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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Election Night Coverage in Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Colorado
Aired June 24, 2014 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good evening. Thanks for joining us. 11:00 p.m. here in New York. We have breaking news across the country. Another big election night to tell you about.
Also ahead tonight are reporting on the V.A. hospital scandal getting almost immediate results in congress. And new allegations from the whistleblower at the center of it all.
Plus, another reason the whole world is watching world cup soccer. Come for the scoring, stay for the alleged biting. We'll tell you a bizarre tale. The story really has legs. And we will talk to boxing champ Evander Holyfield who nearly lost an ear to Mike Tyson's teeth.
First, the breaking news and the late-breaking details from Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, thanks very much.
Let's go to Mississippi right away. It's a real nail-biter right now. It's almost over, but not over yet. Ninety eight percent of the vote has been counted. The incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran, six- term incumbent slightly ahead, 51 percent-49 percent over the tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. You see only 4600 votes or so separate these two, two percent of the vote outstanding right now. It still could go either way, although Thad Cochran probably feels a bit more comfortable right now with that 4600-vote cushion.
Dana Bash is on the scene for us joining us from Jackson, Mississippi.
It's not over yet, Dana. But I suspect that Thad Cochran is feeling a bit more comfortable right now than the challenger, Chris McDaniel.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I suspect so because I was just talking to a very strong Cochran supporter who has been monitoring exactly where these votes have been coming in. And more importantly, what is still outstanding in that two percent left to be counted. And they are feeling more and more confident that it will be hard for Chris McDaniel, the challenger, to make up the votes need in order to win this thing.
But we have seen that it is incredibly close. So we're definitely not close to saying that it is insurmountable for Chris McDaniel.
But I just want to point out that three weeks ago tonight, the votes were so close that we ended up in this runoff because the laws are that you need 50 percent in order to actually have an outright win. But we're really talking about fewer than 1500 votes that separated these two last time around. It's not that much more at this point. So despite all of the additional money pouring in, all the outreach, especially almost entirely among Cochran supporters to get Democrats to expand the base, this is still very, very, very tight race.
Another thing that I will point out, and just in all candor, the Cochran people here are saying that if this was just a truly Republican race, if the law here in Mississippi did not allow Democrats to vote, then he probably almost certainly would be losing to Chris McDaniel.
BLITZER: There is a bunch of Democrats did show up and by all accounts, they voted. Most at least voted for Thad Cochran, the incumbent Republican senator.
Gloria Borger is watching this important race, with us a as well.
You know, a few weeks ago when Eric Cantor lost to a tea party challenger, a lot of pundits were suggesting, you know what, Thad Cochran was in deep, deep trouble. Right now he is slightly ahead over his tea party challenger.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, and we were wondering whether that was the beginning of a trend or whether in fact Eric Cantor had been an outlier. What Eric Cantor may have been, Wolf, a real wake-up call to somebody to somebody like Thad Cochran who understood given his own circumstances that unless he turned out the vote, that he need to win. And as Dana points out in Mississippi, that was also probably some Democrats turning out for him that he wasn't going to win this race because he couldn't do it with the base of the Republican party.
But if you look at the returns we've seen tonight, in the gubernatorial race in Colorado, we have a more establishment-leaning candidate. In the Senate primary in Oklahoma, a more establishment leaning and in fact candidate winning in the Republican party.
If Thad Cochran were to win tonight, then you would have to say that the establishment-backed candidates had really done the trifecta and, you know, that the establishment strikes back after the great and unexpected Eric Cantor lost, Wolf.
So we'll we have to see what turns out in the Cochran race. But so far what we're seeing tonight is that Cantor was a real wake-up call.
BLITZER: Yes, it certainly was. And we're continuing to watch this race.
I want to go to New York right now. New York City, specifically. Alexandra Field is joining us from Harlem.
