2022 Midterm Elections|PBS NewsHour Special Coverage|Part 1
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2022 Midterm Elections | PBS NewsHour Special Coverage | Part 1
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Special | 3h 1s | Video has closed captioning.
2022 Midterm Elections | PBS NewsHour Special Coverage | Part 1
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
Judy: Good evening, I'm Judy woodruff.
On the news hour tonight, it's election day.
After a contentious campaign season, voters cast their ballots to determine which party controls congress and more.
What it could mean for the Biden agenda and for the nation.
We sit down with house speaker Nancy Pelosi for one of her first interview since her husband was violently attacked at their home.
Plus, we speak with house Republican policy chair Gary palmer about his party's top priority.
And democracy on the ballot.
How some candidates are still spreading false information eroding trust in the voting process, raising the stakes in this year's elections.
All that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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Judy: The balance of power in congress is being decided on the selection day as voters have been heading to the polls to decide who will represent them in Washington at the local and state levels.
Polls have closed in six states.
Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.
And the associated press is prepared to call some of the key races.
We have two senate winners to report to you in the state of South Carolina.
This is a hold for the Republicans.
Senator Tim Scott will hold on against democratic challenger [7:03:28 PM] Krystle Matthews.
Not a surprise.
Heavily red South Carolina.
It Tim Scott the only black Republican serving in the senate will now serve his second term.
Another call to make from the associated press and the state of Vermont.
Holding onto that seat for the Democrats, for retiring Patrick, congressman Peter Welch has been elected.
The ap calls that race defeating Republican Gerald Malloy.
We have two calls to make but a number of other races we are watching very closely in Georgia.
The senate race between Rafael Warnock the Democrat and Herschel walker the Republican.
And the governor's race in Georgia as well, Brian Kemp, the incumbent to being challenged by Stacey Abrams.
The second time the two of them have faced one another.
Let's turn to our panel of [7:04:29 PM] experts who are with us here throughout this evening.
A lot to talk about.
Amy Walter of the cook political report.
David brooks, columnist for the New York Times.
Washington post columnist.
He is based in Ohio.
Mark short served as chief of former vice president Mike pence.
The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.
We will welcome you back to the table right now.
We just had a call in the state of Vermont where the menu worked for, Bernie Sanders, he will now be serving alongside Peter Welch.
>> There are not very many popular political figures and Bernie Sanders is one.
[7:05:31 PM] Cleared out the field.
Later in a few minutes, you will probably learn the next congresswoman from the state of Vermont again in the contested primary.
Senator Sanders will be coming to congress from Vermont as well.
Judy: And she would be the first woman elected to congress.
The other race we just called, Amy Walter.
You have a little knowledge of that state.
>> It was not a surprising race and I think we will be talking a lot about Tim Scott.
A potential presidential candidate, he is someone that a lot of Republicans have a lot to have on the trail.
Not a hard real lack -- reelection.
Judy: We are watching candidates endorsed by former president [7:06:32 PM] trump.
How does Donald Trump do tonight?
>> I think for support for trump on the Republican side is broad, but may be shallower than some people think.
If some of the candidates he picked and up losing, men in oz, J.D.
If they end up losing, he cost us some seats.
Another thing that has some presidential implications is how well does Ron Desantis do?
Does he do super well?
If he does, it bolsters his image.
It influences how people feel about Donald Trump a little bit.
>> It will revise other [7:07:38 PM] Republicans.
How does it affect what happens two years later?
>> I think this probably a bigger impact for your primary races.
He has a big influence on the party.
I don't think it's going to have as much of an effect on a general election.
I think it will be a whole new storyline heading to 2024.
Judy: You are based in Louisville, Kentucky.
You have reached the middle from the mid-atlantic.
How does do you think what happens in the midterms affect how people begin to think about the presidential election.
[7:08:47 PM] >> I think my senator Mitch Mcconnell will have a big role in talking about what this election means tonight and what the party should be doing.
And for the next year, it's what's happening as well.
He is scheming and thinking about it as well.
The Republican will feel pretty well.
It's much more then having an incumbent president.
Judy: And from the perspective of somebody that represents the other end of the political spectrum, if you are Joe Biden tonight, how much does what happens tonight matter in your thinking about the future?
>> It matters a lot I think for Joe Biden.
It would almost have been better for him for Republicans to have [7:09:47 PM] a big night.
Going forward he gets to be the guy who opposes all of the big bad Republican initiatives and it really helps him.
Even if they have a big night, if a lot of candidates win, they have to stop and think about, do we want to bring trump back with all of that drama and all of that oxygen he sucks out of the room?
Trumpism is the future of the party, no doubt about it but I think they need to think long and hard about if we want trump drama.
>> The better Republicans, it may not necessarily mean it is a good signal to former president trump.
>> There is a pattern that the part that wins the midterms [7:10:50 PM] often loses the presidential two years down the road.
I think you can count on Republicans to overplay their hand since everyone has done it for the last 30 years.
So they will impeach and go after the border and not in the ways that they should try to fix the border, but maybe in some bad ways.
They will do the investigations which will help them as much is the investigations have helped them politically.
Overreach is something that you can count on going to the bank.
>> These midterms give an opportunity to see up-and-coming rising stars.
In 2013 it was Stacey Abrams and Beto O'rourke.
It's not Ron Desantis but it could be Kari lake and somebody who is a rising star for Republicans.
>> More results are coming in and we will continue to monitor.
[7:11:55 PM] It was clear for many of them, the nation's future and the importance of voting itself were at stake.
>> Everybody's vote matters.
I think it was very important for me.
Judy: Turnout appeared healthy in many places as here in Florida.
>> My background is Cuban.
We were stripped of all of our rights and all ofour freedoms.
>> More than 40 4 million Americans had voted with mail-in ballots or at early voting centers.
That surpassed them more than 39 million early votes in the last midterms in 2018.
This time pull show Republicans all but assured of taking over the U.S. House of representatives.
Control of the senate hangs on [7:12:56 PM] Pennsylvania and other key races.
This morning, the state's democratic candidate lieutenant governor John Fetterman turned out to cast his vote.
TV Dr. Mehmet oz.
Tim Ryan turned out to vote in a senate campaign where he has cast himself as a moderate.
>> Ohio wants to move in the direction of sanity and healing and reconciliation and I want to be part of that.
>> He faces headwind from Republican author J.D.
Vance who asked Ohioans to vote based on the cost of everyday needs.
