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Election Coverage; Polls About to Close in Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho; Interview with Ted Cruz

Aired November 4, 2014 - 23:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Polls are about to close in Hawaii, Oregon and Idaho, and we have got some projections. In Hawaii, we projected Brian Schatz, the Democrat, will defeat Kim Cavaso. Brian Schatz will be next the United States senator from Hawaii.

In Idaho, Jim Risch, the Republican incumbent, he will get another six years in the United States Senate. Jim Risch defeats Nels Mitchell. In Oregon, Jeff Merkley, the Democratic senator, defeats Monica Weaby. Jeff Merkley, the Democrat will remain in the United States Senate.

Let's take a look at the count right now after these three projections with the polls closing, 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Look at this, 49 Republicans are guaranteed they will be in the United States Senate, 44 Democrats are guaranteed they will be in the United States Senate.

The Republicans getting incredibly close to that 51, that magic number of 51, if they get 51. They will be the majority in the United States Senate and they are very close there right now

But you see, several yellow states -- several yellow states where the votes are very close. No projections there yet. Meantime, quickly I want to go to Jake Tapper. He's got a governor's race and a major projection.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Wolf. It is a major projection, a red Republican victory and a blue Obama state. CNN projecting that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will be re-elected. We are projecting Scott Walker, the Republican incumbent governor, will be re-elected defeating Democrat, Mary Burke.

Look at the vote count, 47 percent in. Scott walker, more than 159,000 votes ahead, 57 percent to 42 percent. That is a big victory going to have ramifications for 2016. Walker is thought to be harboring presidential ambitions.

Now let's go to Ted Rowlands. He is at Walker headquarters in Wisconsin. Ted, it must be a really big exciting night in that room.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Jake. You can hear the response from, from your call right now. The crowd behind us, just going nuts -- this is a race that is very tight. I will get out of the way. You can see the crowd reaction here, incredibly tight race, up until the last week. Scott Walker had a lead going into the final week according to

the latest polls. People thought they would get the turnout in Milwaukee, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Scott walker, four more years as the governor of Wisconsin, and more importantly for Walker and his supporters around the country is his presidential ambitions for 2016 still very much alive. He is a conservative favorite. We have a lot of people watching this election -- Jake.

TAPPER: That's right, Ted. Scott Walker hoping to be able to make the argument in 2016, one can govern as a conservative and still win election in a blue Democratic state. You can see the excitement there at walker headquarters, a very, very, big night for Scott Walker. But let's move on. We have some other projections to make.

In California, CNN is projecting that incumbent Democratic Governor Jerry Brown will be re-elected. This will be his fourth term. Jerry Brown will be re-elected.

In New Mexico, CNN projecting the incumbent governor, Susana Martinez, a Republican will be re-elected. That also could have 2016 ramifications. There is lots of talk about her as a potential vice presidential candidate.

We have two other projections to make. And -- in Wyoming, CNN projecting that Matt Mead will be elected governor of Wyoming. In Arizona, in an open seat there, CNN projecting that Cold Stone Creamery businessman, Doug Ducey, will be elected the governor of Arizona, a big pickup in Arizona.

Let's look at the map here with places that we have no projections. Hawaii, we have no projection. Idaho, we have no projection. Oregon, we have no projection.

Wolf, still lots of exciting governors' races, look at all the races that we still have not called. In Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, lots of outstanding races. In Illinois, Florida, obviously lots of stuff. We have, we have, coming up for you. Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, we have a key race alert for the Senate. Take a look. Show our viewers what is going on right now. Look at how close it is. In Virginia, but Mark Warner, getting a little more of a lead, 10,962, more than 2 million votes cast, 93 percent of the vote is in. He has 49 percent. Ed Gillespie, the former Republican Party chairman, 48.5 percent, still 7 percent of the vote outstanding.

In Kansas right now, Pat Roberts, he is pulling ahead of the independent, Greg Orman, 75 percent of the vote is in. He has 48,700 vote lead, 52 percent and 44 percent for Greg Orman. I'm sure the Republicans are breathing easier right now, taking a look at that.

Let's get some more votes. We have more votes coming in. In Iowa, nearly half of the vote is in, 43 percent. Bruce Braley, the Democrat has the 49 percent. Joni Ernst, the Republican 47 percent, only a difference of nearly 9,000 votes, more than half of the vote outstanding so still close in Iowa.

In North Carolina, we have made no projection, yet 95 percent of the vote is in. Thom Tillis. He's got a nice little advantage, though, 51,000-vote advantage over the Democratic incumbent, Kay Hagan, 49 percent to 47 percent, still 5 percent of the vote outstanding.

Let's see what she can do, Kay Hagan. She has a road to climb in Florida. Take a look at this, 97 percent of the vote is in. The incumbent Republican governor, Rick Scott, is ahead of the Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist by 80,000 votes.

Nearly, look at that, 48 percent for Rick Scott, 47 percent for Charlie Crist. That's a nice little lead for Rick Scott in Florida right now. In New Hampshire, we have projected that Jean Shaheen, the Democratic incumbent senator will be re-elected.

But Scott Brown, the Republican challenger is not conceding. She has not yet gone out and delivered a victory speech, anything along the lines, 81 percent of the vote is in. Jeanne Shaheen is ahead by about 6,000 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent. It's still close.

