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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Election Coverage 2006 Continues

Aired November 8, 2006 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Someone -- as someone who spent 36 days in Tallahassee six years ago, I mean, the same cast of characters. I've already been speaking with them on the phone. They're all revving up and getting ready to go for a little Tallahassee reunion.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, man. Well, there's -- this is the democracy at work. And this has a very good feel about this, because it seems, at least at this point, a heavy turnout, this is obviously a close election. But this recount process -- I'm trying to...

TOOBIN: Yes, I mean...

DOBBS: ... to find the best in this.

TOOBIN: ... I'm glad you're encouraged.

DOBBS: I really am.

TOOBIN: (INAUDIBLE) recounts turn into very ugly affairs. I mean, the people who are involved in them -- In Indiana in 1985 there was a congressional recount there that people are still bitter about. Obviously, Democrats are still enraged about Florida six years later.

DOBBS: It's through this process we'll have a very good sense as to whether anyone has been disenfranchised. We'll have a very good sense as to whether votes have been counted accurately. On balance, a positive.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. And scrutiny is -- I mean, those -- we're journalists...

DOBBS: I love...

TOOBIN: ... scrutiny is a good thing.

DOBBS: I love scrutiny, I love transparency.

TOOBIN: And we will know a lot more about how these votes were cast starting tomorrow. But one thing about recounts that is always true, it is much, much better to go in ahead (INAUDIBLE) they almost never change their results.

DOBBS: Which could explain why, with just about the slimmest possible margin there, James Webb said he's the winner.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. And just about that recount in -- last year, only 27 votes shifted. So even though it seems like Webb has a very small lead, about 1,500 votes, it's a lot more than 27. So if this holds up through the next 24 hours, Webb is probably in very good shape.

DOBBS: You and Jeff Greenfield have got me convinced of one thing. It's better to be in the lead, even in a recount.

All right. Jeffrey, thank you very much for that amazing analysis and laying that out for us. Thanks.

TOOBIN: OK.

DOBBS: Anderson, back to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Lou, thanks.

We were watching Claire McCaskill also declaring victory. She's ahead by, right now, what, 85 percent of the precincts in, some -- less than 20,000 votes. That surprising?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't surprise me, because I do think, and we were just discussing whether we thought Chuck Schumer, who's -- was in charge of the Senate effort, said to all of them, If it's really close, go out and declare victory.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: ... a memo went out, because we got Jim Webb doing it, Claire McCaskill doing it.

CROWLEY: Exactly, if it's close. And you know why? It's what George Bush did. He didn't quite declare victory, but he went out and said, OK, I'm (INAUDIBLE) the cabinet, and I'm -- I need to, you know, see who I'm going to have in it when I put my government together.

So he gave this aura of, well, you know, obviously it's me. And so this is -- to me, this is what's going on here, is that it's important, A, to be ahead in numbers, and B, to walk the walk.

COOPER: That aura matters.

CROWLEY: Yes.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The aura matters, although I think that the most interesting thing to me tonight is, you have six in 10 of the American people opposed the war in Iraq. The Democrats have won back the House because of the war in Iraq. The Senate hangs in the balance because of the war in Iraq.

And you have a president of the United States who has been on the record saying that he believes he's right. And if it comes down to him, Laura, and Barney the dog, that is the position he is going to keep.

So the campaign is almost over, depending how long -- Counselor Toobin there is about how long these recounts go. The campaign is almost over, but this debate is not.

MARCUS MABRY: I think all I can say is, on behalf of the American people, looking back from the year 2000, we hope (INAUDIBLE)...

COOPER: I'm sorry, I just got to jump in. Senator Talent is speaking. Let's listen in, Jim Talent speaking in Missouri.

SEN. JIM TALENT (R), MISSOURI: ... ballplayers thank God when they get a walk-off home run, or got the crucial base hit, or made the crucial play. But he'd never heard anybody thank God when they took the collar (ph) in a baseball game.

And I've made up my mind that whatever happened today, I was going to give thanks and praise to God for His gracious -- graciousness to me in my life.

And for the goodness that He has shown and continues to show to this great nation of ours.

There are so many people that I want to thank, so many people that He has blessed me with in my associations. I -- including everybody here. I thank them all personally. I can't go down the whole list.

I do want to say that there isn't a person who's had a better mentor or friend in politics that I've had in Senator Kit Bond.

COOPER: Listening to Senator Jim Talent speaking there in Missouri. And we heard from Claire McCaskill claiming victory earlier. We have not called this race yet, though. Looking at the numbers, 88 percent of the precincts are in. (INAUDIBLE) McCaskill clearly has a lead at this point of some 30,000-plus votes.

Marcus Mabry, as you're watching this?

MABRY: Anderson, the greatest fear, I think, is exactly what Jeff Toobin was telling us earlier. This might end up looking just like the 2000 presidential race, where we don't have -- we don't know who's in control of the United States Senate until the end of the year.

And that's a scary, scary prospect. On behalf of the American people, I ask all politicians to let that be what happens.

COOPER: The headline, Candy, for you from tonight is what?

CROWLEY: Country votes against the war.

COOPER: John?

KING: The president, a strong rebuke to the president.

COOPER: Plus some of our analysts who are over here, who've been monitoring the various races. What -- J.C., what do you think as you look over the last couple hours? What's happened, and what continues to happen in some of these other races, some of these Senate races? What's the headline from you?

J.C. WATTS: Well, I think the American people obviously have spoken, and anybody that, you know, wants to deny that, you know, they're smoking some really strange stuff. And I think -- I'm not so sure, Anderson, that the American people have rejected the war. I think they know that we have to win this thing.

But I do think they have said, because, you know, again, the benchmark has been American lives given, money spent. We don't see the kind of progress that we think should be made.

And I think, you know, the Democrats, I think it was a vote against Republicans. I don't think it was a vote for Democrats. But I do think it gives Democrats an opportunity, I think, to step up and make some gains over the next couple of years if, you know, they play their cards right.

COOPER: Do you think that's true, Paul, that it was a vote against Republicans, not necessarily for Democrats?

PAUL BEGALA: Little of both. I think the Democrats have got an opportunity, probably more than a mandate. But they have some pretty energetic leaders. You've got to give them their due, my friend Rahm Emanuel on the House side, Chuck Schumer on the Senate side, Harry Reid, the Senate leader, Nancy Pelosi now to be the speaker.