>> I think the election is fundamentally a referendum on whether people's lives are better than last couple of years.
Gas was one dollar 53 years ago and now it's four dollars.
It's through the roof.
Biden: Donald Trump showed up -- Judy: Donald Trump showed [7:13:57 PM] up and seems to have his eyes on another prize, hinting at a date for what could be a launch of his own in 2024.
>> I'm going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, November 15 at mar-a-lago in palm beach, Florida.
>> Last night, the current president and the democratic stronghold of Maryland where he made his final pitch.
>> Today, we face an inflection point.
We know in our bones that democracy is at risk in this is your moment to defend it.
>> In midterms past, the party in power has typically taken a battering.
Republicans lost 30 house seats and six senate seats.
While in 2010, Democrats lost 63 seats in the house and six in the senate.
>> I'm not recommending that every future president take a shellacking like I did last night.
[7:14:59 PM] >> The key issues from crime and the fate of legal abortion and even voting itself including how future elections are held.
>> President Biden has spent this election day at the white house with his advisers closely monitoring the election turnout.
Laura Lopez is at the white house that adjoins us to discuss how this election could affect the Biden administration.
So tell us, who has been out there on the trail, speaking for Democrats?
>> There have been a number of prominent Democrats including president Biden who made a final stop in Pennsylvania.
Vice president Kamala Harris has been focused on abortion rights.
As well as Pete buttigieg, transportation secretary who is [7:15:59 PM] in Nevada where Democrats are facing tough races up and down the ballot.
The final message has been focused on threats to democracy and abortion access as well as the economy, trying to make the case to Americans that what his administration has done has helped their pocketbooks and he is trying to combat inflation though a white house advisor told me today that it is difficult to message on inflation because it is a global problem, and certainly something impacting the races this year.
>> We are going to be coming back to you throughout the night.
And on the Nevada tracking key races and an important trend.
They join us for a P -- preview of what to watch tonight.
>> Polls are closed and the number of states including Georgia, Virginia, and Indiana.
I know there is a key congressional race you are tracking in the northwest part of the state.
[7:16:59 PM] >> Republicans need to pick up five seats tonight in Gary, Indiana.
This was a seat that has gone to the Democrats.
A working-class industrial region, two thirds white, non-hispanic.
This is a top Republican target.
A freshman incumbent in car get - - in congress.
We don't have any of the vote yet and it's only been a few seconds.
But Jennifer is an air force reserves officer, someone Republicans really like as a candidate.
>> She is one of six Republican black women running across the country.
>> That is a record.
>> Let's talk more about the governor races.
We have talked about control of congress, control of state governments also at play.
[7:17:59 PM] >> Early results in Georgia right now.
All of our viewers are so smart, we know that results are going to change.
Where are the results coming from early on?
If you look at it, where the results are coming in, we are seeing them in Augustine.
We are seeing some results in Georgia.
Still waiting for DeKalb county and we just don't know.
That in and of itself is exciting.
>> Patients is a keyword tonight.
And another key phrase and key issue we are coming back to his election to nihilism.
Hundreds of Republican candidates that have either denied the 2020 election results were disputed them in some way.
>> We're looking at secretary of state offices and the CEO and chief election officers in their states, dark ones in purple are the secretary of state Republican candidates who have said outright that they deny the [7:19:02 PM] 2020 results and in some cases, they are saying they have to change the system to their views.
We want to talk about one race we have been looking at in the past, Nevada.
The Republican is somebody who has led this kind of movement of secretaries of state who deny across the board.
I also want to look at how we are keeping track of the secretary of state races through the night.
We have all of those that have said they deny the 2020 election.
We will see checkmarks when we have a winner, those who fueled out or allowed out to exist or those who defended the election.
This is something we will be paying attention to all night and I think it could be a long night.
>> Back to you.
Judy: We're hearing back from a [7:20:02 PM] number of quarters that it could be a long night.
We have another winner to announce, the ap is calling the state of Kentucky, the senate race for Rand Paul.
The Republican senator who has served two terms and running for his third term, defeating Charles booker.
That is not a surprise.
Kentucky seen as a state that Republicans can count on.
That is one more check mark for the Republicans.
At think you both for getting us kicked off tonight and in the meantime we have several reporters in the field keeping tabs on some of the key races.
This past weekend, president Biden and former presidents Obama and trump converged on Pennsylvania to try to energize voters, particularly in the race for the senate.
Jeff Bennett joins us from [7:21:02 PM] headquarters in Pittsburgh.
And tell us what you're are seeing and hearing.
>> The Pennsylvania senate seat has been viewed as the most likely pick up opportunity for Democrats as they try to retain control of the senate but this race has tightened dramatically in large part due to a deluge of Republican backed ads focused on crime and inflation.
Democrats have tried to capture that perceived energy on the right by bringing out the biggest names in the party.
You mentioned president Biden, former president Obama.
One of the key priorities has been trying to energize and engage not just the democratic base, but young voters in particular.
We spent time on campus to get a sense of what voters.
>> I voted for Shapiro and federman.
I agree a lot with their main points, being against banning [7:22:03 PM] abortion and making sure to legalize marijuana.
>> Is abortion a big issue for you and your friends?
>> We talked about it a lot.
I'm part of the planned parenthood club on campus and I'm part of take back the night which is a club spreading awareness for sexual violence and domestic violence.
Abortion is a huge part of that.
>> You heard the student mentioned Shapiro.
She was talking about Josh Shapiro, the Democrat running for governor.
Strategists feel much better about the chance and the governors race then they do about the senate race because Josh Shapiro has maintained a healthy lead ahead of the Republican in this race for weeks.
As polls close in less than two hours from now, the attention shifts really to watching the vote come in and you heard Lisa saying it will be a long night watching the votes be tallied and it could be a long week.
[7:23:05 PM] They say there will not be a final tally tonight, that it will take some time.
The vote will be delayed in Philadelphia because of a last-minute counting change as a result of Republican backed legal challenges targeting that democratic stronghold.
The federman campaign has been intentional about telling voters that as the vote comes in, they expect the in-person vote to ski Republican and the mail-in voting skew democratic in much the same way happened back in 2020.
It took four days for the vote to be called in president Biden's favor.
Judy: We remember it well.
Jeff Bennett reporting from federman headquarters in Pittsburgh and a reminder to all of us that yes, we might be waiting days or weeks to know the balance of power in the senate if we don't know the results yet in Philadelphia.