We projected Jean Shaheen will eventually be the winner, but Scott Brown is still holding out hope. He is refusing to concede at least so far. Let's take a look at some of these very, very close races. When Scott Brown in New Hampshire, he is not ready to concede, does he have a shot there? It is 6,000-vote advantage for Jeanne Shaheen right now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Does he have a shot? Yes, I was e-mailing with some people up in New Hampshire, both Democrats and Republicans and they all say they are holding their breath. Want to see the vote consensus from Democrats and Republicans was they believe she has a slight edge. They believe she is likely to win.

But no one is willing to bet much money on this in part because of the towns that are still out. You have places like here, in Londonderry where Scott Brown expects to do quite well. You can see the surrounding communities.

We talked early about has to do well in small townships across the Massachusetts border and part of this is filled in. Hanover is filled in and I was talking earlier, Dartmouth is up there. It's a college town. Jean Shaheen had filled in now at 100 percent and with her getting 78 percent of that vote.

If you look at all the small towns, it depends on what we are getting from the people of New Hampshire tonight. If you look at the presidential race, remember where the open areas are. We don't have the votes yet. You see a lot of blue, right.

President Obama relatively close race, 52 to 47, but if you go back to the Republican win against a weak challenger, weaker challenger anyway, a lot of red in there. So the question is, how do those counties that are still out go? Everyone up in the state still says slight advantage, Shaheen.

They want to count the votes as you go forward. Let's come back down to state of Virginia. Let me stop. Wolf, you have a projection.

BLITZER: We have another major projection right now. We project Pat Roberts, the long-time Republican senator from the state of Kansas, will be re-elected defeating Greg Orman, the independent challenger, the projection, on the basis of, a lot of information coming in, 52 percent for Pat Roberts, 44 percent right now for Greg Orman.

That's nearly a 50,000-vote margin with 75 percent of the vote already in. This is a significant win. Pat Roberts, he was in deep, deep trouble. But he has managed to hold on to the state of Kansas.

Take a look at the map right now. With Kansas staying Republican, as far as the race for the U.S. Senate is concerned, the Republicans now have a guarantee of at least 50 seats, 50 seats in the next Senate. The Democrats have a guarantee of at least 44.

The Republicans need one more, one more seat, and they will be the majority assuming the Democrats can't pick up a Republican seat. We are watching this very closely.

Anderson, you and your team over there, this is one of those moments that Pat Roberts, he was giving of a little while ago now. He made a dramatic comeback beating Greg Orman, the independent. That's a significant gain for the Republicans.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A significant victory for him. Kentucky, obviously, we have seen Republicans hold on to seats, Georgia as well as Kansas. Paul Begala, what do you make of what you are seeing tonight?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You cannot deny. It's a very good night for the Republican Party. Only person happier than me, my wife who thinks she is married to Jay Carney. It's a big deal at my house.

COOPER: It's going to be great disappointment when you show up. Yes?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Begala now owes me a beer. Look, Republicans went into this night, cautiously optimistic. Tonight work out better than they could have expected. Outright wins in Georgia. Many were preparing for a run-off.

Earlier in the night thought there would be a recount in North Carolina. We have seen closer races in places like Virginia and New Hampshire. That is just a great night.

It just shows the that the NRSC, their plan to go out and get really good candidates and make sure they were expanding the map during this whole, this whole, midterm election, that it did pay off.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, exactly right. We have seen it slip through our fingers, Republicans so many times. It was hard to be overly optimistic. Everybody was cautiously optimistic, but these things don't happen in a vacuum. It was the NRSC, the Chamber of Commerce playing hard in primaries.

Making sure that the best candidate that could run in general was the one that came out of the primary. It was also the RNC sending troops to the ground. They did a great job in Colorado with Hispanics.

When they saw that Roberts was in trouble in Kansas, they sent out the cavalry to help out what was not the best of campaigns not the best campaign. We saw that. It's understatement of the year.

TAPPER: It is hard to escape any other conclusion. With the Scott Walker victory and, Democrats, holding on to, barely holding on to the Virginia Senate seat. We don't have a conclusion of that. This really does seem like a wave. It's not as much of a wave as perhaps 2010 felt.

Because there were so many House members that fell and so many others that fell. But this is -- this is incredibly strong night. One other thing I do want to say, we are not really doing House races this evening. But it does look like for the first time, history, 100 women are now in the House of Representatives.

Which is a milestone that I think this is bipartisan in nature that we can all applaud that there is, still not 50 percent in the House. But, 100 women in is, is much improved from, just --

COOPER: Gloria, do you see the wave?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I do. Is it a tidal wave or a wave-wave? I don't know. You have House wins that are going to be in the double digits you. Have some big wins in governors' races, and you are going to have the, the, you know the pickup of the Senate. Also we don't know the results of Iowa yet.

COOPER: We should point out, Jodi Ernst, by the way has moved ahead. I just want to show our viewers. About 10,000 votes ahead right now with 90 percent --

BORGER: So if you talk about Colorado, which was the Obama brand, you know, Colorado and Iowa. Iowa, in particular, was created -- the brand of Barack Obama, Colorado. He won made it a purple state.

Iowa, the same and if the two are losses, I think the Democratic Party has to sort of say "this is a problem for us. What did we do wrong here?" Yes, it was about the unpopularity of President Obama. But it was about something else.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me actually, didn't have a message.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me give a little bit of meat on the bone. Just got a note from senior Democratic Senate official who said that they actually saw in the past three to four days, everything moved against them.