They did a great job. But the one indispensable person for this Democratic victory was George W. Bush. I think our other analysts have said that. He is remarkably unpopular today, six out of 10 Americans today reject his leadership in the exit polls.

And the war is central to that. Now, maybe it will be just our president and Barney the dog and Mrs. Bush alone in the White House. But that would be a tragedy for the country.

My hope is that this is a wakeup call for President Bush.

JAMES CARVILLE: I think there's an important point to be made. But (INAUDIBLE) some dispute, maybe one seat in Georgia that we're still ahead in, not a single Democrat lost a single election tonight in either a House race or a Senate race or a governor's race.

I'm told that we even picked up the state legislature in Indiana, (INAUDIBLE) across. I bet you you're going to have a hard time finding Democratic state legislators that even lost.

So I think it's -- it is important to point out that this was not an anti-incumbent election, that all the people who lost were Republicans.

I do think, (INAUDIBLE) going with the J.C.'s here, I think Democrats will not -- and I hope they don't -- take the message from this, is that they want to, like, get in the president's face on things. And I think the president will make a big mistake if he didn't acknowledge that people spoke, and that they were telling him that they wanted a different direction and a different tone in Washington.

I mean, it's the -- it's going to be a very interesting jockeying here in the next couple -- in the next week, or how it lines up. Because I don't think -- I think people are pretty clear about what they wanted, at least what I heard.

The other thing is, is, if Montana holds up, and I'm told by people it probably will, it looks like you're going to have two houses shift. I mean, this is a monu -- we're talking about a possibility of a monumental power shift in the United States. And margins are not going to be great. I mean, it looks like we're going to pick up between 30 and 34 House seats, is the best estimate.

But there's a pretty good -- that's a pretty good lick in a year like this. And probably six Senate seats. That's a big -- it's a big if, and we shouldn't kid ourselves. That's a message there.

WATTS: It's a tremendous shift, simply because, Anderson, Democrats will have the chairmanships, they'll have the subcommittee chairs, they can have hearings, they can have oversight. And they can do whatever they want to do if they're controlling the hearings and controlling those chairmanships.

And if this thing turns out in the Senate and goes against us in the Senate, that -- it gives them a lot more leverage there. I think it's going to give them leverage anyway, Ben, a 50-50, 51-49, wherever it falls out.

But this is huge.

CARVILLE: We went through this, Paul and I know that the White House has -- they can imagine -- when they get up tomorrow, their day is going to be entirely different. Their lives are going to be completely different. That's what we lost in '94. I can't remember anything more miserable than the feeling you had. And they'll be there for a while.

COOPER: I'm being told we have a projection from Missouri. Let's go to Wolf Blitzer with that. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks very much.

We're now ready to project a winner in the state of Missouri. That would be Claire McCaskill, the Democratic challenger to Jim Talent. We are projecting that she will become the next United States senator from the state of Missouri. We basically heard Jim Talent a few moments ago concede. She was declaring victory.

We are now projecting that she will be the next United States senator. Claire McCaskill beating Jim Talent in Missouri.

Take a look at Virginia. These are the two remaining -- undecided states, Virginia and Montana.

In Virginia right now, Jim Webb, the Democratic challenger, he's ahead slightly, by almost 6,000 votes, over George Allen, 50 to 49 percent, 6,000 votes. There presumably could be a recount. But for a Democrat to go into a recount ahead by 6,000 votes, certainly the Democrats would be encouraged on that front. You heard Jim Webb earlier almost declare victory himself.

And in Montana, in Montana right now, take a look at this. Conrad Burns, the incumbent Republican, he is behind 51-47 percent to John Tester, with 65 percent of the votes now in.

These are the two states still remaining to be determined. Take a look up there, 49 Republicans right now who've been elected in the Senate, 49 Democrats have been elected. And we're going to see who gets these last two undecided seats, Montana and Virginia still up in the air, although in both of these states, the Democrat slightly ahead right now at this late moment. It's after 2:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

Jeff Greenfield, we thought it would be a long night. It is a long night, and it's not over with yet.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Forty-nine-49, Virginia and Montana. In 2000, 100 million Americans voted. It came down to 537 votes in Florida. Tonight, somewhere between 85 and 90 million Americans probably voted. It may come down to 6,000 votes in Virginia.

Just one other point. No question that Iraq was a driving issue here. But I don't think we should forget Katrina. Even though it was a year ago, I think Katrina underlined the issue of performance and competence that helped erode a lot of the support for President Bush.

And I think the Mark Foley scandal helped discourage an awful lot of Republicans and conservatives just a few weeks out from this election.

So I think it was a troika, Iraq, Katrina, Mark Foley. That may account for a lot of what we saw tonight.

BLITZER: And I think it's clear, this is a major victory for the Democrats tonight. They've won control of the House of Representatives, there will be a new speaker, Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to become speaker of the House of Representatives in American history.

And they are poised potentially to take charge of the United States Senate right now as well if these two remaining undecided seats, which they're leading in, Montana and Virginia, go their way. This could be a huge change in the balance of power in Washington.

GREENFIELD: And even if they don't win the Senate with a minimum of four seat gains, it seems to me that, for instance, one of the most contentious issues, the appointment of federal judges and Supreme Court justices, it makes the idea of Republicans' ending judicial filibusters much more difficult. It means Democrats, whether they are in the majority or not, are going to have a lot more to say about who gets on the federal bench and perhaps the Supreme Court as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's take another look right now at Virginia. This is the latest numbers that we're getting. George Allen still with 49 percent, 1,155,950 votes. Jim Webb with 1,167,694 votes. That margin has slightly gone up, slightly gone up for Jim Webb right now, 1 percent for the Green Party candidate.

But going into a recount, if there is a recount, it's a pretty good number for Jim Webb right now to be going into, and we've just projected Claire McCaskill will be the next United States senator from Missouri in Montana.

Still up in the air, 65 percent of the vote in, but the Democratic challenger, John Tester, still ahead of Conrad Burns.

We're going to continue CNN's extensive coverage. We're not going to let you down. Fredricka Whitfield and Rick Sanchez are standing by at the CNN Center in Atlanta. They're going to pick up our coverage as America Votes 2006 continues.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much. We certainly appreciate it, Wolf.