Charlie Rangel, a lot of our viewers know Charlie Rangel. He has been in the United States Congress what now for 43, going on 44 years, 60 percent of the vote is now in. Charlie Rangel slightly, slightly ahead of his Democratic Party challenger Adriano Espaillat, 47 percent to 44 percent. But less than a thousand votes difference. That's not big 60 percent of the vote in Alexandra. This is an important race. Charlie Rangel says it's the last time he is going to be running. He is 84-years-old. He certainly wants to win, but it's going to be close.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's going to tells us a lot about what this community, Harlem is today. It was just two years ago that the voting maps were redrawn. It was 2012. Part of the Bronx was added to this district. That's when we saw the majority of voters become Hispanic in this predominantly --
BLITZER: Hold on, Alexandra, for one moment. Hold on for a moment when I talk to you. Make that microphone closer to your mouth. It's noisy over there over at Charlie Rangel's headquarters.
FIELD: It is. It's pretty loud here.
BLITZER: We're ready to make a major projection now in Mississippi.
CNN projects that Thad Cochran, the long-term Republican senator from Mississippi will win this election against the tea party challenger Chris McDaniel with 98 percent of the vote in and about 5,000 votes ahead. CNN projects Thad Cochran will win this election. He will face the democratic challenger Travis Childers coming up in November. But Thad Cochran, the establishment Republican candidate narrowly defeats Chris McDaniel in Mississippi.
Dana Bash, you're over there at Thad Cochran headquarters, right? I assume they're pretty excited. They're hearing the news as we're reporting it.
BASH: They are hearing the news as we're reporting it. And they are very excited, chanting "Thad."
Three weeks ago tonight, there was dead silence in the room. There were actually few people in the room. Thad Cochran himself didn't even come to address the supporters of people who went out for him on election night.
Now tonight it is a very, very different feel because Thad Cochran did what many people thought was pretty much impossible. He got not only Republicans out to vote for him in this Republican runoff, but clearly, based on what we have seen, based on where the votes have come from with our own eyes, but also more importantly with the data coming in from all over the state tonight, he has done this by getting Democrats who have supported him for years to come out and vote not in a general election for him, but this a Republican contest. Because they like him, but also because we've heard this from some of these people, that they were very concerned about Chris McDaniel being their next senator.
So certainly, as Gloria Borger likes to say, they struck back here in Mississippi in a very big way. Thad Cochran went all in on his seniority, all in on what he can do for Mississippi with the federal funds that he can bring back here and that seemed to pay off.
BLITZER: It certainly did. He is going to be the Republican nominee once again in Mississippi, going for his seventh term.
Gloria, as Dana just said, the establishment is coming back. A lot of folks thought after Eric Cantor's sudden setback defeat a few weeks ago, all of the sudden a lot of people thought Chris McDaniel was in a good chance to beat, a very good chance to beat Thad Cochran. It doesn't look like that has happened. We projected Thad Cochran the winner.
BORGER: Right. And you know, if I were a potential Republican presidential candidate looking at what is going on in the state of Mississippi, I'd have to say you know what? Thad Cochran is a conservative Republican. He managed to get out Democrats, many of them African-Americans, some moderate Democrats and formed a coalition because they could cross over and vote for him in this Republican primary which is kind of a quirk in this state.
But if you look at the coalition he has established, and I'm a Republican who wants to broaden the tent of the Republican party, I'd be looking at that and saying, you know, that's a very interesting group that he has put together. And it's something that the Republican party ought to consider as it heads into 2016.
BLITZER: Yes. And he did get some major endorsements, Dana.
BLITZER: John McCain came in and campaigned on his behalf, right?
BASH: John McCain came in and campaigned on his behalf, very much appealing to the military voters here, the veterans here.
You know, we've been talking a lot about African-American voters. But one thing that we haven't talked about, though, which we should is union voters, other voters who are traditionally Democratic voters.
The Cochran campaign and his supporters went to the south of this state to the coast where there are a lot of union voters and really pushed hard to get them to the polls for Thad Cochran. That too helped. So it's not just the African-American traditional Democrats, but others as well. The military base helped a lot, no question about it. They very much targeted that population here.