And this official said that, he believes at the end of the day, when everything is tallied up it is actually going to be 46-47 for the Democrats, which means 54, 53 for Republicans. They'll have that many pickup.

The only other point I want to make is that this official is saying that there was a net negative view of the president by 30 points across these tough battleground Senate races.

BORGER: So he was more unpopular than Republicans? It just hurt the Democrats.

BASH: Exactly.

BORGER: Though Republicans.

CROWLEY: Not one thing you can look at when you look at who is winning -- that you can count as a Democratic victory you can't say. Well, Shaheen is, declared as, projected as winner. But that was expected, a guy that he doesn't, not even from there.

You know, so far for her to win there was, was a bit of low hanging fruit. You look at Virginia, that, that, you know, Mark Warner is pulling it out is crazy. That's, so what it is broader than the numbers tell you.

COOPER: We heard Rand Paul earlier tonight -- Mitch McConnell say Hillary Clinton has no coat tails, former President Clinton out there a lot on the campaign trail.

NAVARRO: Let's just think about this. A House impeachment manager against Clinton is now the governor of the Clinton home state, Asa Hutchinson. That should tell you everything you need to know.

BORGER: Bill Clinton spent a lot of time. He was in Arkansas six times like since the spring. I mean, he is sort of bunked there. This was kind of a personal race for him. As far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, if I won Colorado --


CROWLEY: Wait a second -- Barack Obama. This is not about the Clintons. This is about Barack Obama. You know what the Clintons did. They picked up a lot of favors. That's what they did. This is not -- they're going to hang it on her because Rand Paul wants to start 2016. But she is going to be running in Barack Obama's world.

CROWLEY: Absolutely she is, but right now for this moment. To me, it was, you know it was a win-win game for them. They went out. They put in the time. They were out there a lot more than any other Democrat doing favors. They can pick up those chits starting next year.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a great night for Republicans. A danger of over interpreting this a little bit. Let's be clear. Democrats have a problem. The problem we have a boom-bust coalition. Our coalition is awesome when we are awesome. We are not when we are not. Problem the Republicans have. They have not fixed it. That coalition that came together tonight to win can't win in 2016.

COOPER: You're good when you're good and bad when you're bad.

JONES: When you have a presidential election year. Gergen wrote a brilliant piece about this. We can put together a blue wall almost impossible for Republicans to deal with. We can't govern with it because we can't reproduce that coalition on off year.

NAVARRO: Why can't the Republicans win with this coalition in 2016 with the right candidate and running the right campaign?

JONES: I guarantee you when you dig into these numbers, what you will see increasing division between Republicans and Democrats on demographic grounds that do not help the Republicans long term.

In fact, you talk about 100 women. That's great. Let me tell you something else. The last white Democrat in the Deep South just lost. So, you have the two parties moving away from each other on demographic terms. So we have a boom-bust coalition. We have to fix that. Don't think it is a healthy coalition.

TAPPER: Clearly making good demographic points and there is no Republican town who doesn't think the 2016 will be tougher in terms of the electorate than 2014. But there is also the point that this is very difficult to elect somebody from the same party after two terms of a presidency.

George H.W. Bush was the exception to this. When John McCain ran in 2008 even though he and George W. Bush didn't get along on a lot of things, he was tagged by Obama as running for the third Bush term. We are seeing in Maryland, the lieutenant-governor is running for governor in Maryland.

And one of the ways that the Republican has gone after him is by saying this is just going to be the third term for this Democratic governor. I think Hillary Clinton is seeing tonight, a rejection of President Obama.

A rejection of him in states that as Gloria pointed out defined his presidency, his victory. That is going to say, she really need to distance herself from him.

JONES: Listen, all this stuff.

TAPPER: This is what I am saying.

JONES: What I want to say is --

TAPPER: Sorry.

JONES: Here's what I want to say. Love to hear, Paul, doing it longer than I have. They will say Hillary Clinton is running for the third Obama term. The book has already been written.

BEGALA: Third term. It wasn't McCain was bad -- JONES: But what I want to say is -- that I don't, I think there is

danger for the Obama camp not to take this seriously. Also danger for the Republican camp to think we got our on the ground stuff right. We attacked Obama --

COOPER: What should President Obama do now --


COOPER: What does president Obama do now? I mean, is it executive orders?

BEGALA: He has to cooperate wherever he can and then confront when he must. It's in that order. It is good that he's already announced leadership of Congress to the White House.

COOPER: Newt Gingrich is saying that is talk.

BEGALA: What would he have said if he had invited him down? The guy is just, not absorbed the loss yet. He already invited him down there. So you have to work with him. You have to get it done. There are deals to be had, immigration reform, on tax reform, on criminal justice reform.

All of which would help the Republicans take the White House in 2016. I don't think they can do it. Tea Party friend are too powerful in the Republican Party to allow them.

COOPER: So when McConnell said tonight that we got to reach out. Got to make deals you. Don't buy that? You don't believe --

BEGALA: He has to say it tonight. Mitch McConnell, the architect tough the resistance strategy against Obama was rewarded with re- election. Politicians respond to stimulus. When I was a kid we had a chicken at the county fair she could play piano. She didn't know Mozart. She got chicken pellet.

BORGER: Republicans have proven that they can be a congressional party here. What they haven't done and what they need to do. Maybe tonight was the beginning of it. I don't know. Depend on what happens in Congress.

