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2018 Midterm Election Results. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 7, 2018 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of election night in America, I'm Chris Cuomo. Wolf and Jake, they need a little bit of sleep. Look how much they've taken us through tonight and they're still so far to go. What are our big headlines? Well, you see right behind me. The Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives. By how many seats? We still don't know and we won't know for some time. The west coast is just starting to come in. John King is taking us through areas of opportunity on both sides.

The Senate a big story there as well. You see the GOP making gains. How many? We still don't know that as well. We're going to check in with Dana in just a moment on that. But one big headline that is 100 percent certain, what a night for women, especially on the Democrat side. When you look at the House seats that they've turned, women have been at the center of it. There's a developing story about the resurgence of military candidates coming out and making their difference in this race as well.

So let's start with the Senate. Come over to Donna here. There's some of the races that but we've been watching. The numbers haven't been changing that much but haven't been called yet. This is going to be about the margin of change in the Senate and what will it mean. Where are we?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Which is so important, that's right. We want to look at four of the key battleground states that are still outstanding. Let's start in the state of Arizona. This is an open Republican seat. Jeff Flake has retired. Martha McSally, the Republican is trying to keep it in GOP hands. It is very, very close but right now she is ahead by a little more than 11,000 votes. The Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as you see there is trailing, 60 percent of the vote in in the state of Arizona. Florida, look at this. The Republican Rick Scott, the challenger is hoping that he can make this official, that he can put this Democratic seat in Republican hands and take it away from Bill Nelson, the three-term Democratic incumbent of Florida, 99 percent reporting. We're going to watch that very closely.

Now let's go on to Montana. We haven't looked at this date in a while. This is another one of those Republican turf state, a Trump state, one that has become very personal to the President. He went out there several times to campaign against the Democratic incumbent John Tester. But so, far pretty much all night, he has been ahead. It's a narrow lead, a little more than 3,000 votes but he is ahead of his Republican challenger Matt Rosendale right now, half of the vote in in Montana.

Now let's go to Maine. Maine is an interesting case because Angus King, the incumbent is an Independent. He caucuses with the Democrats so it's on the -- on the Democratic column. He is ahead by a wide margin but only 17 percent of the vote in which is why we're still waiting to see if it's going to see -- and stay in Angus King's column. Also, I should say, Nevada is out there. We haven't gotten any votes back from Nevada that is one of those seats that the Republican Dean Heller is trying to hold on to. I want to go down to Nia to talk about the governor's races.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Great. Thanks, Dana. So let's look at Wisconsin, a race we have been eyeing all night. It's still tight, tight, tight. 6,200 votes separating the Democrat Tony Evers from the Republican incumbent Scott Walker, down a bit in this race 93 percent reporting, a really, really, really close race. In Connecticut, some good news and a possible flip here for Republicans. Bob Stefanowski here is up 28,000 votes over the Democrat Ned Lamont, 86 percent reporting so still some votes to be counted there but that could be a pick up for Republicans.

In Georgia, another race we've been watching. Brian Kemp up a 100,000 votes at this point, 51 percent to 48 percent Stacey. Abrams a candidate so closely watched here, Oprah campaign for her, President Obama campaign for her and she at this point is trying to make some history tonight to become the first African-American woman governor 99 percent reporting in this, a pretty wide lead for the Republican Brian Kemp. At this point, they are still counting votes in Georgia. This has been a very contentious race and we'll keep an eye on it and bring you votes as we get them in and we'll hand you over to Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Nia, thank you very much. All right, so let's talk about what the big takeaways are so far. Look, you were right guys. You said especially you David, we're getting ready for this. It's going to be a long night. We're going to have to see which way it goes. We're still waiting on some things. To bring people up who are just starting to get into the coverage now out on the west coast, what do you see as the big headlines so far tonight, David?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think the big headline no doubt obviously is that you know, one of the houses of Congress has gone now to the Democratic Party and Donald Trump is waking up to a new world order in Washington and for his presidency. How that happened I also think is as big of a headline, which is that we saw in the suburbs across this country and independent voters across this country two parts of Trump's winning 2016 coalition have abandoned him with gusto and that is a pretty big rebuke.

[01:05:07] CUOMO: Which do? Could tell the people which. Tell the people which do it?

CHALIAN: The suburbs and Independents, that's what I'm saying, those two groups. And then obviously this is such a female-powered victory for the Democrats both in terms of the candidate but in terms of female voters who delivered this majority in many ways for the Democrats. CUOMO: You know, we're seeing that the party, the Republican Party

has transitioned now fully under President Trump. To David's point, but just to build it out a little bit for people because it's going to be a little bit of a surprising narrative and for Republicans something to swallow and accept. You've switched colors, OK. You've gone from white to blue, all right. You have switched when it comes to college, you're trading away college-educated people for non- college education. You're going from country now is where you are. The city's, suburbs not so much, and you're moving away from kids, Kaitlan, because when you look at the votes, they are 67 percent of people 18 to 29. That's a big block. So all the different areas of the country that are growing, the Republican Party is moving away from. That's something to think about.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. We're seeing the Republican Party transform under Trump from this traditional what we saw the values that they had to know the way that they're changing. Even on trade, so many different aspects of what the Republican Party used to be is changing. One big question and one big thing I think we've focused on is what it's going to be -- how much of a pain it's going to be for President Trump to have Democrats in control of the House but I also think it's a risk for conservatives that President Trump could abandon them and make a deal with Democrats.