We're going to be bringing you the very latest numbers as they come in. In fact, we'll start with this.

The Democrats...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: From sea to shining sea, the American people voted for change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: The Democrats take power in the House for the first time in 12 years. But it's still really anybody's game when it comes to the Senate.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And from the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Rick Sanchez.

The election coverage rolls on tonight. We're going to keep it going for you, the momentum as well, as some of the numbers continue to come in. It really has been a long night when it comes to the Senate.

We still really don't know. You were just hearing Wolf moments ago talking about the situation both in Virginia and in Montana. But here's where it stands, and this is something that we have been showing you throughout the course of the evening. It's called the Balance of Power chart. This is where the Senate is concerned, of course.

Democrats managed to wrestle at least four Senate seats from the Republicans. A short time ago, CNN projected that Democrat Claire McCaskill has upset Republican incumbent Jim Talent in Missouri. Now, Talent has already conceded.

Meantime, we're still awaiting results from Virginia and Montana, as we have mentioned, close races where Republicans face some stiff challenges still. But the numbers are so close, Democrats need those seats to try and take control.

In Virginia, it appears that a recount is likely. Republican Senator George Allen is neck and neck with Democrat Jim Webb, although Webb has declared victory already.

And Republicans came out on top in another close race as well, this one in Tennessee. Bob Corker defeated his Democratic rival, Harold Ford, Jr.

WHITFIELD: All right, let's take a look at those Missouri numbers right now, since we know that Claire McCaskill is already celebrating what she believes to be a victory, those numbers being declared from her for the Senate seat.

Take a look at some of those numbers right now.

All right. And Jim Talent with 48 percent, McCaskill with 49 percent. And she had been running strong on the whole amendment of stem cell research, getting a lot of support from actor Michael J. Fox. And it looks like, in part, that may have helped her pull ahead by just 1 percentage point.

SANCHEZ: Let's take a look at the race now that everyone's been really watching throughout the course of the evening. And that is that race between George Allen and Jim Webb. Throughout the night, it looked like Allen had the lead. But suddenly, toward the end, with some of the other precincts coming in from some of the areas closer to D.C., it looked like Webb pulled ahead.

In fact, he has. But remember, this is still less than 1 percent of the total vote, which means the candidate who's in second place here, which it looks right now like that would be George Allen, would have to ask for a recount in this case, after the election is certified. That means this could take awhile. But it would be Allen asking for a recount. It would be paid for by the state and would most likely take effect.

Right now, as it stands, not been called by any news organizations, including CNN, but it looks like Webb has the advantage.

WHITFIELD: And even though it hasn't officially been called, we have heard already from the candidates. This is what Jim Webb said not long ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Also, we'd like to say that the votes are in, and we won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: This is going to be the story of the night. He's a social conservative, really more in the mold of a Republican, served under President Reagan, was the secretary of...

WHITFIELD: (INAUDIBLE)...

SANCHEZ: ... the Navy, a Marine, no less. And he's come into this race and taken on really a giant, who most people considered a year ago would be thinking about a presidential bid, not so much a senatorial bid.

WHITFIELD: Right, right. But because of those recent gaffes leading into the primary and then, of course, this midterm election, George Allen, you know, lost quite a bit of his shine with his gaffe on the racial toned language he used. And then, of course, immediately following that, a sort of a denial of his Jewish heritage.

So that turned off a lot of voters.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It was the "macaca" sound bite.

But let's hear from George Allen. He spoke just a while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA: We're still counting votes. It seems like every time there's a new e-mail, you know, there's some more votes coming in. There's absentee precincts, there are some counties that say that, well, they'll get to counting the ballots later on today. In other words, they've gone home, and they'll come back to work tomorrow and count those precincts.

So the point of the matter is, I've been through it, I think that the counting -- I know the counting will continue through the night. It'll continue tomorrow.

And I want to thank you all, because I know you're going to be like a bunch of eagles and hawks watching how every one of these votes are accurately counted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And that was just...

WHITFIELD: Right, that's Virginia.

SANCHEZ: Both candidates are going to be positioning themselves to make sure they're in the proper place as this recount begins.

But as we learned in 2000, and both of us were in Florida at the time covering this thing... WHITFIELD: Right.

SANCHEZ: ... it really matters a lot who's the one who's asking for the recount, because that's the person who doesn't have to deal with being called a sore loser, actually having to ask for the recount. There's a real advantage, and I think Jeff Greenfield hit on this not long ago, a real advantage to being the person who comes out on top in a situation like this.

WHITFIELD: All right, all eyes on Virginia still, but all eyes also on Montana, because the incumbent, Conrad Burns, went into this race fairly strong, but then look at this, John Tester, now at 51 percent of the vote, and this is with just 65 percent of the precincts reporting. And Burns had hoped that perhaps he got the momentum with the president and vice president visiting Montana.

But, you know, corruption and his association with...

SANCHEZ: Jack Abramoff.

WHITFIELD: ... a -- Jack Abramoff certainly didn't help, especially with Montanans saying that ethics was really important to them.

SANCHEZ: And you know what's interesting, let's go out to Chris Lawrence. He's standing by right now. He's in Billings, Montana.

Chris, Tester, a guy who, again -- and we talked about this just a little while ago with Jim Webb in Virginia -- the kind of guy who really fits more into the mold of a Republican than a Democrat, is he not? Especially with the flat-top commercials.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, exactly, Rick. You know, John Tester made a point of kind of trying to redefine the image of what a Democrat is out here in the West. He portrayed himself as a third-generation farmer, which is what he is, not coming from kind of that urban, elite mentality. He said he's a third- generation farmer. He sported a buzz cut. He would proudly show off his three missing fingers that he lost in a meat grinder. He owns a butcher shop on the side.

Not what you would consider necessarily your traditional Democrat.

Now, here at Conrad Burns' headquarters, the mood was down a little bit earlier when some of those initial numbers came out showing Senator Burns down by as many as 8 points. He has since narrowed that lead to 4 points, with about a third of the precincts still to come in.