BLITZER: Yes, I believe as you have reported, Dana, Thad Cochran did bring a lot of federal funds over these many, many years into Mississippi. And a lot of folks probably pretty happy about that, especially after Katrina and some other disasters.
All right, everyone stand by. We'll take a quick break. We're watching this race, a very close race in New York city involving Charlie Rangel. We're watching some other close races.
Much more of our special coverage, it's election night in America, and we'll be right back.
BLITZER: It's election night in America. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Washington.
We have now projected a winner in Mississippi, Thad Cochran, the long- term Republican senator wins this contest against a significant tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. 99 percent of the vote is now in. Thad Cochran, 51 percent. Chris McDaniel, 49 percent. He is up by almost 6,000 votes. Thad Cochran will win this contest tonight. Chris McDaniel did well, but not well enough.
Gloria Borger and Dana Bash are a joining us. Dana is in Jackson, Mississippi right now.
I assume, Dana, that Thad Cochran is going to be delivering a victory speech fairly soon?
BASH: That's right. We were just told that he is on his way here to this location. We're actually at a children's museum in Jackson, and they've kind of redone to it make it election night headquarters. So he has not been here. It's not like a regular situation where the candidate is at a hotel and just comes down to the ballroom. So we're waiting for him to arrive. And we're told that we will get a five- minute warning to talk to him.
But, you know, the fact that he is going to come out seems pretty obvious since he is the victor. But going back again three weeks ago, when it was unclear what was going to happen, but it was a very tough race, he never came out. He didn't come out to address his supporters. And there were people who I talked to, Cochran supporters who were really taken aback by that and very upset about it and were concerned that that depressed voting at least initially, that he was kind of playing in to people's preconceived notions of him, that he was some kind of done and he didn't have his heart in it. So there was no question, win, lose or draw, I was told that he is going to be here tonight to address supporters. And it's a no-brainer now that he is the victor.
BLITZER: Yes. He definitely is the victor. We have projected that Thad Cochran will win.
Gloria, you're watching this race. It was ugly earlier. There was a horrible incident. A lot of our viewers were outraged when some supporters of Chris McDaniel actually went into a nursing home where Thad Cochran's ill wife has been staying now for the past several years, took pictures, posted those pictures. It really was ugly. Chris McDaniel insisted he knew nothing about it there is no direct implication or anything like that. But it got a lot of attention and made this race pretty ugly.
BORGER: You know, it was ugly. It was very bitter. Thad Cochran did not talk a lot about it. He decided to kind of try and rise above it. And but it clearly lingered in some people's minds. But, of course, it didn't stop McDaniel from getting into this runoff. And I would have to say that his in surging candidacy heading into this runoff seemed to have the wind at its back. And that occurred was that a kind of woke up the Cochran people. They understood what was going on. They had organization. They had former Governor Haley Barbour helping them out in the state. They had a lot of outside money. They outspent McDaniel by about 6-1. They had the chamber of commerce, they had the Republican establishment, and they got out there and they turned out the vote, which in this kind of a tight primary race is what victory is all about. And they formed a coalition that is kind of unheard of in politics these days, including African Americans. Go ahead, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We see Charlie Rangel. He's got a close contest in New York city. He wants to get reelected. He wants to win this democratic congressional primary. He is facing a significant challenge from Adriano Espaillat.
Let's listen to Charlie Rangel for a moment.
REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK CITY: I have the same anticipation about this race as all of you. And so we don't need a whole lot of numbers to tell you how good we feel, how proud we feel. We were able to bring together people and cultures.
BLITZER: All right. So we don't have really great audio. Charlie Rangel speaking.
Alexandra field is on the scene for us right now.
Alexandra, what we have about 80 percent of the vote in, Charlie Rangel is ahead by about 2,000 votes, 48 percent to 43 percent. Not a huge turnout in that congressional district, the 13th district in New York City, Harlem the major focus of that district. Set the scene for us. It looks like Charlie Rangel has a little bit of a cushion with 20 percent of the vote remains outstanding, Alexandra.