We saw some of that when he met with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at the White House last year to talk about immigration, calling them Chuck in Nancy affectionately. That is something that is a real risk for them I think still, that they have transformed their party to fit Donald Trump and he could have abandoned them in a heartbeat. This is someone who used to be a Democrat. I don't think it's that far out there to say that when the Democrats are here, that President Trump could sit down with them and make a deal with them in the next year or so.

CUOMO: Anything is possible in the new normal. Nancy Pelosi said the American people want peace, they want bipartisanship. We'll see what that means because Elijah Cummings came right out and said we want his taxes. Now, of course, the committee we believe he'll sit on, he won't have that authority. That'll be Ways and Means, that's part of a longer story. But the Kaitlan's point, OK, on one side there's an open question of concern, on the other side for Republicans there's a question of comfort. This cushion that's developing in the Senate, Dana, that means confirmations are a very different -- you know, different process for them. They don't have to worry about Murkowski and Collins the same way anymore.

BASH: That's right.

CUOMO: In all likelihood.

BASH: No, that cushion is huge. It absolutely is huge because not only is it going to give the president a lot more breathing room and Mitch McConnell a lot more running room on confirmations not just for his cabinet but other judicial nominations that could be coming for the next two years, and we just don't know. Obviously, the federal bench below the Supreme Court is one thing but you know you never know what's going to happen. That's a huge thing and it takes away the power of the moderates not only in the Republican side because Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are not going to be sort of the kingmakers, but also what you've seen is a loss after loss, after loss of moderate Democrats. So there is going to be even more partisanship, even more gridlock potentially in the U.S. Senate because the middle is shrinking even more in a place where you need those centrists to make deals to get anything done especially with the House --

CUOMO: And it's interesting what's happening with King up in Maine. Obviously, that's one of the -- that's one of the states that you put her to the disaster kit tab here in the notebook for what to do because they have their own special process. We're going to see how it plays out, but King is one of those figures that you're talking about, somebody who can breach both sides. We'll see if he makes the cut tonight, David.

CHALIAN: But politically that pad in the Senate I think represented something that we learned tonight also which is that Donald Trump two years into this process still has a unique ability to get his folks jazzed up in -- where he is most supported in the country as you just broke down the new Trump party which obviously is not Nelson Rockefeller's Republican Party right?

CUOMO: No, not at all. Not at all.

CHALIAN: But he has a unique ability and attachment to his supporters that still exist today where he went to travel to hang on to the Senate or pat it, he was able to do so successfully even while he was believing all these other voters that creates a Democratic House. And the question is, is that trade-off worth it? Is it worth it for the President to go where he won comfortably, to focus on the Senate as he said because he wanted ((INAUDIBLE) also when the Democrats did win the House as he was being told by White House officials this is increasingly likely this is going to happen?

He didn't want it to be seen as a rebuke of him. He made that crystal clear in the last few weeks saying I'm focused on the Senate. But the question is, is that focus on the Senate going to be worth the tradeoff in the House having Adam Schiff in the House Intelligence Committee as the Chairman, all of these subpoenas, this party that he's demonized for weeks now. They now have the power to subpoena. He has cabinet officials that have been accused of wrongdoing. So many problems that they are going to be facing in the next few months.

[01:10:06] CUOMO: Well, the President was working on something called convenience. When he thought he had his shot in the House, he was big on the House. As that started to fade so did his focus. But you're going to see a very sharp focus from the new people in charge of the House that's for sure. What that means? We'll have to see because that's a calculation for the Democrats as well. Do they go all-in on checking the President? Is that what their party wants? Is their party wanting just one thing? A lot of questions are going to follow from tonight. We're still on decision mode though. Let's get back over to Nia-Malika. You have another projection in a governor's race, what is it? HENDERSON: That's right, Chris. Some history in South Dakota tonight. Kristi Noem, CNN projects, is the winner in that governor's race. She is the first woman elected governor in South Dakota defeating Billie Sutton tonight, so a bit of history tonight. About 16 women ran tonight and she's one of the winners. Now, we can go to the map here. You see here that Democrats have four pickups tonight. Of course, they came into the night at a bit of a deficit in terms of the governorships. Republicans were very much at an advantage. And you see tonight some Republican holds in Florida for instance, a Republican hold, in Ohio another Republican hold. So you have a map here that looks good for Republicans in some key battleground states and then you have some flips as well for Democrats.

You look at Michigan for instance, that was a pickup and a flip for a Democrats. You look at Illinois for instance, that was a pickup and a flip for Democrats. Pennsylvania, that was a hold for Democrats. But listen, they came into the night, Democrats did really wanting to have six pickups and they've got four so far. And now we're going to go to Georgia. This was another race that we've honestly watching all night long. Brian Kemp still up by about the a similar margin about 115,000 votes ahead of Stacey Abrams in that closely watched Georgia race.

We can go to Wisconsin now, Tony Evers his lead has shrunk a little bit here. It's about 3,000 votes at this point over Scott Walker the incumbent at this point. Such a closely watched race, it's 0.1 percent right now, 94 percent reporting. We're going to keep an eye on this one. Back to Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Nia-Malika, thank you very much. So we just got a projection in the governor's race, we also have some more in the Senate that we're watching. What do we know and we have the House races as well, what do we have?

BASH: Well, what's -- one of the fascinating things and you mentioned this at the beginning about what we're seeing in the House, is the number of women.