They have to prove they could be a presidential party. They're not a presidential party at this point. They didn't need one Hispanic vote to win control of the Senate because of all of the red states that they were in.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going to continue this discussion. I want to find that chicken. Republicans need a gain of one more seat to win control of the U.S. Senate. One more seat. Is there any silver lining for Democrats now? Stay right here. The next wave of results.


BLITZER: All right. It's time to check back at the top of the Empire State Building. The mast is red and blue. The color columns are rising. CNN projects more Senate races for Republicans and Democrats. Let's figure in our latest projections and see what happens. Here it goes.

The red column is reaching the 50 mark for Republicans. The antenna of the building, by the way, represents the 51st vote. That would mean the Republicans take control of the Senate. You see the red is a lot higher than the blue right now atop the Empire State Building.

We have got some key race alerts right now. Here is what we know in Virginia, 93 percent of the vote is in. Mark Warner, the Democratic incumbent maintaining about 11,000-vote advantage over the Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie.

But still plenty of votes out there to count, 49 percent to 48.5 percent. In Iowa, 61 percent of the vote is in. The Republican Joni Ernst, she has an advantage over the Democrat Bruce Braley by about 27,000 votes.

But still plenty of votes left to count in the state of Iowa. We don't have a projection in Iowa. By the way, we clearly don't have a projection in Virginia either. We have more votes coming in right now.

North Carolina, almost all of the votes are in, 98 percent, Tom Tillis, he's got a nice little 52,000-vote advantage over the Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan, 49 percent to 47 percent. But we have not been able to make a projection in North Carolina yet.

Similarly, the governor's race in Florida, 97 percent of the vote is in there. Rick Scott, the incumbent Republican has about 77,500 vote advantage over Charlie Crist, 48 percent to 47 percent. But still no projection in Florida right now.

Charlie Crist is obviously got problems over there. Rick Scott has got a nice little commanding 77,000 vote advantage. Let's go to John King as we take a closer look.

You know what? Florida still 2 percent of the vote out there. I wonder if Charlie Crist can find enough votes to overtake what 77,000 vote advantage that Rick Scott has.

KING: We have been stuck here for a long time. Again, we have seen this movie before. Florida gets to a point. It just stops. It's almost always as it is tonight down here. Palm Beach County now at 99 percent so there is a little vote left here. Charlie Crist is winning big. Is that enough with a little tiny percent of the vote?

There would be some votes for him. Not enough obviously to catch up. The other piece, Broward is now at 100 percent. Then you get out of Miami-Dade, which is at 99 percent and 1 percent in Palm Beach. First glance tells you not enough. Still count the votes there.

I have gone through the other places. Every now and then you get an adjustment. County finds more votes that they haven't counted, but you go around the states.

Red counties in for Rick Scott or the other, it's just a Charlie Christ home base out there and he just barely won, by the way, in Tampa. Over at St. Pete, he won by a little bit more --

BLITZER: A 100 percent of the vote in.

KING: It's 100 percent of the voting so we are just waiting for the most part on these two counties. There may be a handful of votes in the state. If you look at it, when I look at it, I see a hard time even though that's not a huge lead.

I see a hard 77,000 votes, possible but, tough, tough sledding there. And then we switch to the Senate races and we got a whole lot of wow. Let's just go to Virginia first --

BLITZER: Hold on one second. I want to go to Mark Preston at our decision desk. He is our CNN politics executive editor. You have an update on what is going on in Florida right now -- Mark.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: I do, Wolf. We haven't projected the race here at decision desk, but I've spoken to two sources right now down in Florida, Charlie Crist has called Rick Scott. He has conceded the race. I'm told by top people in both campaigns that that in fact has happened.

It's taken this long for Charlie Crist to do so. They're waiting to see where the vote was in South Florida. They were hoping to try to make up enough, if not to win, but perhaps go to a recount.

Right now, they realize that was not going to happen. Charlie Crist, I am told, has called Rick Scott. Rick Scott has accepted that call -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Mark Preston. With 77,000 votes in Florida right now, that is going to be almost impossible for Charlie Crist to overcome and as a result, he himself sees the handwriting on the wall. As a gentleman he calls Rick Scott to concede.

KING: There'll probably a debate within the Democratic Party. Shouldn't we wait to the morning? Shouldn't we talk to the lawyers? Charlie Crist having been the Republican governor now trying to run as a Democratic governor, he did the math himself.

I'm sure that we were just looking at. Sure, there were votes out here, 99 percent. You drop down to Miami-Dade, are you going to get 70,000 votes when the final precinct or two come in. Might get two, three, but you are not going to get 70. Pretty much everything around the state is 100 percent reported.

So Charlie Crist, a veteran of his own close races in the past, a veteran of being governor and being in the state of Florida, making the decision tonight as Mark concede. He can do the math. Unlikely, he will come up with the math. We still got a lot of math in some of these Senate races, want to pick one. BLITZER: They're at 50 right now. They -- they're at 50 right now. They need one more. Probably get one more at least one more. Probably get -- at least one more. Probably get more than one more. Where do you think the next one will come?

KING: I think the next one is going to come right here. I'm going to go east in a minute. We'll look at Virginia and North Carolina again. But those are so close. I think if you look at this, right, when we looked at the early results.