FIELD: Right. And he has had supporters who have been waiting to see him here tonight. He just walked in. You could hear the chants of Charlie, Charlie. He came out. He said they're still following the numbers. But he is obviously here to be with his supporters to thank them, feeling good it seems right now about that cushion. We should hearken, of course, back to the race back in 2012. He faced off against the same opponent, Senator Adriano Espaillat. We know what a nail-biter that race was, 1100-vote difference. That's how Charlie Rangel kept his seat, his 22nd term.
But it got a little tricky on primary night back then because he had Senator Espaillat conceding and then you had recanting that concession and then later conceding again. This is a vote where really every vote matters. It's what we have heard from both of these campaigns.
Yes, we have seen the polls throughout in advance of the race that will have given Charlie Rangel the edge. The incumbent seeing that sort of bump in the points. But both of the campaigns said they would be really considering that this would be a tight race. You just don't know what can happen over two years when the race was as close as it was two years ago. There is only time for Espaillat to really gain ground.
Look, on the other side, Charlie Rangel has been representing this district since 1970. That's when he was first elected. He is inextricably linked to the history, the culture of this district. He has a very strong base here, especially with black and African- American voters. They have supported him for deck killed as here. But the fact is that his base has eroded. We see more Hispanic voters come into the district, especially following redistricting in 2012 when a portion of the Bronx was added into the 13th congressional district here that brought in more of a Hispanic population. We have asked Charlie Rangel how much will race matter in this race? How much does ethnicity matter?
Senator Espaillat would be the first Hispanic congressman if elected. And Charlie Rangel says look, his district has never been polarized. He doesn't believe it's polarized today. He wants two more years to represent the district. And you can see that he is at least feeling confident it means while it's too early to call the race, he is certainly feeling confident, the fact that you're seeing him out here tonight taking the stage at this point, Wolf.
BLITZER: And Alexandra, he did get the endorsement of the New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo. But he pointedly did not get the endorsement of the president of the United States, President Obama. How did that play in New York?
FIELD: Look, and at the same time you have mayor Bill de Blasio who said he would remain neutral in this race. So a lot of people took this as a sign that, you know, Congressman Rangel really on the ropes if he couldn't secure that endorsement from President Obama. And yes, there was that late endorsement from Governor Andrew Cuomo. That came after the most recent polls showed that Rangel was significantly ahead of Espaillat. It's difficult to determine what kind of endorsement that would have. Certainly we imagine, though, that there was a bit of an ego bruise to not get that endorsement from the president. Because, again, we're talking about Congressman Charlie Rangel. He is the third longest serving member of Congress right now. He is a founding member of the congressional black caucus. He was the chairman of the ways and means committee. He was removed from that committee, of course, following a House ethics violations back in 2010. But certainly the early part of his career marked by some pretty high profile positions here.
BLITZER: He was the chairman of the house ways and means.
FIELD: All right, there was a loud boom back there.
BLITZER: And you know, Alexandra, it's interesting. Espaillat, he minced no words. He really was accusing Charlie Rangel, basically the 84-year-old congressman, the long-term democratic congressman from that district of becoming in recent years an embarrassment to fellow Democrats. He minced no words.
FIELD: He has said flat-out that the congressman has been ineffective since that censure. He has admitted that he was for many years a supporter of Congressman Rangel. Of course, Senator Espaillat was in the state assembly before becoming a state senator.
But in this campaign, yes, certainly the proverbial gloves are off. And he has gone after the congressman not just in response to that censure and the ethics violations. But he has also quite frankly said look, Congressman Rangel has been in office too long. He is too disconnected. He is too old. He is too far removed from the district. He is too far removed from the Hispanic majority that is in this district.
Congressman Rangel, I caught up with him on the campaign trail earlier this week, he flat-out rejects all of that. He says look, he has solid and strong connections in Washington. He says that he has proven over more than four decades in the course of 22 terms that he has been able to deliver for the people of this district. And he points out that he has already beat Senator Espaillat one time around.