BASH: And it is now at record numbers, absolute record numbers. And let's just look at a couple of the examples. Abigail Spanberger, she is a fascinating character. She was in the CIA. Never mind that she beat the Republican Dave Brat who took down the House Majority Leader, the Republican Eric Cantor. She's a really interesting female character. And then also -- let's go next to Abby Finkenauer, she is 29 years old. She's going to be one of the youngest members of the House of Representatives from the State of Iowa. And now the name that we've seen a lot in the past several months, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, she is another person who beat a very well-known, very long- serving member of Congress. In this case, it was a fellow Democrat Joe Crowley. She is also 29 years old. She's going to be among the new faces in the new class of young women serving in the House of Representatives.

And here's another new face that we're going to see in the Halls of Congress, Sharice David. She is the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Congress, in the U.S. House I should say, which is female I should say, and that's pretty remarkable given the history of this country that has taken this long for that to happen.

CUOMO: And you're seeing first -- checking so many different boxes. You know, obviously gender, as women coming forward really bailing out the Democrats in this. If they didn't have these women in these races, you don't see the results that you have tonight. The age is really relevant. Some of them are first historically within their own state. You know, when you're -- when you're talking about Finkenauer and Spanberger, you're going to see some first. In Iowa, you know they have Joni Ernst there.

BASH: She was the first senator.

CUOMO: She was the first senator. Now, finally now, Iowa the heartland, they have their first female congresswoman. But now you have to figure out what kind of Democrats they're going to be and that's going to be a developing narrative. There's no reason to rush through all the implications when we still don't know all the projections but what is the Democratic Party now with this new flush of talent that they owe a lot to for winning these races, but what are they going to want in return. It's going to be a big developing narrative.

Let's look on the board, go over to John King and figure out how this shapes up because you know, we're all looking at how the Democrats would take over the House, what it would mean, but this woman wave for them mattered in a lot of different places.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It matters in a big way. So let's look first at the big picture because again, remember election night 2016, Hillary Clinton wins the popular vote, Donald Trump was the presidency. We have a divided country that sends mixed messages, right? This is a blue wave when it comes to the House. The Democrats on the ballpark 35 seats, maybe more as we get the West Coast results. 40 was considered their ceiling.

Democrats -- we'll get to the -- back to the women but, I just want to show them. That's a blue wave when it comes to the House, right?

Well, look at this red wall when it comes to the Senate. One, two, three, four flips, right? That one's still not finalized, but Rick Scott is ahead down there. These three are done. All right, four flips and at the moment -- at the moment, they're holding Arizona narrowly.

And the first results, while you guys were talking the first results finally came in. We had no results in Nevada for a long time because they had some lines and they didn't release any result until they were done.

CUOMO: Right.

KING: These are Republican areas coming in, who knows if that's going to hold Democrats. Democrats are desperate looking at these Western Senate seats where they have female candidates, as well. If you want to talk about that there, they're desperate.

Hoping that their Senate map gets better because that would be a plus four.

CUOMO: True.

KING: Plus four if that holds. Now, another disappointment me, I just talked about this. Democrats came into the night, thinking they could pick up six, maybe eight. Some Democrats thought even more governorships.

Republicans are leading in Connecticut. Republicans won Ohio, Republicans won Iowa. This is a disappointment for the Democrats.


CUOMO: You know, we've been talking about the government.

KING: They're plus five right now. We'll see if it changes, but plus five that's a disappointment.

CUOMO: And now, let's just talk about why for a second. Because I was watching the coverage tonight, excellent as always and it was interesting to see when the governors would come up people be a little bit like, "Wait, why are we doing this? You know, I care in my own state, boy."

The districting that happens at this state level within legislatures, the presumption being that a governor is got to have sway. They still have to deal with the legislature. And in the weeks to come, we'll play out the processing of legislators all across the country. But what -- how big a difference, John, has it made that Republicans made all those gains flipping thousands of state legislatures and governors' seats over the last 10 years?

KING: In during the Obama years, more than a thousand state legislative seats flipped from Democrats to Republicans when Republicans had 30-plus governors. Because a lot of those governors also had Republican legislators, but even the ones that didn't, they use the veto pen. Or they say, "I will veto it and they negotiate a better deal for Republican districts. Plain and simple.

One of the reasons the Democrats we talked about them winning a lot of seats tonight, 40 was about their ceiling, unless we have a tsunami in part because you see all the seats lost -- you know, 66 in this year, 60 in that year, 50 in that year. There just aren't as many competitive districts anymore. So, you can't compare it to the Clinton map.

Or even the George W. Bush 2006 map. But you can't do that because there are so many more clearly Republican-drawn districts. Now, to your point though, look, this is a disappointment without a doubt. Democrats will be happy if they hold Wisconsin. They're happy to pick up Illinois that was always a bit of an anomaly, a blue state with a Republican governor. But imagine, this is your neck of the woods Connecticut. If the Republican holds on and wins in Connecticut, that will be a surprise for Democrats there, candidates matter.

CUOMO: Yes. With sports not in yet in Connecticut.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: That's going to matter, it's got a very definite set of demographics there.

KING: Absolutely. So, they're not they're not in play. I just want to come back to what you were just talking about with Danny, though. You look at this map, right? The Democrats again on par to pick up somewhere in the ballpark of 35 seats in the House of Representatives. You say what's the factor to the women? Well, first, let's go back let me put this away from it.

Let me go back to 20s. This is the -- this is the 2016 map, all right? Let's come out here, let's go through our things here. Women lead. This is what you had, right? 61 Democrats, 23 Republicans. Remember those numbers.