Bruce Braley was ahead because of the early results from Poke County, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids area and then out in the east. But if you look at what happened now, where two-thirds of the vote in, Joni Ernst, it's starting to open up as we start getting northwest and central Iowa up here.

And even in Poke County, the biggest basket of Democratic votes here, 14 percent of the state population, 50-46 there. I'll just go back, relatively competitive presidential race in the state, 56 for the president, and 50 percent for Bruce Braley.

This is his home state. He had to do better. Watch this one fill in. This one tells me, barring some unexpected miracle. Joni Ernst will win the state of Iowa. We are not quite there yet with the count.

BLITZER: That could be the 51st vote, that's Democratic seat. Tom Harkin is retiring, the long-time Democratic senator. That would be a pick up.

KING: That would be a pickup. They believe they are going to get Alaska, the Republicans believe very strong. They're going to get Alaska. We might be up in rural areas --

BLITZER: They close the polls in Alaska at 1 a.m.

KING: And sometimes it's 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. the next day and sometimes it goes on for a few days there. We still have these two races that are really close, 98 percent now. Tom Tillis, look at that lead, 50,000 right there, Tom Tillis leading. So I'm still looking here. I've been looking all night at Mecklenburg County.

This is nearly 10 percent of the state population, 87 percent of the vote is in. You see she has a big lead there. There are enough votes here to make up that difference. The question is does that margin hold up with specific precincts how many votes do they have.

But you have to watch that number as it comes in. We also have a one county down here it's just blank, waiting. It is tiny, it's tiny. It does matter in a close race. Here, there. Watch that one. We don't know.

We're trying to call into the state. Find out what is happening. You are looking for more, you are at 100 percent and so we're waiting for the county. We are waiting for tiny county down here.

BLITZER: If Tillis holds on and beats Hagan that's another Republican pickup.

KING: That would be a huge, huge pickup, very competitive race, Tom Tillis close. Kay Hagan consistently had a three, four, point lead throughout the campaign focusing on ISIS, Ebola. You will have the county is going to decide this race.

There are enough votes there for her to come back. It just depends on the size of those precincts and turnout if she holds the margin coming in. Remarkably close race. If Tom Tillis hangs on that would be a Republican pickup.

If he just barely losses, Wolf, then we'll have to factor in the libertarian candidate, Sean Hall, who is still getting three to four percent of the vote. But at the moment, let's watch this one play out and I just come north and show you the results in Virginia as we go.

We have heard from our team. As we look at this one, 95 percent in. Mark Warner with a very small lead, a small -- 5,000 or so vote, we are told still out in Virginia Beach. Ed Gillespie is winning. Warner campaign is out in Fairfax County -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We have a major projection to announce right now. CNN projects Republicans will take control of the United States Senate. They will be in the majority in the next United States Senate. Because we projected North Carolina, will go to the Republicans, or the challenger, Thom Tillis will defeat Senator Kay Hagan.

This is a major, major projection. The Republicans are going to be the majority in the United States Senate. Thom Tillis, we project, will defeat Kay Hagan, the Democratic senator. Right now 98 percent of vote is in. Thom Tillis has a 53,000 vote advantage right now. It is close. But not close enough. Not close enough for Kay Hagan.

Take a look at the Empire State Building right now. We've been taking a look at the red and the blue as a result of 51, Republican seats. It is now red. People walking by Empire State Building are seeing, CNN right now.

They see the Empire State Building is red because the CNN is now projecting the Republicans will be the majority in the United States Senate. Thom Tillis will be the next U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina and Kay Hagan loses. Anderson, a lot to digest tonight for Republicans and Democrats.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We only have about three and a half hours to digest it. So let's try to get the ball rolling here. I mean, not really a surprise. It's certainly what we anticipated a lot of people anticipating, yet, the reality now is --

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: North Carolina is a surprise. Wouldn't you?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We have been talking about how to make sense of this. Newt made the point. Sign of health for our democracy. I look at some of these numbers. I don't know, 38 percent voter turnout, very low, people of color, 2008, 28 percent, 24 percent, 25 percent.

People under the age of 19, 2008, 19 percent of the electorate fell done to 13 percent. So you have young people not participating. Overall lower voter turnout and then -- you still have to deal with the fact that you have big money in, little people out.

I don't know if this is a seen of health for the country when you have this kind of an outcome so significant and yet so many people just not participating.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Got to tell me. My party, your party, we had enough money. We did and we had enough, I think good candidates. Republicans had better candidates this time. They had, they, probably should have won this a couple years ago when they had the landslide in 2010. This time they got smart.

You're right, the establishment stepped in. They ran, 83 percent fewer witches and nobody talked -- why are you doing this, buddy? A better class of candidates -- on our side I agree with all the statistics.

But I think the Democrats have now to take a look, why did we get dropped like this? What happened and I would rather over interpret and learn from it.

COOPER: So is it enough to say as President Obama saying that, look, the map wasn't in the Democrat's favor this year?

BEGALA: It is true, but not enough. Do you feel it in your heart. Twinge in your chest, probably just heartburn? I don't know. You know, it's like I think we should honor the threat from Democrats.

COOPER: So what should the message the president gets, the Democrats?

BEGALA: I think it's what Van is saying. We did not do enough to motivate young people.

JONES: We did not deal with the pain at the base of this party. You have African-Americans who were hurting. We held on to this president. We defended this president, but economically we are in free fall. You have things happening like Ferguson, like Trayvon Martin.