So we'll wait and see what happens in this race. But look, Congressman Rangel, while he did say he is a winning racehorse, that's sort the verbiage he has used throughout the course, even if he is an older horse, if you have a winning horse, put it back in. He is feeling confident. But he is also telling us that he is taking no votes for granted in time around.
You know, last time he says that he was -- he was ill. He was struggling with some health problems. He wasn't running the campaign that he could have run. This time, his final campaign, we are seeing him run to the fullest extent that he can here, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. Let me bring Gloria into the conversation.
Gloria, you and have I watched Charlie Rangel over these many years. He is a formidable player. And if he does manage to hold on, what about 88 percent of the vote is now in. He still has a significant lead. Not a huge turnout in that congressional district. But says this will be -- if he gets re-elected, it will be his last two years in congress. This is the last time he is running for office. We assumed, Gloria, that if he wins the democratic nomination, he is going to coast to victory in November.
BORGER: We do. And you know, look. This is a congressman who has had a lot of ethics charges leveled against him. He was censured on the house floor. He was strip to the chairmanship of the ways and means committee. He is somebody as you pointed out Wolf, who was not endorsed by the president, although the governor of the state of New York endorsed him. So he has had a lot of issues with his colleagues in the Congress. But he still remains popular in the district, even though as you've all pointed out, it's very much a changing district. I would say that if he hadn't declared that it would be his last race, it probably would be his last race because it's been increasingly more difficult for him to campaign and to win. And the power that he had over the years in Congress, I would have to say, Wolf, has been severely diminished. What he is winning on is his clear popularity at home.
BLITZER: And his name recognition. He has been around.
BORGER: Sure, obviously.
BLITZER: I assume almost everyone in that district.
BORGER: Sure. BLITZER: In New York, especially in Harlem that. They know Charlie
BORGER: And he is likable guy.
BLITZER: He is a very likable guy. They got to know him. They got over some of those ethical problems.
BLITZER: The censure and stuff like that.
All right, we'll take a quick break. We've got much more coming up. Stay with us.
Our special coverage election night in America will resume a right after this.
BLITZER: All right. So we're watching what is happening. It's election night in America. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting. We're in Washington, but we're watching key races in Mississippi.
We projected a winner, Thad Cochran will be the Republican nominee once again. The six-term Republican senator from Mississippi has defeated Chris McDaniel, the tea party challenger. You see 99 percent of the vote is now in. He is up by what, about 6600 votes, 51 percent-49 percent. Thad Cochran will be the winner tonight. Chris McDaniel doing well, but not well enough.
New York City. We're watching Charlie Rangel. That race is by no means over. It's 92 percent of the vote is in. Charlie Rangel has a slight lead, 48 percent to 43 percent over Adriano Espaillat. He is the democratic challenger about 23-00 vote advantage, 92 percent in. We have not made a projection in this race in New York yet. Significant race in New York.
We've been watching some other races. We'll put them up on the screen. Earlier in Oklahoma, for example, we did project James Lankford the winner. The congressman from Oklahoma defeating T.W. Shannon. He was a rising star. Still is a rising star. House speaker there in Oklahoma. T.W. Shannon Lankford, there you see in Oklahoma, James Lankford, the more establishment candidate. He will be the Republican nominee for Senate in Oklahoma.
And in Colorado, also the establishment wins Bob Beauprez. Beauprez becoming the Republican gubernatorial nominee. He'll face the incumbent democratic governor Hickenlooper. Tom Tancredo, the more outspoken tea party challenger shall we say, he came in second, 27 percent. But Bob Beauprez will be the Republican nominee for governor in Colorado.
Let's go back to Mississippi. Dana Bash is on the scene for news Jackson, Mississippi.
So Dana, you've been there all day. You've been watching what is going on. You were there yesterday. How did he do it, Thad Cochran?
BASH: How did he do it? Well, that's something we're going to be really dissecting to get the true answer to that in the next couple of days. But I can just tell you anecdotally, he did with a lot of work on the ground. A lot of work on the ground. It's cliche to say on Election Day, you've got to get out your vote. But it happens to be true. Cliches are cliches for a reason.