Let's come down to 2018. Leading 83 Democrats, 17 Republicans. Leading, these races are not all done but it looks like the number of women in the House on the Republican side go down a little bit, number Democrats going up. That's one way to look at it, your Democratic numbers are coming up, your Democratic candidates.

Some of these districts are Democratic districts but these female Democratic candidates we're coming in with new blood. That's one way to look at it. There's another way to look at it. Let me add in the races that flipped. And Democrats needed 23.

Of the 21 races, they're 21 of the races they're flipping tonight. That number could go as high as 35. But you need a 23 coming into the night. Right now, these are not done on the West Coast, so let's be careful.

CUOMO: And you've got a lot of women in play out there as well.

KING: But -- right, right. Women if either -- but somewhere -- you know, you got -- you're going to get pretty close to what you needed just with these younger women, new candidates. So, no question. There's a year of the woman dynamic. Here now, can you go through and find a few missed opportunities? Of course, you can.

But if you're Nancy Pelosi, you're looking at this, this is what you've worked for, for a long time. There's without a doubt, this is a big part of the Democratic story. Again, disappointment. The Senate disappointment.

The governor's races, when you look at the House, they're pretty happy in part because of candidate recruitment that to a large degree focused on women military veterans. CUOMO: True and while we're still processing how much and how many -- you know, and who does it across the country now focusing mainly on the left.

You know, when you look at this map and you see the red and the blue, it seems like, from 2016, now confirmed in 2018, our electorate is a story of divergent Americas. And they are moving in opposite directions. And that seems solidified by what we're seeing tonight, John.

And I don't see more of a coalescing towards some kind of agreement of norms or anything like that. I see the opposite from the House and the Senate moving in different directions to why and where. Pretty much every box you can check were moving apart.

[01:19:59] KING: Were moving apart, and we're redrawing the map. You mentioned this in the conversation with David Chalian. At this House, map is a rebuke of President Trump in the American suburbs. That's how George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, even Ronald Reagan. That was the Republican electoral lock, right?

They won the Philadelphia suburbs, they won the Cleveland suburbs, not anymore. The suburbs are now where the Democrats have a stronghold. Republicans, the white or rural states. Look at the Senate races, those -- that's Republicans.

So, the map is changing. There's a realignment if you will have voting groups if you look at the map. But if you -- otherwise, I just want to show you something, just focus on the blue here. Democrats are coming back to some when you look at this House map.

Let's go all the way back. Here's the last Democratic majority. After Obama wins big, Democrats get 257 seats. Look at the blue, right? Look at the blue, it's everywhere. The Democrats are winning just about everywhere.

Well here's what happened in the Tea Party election. That blue disappears. All right, then you come to the next Tea Party election, more of it disappears. So you've got this red country where the Democrats are essentially the party of the coasts and the party of districts with large African-American population. This is what the Democratic Party was.

So, now, let's come forward to see where we are. Again, look at these areas that are very red. Some come back, some pieces of come back for the Democrats. Still largely happening in the coasts. Democrats will be very happy about the Midwest tonight. Not with the governor's races, they left a few on the table. You'll be happy with some pickups here. And then, we go on as we go in.

So, there's got to watch, there's a couple of stunners here. How are the Democrats winning? A race that was on nobody's map in the middle of Oklahoma. Well, that lasts more than two years, we don't know.

But if you're looking at the Democratic map, at least -- at least now, you have some representation from some parts of the country where yesterday you had none.

CUOMO: So, people are looking at the numbers here in the master John King, and they're saying, "Wait a minute, this doesn't add up. We're not there yet."

KING: We're not there yet.

CUOMO: We have a lot of races still to project. Let's bring in Harry Anton. You're taking a look forward for us, what do you see?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: So, my computer modeling indicates that Democrats will, in fact, pick up 228 seats for the 207 for Republicans. Of course, it could go a bit higher than that. We can take a look at the best case for the Democrats. This screen will work and there we go. And that projects Democrats winning up to 235 seats which would be a net gain of 40 on the evening.

Now, one interesting historical fact, the last time that we had this configuration. A Republican president, a Democratic House, and a Republican Senate was all the way back in 1986.

KING: Montana Senate.

CUOMO: All right, Harry. Thank you very much. I'm listening to you, I'm listening to more information coming in. We have the Montana Senate.

KING: And it's flipped, it has flipped almost 59 votes. But Jon Tester has been leading --

CUOMO: 59 votes.

KING: Yes. As 55 percent reporting, you see a lot of rural areas in the state of Montana. So, this is -- this again, this the Democrats were trying to hold onto this. This one we've now shown you could they get to 55 that would be a plus four. If they hold Nevada and Arizona, the Republicans. If you can add this to the mix if this is in play late.

And again, this one, of all the Senate races, this has been most personal to the President of the United States.


KING: Out there, campaigning against Jon Tester, a lot more than for Matt Rosendale. But, let's see if it helps. Now, the president's late visits.

Testers been leading steadily throughout the night. Matt Rosendale now pulls ahead. 55 percent reporting. The question is as you go through it, and you're starting to watch this, let's just go back six years. You know, Tester won a very close race.

So, you're trying to look. So watch, you see the red and the blue here come forward to this year. And not a lot of change in the map. The question is -- you know, you pick Democratic areas here. Jon Tester how's he doing? 61 percent, 53 percent. So go back to six years. About the same. You just start to go through this. As you go through the map, you try to see is Tester underperforming, or is Rosendale over-performing.

