call. Defeating the Democrat speaker of the House, defeated the Democrat state Senate majority leader, and of course, we've had a great night across the board nationally, and we've won the U.S. Senate back.
So, the person who I think deserves the most credit for tonight's victory is the president of the United States.
HARRIS: Yes, and we've heard that quite often throughout the evening.
REED: He gave us a new brand of leadership to be associated with. It was conservative, but also compassionate. It was principled, but also inclusive. It made clear that we would leave no child behind and made it clear that our party was a new and different party.
And the reason why we really won tonight, to be honest with you, is because our candidates associated themselves with that style of leadership.
HARRIS: Cynthia, how about that? Let me ask you about what happened here, particularly with these two races that Ralph must mentioned here with Saxby Chambliss there as we saw there defeating Max Cleland for the Senate seat here in Georgia, another big surprise here today, as well as Sonny Perdue beating Roy Barnes here for the governor's seat here.
What does this say about either these candidates or about the Democratic Party this evening?
CYNTHIA TUCKER, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Well, if you look across the state, quite frankly, Leon, as Ralph just said, the Republicans have had a very big night in Georgia. They've had a big night across the nation. They've had an especially big night here in Georgia.
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