And three weeks ago on primary day, they simply didn't do it. They were much more focused on the ad war, and they didn't have the kind of ground operation that they really needed to turn out people who have been voting for Thad Cochran, not in primaries, because he hasn't had a primary like this before, but for generations in three decades. And so, they really redoubled their efforts.
So, when I say they, I'm talking about the Cochran campaign, but also a super Pac headed by Henry Barbour, who is the Republican national committee man, but also the nephew of Haley Barbour, the former governor who is also was very much involved in this effort.
And they worked hard to get out, as we've been talking about, not just Republicans, but Democrats as well. The African American community in the union community down in the south and the coast, that was hit so hard by Katrina, that Thad Cochran really talked about the fact that he got so much money back here, federal dollars back here to help them. They went back down and said you got to come out. This is really the time that we need you. And so it seemed to have paid off.
BLITZER: And Gloria, what is the message that this race in Mississippi is going to send to the tea party supporters, the more mainstream Republican establishment voters. What is the message going into the mid terms?
BORGER: Well, look, let's not underrate what Chris McDaniel did here. He challenged Thad Cochran very well, almost to the point where you might want to say the incumbent winning is actually an upset here. Because McDaniel had the wind at his back and Cochran had a lot of money and a lot of organization within the state behind him.
I think what it means overall for the Republican party is that the general game plan for trying to take over the Senate remains intact. This is a very important seat for them to keep. They now believe that they have a really good shot at it. And that their game plan remains intact.
They look back to 2010 when they believe they lost about a half dozen Senate seats because of tea party insurgent candidates that couldn't win races. And they're not letting that happen again. So the message is the establishment is fighting back in these primaries with money from places like the chamber of commerce, for example, and they intend to keep and win the Senate seats and be competitive so they can retake the Senate. And this was one step along the way.
BLITZER: Thad Cochran wins in Mississippi. Chris McDaniel loses in Mississippi. Let me show our viewers what is going on in New York. Charlie
Rangel's district, the long-term Democratic congressman from New York. You see right there what 94 percent of the vote is in. Charlie Rangel holding on to a slight lead 48 percent to 43 percent, a lead of almost 2500 votes. It may be enough. But we have not yet been able to make a projection in New York City.
Charlie Rangel came to Congress what, 43 years ago. He is almost 44 years in the United States congress. He is 84-years-old. Whether he wins or loses tonight, he says this is his last effort, his last run for reelection. We'll watch this. We'll see what happens in New York City.
It's election night once again here in America. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting. We'll take a quick break.
More coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're watching election results come in on this election night in America. Thad Cochran getting himself a win tonight, 51 percent to 49 percent over the tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. Thad Cochran, 76-years-old, six-term Republican senator from Mississippi. He wins this Republican primary contest tonight. Only moments ago, he spoke out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. THAD COCHRAN (R), MISSISSIPPI: What we have tonight is reflective of a consensus for more and better jobs for Mississippi workers. A military force and the capacity to defend the security interests of the United States of America. Those were our principle grand planks in the platform for the campaign. But you are the ones who helped reach all the voters, made sure they knew they were important to this election because it's a group effort. It's not a solo. And so, we all have a right to be proud of our state tonight.
Thank you very much. Thank you for this wonderful honor and wonderful challenge that lies ahead. Thank you very, very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Senator Thad Cochran gets himself the win tonight. He will be the Republican nominee for Senate. He'll face Travis Childers, the Democratic nominee. He is a moderate democrat.
Dana Bash is there.
Dana, what are folks saying now that Thad Cochran has got the Republican nomination. What are the prospects that this democratic nominee and n a Republican state like Mississippi might have?
BASH: Very low. Very low. And, you know, that was part of the dynamic in the Republican race, and more specifically, in the push and pull to get Democrats to vote for Thad Cochran. Because as I said earlier, it was Democrats, the ones who voted for Thad Cochran were voting more their heart than their party. Because the state Democratic party chair here was encouraging -- was trying to stop Democrats for voting for Thad Cochran. And the reason is because they felt like they had a much better chance, really any chance at all at taking this state, taking the Senate seat and moving to it the Democratic side with McDaniel because people on the Democratic side would go out and vote against him.