You have a moment where criminal justice is actually a bipartisan issue, Republicans, Democrats. Nobody is speaking to that. Thing that would have brought people out at the base of this party, where is the job program for young people? Where is the criminal justice reform?

NAVARRO: But the message garnered from this, both sides, the electorate, the American people are disillusioned, distrustful of the government. They don't think they handle crises right. They held President Obama accountable because he is president.

When you have the bully pulpit, you are accountable. The buck stops with you. That doesn't mean there isn't the general feeling of malaise in the country when it comes to the government.

MADDEN: As happy as Ann and I are tonight.

NAVARRO: Is this your happy face?

MADDEN: I would do a happy dance, but I don't want to show up Begala. We have been barking and chasing after this car and now we caught it. There is a charge. There is a responsibility now for Republicans to govern. You look at the folks about to lead the Senate and lead this House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Boehner, both at their heart, core, institutionalists, they care about the Congress. They want to see the Senate work for the American people. They want to see the House again work for the American people.

So that's going to be there charge. I do believe the big question, the big equation is what is the message the president is going to get? He will have two choices. First choice, does he go on counter attack. We have seen signs of that from this White House that this is what they want to do.

But the second question is, I think this will be better for the country, is it legacy time. He's never going to be on the ballot again? Can he go get big things done with the two leaders on the Senate and House? Want to get big things done, tax reform. You name it.

I think that will be the big question. The president is a key part of the equation. He has always shown that he has actually been very reactive.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Who goes first? Who throws out the olive branch? What the American public does not want to see?

MADDEN: The president has to go past the pageantry and build relationships he hasn't for six years.

BORGER: Here is the other factor we ought to kid. Mitch McConnell has what, four presidential candidates, potential presidential candidates. Dana knows maybe more in the Senate right now. He is beholding to Rand Paul, who really helped him out in the state of Kentucky.


MADDEN: Mitch McConnell has been waiting for this job for ten years.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am glad you brought that up. I talked to McConnell in Kentucky a few weeks ago. I said the sort of, the rap on senators is they look at the mirror and they say "You are going to be president." He said I never had that affliction. He always wanted to be Senate majority leader.

I will give you a little color from somebody with him now entered a room full of staffers when they got this news. Final news, at his hotel in Kentucky and they were screaming and yelling. You know, like he was a rock star. He has had this, the Charlie Brown football pulled out a couple times before.

Because the candidates on the Republican side didn't make it and he finally is, is here. I want to shift the conversation a little bit. I want to push a story line that I think we are going to be hearing about with your party.

There is so much finger pointing going on among Democrats. On the story that I did, on your show the other night, Anderson, on the distance that Democrats put President Obama on --

NAVARRO: Getting on the Christmas card.

BASH: To the point that, the fact that the base didn't come out. So you are hearing a lot of Obama loyalists, hearing, seeing e-mails, saying "what do they expect? They expect turnout to be high when they say the things they say and do the things they do to the guy who actually still is popular with the base?"

On the flip side as I told you earlier, those who ran these campaigns are saying there is no way we could have brought Obama in here.

COOPER: Earlier conversation about Hillary Clinton assuming she is running. Does she distance herself from President Obama and to what parallel if she doesn't?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: She was secretary of state. They went on "60 Minutes." They were having not a romance. They were having, all for one, all for one moment when she left. Look, I think part of the problem for Democrats now. Both sides are going to have this by the way. Who is most powerful in the coalition?

The fact is I remember when the president was inaugurated the second time and was about to deliver his address. I talked to him. One of the things he said that stuck with me. What we don't know is if the Obama coalition is about Obama or the Democratic Party.

BASH: Neither do they.

CROWLEY: They have no idea. That's what he said. They have no idea. Whether that coalition, the young, minorities, and bringing out people, whether that is just peculiar to him or whether the Democratic Party. This would suggest that it is. And don't think it is anything.

COOPER: Another projection, want to go to Wolf.

BLITZER: I've got another major projection right now. Take a look at this, everyone. Joni Ernst, the Republican will be the next United States senator from the state of Iowa defeating Bruce Braley, the Democrat. This is another Republican pickup. Tom Harkin, retiring Democratic senator from Iowa left that seat open. Joni Ernst will become the first woman ever from the state of

Iowa to represent Iowa in the United States Congress. Right now, 75 percent of the vote is in. She's got 51 percent. Bruce Braley, the Democrat, 45 percent. She is a head by 57,600, 75 percent of the vote in. She will be the winner.

We project Joni Ernst will be the next United States senator from state of Iowa. Let's take a look at the map right now. Republicans, they only have a 51 majority seat, majority in the United States Senate. It's now up to 52. The Democrats are guaranteed 44. There are still a few seats that are still undecided.

You can see in yellow on the map. This is a big, big win for the Republicans. Let's go to headquarters out there in Des Moines. Pamela Brown is standing by. I don't know if they know about this yet behind you. They seem pretty calm. It's pretty excited for Joni Ernst.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Very exciting here. Celebratory atmosphere as you see right behind me. Joni Ernst is speaking. A few minutes ago, Bruce Braley, the Democratic contender in the Senate race in Iowa conceded. She is now declaring victory. She will be the first woman from Iowa sent to Washington to take federal office, the first female combat vet in the U.S. Senate.