And one of the campaign team members has been going around trying to encourage the crowd, telling them that a lot of the precincts that have yet to report do skew traditionally Republican. So they feel there are numbers out there for Burns to catch, or to still close that gap. And when you really look at the way this national race is shaping up, for that Virginia recount to matter, when it comes to controlling the Senate, for that Virginia recount to matter, Democrats must win this seat right here in Montana, Rick.

WHITFIELD: Chris, this is Fredricka. If there's a way in knowing which candidate appealed to what kind of voters in that state, what was the breakdown?

LAWRENCE: That is hard to say. I know that Conrad Burns traditionally does better towards the eastern part of Montana, Yellowstone County further south, that John Tester performed better on the western side of the state. But, you know, when I spoke to voters today, we spoke with a lot of voters, asking them why they cast their vote, there was no one defining issue in this campaign.

One man told me that he voted for Senator Conrad Burns because he was afraid that John Tester was going to raise his taxes. Another man told me he voted for Tester because he thought that Conrad Burns had sold out to the big oil companies.

So there was no one defining issue in this campaign. And interestingly enough, you know, this is a state, Montana, with fewer than 1 million residents. You're talking about maybe a few hundred thousand people who will actually cast their ballots. And that means control of the Senate could come down to just a few hundred thousand voters right here.

SANCHEZ: Yes, but you know what, Chris? This is a red state. Even if Burns ends up winning this thing, this is not a great showing.

I can't help but think that some people came to you and said, The Jack Abramoff association had something to do with why I voted against my senator.

LAWRENCE: You're right. But when you say this is a red state, traditionally, yes, Conrad Burns has been in office now for 18 years. He's served three terms in the Senate. He's highly respected here in the state of Montana.

Yet the other senator from Montana is a Democrat, Montana elected a Democratic governor. So this is a changing face of the West. This may be sort of a -- not a red state, not a blue state. This may be sort of a purple state and may signal sort of a new direction for some of the states out West.

WHITFIELD: And a Democratic governor who helped out John Tester quite a bit, and, you know, we're talking about a state where there's something like just six people per square mile. So while it's a big state, when you think of the square mass, not a big state when it comes down to the population.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know what's interesting -- and thanks, Chris, we're going to be getting back to you hopefully throughout the course of the evening. But he makes a wonderful point, in that what actually is the red states of the United States now. It may really be exclusively now in the South, which leads us to the next candidates that we're going to be talking about.

WHITFIELD: Tennessee.

All eyes were on Tennessee for a long time. This was a neck-and- neck race with Harold Ford, Jr. And Bob Corker there. You know, it looks like Corker is able to celebrate, with 51 percent of the majority there as the winner of that state.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the interesting thing about this is, the race itself. It got extremely nasty. Harold Ford took some shots with some of the ads that were posted by Corker, or, actually, the Republican Committee, he says. And he alluded to that during his speech tonight. Here's Harold Ford.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. HAROLD FORD, JR. (D), TENNESSEE: ... politics works, people live better lives and safer lives. When America is strong and great, the world is a better and safer place.

I only hope that all of my friends and colleagues, and those who will be my former colleagues, at least for a while, in the Congress and the Senate, I only hope that they realize that what people want more than anything, and what I heard, and I know candidates all around the country heard over the last year and a half or two years as they were campaigning, they heard a hunger, and they sensed a great appetite on the part of the American people for something much better and far more dignified and greater than what we've given them over the last several years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: He never actually mentioned the ads by name, but he says, I am disappointed in the process, but I still love my country. Kind of a shot to what he went through with the result of the election.

WHITFIELD: Yes, that probably -- that state probably exemplified some of the most vicious and most mean spirited kind of political ads that we ended up seeing on television, even though, you know, the RNC eventually said, OK, let's you know, pull that one particular ad back.

SANCHEZ: It was only on the air for a couple of days.

WHITFIELD: Right. But you know what? It got so much play, over and over and over again, on so many other outlets, because of the discussion points.

All right, let's talk a little bit more about some of the highlights of the races tonight.

John Mercurio of the National Journal's The Hotline is in Washington. Amy Walter of (INAUDIBLE) Political Report and a CNN political contributor is joining us from New York.

Good to see both of you.

JOHN MERCURIO, THE HOTLINE: Good to be here.

AMY WALTER, POLITICAL REPORT: Good to be here.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, I think a lot of folks expected that this is indeed was going to be a long night, and there might be, maybe one or two states that would have everything kind of hanging in the balance, and that's exactly what has happened.

Amy, some of your observations of the evening.

WALTER: Well, it has been something of a crazy evening, especially in watching the House. I certainly expected that...

WHITFIELD: Understated.

WALTER: Yes, understatement of the day. You know, on the House side, we went -- going into this election knew that Democrats had a really strong chance, not only of gaining the majority, but making significant grant gains. And indeed, they have.

Now, there've been some surprises along the way, some Republicans who held on, some who were expected to lose who did. I think what we're going to see is a pretty bifurcated Congress. Rick alluded to this about saying, you know, we may have this -- these regional races here.

But it's true that if there's only one Democrat in the country, incumbent, who is in trouble right now, there's a recount going on, that's in Georgia. The rest of the country, especially in these blue districts or slightly pink districts, you've had Democrats make significant gains.

So we're seeing them picking up seats that they've targeted for years in places like Florida, suburban Louisville, and up in New Hampshire. So this is going to be a very interesting-looking Congress.

I think the other reality is, there are going to be very few moderate Republicans left in Congress. One of the most well-known and one of the most -- and one of the most longest-serving is Jim Leach from Iowa (INAUDIBLE) a very Democratic district. Right now, the race hasn't been called, but he was running behind. So that would be a very big upset.

SANCHEZ: Is this a repudiation of George Bush and his administration's policies?

WALTER: It absolutely is a repudiation of the status quo. You have to look at what's happening out there, and it's the -- and the status quo means different things to different people. It might mean the war, might mean the president and the way he's handled the economy. It might mean the way that the government handles Katrina. It might be about spending, it might be about scandals.

There are a whole host of issues. But I think voters went into this election, we saw it throughout the year, saying, You know what? I don't like what I'm seeing. I'm going to vote against something.

Now, that makes for a very interesting debate, then, for Democrats, and a very interesting mantra -- or, you know, choice here for Democrats, that, remember, they're being elected not so much for what they did, but really at the expense of Republicans.