There are close races in Arizona, democratic senator mark Kelly hoping to fend off Republican challenger Blake masters.
The state has become a focal point for fears about our [7:24:05 PM] democratic system because several of the Republican candidates in the state have falsely denied the results of the 2020 election.
Armed vigilantes showed up at election drop is ahead of election day sparking complaints of intimidation.
Stephanie Tsai has been tracking all of this.
Things got off to kind of a rocky start this morning, malfunctioning tabulation machines.
What do you know about all that?
>> We are at the central library in downtown Phoenix, one of the major polling centers and what a beautiful thing to see people after work dropping off their ballots.
We have seen a steady stream of voters here indicating there could be a healthy turn out here in maricopa county.
There were problems earlier today.
Officials said 20% of voting [7:25:05 PM] centers were experiencing problems with their tabulation machines.
Those are not the voting machines, those are machines that count for those in person.
They say they have figured this issue out and it was not a tabulation machine problem but rather a printer problem and they are sending out technicians to change printer settings with two hours before polls close.
This was about the worst way you can imagine the day starting for maricopa county election officials who have really taken great pains to show people that they are on top of election procedures and security.
There are Republicans up and down the ballot in Arizona who have run on election fraud claims.
Repeating disproven claims about the 2020 electoral process.
Among those is GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari lake.
I had an opportunity to ask her [7:26:05 PM] earlier about what she thought of the tabulation machine problems.
She did say she believes these problems only occurred in conservative areas and that is simply not true.
This is a democratic stronghold and they had problems at this voting center.
But let's hear what else she had to say.
>> Do you think what is happening here in maricopa county is normal?
We have had problems after problems.
This is an competency.
I hope it is not malice.
But we are going to fix it.
We are going to win.
Judy: It sounds like she is sticking to what she was saying and I know you were telling us that you are waiting to find out how long we will see tonight's results from Arizona.
Stephanie, we will be coming back to you throughout the night, joining us from Phoenix.
Despite some hick ups, electronic voting machine malfunctions and other technical [7:27:06 PM] issues were seen as not out of the ordinary today and voters across the country were largely able to cast ballots without major instances of harassment, intimidation, or threats.
William has been following election security and we turn to you now.
What are you hearing from election security officials about what they have seen?
>> It has been a blessedly event free day today which is great news for anyone that wants to see this process unfold so we can figure out who voted and count those votes in a normal timeframe.
There have been, as you mentioned, for months about concerns about intimidation, threats against election workers, allegations of fraud.
Officials have said there have been no major attacks or instances where that has been occurring.
There have been a few instances, [7:28:06 PM] reports today in Detroit that voters were showing up to vote and they were told that they had already voted.
That turned out to be a problem with the electronic poll book.
There was a situation in Pennsylvania where they ran out of paper ballots.
Both parties went to court and they have extended voting hours until 10:00 P.M. Tonight.
There was a case in north Carolina counties where they had to delay and extended voting because election workers did not show up on time this morning.
Not a great day to not show up on time for work.
But overall it has been a blessedly boring day in election infrastructure world.
Judy: And I know there has been attention on foreign interference but so far, nothing significant on that front.
Cliques -- >> There was lots of fear about foreign interference [7:29:07 PM] but no reported instances from federal officials at all.
Judy: We can be thankful for all of that.
And there was nonelection news today.
President zelenskyy is open to peace talks with Russia.
At the same time, he repeated conditions that Russia's president Putin will certainly reject.
>> Once again, restoration of territorial integrity, respect for the U.N. Charter, compensation for all damages caused by the war, punishment of every war criminal, and guarantees this will not happen again.
These are completely understandable conditions.
[7:30:08 PM] Judy: He had previously rejected talks as long as Putin remained in power.
In Iran, the judiciary announced thousands have been indicted among antigovernment protests.
They wore demonstrators will face harsh sentences if the protests continue.
University students chanting antigovernment slogans.
The family of one of Egypt's top activists says his condition is worsening.
He began a hunger strike.
Today, his sister urged world leaders to press for his release before it is too late.
>> We know that he stopped drinking water 50 hours ago.
We do not know where he is or if he is alive.
My mother waited outside the prison Gates for 10 hours yesterday.
[7:31:09 PM] She is back at the Gates right now.
>> He helped lead the 2011 revolution and spent much of the time since then in prison.
Back in this country, Florida's atlantic coast has begun getting ready for tropical storm Nicole and emergency shelters opened in the Bahamas.
The storm is expected to grow into a minimal hurricane before making landfall early Thursday.
Forecasters are warning of heavy rainfall in areas hit hard by hurricane Ian.
On the west coast, a major winter storm hit California as voters went to the polls today.
Heavy rain brought flash flood warning's in the north and fears of landslides in the south in areas left bare by wildfires.
Mountainous regions could see up to 20 inches of snow.
Someone who bought a Powerball ticket and southern California has hit the jack pot.
A record $2 billion worth.
The numbers drawn this morning after a 10 hour delay caused by [7:32:11 PM] a problem processing sales data.
The winning ticket was sold near Los Angeles, so check your numbers.
And on Wall Street, stocks moved higher on the selection day, the Dow Jones gaining 333 points, 1% to close at 33,160.
The S&P 500 added 21 points.
>> This is the pbs newshour in the west from the Walter Cronkite school of journalism at Arizona state university.
Judy: It is just after 7:30 P.M.
In the east end polls have closed in and three more states.
North Carolina, Ohio, and west Virginia.
We don't have any more calls to make at this time but we will be watching important races throughout the night.
Separately, I spoke with the house speaker Nancy Pelosi about what's at stake in today's elections.
[7:33:11 PM] Madam speaker, thank you for being here.
I want to get to the election but I have to ask you, how is your husband doing?
Nancy: It day by day, he gets better and day by day I ask him.
I've got to do the campaign, ok?
He is well enough for me to do that but we take it one day at a time.
Thank you for asking.
He has been day lose with prayers from all over Georgetown university here, nuns of the sacred heart and San Francisco, churches across the country pouring out prayers for him.
Thank you so much.
Judy: And he has been getting better?
Nancy: Making progress.
Judy: Republicans have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last many years attacking you.
I have come after you one thing after another.
They spent $50 million.
Do you see a connection between all of that and the attack on what was meant to be an attack on you?
[7:34:12 PM] Speaker Pelosi: That is the sad part of it, that it was intended to be an attack on me and my husband paid the price.