What happened in the last race, you come over here at Democratic area. Tester at 64, go back in time. Tester at 64. So, it's filling in. He had a pretty close race last time of three points 3 1/2 points. Now, he's trailing.

And so, this again, you look at this map. This was one of the Democratic incumbents, I mean, President won this state by 20-plus points.

CUOMO: Right.

KING: This is a very tough territory for any Democrats. Just what we're talking about earlier, white rural voters becoming more and more Republican. The president very popular. Jon Tester tried to make the case, "I'm one of you." He's really from Maryland. But we'll see, we'll see again. You have so many close races tonight.

Montana, 59 votes. Let's check into Arizona, 11,000 votes but still 60 percent. We'll see what happens there. If this map holds up, this one is very early. Arizona is moving along, Montana is moving along. But again, did you imagine what is America saying when the Democrats take the House when 35, you heard Harry maybe 40 seats. Probably summer the ballpark 35, 38 seats.

And yet, the Republicans picked up three, four maybe, five.


KING: That's -- that is a mixed message from a divided country.

CUOMO: All right. So, we've had some developments tonight in Georgia. We were watching that governor's race, Stacey Abrams. We have Kaylee Hartung there. Because the campaign manager just came out and gave some new information. So, let's get that. Kaylee, what they tell us?

[01:24:55] KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, this is not ending soon. That was a declarative statement that Stacey Abrams campaign manager just made on the stage behind me, as she said the Abrams' campaign believes this race is headed for a runoff.

Have a scenario for that being that neither Abrams nor Brian Kemp would be able to take a majority. Neither would be able to get that 50 plus one that they would need to win outright. Our campaign manager explained, there are three factors. They are looking at that leads them to believe this at this late stage in the race.

She says nearly all votes are outstanding. Those votes that haven't yet been counted, they believe to be in Democratic strongholds. She also said they believe that absentee ballots, tens of thousands of them have not yet been counted, they believe again, more of those votes cast by Abrams voters. They say they've received reports of 20,000 absentee ballots in Gwinnett County that haven't been vote -- that haven't been counted. As well as about 25,000 in Cobb County they have not yet been counted.

And lastly, she says that they believe an unknown number of provisional ballots were forced to be cast today by Georgia voters because as they characterize it, shoddy election administration by Brian Kemp, their Republican opponent who as we well know is the sitting Secretary of State.

The controversy over his perceived conflict of interest has been at the center of his campaign. The state's top election official running for the state's top job. Stacey Abrams has called for him to resign. There's a lawsuit filed today in federal court to issue a temporary restraining order on him to bar him from staying in that role.

Should there be reason for further oversight of this election? But again, Chris the Abrams campaign saying they believe this race is headed for a runoff. We expect to hear from Stacey Abrams very shortly here.

CUOMO: All right, so we have two issues that have come up now. Kaylee, thank you very much. The first one is, is just the ugliness of the politics there, right? It's just not easy to have the person in control of the election in a state which is almost always the Secretary of State running in that race, as well.

We saw that with Kris Kobach in Kansas. Now, he lost tonight. But Brian Kemp, so you're getting these reports about what was their voter suppression or not. You've probably been following this. It's been a big narrative in the election. That's having a little bit of a shadow over that race.

And now, the provisional ballots, OK? That winds up being argued by Abrams as an outgrowth of conflicts by Kemp, and how this race was handled. So, that could get a little ugly, it already was ugly early. But let's test the theory that the campaign manager has that this is going to a runoff. What's the threshold for runoff 50 percent plus one vote?

KING: You have to get him below 50.

CUOMO: Right.

KING: You have to get him below 50 is at 51 right now, 114,000 votes. So, some of the math we can do here, but Kaylee made an important distinction, they think of what she went through. Provisional ballots.

They're not going to be here because they are not counted. That's someone who shows up somebody says, now, this is not your polling place. You say, yes, it is. They say, well fill out this provisional ballot, we'll fight about it later if necessary. If the race is so close, then we'll have -- you know, the register of the two parties come in, with the overseers and then go through, they rule him in, they rule them out. As you see lawyers involved, right? Number one. Number two, they are saying they were missing absentee ballots or uncounted absentee ballots. Well, they're not going to show up here because this only gets the count. This is where the lawyer is going to be involved because Kemp is a Secretary of State.

Now to the idea, are they're still votes out that have yet to be counted? Actually, votes cast today in precincts, cast in voting machines. You go around Fulton County, this is 10 percent of the state. Biggest Democratic base in the state, 83 percent. So there are ballots out here and obviously Stacey Abrams is winning quite convincingly in Fulton County.

Are there enough to knock Brian Kemp? Again, she's winning with 72 percent in Fulton County. Are there enough ballots to knock him down with ballots? If you're talking about provisional ballots or we think they're absentee ballots that --


CUOMO: We don't know.

KING: That you're hiding or we haven't counted, hanky-panky, that's a courtroom.

CUOMO: Right.

KING: That's a courtroom. An automatic recount would come if he drew -- I mean, a runoff would come. But even then, if he falls below, guess what? His lawyers are going to say, "Yes there are ballots out there too."

So, the first challenge is in the actual vote count, knock them below 50 percent. You've got a -- now, again, you heard Kaylee, she says the Abrams campaign says, that's not right that there's some ballots that haven't been counted or some absentee ballots that they can't track down. That's what they say.