WHITFIELD: And John, there were a lot of concerns from a lot of folks expressed leading into this election. People were afraid this might be yet another decision 2000, with electronic voting, would there be any other kind of glitches, would there be any kind of disenfranchisement? So what were you observations of the night?

MERCURIO: Well, you know, we haven't really seen that many examples of disenfranchisement or any violations of voting practices so far, although, you know, we -- there -- it remains to be seen what exactly is going to turn up, in what will, I think, be a lengthy process in this Virginia Senate race.

But, you know, I think what Andy said is important -- this was a repudiation of the status quo and while we're focusing so much on the Democratic wave that has give the Democrats control of the House again, I think you also are seeing that wave carry over into the Senate. It's a very different body, obviously, races statewide.

But it is important to note that the House has never historically, during the 20th century, crossed over to the other party, flipped parties, without the Senate.

And so what we're seeing tonight, I think, is that that wave has transferred over to the Senate, as well, possibly. We're seeing, obviously, a very close race in Virginia and nothing has been called yet in Montana.

But CNN just called the Missouri Senate race. And not to make too much out of this, but Missouri is sort of traditionally viewed as this bellwether state. And if Missouri has gone for the Democrats, as Claire McCaskill is hoping and as CNN is calling, then I think that might give us an indication of sort of there the Senate might ultimately be headed.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, guys, let's talk tactics here, if we can, for just a moment, because I'm thinking of a lot of people who were criticizing Howard Dean for wanting to fight the Republicans on their own turf.

Howard Dean might actually be a winner here.

And speaking of tactics, second question. Do you think there was a triangulation of Rovian philosophy here?

In other words, create referendums in different states which will bring those voters out, like minimum wage. They will, in turn, vote Democrat.

MERCURIO: Well, let me go to the Howard Dean question first, because I think that's very interesting and I think you're right, Howard Dean has been talking about this 50 state strategy since he took over the DNC last year. It's been very controversial. The House, or the Democratic Campaign Chairman, Rahm Emanuel, especially resisting his efforts to try to expand the party to all 50 states.

SANCHEZ: That's right.

MERCURIO: But what you're seeing tonight is if Democrats didn't win in some of the most Republican districts, like in Wyoming and Idaho, they did really well. They did extremely well and they almost were able to defeat entrenched Republican incumbents in some cases.

So I think what Howard Dean is taking out of this is some sort of validation of the fact that he believes that the party, if not in 2006, then maybe, you know, in 2012 or 2016, should be a national -- a much more national party in order to start winning White House races again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

SANCHEZ: Amy, how about stealing a page from Rove with the referendums?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR SENATE MAJORITY LEADER BILL FRIST: Look, OK, hold on. I'm going to go back, just for one second.

Just, I don't normally disagree with my good friend John. I'm just going to disagree slightly here, that I still think when we look at the total vote coming back, we're going to see that most of the gains that Democrats made are in traditionally Democratic leaning areas, Democratic leaning states. And, in fact, you know, Democrats, in many ways, got lucky. They didn't put a lot of money into some of these seats that they're ultimately going to win.

I think some of the gains that they may make in these rural areas or in these states like a Wyoming or an Idaho or a California are due, in fact, to the struggles of the Republican incumbent.

But I do agree that the playing field got expanded and that is what you have to give Democrats great credit for doing, and putting the money in those races.

As for the ballot initiatives, you know, I've never quite understood whether or not those, indeed, help push the vote out. I think what you had in this country going into this election was a very motivated, anti--- John might have said this word a lot, but sort of anti-status quo electorate. They were going to turn out no matter what.

MERCURIO: Yes.

HOLMES: And the question was always whether Republicans were going to have (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

SANCHEZ: Why do you call it anti-status quo?

Why don't -- isn't the Bush administration and the Republicans the status quo?

HOLMES: Yes, it's just a question about whether you want to call it -- again, is it that you're upset about the president...

SANCHEZ: I mean they've got control of everything and they're in charge, right?

HOLMES: That's right.

SANCHEZ: So it's against them.

HOLMES: It's against the Republicans...

SANCHEZ: So it's a semantic argument.

HOLMES: ... who were in charge.

Yes.

SANCHEZ: OK.

All right.

Thanks, Amy.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, except I bet Claire McCaskill might argue that you know what? At least with the stem cell research amendment that that, hanging onto that kind of measure just might have helped her with some votes, too.

SANCHEZ: No question.

WHITFIELD: Amy and John, we're going to talk with you again throughout the evening here.

We're going to take a short break.

But one more time just showing the board there. The Missouri Senate race, which was so pivotal in all of this, with Claire McCaskill declaring victory and Jim Talent, a very disappointed Jim Talent, moments ago, conceding to this race. Just a 1 percentage point difference.

We're going to take a short break.

More of our coverage when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Oh, and what a night it's been.

Fredericka Whitfield with Rick Sanchez.

We're going to be taking you through the morning. I call it the night. I guess you might say late night.

The magic number in the House, 15. By CNN's estimation at this point, it's already up to 22. That's a net gain of 22 for the Democrats. It may actually be higher.

The magic number in the Senate was supposed to be six. By our count, that's already up to four. Two elections still contested, with the Democrats leading, it seems, at this point.

WHITFIELD: Right.

That's right.

Montana is one of those states that could help determine it all in terms of the balance of power in the Senate.

Let's look at these numbers right here.

The incumbent, three term incumbent Conrad Burns right now, according to the numbers, is behind John Tester, the organic lentil farmer with the crew cut that everybody recalls. A very disappeared 71-year-old...

SANCHEZ: You say crew cut. I say flat top.

WHITFIELD: Oh, really?

SANCHEZ: It must be -- is that an age thing?

WHITFIELD: OK.

No, I don't think so.

SANCHEZ: All right.

WHITFIELD: I just saw it as a crew cut. There it is right here. You decide for yourself.

Anyway, becoming very popular, not just because of his haircut, because of a number of other issues, too, as a Democrat there.

But anyway, right now the numbers are not officially in. Only 71 percent of the precincts reporting, but you're seeing the numbers right here there, 50 to 47, Tester up.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it looks good for Tester.

Just -- let's go to Virginia now, if we possibly can.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Of course, that's the big Allen-Webb debate. Everything on the board here from the famous Macaca line to accusations of pornographic prose written by Webb some years ago.