What is sad about both of the sentences he said, one about the ads, the negative ads, the misrepresentation is that I always try to encourage women to run for office and they will say to me, I don't know if I could handle all of the attack that you receive.
I don't know if I can pass that on to my family.
And I say you can't pay attention to them.
As long as you are effective, you will be a target but if you take the attacks and you feed the disinformation and you get physical attacks, that's almost too much to ask.
So I am concerned.
We have to find a better path.
We have to unify and we have to heal.
Judy: Is it clear we can heal?
Speaker Pelosi: We have two.
[7:35:14 PM] This is the greatest place that ever existed in the world and I have great confidence in the American people.
Judy: You just heard is reporting that the polls saying this looks like a good day for Republicans to take back control of the house.
Do you see a way for Democrats to hold on?
Speaker Pelosi: I do.
I have always objected to the presentation that you can't win because it is an off year.
We have great candidates with confidence and courage to run because they believe.
And they know why they are running and they know that our Marcus he is at stake, our planet is at risk.
And you win these elections on the kitchen table issues and we have a great record.
So let me just say, I have three measures.
Message mobilization money that we have to have.
But the most important part of that is the platform for our [7:36:14 PM] candidates to stand on.
We have far superior candidates and we own the ground out there today.
And just because a pundit in Washington says you can't win, there is no deterrent for the enthusiasm we have out there.
I think you will be surprise this evening.
Judy: I'm sure you know there are a number of democratic analysts saying that people who identify as Democrats, they think too many of the democratic candidates were talking about, as important as they are, issues like abortion and democracy rather than tackling head on the question of inflation and the economy, crime, the issues that people say they are worried about.
Speaker Pelosi: With all due respect to whoever those analysts are, our candidates know their districts and they are connecting to their districts.
The message that might be useful sir for somebody in Washington DC is maybe not the message that works.
Our candidates are contrasting themselves in a positive way about what they believe in.
[7:37:16 PM] Lower costs, bigger paychecks, safer communities, and the record the Democrats have in regard that our great president has taken the lead on and congress has fulfilled.
They take their message I support freedom of choice for a woman.
You support a nationwide ban on abortion.
I support lowering prescription drug prices, you voted against that and said your purpose if you win is to reverse lowering prescription drug prices.
I support social security and you say we should put it on the chopping block.
The list goes on.
Climate, gun safety, and the rest.
In their districts, they know all politics is local.
They know how to connect to their voters better than some pundits and Washington, D.C., with all due respect.
Speaker Pelosi: One of -- Judy: [7:38:21 PM] One of those analysts is Stan Greenberg, people that have spent years looking at the democratic party and its messaging.
The current Republican leader in the house, minority leader Kevin Mccarthy talking about the debt ceiling vote which is going to come up in weeks to come.
Speaks about it in terms of we are going to have to hold back, cut back on government spending before we agree to raise the debt ceiling.
What does it say to you?
Speaker Pelosi: One place they are targeting is social security.
That is what is at stake in this election.
The challenges that we are not fear mongers.
We are hope purveyors and you don't want to scare people.
But you have to let them know what is that they can the [7:39:21 PM] election and they have been very clear.
They are going to use the debt ceiling vote as a way to cut social security.
They call them entitlements and we call them insurance programs that people have paid into.
Judy: If Democrats are in the minority, how can they stop it?
Speaker Pelosi: We intend to win.
It is determined by the American people.
And I am excited about election day, a day where the sanctity of the vote and we have to respect the results of that.
Whatever the outcome, we will respect that.
Judy: A lot of attention devoted to the select committee investigating what happened.
Voters not saying it at the top.
Why do you think that is?
Speaker Pelosi: We never [7:40:21 PM] intended to be a political item.
It's about seeking the truth.
And it has had an impact on taking people to a place where they see the truth more clearly.
It was never planned as a political tactic.
You do see people saying that democracy is at stake in the election more and more.
Those are not unrelated.
If you see the assault that was made on the capital, on the constitution of the united States that we take an oath to protect and defend but our colleagues have abandoned.
And you see the rhetoric that was going on that day and you see with that man said coming into my home, you see a thread.
Judy: And what was that they said?
Speaker Pelosi: Where's Nancy?
And some of the disinformation [7:41:22 PM] he used as his motivation.
Our family is strong and you have a lot of trauma.
The babies born now will live to the next century.
They will live to the next century.
We want to make sure that they have a democracy that is strong, a planet that is safe, values intact and that we have healing.
This is an election.
At least we have some ideas.
Judy: Has he been a drag for Democrats this year?
Speaker Pelosi: Not at all.
[7:42:25 PM] He has not received the respect and appreciation.
Of course, the private sector has a role in that.
The gun violence protection, every subject you can name.
He has been a great president.
Our districts are doing just fine.
Because of what they have done, how they intend to vote.
Judy: Do you think the white house has done the job that needed to get the message across?
Speaker Pelosi: Let me just say [7:43:27 PM] yes.
I have no complaints about the white house and what they have done.
There is a massive disinformation campaign going on in our country.
The cliques on it.
Analysts, deep, dark special-interest money is pouring into that.
Again, the numbers that relate to the president are really not that bad.
Unemployment was at 9.5%.
Right now it is at 3.5%.
This president doesn't get the [7:44:28 PM] credit he deserves, but I think that there has to be a recognition of the disinformation that is out there.
Again, because of disinformation, they suffocate the airways.
It confuses people.
Judy: Especially these last to mull to us years, you said in an interview that what happened to your husband could have bearing on if you decide to run again.
Speaker Pelosi: I'm not predicate in any action on Democrats not winning tonight.
That is a conversation for another day.
Let's just get out the vote.
And again, with hope and with respect for everyone who votes.
[7:45:34 PM] It's called an independent other places, but nonaffiliated.
We respect all of their votes.
And in my congress, I'm so proud of the house Democrats because they are so courageous but I respect every member for the people who send them there.
Judy: Thank you.
>> And now for Republicans perspective, we are joined by Gary palmer of that.
Thank you for being here.
[7:46:36 PM] The lack of safety, how is that translating.
>> If we do or don't take the majority?
Judy: If you do.
>> We want to address the issue of cost-of-living.
The energy policy.
This is on federal lands.
It is driven by the money supply, energy.
Energy is the most inflationary component.
In the first three months of the Biden administration.