But in terms of what the Secretary of State is saying, they're saying the 100 percent of the vote is in. So, even though, Stacey Abrams wins big here, the state is saying we're done here. No, that's a lawyer issue.

Let's move over here, 83 percent and fold and I said just want to go through quickly 100, 99, 100. So, my look at this and because I've done this once or twice before is that's going to be a lawyer issue the morning.

CUOMO: If you -- if you go on the straight map our effect of we only know what we can show, she doesn't get there in terms of a runoff. That's going to be a legal fight.

KING: Very, very -- this is your only question, how many? What are we talking about here? How many votes? Are there enough votes just there to knock them underneath? If not, lawyers.

CUOMO: Smart. We'll stay on this, we'll hear it. We're not going to decide a legal battle tonight. That's for sure. So, let's take a quick break here. Control of the House and control of the Senate have been decided. But, by how much? There's so many high-profile races that are still just too close to call. So stay with us, we got more votes. Only a president from facing a very new day here in Washington.


[01:29:52] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We'll stay on this. We'll hear it. We're not going to decide a legal battle tonight, that's for sure.

So let's take a quick break here.

Control of the House and control the Senate have been decided but by how much? There're so many high-profile races that are still just too close to call.

Stay with us. We've got more votes.

And we have President Trump facing a very new day here in Washington.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

Election night America here on CNN or election morning. We told you it was going to be a long night. It's going to be a long morning as well.

And as you could see, we're paying attention to a lot of the races, a lot of them have not been decided. You can see we're looking at Wisconsin, the governor's race there. And it is pretty close.

You can see Tony Evans holding on to -- Tony Evers, excuse me -- holding on to a very slight lead there. Neck and neck. Neck and neck.

And then actually the Arizona Senate race, Martha McSally, the Republican 12,000 votes ahead of her opponent.

So we know a couple of things here. We know that Democrats will take control of the House. We know that Republicans will keep control of the Senate. You can call it maybe a blue wave if you want or you can call it a red wall if you want to.

And lots of folks here to talk about that raring to go here on the set. And I want to get the overall impressions.

Quite frankly, let's talk about -- let's be honest here. This was, I think, the night of the woman, right?


LEMON: Am I wrong about that? POWERS: No, no, no. You're totally right. It is a record women in

Congress. Women will now be a third of the caucus. The previous record was in 1992. There were 24 women, new women in the House. Right now we're at 26. We could get more women than that and it's all kinds of women.

[01:35:04] It's young women. We have Muslim American women. First Native American woman. We have people who've served in the military.

So it is -- it is -- it is definitely a big, big night for women.

LEMON: We talked, Mark -- you know we talked about this a little bit earlier when we weren't on the air about -- you know, a win is a win. But if you look at Georgia, you look at Florida -- right? And you look at Texas. You have a young person in Texas, you have a woman of color in Georgia, and then you have a man of color in Florida. Three red states where they almost split those states. What does that say to you?

MARC SHORT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Democrats have fielded (ph) very dynamic candidates. I think that's where it really -- they had a strong field. But I mean -- I still look at the overall picture and I think that they're all facets (ph) with appreciation, I think for how historic a figure Nancy Pelosi is to be able to come back. To be able to be on the precipice of reclaiming the speakership, I think is quite a historic moment for her, too.

LEMON: You're saying something positive --


SHORT: Yes. It's 1:00 a.m.

SIMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You just spent a long time beating up on Leader Pelosi. So I'm happy.

SHORT: She's not the speaker yet.


SHORT: I think it is fair to also say that there's 11 incumbent Democrats who said they would not vote for her for speaker and there are 47 Democrat nominee who said they will not vote for her.

So it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next couple of weeks. But I'm just acknowledging I think it's historic.


SANDERS: But it's also --

SHORT: But you know, I think to the question you guys have said that today you keep asking that this -- saying that Trump has driven those suburban voters away. The best way to bring them back, candidly is the least popular political figure in America today is Nancy Pelosi. POWERS: Ok. But here's the thing. The NRCC ran 15 ads in the

closing days in swing states and 14 of them targeted Pelosi. And it didn't really make that much of a difference.

And so they turned here into this boogeyman but the truth is she is still standing and you know, and the Democrats have taken over the House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is -- I think Trump is --


LEMON: Let's stand by -- Stacey Abrams is coming up. Pardon me -- we'll get back. Let's see what she's going to say. Stacey Abrams is coming up to the mike. We heard Kaylee Hartung. There she is. We want to listen in to Stacey Abrams. Let's listen.



CROWD: Stacey. Stacey. Stacey. Stacey. Stacey. Stacey.

ABRAMS: Thank you.

CROWD: Stacey. Stacey. Stacey. Stacey.

ABRAMS: Thank you so much. Love you too.

When you all -- when you chose me as your Democratic nominee, I made you a vow. In our Georgia nobody would be unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired.

We know a vow takes effort. It takes commitment to hold true. Reaching out, reaching across it's hard work. But as I told you then, hard work is in our bones.

And we have proven this every single day, Georgia -- with doors knocked, with calls made, with miles traveled, with prayers prayed to the highest heaven. And tonight we have closed the gap between yesterday and tomorrow.

But we still have a few more miles to go. Hear me clearly -- that too is an opportunity to show the world who we are because in Georgia civil rights has always been an act of will and a battle for our souls.