Here's where it stands now when all the shaking is done. It looks like Webb is ahead. Some are saying, really, just about all the precincts in. And we're showing 99 percent at this point.

But the question here is not where it is now, but where it will be a week from now or so.

You still have to have a certification process, remember?

Think back to 2000, folks, and the Florida election.

Then we go to canvass all the precincts to see where the votes were. That's part of the recount. And that comes through after, in this case, Allen has to ask for the recount. It's going to be paid for by the state of Virginia, according to Virginia law. And that's where we're going to stand.

WHITFIELD: Wow!

SANCHEZ: So it...

WHITFIELD: And we should all be pros by now after dealing with the 2000 and the recount in Florida. But it's nice to get a little refresher course.

so let's bring in our legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, who can kind of bring us up to date on how this works. You know, a contentious battle all the way through it. And then now you've got a potential recount. You've got to have somebody who's going to request the recount.

How does it go?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: OK...

SANCHEZ: Yes, you know, Jeff, I'm just thinking of Yogi Bera right now and it's deja vu and once again.

TOOBIN: It is. But, there's been a dramatic change in this race in the last hour that I think may make a recount somewhat less likely.

WHITFIELD: Yes?

TOOBIN: Because, you know, when we started talking about recounts, the margin between the candidates was something like 1,500 votes. The margin is now 11,000 votes.

WHITFIELD: Right.

TOOBIN: And that is an enormous number to be made up in a recount. I don't see -- I wrote a book about the recount in 2000. I'm very familiar with recount law. And we'll get to the details in a second.

But just in the big picture, I have never heard of anything close to 11,000 votes changing hands.

So I think the difference between 1,500, which it was an hour ago, and 11,000 now is profound.

SANCHEZ: Well, when we return sitting around in the newsroom just a little while ago trying to do the numbers on this. And, listen, none of us here are mathematicians. That's why we go into this business. You probably can help us here.

But I understand it has to be 1 percent or less.

TOOBIN: Correct. OK...

SANCHEZ: 1 percent or less is, what, 25,000 votes or so?

TOOBIN: OK. Everybody's got to get out their calculator.

SANCHEZ: All right.

TOOBIN: All right, here we go. The law in Virginia is if the margin is less than 1 percent, the losing candidate gets to request a recount. So we're talking here about, let's say, 2.4 million votes. So that's 24,000.

SANCHEZ: Right.

TOOBIN: If the margin is under 24,000, the loser gets to request a recount.

SANCHEZ: And you said it's at 11,000.

TOOBIN: The margin is, as we see on the screen now, the margin is at 11,000. So, clearly, it seems to me, unless there are dramatic changes that we don't expect, it will be under the 1 percent threshold.

But, let me give you a little bit of recent history. In last year's attorney general race, the state attorney general race in Virginia, the exact same state, almost the same number of votes, somewhat lower turnout, the Republican was ahead after election night by 323 votes.

So, I mean a much, much smaller margin.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

TOOBIN: There was a recount and, I might add parenthetically, it took until December 22nd to resolve it.

SANCHEZ: Wow!

WHITFIELD: And that's going to be the concern with this, too. It'll be like January maybe...

TOOBIN: Right.

OK.

WHITFIELD: ... before it's resolved.

TOOBIN: But it took until December 22nd. After all those weeks, the Republican who was ahead by 323 votes wound up winning by 360 votes. So only 37 votes changed. And, in fact, the person who was ahead gained 37 votes.

SANCHEZ: Well, I...

TOOBIN: So think about those two numbers -- 37 votes versus a margin of 11,000.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

TOOBIN: It just doesn't seem like a recount could possibly capture that many votes.

SANCHEZ: Well, I think it's difficult if you're the one who has to ask for the recount, because you get dubbed with that old sore loser thing, which may hurt you later. It's a psychological thing, as well, isn't it?

TOOBIN: It's a big hurdle.

WHITFIELD: But then if you don't exercise that, you know, you're going to be kicking yourself as the candidate, the losing candidate, with such a tiny margin that, you know what?

TOOBIN: Well, it's a...

WHITFIELD: Why didn't I check it out?

TOOBIN: You know, I mean let's talk about tiny margins. In Florida in 2000, there were six million votes cast. Not the 2.4 million here. We're talking about six million. And the margin turned out to be 537 votes.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

TOOBIN: That's a small margin. Eleven thousand, I mean, it's a close race, but...

WHITFIELD: OK.

TOOBIN: ... it's not that close.

Now, one thing we don't know is that tomorrow the provisional ballots will be counted. Now, provisional ballots are ballots where someone who was somehow not allowed to vote today, their names weren't on the registration list, for whatever reason they were not allowed to vote, so they said OK, let's file a provisional ballot in case I'm registered. We don't know how many of those are out there but...

WHITFIELD: Ooh, but that number would be small, wouldn't it?

TOOBIN: It's going to be very small.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

TOOBIN: It's going to be very small. So, I think if the number going into tomorrow is 11,000 or anything close to it, yes, theoretically there could be a recount, but the chances of it succeeding are very, very small.

SANCHEZ: And there's one little hanging chad out there. And you know this because...

TOOBIN: See? That vocabulary is coming back. It's a beautiful thing.

SANCHEZ: You know I'm from Florida.

Is -- did you hear or see or check out anything today that would lead you to believe that there was anything bizarre, strange or questionable in the voting process in Virginia today that would lead them to want to do a recount?

TOOBIN: No.

SANCHEZ: OK.

TOOBIN: No. I mean, you know, I'm not saying that -- I mean here I was in New York sitting by our computer screens all day...

SANCHEZ: Right.

TOOBIN: So I wasn't in Virginia, because until two hours ago, we didn't know this was going to be the ultimate, you know, the race that determined all the Senate.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

TOOBIN: But as far as I could tell -- and we've had people out all day. We've been getting reports from partisans on both sides claiming one thing or another.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

TOOBIN: But as far as we can tell now -- and this is no guarantee of what will ultimately be shown -- but as far as we can tell now, there is not some major irregularity that could shift anything on the order of 11,000 votes.

WHITFIELD: For Virginia. You know, meantime...

TOOBIN: In Virginia, right.

WHITFIELD: ... leading up to this election day, some 70,000 attorneys, representing both parties, were fanned out across the country, just in case there were any problems with the electronic voting machines or the confusion over voter I.D. etc.