Energy future costs immediately went up the American rescue [7:47:42 PM] plan, just dumping 1.9 trillion into the money supply which really escalated the inflation problem.
In his first year of office, by netted over 200 million.
That is twice the first year of the Obama admin to address those things.
We have to come back to a sensible energy policy to bring down those costs.
It is also a national security issue.
We find ourselves reliant on foreign sources for energy.
>> The federal reserve is the one element of government that can do something significant about inflation.
You are saying that a Republican majority in congress can come in and bring inflation down?
>> It depends on if the white house is willing to work with us.
We will pass legislation that we are convinced will help bring down the cost of living.
[7:48:50 PM] It impacted inflation on the front end and impacted on the backend as well.
You will see some real issues this winter, particularly with household energy cost in the states that have very cold winters.
We have seen it in Europe.
Excess winter deaths, not because they froze to death but because they couldn't afford to keep their phone -- homes adequately heated.
Judy: I want to raise a question I just raised with speaker Pelosi and that has to do with the debt ceiling.
Kevin Mccarthy, your colleague has -- when asked about the debt ceiling said a cost have to come down and has not ruled out cuts in medicare and social security benefits.
Is this something the Republicans could do?
>> I can assure you that there [7:49:52 PM] has been zero discussion about cuts to social security or medicare.
It's almost like my colleagues and speaker Pelosi think that somehow we've got families that don't depend on those.
Our goal is to strengthen social security and strengthen medicare.
It's a complete misrepresentation of Republican policy that we're going to cut social security and medicare.
Judy: I'm asking because these are so-called entitlements.
They are big dollar items in the federal budget and the question is, if Republicans plan to bring spending down in a significant way, where do you get the money?
Republican candidates have been emphasizing on the campaign trail.
[7:50:52 PM] Millions of dollars worth of ads saying that Democrats are to blame.
Crime is seen as how local governments addressed.
If Republicans are in the majority, what do they do about it?
>> This attitude of no bail and no jail for violent defenders and we're seeing it in Democrat run cities of over the country.
In your seen record numbers of murders particularly in Philadelphia and other cities like that.
A lot of local law enforcement get federal grants.
Changes at the local level with these district attorneys.
They shouldn't be allowed to commit these acts of violence.
[7:51:53 PM] Cities like Portland and San Francisco.
That is absolute chaos.
We want to make sure they are protecting those community.
Judy: It has to do with a number of Republican speaking about during the selection year, that is impeaching members of the Biden administration.
For example, the secretary of homeland security.
You yourself have said he would be a potential target for impeachment.
Is that on your agenda?
>> I think that we have got to investigate what has happened at the border and hold the people who are responsible for securing the border accountable for their [7:52:54 PM] actions.
Clearly, secretary mayorkas has not secure the border.
As a matter of fact, I think he has intentionally allowed people to cross the border and it is not just people coming across the border because they want a better life for their family.
We have got an unbelievable amount of fentanyl and heroin and methamphetamines causing the border.
We saw a record number of drug overdose deaths last year, over 107,000 and that is probably underreported by 15% to 20% because many families don't want it on the death certificate that it is an overdose.
Judy: Just in connection with that, one of your colleagues, congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene has set a priority will be moving to impeach president Biden.
Is that something that is on the [7:53:57 PM] Republican agenda?
>> I have not seen that as part of the agenda.
Individual members are going to do what they want to do.
Coming right out of the gate is addressing the cost of living.
We could still put food on the table for the families.
They asked if it would be ok and they offered to fill up the vehicle.
She started crying.
That is what is happening in this country.
All over this country.
Judy: Chairman of the house Republican policy committee, we [7:54:58 PM] appreciate you joining us.
Judy: That wraps up the first hour of our coverage tonight, but don't go anywhere.
Our live reporting on this election night continues right here on pbs and online at pbs.org/newshour.
I'm Judy woodruff.
We will see you shortly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And welcome to this PBS "NewsHour" special, live coverage of the midterm elections.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
Control of Congress is up for grabs in this election that many see as a referendum on the first two years of the Biden presidency.
Republicans need to pick up a single seat to gain control of the U.S. Senate and a total of five seats in the House of Representatives to take over that chamber.
The polls have just closed in another 16 states.
It is 8:00 in the East.
We're going to jump right into the results that are coming in.
We are relying on the Associated Press for the race calls.
And we're going to start with the state of Maryland, reliably blue Maryland, reelecting the Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, fending off a challenge from Republican Chris Chaffee.
In Illinois, again, another hold for the Democrats.
Tammy Duckworth, the AP says has won that seat.
They're able to call that just as the polls are closing, telling us they don't expect that to be close, facing a challenge from Republican Kathy Salvi.
Two races for the Senate in the state of Oklahoma.
We can tell you, in the special election, this is the seat that is open, Jim Inhofe retiring there.
The Representative Markwayne Mullin is declared the winner by the AP, defeating Democrat Kendra Horn.
And in the other Oklahoma Senate seat, incumbent James Lankford, running for reelection to his second term, defeating Madison Horn, the Democrat, no relation to Congresswoman Kendra Horn.
In the state of Alabama, this is a hold for the Republicans.
This is the seat that had been held for many terms by Richard Shelby.
His former chief of staff, Katie Britt, who has been endorsed by President -- former President Trump, the AP has declared her the winner, defeating the Democrat Will Boyd.
And the final Senate call we can make at this hour, at this moment is a hold for the Democrats, in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic senator there, winning reelection, according to the Associated Press.
He's running -- was running for his third term, defeating Republican Leora Levy.
So I'm with our panel of experts, as -- joined by them, as we are throughout this evening by them and our correspondents and reporters across the country.
I think we are going to the panel right now.
But am I wrong?
OK, we are going to the panel.
We have a number of our correspondents standing by.
But, right now, I want to ask all of you what we have learned with these results.
Amy Walter, again, these are all... AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: It's still pretty early, yes.
(CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: These states either lean blue, lean red already, no surprises here.
AMY WALTER: That's right.
I mean, we are now at the time, though, where a number of these key states where we're waiting for some of our bellwethers are closed.
So it's a question of how quickly they're able to count those votes in places like Virginia and Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina.
And once we start getting some calls there, I think we will have a better understanding of what kind of night this is actually going to be.
Even the exit polling, it's still -- at 8:00, you don't have a lot of real -- you're only starting to get the real-time data in there.