This was a hard fought campaign, extremely competitive. In fact, Democrats initially thought they weren't going to have to worry about the race. Ernst had the infamous, hogs castration, put her on the map. From there she gained momentum and really gave the Bruce Braley campaign a run for their money as we see tonight, crossed the finish line a winner.

I've been talking to folks today and asking why they think she -- she was able to win in this race, a few reasons. She is someone, unflappable, Teflon candidate. Bruce Braley threw negative things at her. It seemed look nothing would stick. Republicans feel they made a difference -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, over at Ernst headquarters, Joni Ernst, the next United States senator from the state of Iowa. Let's check in with Jake Tapper. He's got a major projection on the governor's race.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, I have three projections. We're going to start with President Obama's home state of Illinois where we are projecting incumbent Democratic governor will be defeated by Republican Bruce Rauner. Talk about a wave and repudiation for President Obama. His won governor is now a Republican in what is traditionally a very blue state.

President Obama also campaigned recently in Michigan. We are projecting that incumbent Republican Governor Rick Snyder will be re- elected in the state. In Nevada, we are projecting that incumbent, Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, will be re-elected in the state as well.'

Let's look at some of the vote counts we have coming in from traditionally Democratic blue states where Republicans are in the lead. Maryland, true blue Maryland, Larry Hogan, Republican up over the Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, 54 percent to 45 percent with 70 percent of the vote in.

In Connecticut, another true blue state, Republican Tom Foley up 51 percent against the incumbent Democratic Governor Dan Malloy. Let's go out to Maine if we can where another blue state. Republican Paul LePage is up 47 percent.

This is a three-way race, Democrat Mike Michaud, 44 percent. Independent, Elliott Cutler, 8 percent. They do not have a run-off in the state, but one that wins the most votes wins.

In Colorado, Bob Beauprez is up 48 percent to incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper with 80 percent of the vote in, a lot of very difficult. It's a Republican wave that a lot of these Democratic governors were facing. It's very difficult to fend off this tide.

Look at the -- these states where the yellow is where we are not making a projection. In Hawaii, we cannot yet make a projection in Idaho and in Oregon. And now we are going to go to Wolf Blitzer. Back to you.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Jake.

Let's bring in a special guest, Senator Ted Cruz. The Republican senator from Texas is joining us now. Let's talk about what is going on. Senator Cruz, thanks very much for joining us. Got a big smile on your face. You should have a big smile on your face. The Republicans have done incredibly well. You are now going to be in the majority in the United States Senate. Quickly, will you support Mitch McConnell as your leader in the United States Senate?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Well, that will be a decision for the conference to make and that will be decided next week. But I'll tell you, tonight was a terrific night for Republicans. It was a powerful repudiation of the Obama agenda, the Obama economy, which isn't working. And now really the responsibility falls on Republicans, now that we have been handed the majority, for us to stand up and lead, and I very much hope that's what we do.

BLITZER: Well, I know that you don't want to answer the question, but let me try one more time, because a few days ago you were sort of reluctant to make it clear you would support Mitch McConnell as the Republican, as the majority leader. The Republicans will be in the majority. Can you not tell us now whether you will or you won't support Mitch McConnell? What is standing in the way?

CRUZ: Wolf, I will give you the same answer I did the first time you asked that question, which is that will be a decision for the conference to make next week. And tonight, what I'm focused on is the results of this election, which is a resounding Republican majority.

And I would point out that, the American people, they're frustrated with what is happening in Washington. But now the responsibility falls on us to lead with a positive, bold, optimistic, pro-jobs agenda. And I hope we see Republicans unite. Every Republican unite in the Senate and stand together and deliver on the promises that we've been making on the campaign trail. I think a lot of voters are skeptical of politicians in both parties, and I very much hope that my party can validate and earn the trust that's been placed in us. And that we can stand up, listen to the people, and come together for positive, pro-growth economic legislation.

BLITZER: You see an opportunity to now work with the president of the United States in his final two years and get some compromises on some of these key issues that are so important to the American people?

CRUZ: You know, Wolf, I hope so. It seems to me economic growth should be a bipartisan objective. It should be the No. 1 objective of everyone. It is certainly the No. 1 objective of the 26 million Texans I represent. And all across the country, people are united across parties outside of Washington in wanting jobs and economic growth.

So if the president is willing to work with us, we as Republicans are willing to work with him on tax reform, simplifying the tax code, reducing the burdens on regulatory reforms, simplifying regulations, reducing the burdens on job creators, on protecting constitutional rights like free speech, like religious liberty. If the president is willing to work together, we are willing to work with him. But at the same time that doesn't mean Republicans should run away from what we campaigned on.

You know, the two biggest issues in this election, nationwide, Wolf, were No. 1 stopping the train wreck that is Obamacare. No. 2, stopping the president from illegally granting amnesty.

BLITZER: You might be able to pass the legislation in the House and the Senate. You will be in the majority. But he has got that veto. As you well know, he is going to be able to veto that kind of legislation. And you don't necessarily have a two-thirds override.

CRUZ: No doubt. I think we should stand together. We should use reconciliation, we should pass full repeal. You're right, the president will almost surely veto it. But then we should start systematically repealing some of the most burdensome aspects of Obamacare. We should systematically pass legislation that provides that you can't have your health insurance canceled, you can't lose your doctor because of Obamacare. Honor the president's promise there. We should change the law so that people aren't forced into part-time work. Millions of people, especially single moms, have been forced into part-time work. We need to change the law to do that. We need to prohibit insurance company bailouts. We need to pass law after law after law, responding to the American people, and put them up to the president and see if he is welling to veto every aspect of legislation that would protect the American people and provide relief to the people who are suffering.