So knowing that, is there anything that kind of raises a flag with you?

SANCHEZ: I'm going to interrupt both of you.

Jeffrey Toobin, you're the best.

Thanks for that wonderful...

TOOBIN: All right, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for breaking that down so...

WHITFIELD: You can answer that later.

SANCHEZ: But we've got -- we've got Claire McCaskill live with Jonathan Freed.

He's standing by, so we're going to take you out to meet her, take you there now to Missouri, the Show Me State.

WHITFIELD: Right.

SANCHEZ: Take it away, Jonathan.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much.

In the Show Me State, we're going to show you the projected winner in the Senate race here, Claire McCaskill.

Thank you for joining us.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: You bet.

My pleasure.

FREED: What is the message that you feel the voters of this state are sending to Washington by you being the projected winner tonight?

MCCASKILL: I think they want change. Clearly, Missourians are not happy with the status quo. Senator Talent has been a big supporter of President Bush. I think they want somebody who's going to bring some accountability and a good dose of Missouri independence to Washington.

FREED: What kind of a tone are you going to bring to what will be the dynamic of this, this new dynamic of the debate on Capitol Hill?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think it would be a huge mistake for the Democrats to begin to put a swagger in their step. This is a divided country. This will be a divided Congress. And if we don't start talking to one another and trying to find common ground and quit playing the political games that, frankly, both parties have been engaged in, I think the American people are going to say forget both of you.

So I think we need to get together and find common ground and solve some of these problems. I will be working very hard toward that goal.

FREED: You were very effective. You were working very hard during the campaign, trying to turn this, in part, into a referendum on the Bush presidency by pointing out that your opponent had sided with the White House more than 90 percent of the time.

To what extent do you think that that helped you? To what extent do you think people are voting for you and the Democrats, or are they pushing away from the incumbent?

MCCASKILL: I think it's probably a combination of both. You know, our government is controlled by the Republican Party at every level, in Missouri and at the national level. And when that happens, the American people generally say, you know, we probably need to crank this back a little bit and get a different voice. And I think this is the natural process we have in our democracy, very healthy.

Now, let's just hope the Democrats don't mess it up.

FREED: Another thing that was happening in this state, we had the stem cell debate.

How do you feel about where that has gone tonight? And to what extent do you think it may have helped you, in terms of turnout?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think that the stem cell issue is an important one. It's something I believe in. I do think that the national media focused too much on that issue in regards to this race.

I think Iraq and health care and accountability and all those things really were part of this campaign. I'm hopeful that the Stem Cell Initiative will still pass. I am -- I'm very supportive of it. But this campaign was about more than just that.

FREED: You called for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign, have you not?

MCCASKILL: I have.

FREED: You now have a larger soapbox to stand on.

What are you going to do with it in that regard?

MCCASKILL: Well, I will still be urging the president to ask Secretary Rumsfeld to leave. I think that he has become a problem. I don't think that his leadership is respected around the world or even within the military. And everybody bit of advice he's given the president has been wrong.

Now, in the private sector, if everything you tell your boss is wrong, you generally are not kept around. And I think that the president is being stubborn about now recognizing that Secretary Rumsfeld is a liability and not an asset.

FREED: What did your opponent say to you when he called to concede?

MCCASKILL: He just congratulated me and complimented me on the kind of race that we had run-and wished me good luck.

FREED: Considering how tight this race has been and how close the outcome is, is that going to moderate your tone at all?

How are you going to reflect the nature of that support when you get to Washington?

MCCASKILL: Well, I -- you know, I have a tendency to speak my mind. But I am a moderate. So I'm going to try to speak plainly and forcefully and with a lot of passion. But at the same time, I do think I'm going to claim that middle ground and I think I can help bring some people together in Washington to get some things done.

FREED: All right, Claire McCaskill, the projected winner here in Missouri, we thank you very much for joining us.

MCCASKILL: Thank you.

Thank you.

FREED: All right...

MCCASKILL: Thanks.

Thank you.

FREED: And we'll throw it back to you.

SANCHEZ: Well done, Jonathan.

Good interview.

Boy, interesting to hear so many people suddenly saying I'm in the middle ground, I'm a moderate. Everything seems to be playing out in the middle right about now.

WHITFIELD: She's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Yes, yes.

SANCHEZ: It seems to be the Democratic message.

WHITFIELD: At least that's her message that we've heard tonight.

SANCHEZ: We're going to take a break right now.

When we come back, we'll try and break down some of the other key races on this night, including some of those House races that we haven't talked about yet.

Stay with us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, welcome back to our special coverage.

Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1994. And according to CNN's projections, the Democrats have picked up at least 20 seats in the House.

You're looking at the numbers right there. That will allow House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to replace Dennis Hastert as speaker. She will be the first woman ever to serve in that post.

And she spoke...

SANCHEZ: Here's Nancy Pelosi, as a matter of fact.

WHITFIELD: ... a little bit earlier this evening.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Democrats promise to work together in a bipartisan way for all Americans. The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C. And the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And speaking of ethics being, you know, the underlying theme that she was addressing, let's look at some of the results where corruption was certainly a theme. And that's what inspired a lot of people to go to the polls for these elections.

SANCHEZ: You know what's interesting?

We did a poll earlier in the day and it was an exit poll. And we found out that viewers were as much -- or voters, I should say -- were as much affected by corruption as they were the war in Iraq, in many cases.

Here's one case in particular. This is Zack Space, a Democrat, going up against Joy Padgett.

Whose seat is this?

This is Bob Ney's seat. Bob Ney, of course, really a disgraced congressman, in this case, because of the situation with Abramoff and corruption.

His seat goes up and who does it go to?

It goes to a Democrat, a pick up. WHITFIELD: And let's move on to our next race. In California, this was the House 50 -- this was once the seat of Duke Cunningham, who was jailed over his corruption charges. And this seat goes to a Republican.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's Brian...

WHITFIELD: Brian Bilbray.

SANCHEZ: That's right. Over Francine Busby.

There were two other cases that were certainly noteworthy that we've been following.

This one is in Texas. This is District 22. This was between Nick Lampson and Shelley Sekula. And you can see here, again, a pick up for the Democrat, a seat that used to be Republican. Most people thought this would stay Republican for a long time coming.