And because we have been fighting this fight since our beginning, we have learned a fundamental truth. Democracy only works when we work for it. When we fight for it. When we demand it. And apparently today when we stand in line for hours to meet at the ballot box, that's when democracy works.

But I'm here tonight to tell you, votes remain to be counted. There are voices that were waiting to be heard. Across our state folks are opening up the dreams of voters and absentee ballots and we believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach.

But we cannot seize it until all voices are heard. And I promise you tonight, we're going to make sure that every vote is counted -- every single vote. Every vote gets counted. Because I'll tell you this, in a civilized nation the machinery of democracy should work for everyone everywhere, not just in certain places. And not just on a certain day.

[01:40:03] But what lies on the other side of our effort, our best lives are within reach. Fully funded public education in the state of Georgia. Medicaid expansion. And raising family incomes without raising taxes.

Every Georgian that we have touched along the way understands the power of the vote. And I will tell you, this election has tested our faith. I'm not going to name names but some have worked hard to take our voices away. To scare us away. To distract us.

But our vision is clear and we see the finish line. You -- you have inspired me every single day of the campaign. I know what you sacrificed to make your way to the polls, to volunteer after work or on lunch break. And I know that you put your faith in me. You'll do it again.

Georgia, you put your faith in me. But I want you to know tonight the feeling is mutual. I want you to look around tonight should be all the proof you need, that when we put our faith in the great people of the state, there is nothing we can't accomplish together.

This -- this -- this fundamental truth is why we fight on because Georgia still has a decision to make. A decision between division and trickery, or a leadership that defends your right, your kids, your career, your community, and your right to vote in America. That's what is on the ballot.

Now to all of Georgia's voters, including the 1.2 million who haven't shown up before, welcome aboard. But I want to say this. If I wasn't your first choice, or you made no choice at all you're going to have a chance to do a do-over.

And I need you to know that it is my mission to serve you. To serve Georgia, to make you proud. And for those that didn't pick me the first time, to change your mind about me and what we can accomplish together.

You see, I learned a long time, we don't need to agree on everything. But I will always respect you. I will do everything I can to keep you safe and help you live your best lives. Because that's what leadership requires at this moment. And it is how we breathe life back into our republic when it seems to be shallow of breath.

And to everyone who has already poured your precious time and energy and hard-earned dollars, and your love into this campaign, I say thank you. And I urge you to stay with us because Georgia, friends -- friends, we are still on the verge of history and the best is yet to come. Because this is not about me. It is about us. It is about our voices. Say our voices.

CROWD: Our voices.

ABRAMS: It is about our votes. Say our votes.

CROWD: Our votes.

ABRAMS: It is about our time. Say our time.

CROWD: Our time.

ABRAMS: Our voices.

CROWD: Our voices.

ABRAMS: Our votes,

CROWD: Our votes.

ABRAMS: Our time.

CROWD: Our time.

ABRAMS: Because we are Georgia. Say it, we are Georgia. We are Georgia. Say it with me. Say we are Georgia.

CROWD: We are Georgia.

ABRAMS: We are Georgia.

CROWD: We are Georgia.

ABRAMS: We are Georgia.

CROWD: We are Georgia.

ABRAMS: So let's get it done. Thank you so much.


LEMON: Stacey Abrams down in Atlanta, Georgia, a city that I know all too all after living there for seven years. But she's down in Atlanta. It's an odd mixture of -- it seems like maybe an acceptance speech and a closing argument. So we're going to have the analysts here and we're going to talk about that.

But an interesting -- interesting that she's refusing to concede. We'll talk about that right after the break.


LEMON: Election night in America. And we are back. You saw Stacey Abrams down in Atlanta refusing, refusing to concede. And she's saying these are the factors that they believe are outstanding here. Outstanding votes, absentee ballots to be counted, provisional ballots -- and given those three issues they say that they believe that this is headed to a runoff.

Simone Sanders -- good strategy?

SANDERS: I think it's a great strategy. Look, in Georgia in order to win the Georgia governor's race, you have to be at 50 plus 1. And so when it is this close with 115,000 -- a little over 115,000 votes ahead, if I was Stacey Abrams, or the communications director -- absolutely this is what you were saying.

You also thought they should go out there and fire up the crowd -- April, while we were -- she was saying she's taking them to church. That's because when this does go to a runoff because I truly believe it will, Stacey Abrams is going to need these folks that got so fired up. They came out in droves, they stood in long lines in the rain today to turn right back around in less than a month on December 4th to do this again.

And she needs this exact same level turnout and a little bit not more if she wants to eke this out. So this has to be the strategy because there have been so many irregularities, given that Brian Kemp, who is the kind of secretary of state, has been overseeing this process and it falls on him that there were not enough ballots at the polls, that the machines weren't ready. This is on him.

LEMON: Mark Preston, this is what you do -- she's down by 150,000 votes. Are there enough votes to make up, to do that -- what is it 50 plus one or what have you?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean it remains to be seen. But look, we just saw her do what she had to do for a couple of reasons. One is you can't give up as Simone says when you were that close.

[01:49:55] But even more importantly for the Democratic Party when we've seen such an outpouring of support from African-Americans and from Hispanic candidates for her to go out and to concede especially when we just saw Andrew Gillum just a couple of hours ago really go down in a race that most people thought he was going to win.

So I think Stacey Abrams had to come up and give that speech. There is a lot of questions about the secretary of state and his actions in office. And look, she's going to live to have another day and to see if he's --

LEMON: But she only has to get him down to under 50 percent.