So I don't feel all that confident saying, oh, it's pretty clear where things are headed at this direction.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, David Brooks, you have been looking not only at the calls we have been making, but also watching the sources you talk to and read.
Are you seeing anything that points us in a certain direction at this hour, at 8:00?
DAVID BROOKS: Not really, not yet.
The only state where there's a lot of votes in 69 percent of Florida.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And, in that state, Republicans are doing extremely well.
Ron DeSantis is up.
Who knows what hasn't come in, and so it's tentative, but I would say Republicans seem to be doing well, even in Miami-Dade area and in the Orlando area.
And so I noticed David Plouffe, who ran Obama's campaign, on another network said the Obama Florida coalition is gone.
And so that's -- but that's not indicative of the country, because Florida has not been going the way, say, Georgia has been going.
AMY WALTER: Right.
DAVID BROOKS: So that's one state, and it's probably good for Ron DeSantis.
But it's not indicative of where this night is going.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Faiz Shakir, who worked for Senator Bernie Sanders, one of his campaigns for president, is he -- what do you see in these numbers tonight?
Is there something telling you where the wind is blowing?
FAIZ SHAKIR, Democratic Strategist: Well, I think in areas where Democrats have -- you would expect them to do well, early returns are that the bottom hasn't fallen out of those places, so that we have got good suburban coalitions, people of strong Democratic performance, at least in the early going, turning out.
The question is, on the late deciders that we're going to get numbers on here late, you - - first of all, we know that the mail ballots are going to take a while to get counted in a lot of key places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.
But, even despite that, I think that you start with a situation where the House is probably leaning Republican because of the recomposition in Texas and some other states.
And there was a danger there could just be a red sweep if the suburbs started to fall through.
And, thus far, at least, in the early going, that doesn't seem to be the case.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marc Short, you are following all this too from your many sources inside the Republican Party.
What are you seeing?
MARC SHORT, Former Chief of Staff to Former Vice President Mike Pence: Well, I think -- I do think it's early, but you have seen Republicans do extremely well in Miami-Dade.
Both the governor and Senator Rubio has done extremely well there.
And in some precincts, you're seeing in Virginia 2 and Virginia 7 keeping track with Glenn Youngkin's victory in 2021.
So I think that bodes well for Republicans as well.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we were just talking about Ron DeSantis.
And we are now able to make a call.
The AP has just called in the governor's race in Florida -- David, you were just talking about this -- that Ron DeSantis has been declared the winner, defeating former Governor and former Congressman, who changed parties a couple of times, Charlie Crist.
Again, not a surprise.
There it is.
There's the card.
And that is with, what, 73 percent of the expected vote in.
That's a lot of the vote in.
Florida has clearly sped up its vote counting processes.
But he is -- he is declared the winner.
I want to turn to you, Perry Bacon, because, as we look at -- I mean, Florida has for so long been kind of at the epicenter of trying to understand what's going on in American politics.
And now you have a governor who could not only be looking at another term as governor, but thinking about running for president.
PERRY BACON, The Washington Post: Yes, two notable things here.
First of all, Florida used to be the -- remember, 2000, it's like we decided the election based on Florida.
Now I didn't really think about covering it very much, because I sort of knew DeSantis would win a lot.
So the fact that Florida is sort of off the map is a really important thing.
There is a lot of electoral votes there.
And the Democrats didn't really try to win very hard, very notable.
Second thing is, DeSantis has been pretty unabashed about doing everything possible to signal he is going to run for president.
And so I think this is notable too.
Donald Trump seemed like he's running next week.
I think DeSantis is going to talk -- probably talk tonight about the future a little bit.
And I think it is notable that we're already in 2024 on some level, and DeSantis has the kind of win, I think it looks, based on the numbers, that will vault him and say he maybe is a person who is a strong candidate to beat Donald Trump.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Gary Abernathy, what kind of reception would Ron DeSantis have in the Republican Party?
GARY ABERNATHY, Freelance Journalist: I think - - a few days ago, in a rally, Donald Trump made fun of Ron DeSantis, called him Ron DeSanctimonious, gave him one of his nicknames.
Didn't get a good reaction from the crowd in Florida, I believe it was.
I think that Trump has to walk a fine line.
People who love Trump love DeSantis.
So it's going to be tough for Trump to rip him too much.
I do want to brag about my state of Ohio a little bit on the returns I saw flashing on the screen,.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Please do.
GARY ABERNATHY: About 3 percent in, it looks like Democrats are doing very well, but people need to remember, in Ohio, they count early votes first.
States are all different.
It's important to keep this in mind.
So, the early votes will probably all be counted in Ohio by about 8:30 tonight, and then the same-day votes, which will bring the Republicans back into the picture.
Pennsylvania, I think, is the opposite.
So Republicans will maybe appear to be doing very well in the early votes, and then the - - or the early returns.
And then, when the early votes are actually reported, Democrats will come back.
And it's just important to make that distinction.
But I wish every state ran its elections like Ohio does, because there's never any drama out of Ohio.
They wrap it up early.
A lot of voters, big state, important state.
Call Ohio to get right on how to run elections.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I can remember some questions some years ago.
AMY WALTER: It was a little dramatic in 2004.
(CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, I was going to say, there was some drama.
GARY ABERNATHY: You go way back.
(CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) MARC SHORT: Last time there were election deniers in 2004 was when Democrats voted against certification of Bush/Cheney victory.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
(CROSSTALK) GARY ABERNATHY: There you go.
Let's mention that two or three times tonight.
(LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy Walter, I mean, what Gary's saying does remind us that how the votes are counted, where they come in, and how fast they come in.
AMY WALTER: Exactly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Of course, we remember about Florida in 2000, and what Gary and Mark are talking about in Ohio.
It reminds us that every election has its own distinction.
AMY WALTER: They do.
And these -- we talk about these mirages, right, the wave and then the mirage, and which one is real and which one isn't?
And who would have thought, again, five or six years ago, that how you vote is a sign of your partisan identity?
Most parties up until that point -- or most partisans, the two parties would say, we want to get as many early votes in as possible, just so we can bank those.
Now it's Republicans saying, show up on Election Day, and Democrats who are the ones voting early.
And that used to not be the case all that long ago.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David, that -- I mean, that's really changed in the last several years, because we remember when Republicans used to say vote early if you can.
DAVID BROOKS: Well, everything has to be partisan now.
So, whether you go to Chick-fil-A, whether - - what late show you watch, just about everything has become a source of politics.