BLITZER: Senator Ted Cruz, congratulations to the Republicans. I don't know if it is a shellacking, but it is pretty close to a shellacking. That's what the president said when the Republicans took the House back in 2010. Now the Republicans have taken the Senate. A very impressive night for the Republicans to continue our conversation. Senator Ted Cruz, who will now be in the majority in the United States Senate. He is like all Republicans, pretty happy guy right now. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Yes, a lot to digest with our panelists. Dana Bash earlier talking about messages she is getting, questions, fingers pointed. President Obama saying should he have been used more. Candy, you are actually looking at where he went for Democratic governors.

CROWLEY: Recalling that he went mostly for governors. States like say, Illinois where Quinn just lost. Maryland, where we see a Republican, I live there, remarkable, not that we haven't had Republican governors but not many of them. Jake, help me here, Wisconsin have we called?

TAPPER: Wisconsin we called for Scott Walker.

CROWLEY: He went there. Connecticut. Wolf in Pennsylvania, win, right. That's one and then Maine and Michigan. If the question is, would the candidates have won had the president shown up. Well, the most of the candidates he did go off to campaign for.

BORGER: Well, Republican involved in a couple races said in fact that Obama wouldn't have helped. It would have hurt so, right? So they're making.

COOPER: Paul, you are saying, of course --

BORGER: He should have stayed out. They would have done worse if that's possible.

BEGALA: I think Ted Cruz did something newsworthy here.

NAVARRO: Why do you want to change the subject? Such a good subject.

MADDEN: He is going to run against Mitch McConnell.


BEGALA: Ted Cruz, class of senators coming in.

NAVARRO: No, it is not. No, it is not.

BEGALA: Joni Ernst, endorsed the government shutdown. She said that we should impeach president. He voted for the takedown, shelling more capital, Senate candidate in West Virginia. She voted for the shutdown. These are people who sided with Ted Cruz and most important --

MADDEN: All of these Senate candidates that are winning right now and the ones that flourished the most, flourish because they talked about coming to Washington and offering solutions, new idea, new direction, and they're all going to support Mitch McConnell.

COOPER: Dana, you covered a lot of these.

BASH: Well, I covered some of the races, but I also, you know, covered the Senate. So I can tell you that somebody like Joni Ernst in her primary she was conservative. She was called for all the things. Most conservative members of Congress did. Here's the "but," she is going to represent a very purple state so if she goes down that path, she is going to be a one term --

MADDEN: The members of the caucus of -- of three, that Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Senator Cruz. Mike Lee learned his lesson from the shutdown. When his numbers hit the 30s in Utah, he started to change his tune. Rand Paul is now a rival of Senator Cruz and is probably going to run for president and has a step up with some of the conservatives and is singing --


BORGER: And support Cruz, you know, Cruz has in his Republican --

COOPER: Let her finish the thought.

BORGER: They don't much like Ted Cruz, as you well know, and Dana knows more than all of us and they're suspicious of him after the strategy on the government shutdown, which backfired against every Republican. Now they have an opportunity to become a governing party. If they blow this, then, whoever is the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton or whoever it is can say that's what Republican governance looks like.

COOPER: Dana Bash, you have a statement.

BASH: So Senator Reid, the now former Senate majority leader, issued a statement, congratulating his colleague, Senator Mitch McConnell and I just read it.

He said, "I would look to congratulate Senator McConnell who will be the new Senate majority leader. The message from the voters is clear. They want us to work together. I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class."

TAPPER: Harry's Reid spokesman has already said, by the way, that he will run for minority leader so there is no question there. Who knows if he will get a challenge, I doubt it. First, I don't why anybody has taken from this that the American people want Republicans and Democrats to work together. Why would that be?


TAPPER: Republicans opposed Obamacare. Shut down the government and they just benefited from a huge wave that is ushered in, Republican governors of the home state of President Obama. And there are a few others, about to call, other blue states. I just don't see --


COOPER: Van, answer that. JONES: I want to add to that. Republicans have a big challenge. I hope they can meet it. I'm serious because we now have truly divided government. The problem is that they ran against gridlock that they created. It was so tough on Obama with their base. So you have a base expecting impeachment of Obama.


COOPER: Before we go on. Guys, Scott Brown has just conceded. He just spoke there. We're just seeing him. He has conceded his race. It, it -- followed a little while ago. He was going to be calling for a recount. He actually conceded. Let's hear from some of the Republicans why, why do you think the message is work together?

MADDEN: If you look at many races, the Republicans that flourished were the ones that personalize or localized their race. Take for example, Cory Gardner. Now look, if there is anybody who embodied the 2012 election, it was Todd Akin.

If anybody is embodying the 2014 election for Republicans, it's Cory Gardner. He ran on issues like energy. He had his first ads about the economy and how he would help women voters. Those are the type of Republicans that won to cross the country.

The other thing too is take a look at states where you have places like New York, the return of the blue state Republican. That's a big deal.

COOPER: OK, we have to take a quick break, a big night for Republicans winning control of the U.S. Senate.

Coming up, how will President Obama react to this defeat for his party? Does he see it as a repudiation of himself, of his policies? Will he take the blame? We will continue our conversation.