Why?

This is Tom DeLay's seat. Tom DeLay, caught up in the situation with Abramoff, as well, as well as other situations. And here you have it, the Democrat takes the win.

WHITFIELD: All right.

And another seat that corruption seemed to be an underlying theme, for William Jefferson. Still, it didn't seem to hurt him. And that's with 100 percent of the precincts reporting. And he gets 30 percent. So William Jefferson gets to maintain his House seat.

SANCHEZ: That's a lot of money in one freezer and a tough explanation afterward, isn't it?

WHITFIELD: That was cold cash.

SANCHEZ: Let's go to John Mercurio.

He's joining us now.

We talked about this earlier, John, the effect that corruption had on this particular case.

How did you read it?

MERCURIO: Well, I read it that -- I think ethics and corruption and scandal were definitely on the minds of voters today when they went to the polls.

And I just have to correct Fredericka on one point. You were talking about Bill Jefferson. Louisiana has sort of a strange, bizarre system, and Bill Jefferson led in the voting today. But he will now advance to a runoff with the second place finisher, Karen Carter, a state representative. So he actually does not go into that runoff looking very good. Incumbents who fall below 50 percent, especially well known incumbents like Bill Jefferson, go into runoffs against a relatively unknown challenger like Karen Carter as a decisive underdog.

So I would say, actually, Bill Jefferson is in big trouble.

But that can -- that's in keeping with our theme that ethics and scandal and corruption played a big role.

Look, you've got Conrad Burns in Montana now trailing his Democratic challenger. He was tied to Jack Abramoff. You have the Democratic candidate in Texas 22, Tom DeLay's district, winning by a decisive margin, a Republican district.

In the Mark Foley district, an entirely different scandal, but you have the Democrat picking up that district. That was a very Republican district that Democrats now can claim because of the issue of scandal and ethics and corruption.

Also in Ohio, you had a district that Democrats picked up, Bob Ney's district. And, again, the Louisiana district.

So really, I do think ultimately Democrats were able to make this ethics and corruption into a major campaign issue.

SANCHEZ: Look at that, look at that, look at that graphic that we have up right now. We broke it down into four different categories and, you know, this is one of those, it's the economy, stupid, or it's a -- it's terrorism, stupid, or it's Iraq, stupid.

Well, it's all of them, stupid, isn't it?

I mean this looks like a pretty -- this is like a quarter for each one, right? Twenty-five percent apiece?

MERCURIO: Yes, exactly. I mean when, you know, when these exit pollsters talk to voters as they're going to the polls, sometimes it's difficult to get a real sense of what's on the mind of a voter when they enter the voting booth. I mean if they say that they're concerned about the -- about ethics and corruption over the issue of the war in Iraq, I mean who's to say what's actually weighing most heavily on their minds?

But, yes, I think you're right. I think all four of those were heavily important issues.

WHITFIELD: Except do you wonder, within the past year, that's when voters became a lot more conscientious of corruption, since it all seemed to be in one big deluge, you know, of cases, one after the other -- Duke Cunningham, William Jefferson, you know, and the list goes on -- Jack Abramoff with his connections to, you know, so many candidates from, you know, Burns to Ney?

MERCURIO: There was an avalanche of these different ethics -- ethical scandals. But, also, not just -- it wasn't just concentrated within a time period. It was really concentrated, with the exception of Bill Jefferson, within one party, the Republican Party, the status quo, the majority party on Capitol Hill. You had Congressman Curt Weldon, who's under FBI investigation. He went down tonight. Don Sherwood, who had some -- had an extramarital affair and had to admit to that and settled with his mistress out of court because he allegedly abused her, he went down tonight.

You had Congressman John Sweeney...

SANCHEZ: In fact, you know what, John?

We've got some...

MERCURIO: There's so many, I could go on all night.

SANCHEZ: No, but we've got some races that we've broken down into categories.

MERCURIO: OK.

SANCHEZ: And this next category is what a lot of people think was handed to the Democrats, and that's, of course, the Mark Foley scandal.

Races affected by the Mark Foley scandal, well, obviously we start in Florida, the Foley district itself. Interestingly enough, Foley's name was still on the ballot, even though the real candidate was John Negron. He's already conceded.

This one was extremely close considering what Mark Foley was accused of. But as you can see, it was the Democrat, Tim Mahoney, who beat Joe Negron in this space.

MERCURIO: Right.

WHITFIELD: And, in fact, we got a chance to hear from Joe Negron.

And let's have a listen to him conceding to this race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE NEGRON (R-FL), U.S. HOUSE CANDIDATE: I'm very proud of everything that all of you have done, all the volunteers. It looks like we're coming up a little bit short in the final analysis. I called Tim Mahoney a few minutes ago to congratulate him on his victory. And he's the next congressman from the 16th District. He's entitled to an opportunity to serve. And what I want to let all of you know is how much I appreciate everything that you have done, that my family has done to make this a competitive race in a five week period under extremely difficult situations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And the tentacles of Mark Foley reached all the way to Ohio, as well, in this House 15 race, with Deborah Pryce... SANCHEZ: She won.

WHITFIELD: ... the Republican winning over Mary Jo Kilroy.

SANCHEZ: Despite being associated with Mark Foley.

WHITFIELD: Right. Somehow she...

SANCHEZ: And then there's...

WHITFIELD: ... she managed to, you know, deflect the relationship.

SANCHEZ: But here's an interesting case in Minnesota, Patty Wetterling. In that case, she had a son who, by the way, was kidnapped and disappeared. I think he was only 11 years old. She used that in the campaign as a result of the Mark Foley situation. But obviously it wasn't enough there, as well. Bachmann, Michele Bachmann, ends up winning that race in Minnesota. I'm sorry -- yes, it's called. It's already called for Bachmann. Still, you can see that it's a projection, because there's still 95 percent of the precincts that are reporting.

WHITFIELD: And we know in New York, you know, with the Mark Foley case, the association with Tom Reynolds. Tom Reynolds came out very quickly with his campaign ads, trying to deflect any kind of relationship. But, you know, he managed to maintain his lead and his incumbency there, with 52 percent.

SANCHEZ: So interestingly enough, in this case, the Republicans win three out of four despite the Foley scandal.

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