PRESTON: To get to a runoff.

SANDERS: Or to just 50. It has to be 50 plus one. So if it's 50 and that's 50 points, if it's 50 -- there's a runoff.


think that this is such -- it's such an important night in terms of the diversity of voters that came out across the country Just looking at the exit polls. And I think that -- and especially young voters, all of the voters that she was talking about in that speech who are out for the first time, for them I mean this is historic that it potentially goes on.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But it's beyond -- it's beyond history. Let's look at the issues that happened today. Stacey had to tell people stay at the polls. There were long lines. There was not adequate equipment there. Things were happening.

The NAACP had to go in.


RYAN: Right, right.

LEMON: Kemp had a problem when he was voting.

RYAN: Yes. But a lot -- a lot --

SANDERS: That's the secretary of State.

RYAN: A vast majority of problems were happening in the black communities.

LEMON: right.

RYAN: And the NAACP had to even step in to ask for extended time, et cetera. This does not bode well when your opponent is in charge of the elections process and did not recuse himself. So she has a right to do this.

And I mean we are now sitting in a time where we are not having voting rights enforced. We don't have voting rights anymore. It is gone.

LEMON: Considering all the consternation, Congressman -- are you surprised to see this because you know, there's voter suppression. There were accusations of that. There were several lawsuits, there was even one filed tonight. Are you surprised that this is the outcome?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I'm not at all surprised there's going to be litigation. I predicted that.

LEMON: But refusing to concede.

DENT: I don't blame her for not conceding but I don't think that the outcome is going to change. With the absentee ballots and the mail-in ballots they tend to break the same way as the machine. She has a lot to make -- she has to get a lot more votes net in order to change this outcome.

I don't see it changing. Although I think she's right not to concede. They should count them all further.

LEMON: But can you imagine though -- let's just imagine this scenario, there is a runoff in Georgia. Now what?


CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE: I mean she's smart. She's smart -- the congressman's point -- she's smart to buy just a little bit of time. There's no clock that says you have to concede by a time.

RYAN: She has a right to be there.

CILLIZZA: Right, absolutely. Wait -- see what happens. See what absentees. See what some of the provisionals look like.

But it's (INAUDIBLE) makes an important point. The runoff is not far away if it does happen so you have to run through -- she said you have to see -- ok, we've got to try to get as many votes as we can counted for us. But in the event that we get what we want, we've got to be ready.

You don't have two and a half months from now. It's, you know, Less than a month from now. So I'm with the congressman, I still think it is hard -- barring large scale irregularities, places not counting them finding a lot of votes, which is always a possibility.

I think it is hard. It's not as hard as that number necessarily to present because to your point earlier, Don, she didn't have to -- it doesn't have to go from 51-48 to 50-49 for her. She just has to bring him down.

But these things, she's right to buy -- she's right and well within her rights to take her time and not concede. I'm skeptical based on the history of stuff like these provisionals, absentees. Usually they tend to break broadly speaking similar to the vote that you see.

LEMON: What is unusual about this?

SANDERS: But unprecedented attempts to suppress the vote here in Georgia. I mean I think so much has happened over the last couple of days. But Brian Kemp accused the Georgia Democratic Party of hacking the voting -- of hacking the database, just now -- what two days ago.

And so I think there is also something to be said here about the losses we saw this evening that Brian Kemp needs to recuse himself and step down from his position as secretary of state. The integrity of this election is in question in Georgia. I don't think this has been a fair process. This is not fair to the voters regardless of the size of (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: What do you think -- what do you think the possibility of assessing (ph) now given that she is refusing to concede, that he actually he recuses himself, that Brian Kemp refuses himself and this whole rigamarole that's happening? SHORT: That's hard for me to predict. I would assume that that

doesn't happen. But again, I think that she has every right to allow this process to play out and she should. But you have almost four million votes, to get a 1 percent means a 40,000 net vote change, not more votes for her 40,000 but a 40,000 net difference which I think is pretty substantial.

LEMON: And her -- don't you think her story Kirsten it sort of encapsulates what we have seen throughout the country here -- and urban areas, in suburban areas. It's a story for the Democrats.

[01:55:00] In rural areas it is a story for the Republicans. Most of the votes that she got, and I would assume she had to get some white votes, right that were outside of the large urban cities, in the suburbs.

POWERS: Right.

LEMON: But it's pretty close. She encapsulates what's happening in the country.

POWERS: Yes. But I also think even -- let's just say this is where we end up with these numbers, it's a victory of sorts for her because this is kind of incredible that she's even gotten this close.

So let's remember this is Georgia after all. This is an African- American woman who is pretty progressive running in Georgia. And so I think that, you know, she has run an incredible race. She's worked really hard on turning people out and was very successful on that.

CILLIZZA: Can I just go --just quickly to that point --


LEMON: I've got to go.

CILLIZZA: -- very quick, I just want to do this because it's the point of the suburbs first. So in the exit poll, 62 percent of the vote in the Georgia governor's race came from the suburbs.


CILLIZZA: Kemp 57, Abrams 42. She won urban areas 68, 30


CILLIZZA: She lost rural areas by 17.

LEMON: We are watching the Senate race in Nevada, Republicans are ahead but Democrats still may have some hope there. We'll explain coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome to our continuing coverage of election. Some really big headlines tonight. The Democrats have regained control of the House. You have the Republicans extending their lead in the Senate. How much on either side, we don't know. I'll take you through one at a time.