And that is actually a problem for the country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
Perry Bacon, thinking about this whole question - - go ahead.
You were going to say something.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ One thing about you're able to call the races so early.
We have close elections.
But if you live in 40 states or live in most congressional districts, there are really like 10 competitive states and about 50 districts that are competitive.
So most -- most of the politics is not actually very effective for most people.
And that's really unfortunate, I think.
And I live in Kentucky.
Our race was called extremely early.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ There was almost no competitiveness there at all.
It really is striking how many blowouts we have, even -- and how little campaigning we have in most of the country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it is the case, Faiz Shakir, that the media, all of us pay so much attention to these contested races, almost none -- I mean, the national media -- obviously, the local media pay some attention, but the races that get the most attention are the ones that are contested, no question.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Yes.
And I will say, we will wait for the contested results to come in.
As a native Floridian, I will just talk about DeSantis for a moment.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Because, obviously, there was a huge success on his part in building off of what he had as a result a few years ago.
He had a tiny margin, actually, over Andrew Gillum.
And now he's expanded that in a significant way.
And I think there's a couple of things to learn, observe from it.
One is, with the assistance of the Biden administration, the hurricane recovery efforts in Florida were quite impressive.
I mean, you saw Sanibel Island, which had just been destroyed, bridge, boom, right back up and running.
Their -- competence in governance is important.
And we shouldn't just forget about it.
And I think there was demonstrated competence with the help of the federal government to recover from that hurricane.
I think, also, if you listen to Governor DeSantis talk a lot, he does a lot of railing against corporate America.
I mean, he goes after big tech.
He goes after Amazon.
If you listen to a lot of his speeches, he - - there's this -- he has a pitch and a discussion that is aimed at working-class Floridians.
And there's also something to learn from that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marc Short, thoughts about Ron DeSantis?
MARC SHORT: Well, I think he's had incredible success as governor, and I think he has a good victory tonight.
I think it is interesting that, actually, in the returns you have seen, Rubio was basically tracking the same numbers, where everybody thought Rubio-Demings race would be much closer and DeSantis would be a blowout.
They're both basically tracking the same numbers.
And one other thing I would say to Governor DeSantis is that we talk about crime, border, inflation as primary issues.
I do think that COVID was also an issue in some states.
And even though, to be honest, the first governor to open up was Brian Kemp, if you remember, Donald Trump went after Brian Kemp when he opened up and said, it's too soon.
But the media has all focused on Ron DeSantis, because he's tried to take that mantle, when it was actually Georgia was the first state to open up.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it may have something to do with the many cycles of COVID that we have had.
It's been down, it's been up, and we're still in the middle of it.
But we're hopefully looking at the end, closer to the end than we are to the beginning.
So, now I am told the Associated Press has some more calls to make and now in more of the governor's races.
We just mentioned Ron DeSantis in Florida.
This is a pickup for Democrats.
This is Larry -- it was the state where Larry Hogan, a Republican, was governor.
It -- Wes Moore, the Democrat, declared the winner over Dan Cox, who was not only endorsed by former President Trump.
He organized some of the buses that went to the Capitol on January the 6th.
That race has been pretty much set for some time, according -- according to the polls, Wes Moore, the author and former investor.
And that is a hold for the Democrats.
And now to Illinois, another holds for the Democrats.
J.B. Pritzker, Democratic governor, holding on for his second term as governor.
He was expected to win in this Democratic state against Darren Bailey, who has been self-described as an election denier, denying that President Biden won the 2020 election.
In the state of Massachusetts, Carrie -- I'm sorry -- Maura Healey makes history.
She becomes the first lesbian -- openly lesbian governor in American history.
She is flipping that state.
It was -- there was a Republican governor, Baker.
Thank you very much.
And this is now a pickup for the Democrats.
She's defeated the Republican, Geoff Diehl, and making history in the process.
And now to again another hold for the -- for the Republican Party.
This is Tennessee, Bill Lee apparently sailing to reelection, defeating Democrat Jason Martin.
So we have a number of governor calls there we're just able to make early this evening.
And now a note we want to share with all of you about the races where we are calling a winner.
The "NewsHour" is relying, as we have for many years, on the Associated Press.
This year, the AP has a team of 4,000 reporters on the ground in election offices across the country.
They are sending back information on votes as they are being counted.
Using this information, the AP will call the winners once their data team, in their word, shows no statistical way for a trailing candidate to catch up.
You're going to hear us talking about the percent of expected vote.
This refers to the amount of votes that have been counted so far, and in relation to the AP's best estimate of the total number of ballots cast in a particular local jurisdiction.
It's based on historical vote trends.
It's based on early ballots cast and on today's turnout.
And that number will be updated throughout the night as more vote tallies are reported.
Now, many of you viewers will remember, in 2020, we didn't know final results for several days in a few critical states.
That is very likely, possible, likely to happen again this year.
So get ready for a long night and potentially a long few days, because about half of the states, including battleground like Pennsylvania, like Wisconsin, election officials could not begin counting mail-in ballots until today.
Two years ago, mail-in -- we have been talking about this -- mail-in votes made up nearly half of all the ballots cast.
Those votes, which may take days to count, have been more favorable to Democratic candidates, again, as we have been discussing, because many Republicans, including former President Trump, have raised doubts, unfounded doubts, about mail-in ballots and have urged their voters to show up in person.
Republicans may have a lead among in person ballots cast.
That's been the trend in recent years, votes, for example, that are counted today.
But in many places, Democratic votes may catch up or pass those numbers as more mail-in ballots are counted.
And, last, you are also going to hear us talking about why people voted the way they did.
For that, we are relying on AP voter surveys conducted with over 100,000 people over just the past few days.
So that's just some background we want to share with all of you, as we make these calls, and you know where they're coming from and how those votes are counted and then transmitted to us.
So we have talked -- we have some governor calls.
Do we have time to talk about that?
Or do we want to hear from some of our reporters right now.
We are going to talk -- let's talk about the governors.
Now, we have talked about Ron DeSantis.
We have -- most of these states are our a hold.
There are a couple of pickups, David Brooks.
In Maryland, Larry Hogan had been a very popular Republican governor.
He had wanted his party to choose someone else as its nominee.
That didn't happen.
And it became Dan Cox.
And that pretty much assured that Wes Moore was going to be elected.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, Larry Hogan was the last moderate Republican on Earth, apparently.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: So -- but he was a very successful governor.