But one other point I want to make that we're hearing here and I heard from so many of Cochran's supporters, and that is that they're proud of Mississippi. And what I mean by that is you did see a lot of crossover today. Again, anecdotally, and I'm pretty sure it will bear out in the hard data. And a lot of attempts by Republicans to get Democrats, to get African Americans to vote for Thad Cochran.
And what they're hoping here is particularly those who have a national perspective of the Republican party that this can somehow be a model to do what Republicans very much need to don a national level which is to grow the party that if a Republican in the red, red state of Mississippi can get Democrats, get African Americans to come out and support him in a Republican contest, then maybe there is hope, maybe there is some kind of issue there that they can take and go forward on a national level. Who knows if it's something they can do again, but they're certainly going to look at how they did this and what the factors to see if they can replicate it.
BLITZER: And Dana, Chris McDaniel has publicly concede defeat, right?
BASH: He was speaking earlier. I don't know if he used those words or if he gave that sentiment, but it certainly appears that he understands this the writing is on the wall. I don't know for sure because you never know with these things. He could demand a recount. We just don't know. But we're going have to wait and see exactly what he said. Because obviously I've been here with Thad Cochran and his headquarters tonight.
BLITZER: Yes. We're told by the way, Dana, election experts in Mississippi, there is no formal recount. The only challenge he could do is go to the courts if he feel there's is some sort of hanky-panky going on.
BLITZER: But there is no formal recount. So Thad Cochran by all accounts has this election won tonight. I ask if he has conceded defeat, Dana. Because if he has called Thad Cochran to congratulate him, to reunite, to try to reunite the Republican party in the face going ahead to the general election in November, that would be significant. But I take it that may not have happened yet?
BASH: It would be. It would be. I don't know the answer to that question. I don't know if the two of them have spoken. But it would be very significant given the divisiveness, the nastiness of this race. And if fact that these two men genuinely do have very different perspectives on how the government should be run. You know, they'd certainly have some core values and some core issues that they agree on as both Republicans. But there is a very, very big divide. And it really was a choice between two very different perspectives on how the federal government should and should not be involved in decisions and in how people's lives are going.
BLITZER: We're going to still watch what is going on, obviously Mississippi, even though we have already projected Thad Cochran the winner.
I want to quickly show our viewers what is happening in New York. Charlie Rangel is running once again for the Democratic nomination, the long-term Democratic congressman from New York. Right now, 97 percent of the vote is in. Charlie Rangel maintaining his advantage 48 percent to 43 percent over Adriano Espaillat. He's got a lead of about 23,081 votes. There, you see it right there. So Charlie Rangel, probably feeling pretty comfortable. But we will wait. We have not projected a winner yet.
We'll take a quick right. Much more of our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back. Election night in America. Take a look at this.
New York City, the congressional district there, the long-term Democratic congressman Charlie Rangel with 99 percent of the vote in. He is ahead by nearly 2,000 votes, 48 percent to 43 percent. Against his major Democratic challenger Adriano Espaillat.
Alexandra Field is joining us from Harlem right now.
We have not projected a winner, even though 99 percent of the vote in. Under a 2,000 vote difference. Still pretty close, but Charlie Rangel is probably breathing pretty easily right now, Alexandra.
FIELD: Well, it certainly seems like it. And Wolf, frankly, he came in to greet his supporters quite a well ago. He felt that this race was going his way. He decided to come out here. And he said look, we're not going to wait for the numbers. We're going to come out here. We're going to enjoy the night. He told them he sought here killing time. The confidence is very clear.
Again, we have not quiet called this race. But certainly Charlie Rangel and his supporters feeling good about these numbers with 99 percent reporting. On to the flip side, further north of here, Senator Espaillat is telling his supporters that this race is too close to call.
Now, Wolf, you pointed out that we're seeing about a 2,000 vote difference here. But if you remember back in 2012, and we keep saying it, Congressman Rangel won that primary against Senator Espaillat by fewer than 1100 votes. So you can understand that Senator Espaillat's camp is going to be closely watching this race. They're look for every vote that could go their way to decide what would be a very close race. The numbers are so important here, Wolf. They're about 280,000
registered Democrats in this district, which includes Harlem, part of the Bronx, northern neighborhoods in Manhattan. Out of that 280,000 plus registered Democrats, the last time about 39,000 voted. And the difference was that 1100.
So, yes, congressman Rangel feeling very confident that he'll get his 23rd term. But Senator Espaillat not ready to concede at this point. And we still, Wolf, again, have not called this race.
BLITZER: You can hear them applauding. They sound to be pretty excited. 99 percent of the vote, as you can see, is now in, 47 percent for Charlie Rangel, 44 percent for Adriano Espaillat. Nearly 2,000- vote advantage for Charlie Rangel. But as you correctly point out, Alexandra, it was so what, two years ago Espaillat lost by only about a thousand votes.
Every vote counts in these elections. It's very, very clear. It was very close in Mississippi. Very close in New York. We have not yet projected a winner there. But presumably, we're getting closer and closer and 99 percent of the vote is in. We'll see what happens when the remaining votes are actually counted.
Alexandria, stand by. We have Gloria Borger. We have Dana Bash. We'll take a quick break.
Much more of our election night in America coverage, right after this.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. It's election night in America.
Let's take a look at New York, what's going on right now. Charlie Rangel, the long-time Democratic congressman representing Harlem, other areas nearby. He is ahead by about 1800 votes, 99 percent of the vote has been counted, 47 percent for Charlie Rangel, 44 percent for Adriano Espaillat. We have not yet projected a winner. We're watching this race very closely.
Alexandra field is joining us from Harlem right now.
I take it they're pretty excited at Rangel headquarters, right, Alexandra?
FIELD: Yes, Wolf. We may not have projected a winner, but here they have dropped the balloons. They're declaring victory. They believe that this race is their race. Senator Espaillat's camp has not conceded this race. They have said it is too close to call. Not the case here with congressman Rangel. Up there taking his victory lap on stage just a few moments ago. Just an explosion of applause from the crowd. The balloons coming down. This is a congressman who feels very confident he will return to Washington for a 23rd term.
And of course, Wolf, we should underscore the point that yes, this is a Democratic primary, but this it goes without saying this is a heavily Democratic district to win this primary goes on beat the general election.
So Congressman Rangel first elected to this seat in 1970, 84-years- old, he was committed to this campaign. He said he needed two more years in Washington. He says he has been distressed by the talk of his district being polarized or divided by ethnic, racial, or religious lines. He has said throughout this campaign that he hopes that the district will come together to elect the right person. Clearly he feels that was him.
He is also has resisted this narrative that has been repeated to him about the fact that the district really has changed. We're talking about demographics here. Congressman Rangel has said this is very much the district he has always represented. Of course, the it was a historically black district, now a majority Hispanic district. But under the Rangel seat (ph), he said with his time, his experience in Washington, he is best fit to serve this district.
On the other hand, Senator Espaillat, again and again on the course of this campaign, saying that congressman Rangel has been ineffective since his censure, that he is too old, that he has been in Washington too long. And that it is time for change. Clearly tonight, well (INAUDIBLE) that Congressman Rangel's campaign doesn't agree with that assessment.
BLITZER: Yes. They're looking like they think they're the winners. We have not projected a winner, 99 percent of the vote is in. Charlie Rangel is ahead by some 1800 votes. You can see right there, 47 percent to 44 percent. We do know that what two years ago when Rangel beat Espaillat by about a thousand votes. There were 3,000 absentee ballots. So maybe they're going to have to look at the absentee ballots just to make sure it's official if Charlie Rangel does get himself elected once again tonight, goes on to be the Democratic nominee.
CNN.com is certainly going to have all the latest results for you, all date. That's it for me for our international viewers.
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