But his time was up.
As we look at the governor's races, I'm struck.
We have been talking about how there's so much stasis, that the electorate has basically been tied.
And that's true on a national level for 30 years.
States have moved all over the place.
And so like we just called the Tennessee governor race.
Tennessee used to be the state of Lamar Alexander, of Jim Thompson, the actor, of whom -- I think Fred Thompson, the actor.
And I was with a guy from -- an expert on Pennsylvania.
And he was describing to me the Republicans in Pennsylvania.
He said they were 40 percent really Trumpy, 40 percent Trumpkin, Trump-lite, and 20 percent... (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: Trumpkin.
DAVID BROOKS: ... sort of old-fashioned George Bush Republicans.
And Pennsylvania was the state of John Heinz, who was a liberal Republican, of Hugh Scott years before that, Arlen Specter more recently, and so these states have moved all over the place, and it's really hard to predict which state will go where.
Like, Ohio used to be the swingy state, but it's not anymore.
Florida used to be swingy.
And it is not anymore.
Georgia is now swingy.
It's -- so we have had a lot of dynamism on a state level at the same time we have had stasis on the national level.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, while you have been talking, David, the Associated Press has called another Senate race.
And we're going to share that with all of you.
Not a surprise.
You have all been talking about it, but, in the state of Florida, Marco Rubio is called as the winner, defeating Val Demings, Congresswoman Demings, long police chief in the city of Orlando who was part of the impeachment committee against President Trump.
She garnered a lot of attention at that time.
It was thought she would be a strong challenger to Marco Rubio.
But, as you can see, it is early after the polls closed in the state of Florida just 20 minutes ago, and the AP is calling that state -- that Senate race for Marco Rubio.
Let's go now to another state where I guess you could say this may be the most contested state in the country, if you count how much money has been spent, and that's Pennsylvania.
Our Geoff Bennett is in Pittsburgh.
Key Senate race there is taking place -- Geoff.
And, Geoff, as you... GEOFF BENNETT: Hey, Judy.
And, as you can see, the doors to the Fetterman election night headquarters just opened.
People are starting to stream in.
One of the things that we're paying close attention to here in Pennsylvania is the amount of time it will take to count the vote.
There are a few things happening at once here in Pennsylvania.
The first factor, the first really main contributing factor to the delay is state law.
State law prohibits the counting of mail-in ballots before Election Day.
And it's not just the counting, Judy.
It's what's called pre-canvassing.
It's the mundane, but critical work of checking signatures, opening envelopes, straightening ballots, getting them prepared to go through the scanners.
None of that can start here until the morning of Election Day.
And there have been multiple proposals from the Democratic governor, the current Democratic governor, Democrats across the state, voting rights groups to change that.
But the Republican-led legislature and Democrats in the state have not been able to settle on a solution.
I have talked to Democratic lawmakers here who say that there are Republicans who are disinclined to allow for more time because they want to use that delay, some of them, to sow doubt in the election results to sort of undermine the election's integrity.
Of course, Republicans push back on that.
So that's the main factor contributing to the delay.
The second one is a legal case here that has worked its way up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
And this calls into question whether or not ballots that have been signed with the incorrect date -- everything else with that ballot could be -- could be perfectly fine.
It arrived before Election Day.
The only thing that's wrong with it is that the voter put the wrong date on that ballot.
There has been a Republican lawsuit challenging those ballots.
John Fetterman's campaign has filed a countersuit.
But, right now, those ballots, it's about somewhere between 4,000 to 5,000 ballots have effectively been set aside.
That's a critical issue in a race that could come down to hundreds or thousands of votes.
And then, thirdly, the last factor contributing to the delay here is what happened in Philadelphia this morning.
The Philadelphia Board of Elections, those commissioners, decided by a 2-1 vote that they would reinstate this really cumbersome vote counting process in Philadelphia.
That process makes sure that someone didn't vote by mail and then show up and vote in person on Election Day.
That was the result of a Republican lawsuit that focused only on Philadelphia and none of the other 60-plus counties in Pennsylvania.
And so there are Democrats who say that that was intentional to disenfranchise what is a Democratic stronghold.
So, all of those factors are why the acting secretary of state has said that she doesn't expect -- in fact, she says there will not be a final result here in Pennsylvania tonight.
And what the Fetterman campaign has been clear about saying really for weeks now is that a voting delay does not suggest voting irregularities, and that people should pack their patience and wait potentially three to four days, but maybe even longer than that, to make sure that all of the votes are counted, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I like the term pack their patience.
It is so important to talk about all this, Geoff.
And thank you for taking us through it, for walking us through it, because, as we have been discussing tonight, we did see those significant delays and challenges growing out of -- and that some of which continue today, growing out of the 2020 election.
All right, Geoff Bennett, we're going to come back to you through the night.
And now we want to go to the White House.
Our Laura Barron-Lopez is there.
Laura, I know you have been talking to folks there.
Tell us, how closely are they watching?
Where are they watching?
How are they paying attention to tonight?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, the White House aides and the president himself are certainly watching the election results, but it's been a quiet night at the White House for the president.
He had no public events on his schedule today.
The White House called a lid before noon today.
And, also, the president, even though he had no public events scheduled, he did make some phone calls.
He called all the major campaign arms for Democrats, the chairman of the DNC, the DCCC, which is the House campaign arm, as well as the Senate campaign arm.
He also called into a virtual phone bank for the DNC.
And he spoke as well to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
But that's the extent of what the president has been doing today, as they have been waiting for results to come in.
And it's unlikely that we are going to hear directly from the president until tomorrow.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Laura, I just -- while we have you, I want to bring up something else I know you have been following very closely in your reporting over the summer and into this fall.
And that is the abortion decision by the Supreme Court, the Dobbs decision, how Democrats thought that was going to be an issue that worked in their favor.
I know the White House is also watching this very closely.
What are you seeing as this night begins?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: This is a big issue that Democrats have certainly tried to elevate heading into election night today.
But there are five states that have abortion ballot measures.
And those five states are California, Montana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Vermont.
The majority of those states, those ballot measures look to enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions.
Kentucky is an outlier there.
Kentucky, actually, the language for that ballot measure closely resembles the Kansas ballot measure that we saw earlier this year over the summer, where voters surprised a lot of the nation when they decided to reject that ballot measure that would have allowed for a potential ban on the procedure.
And so the Kentucky measure closely resembles that.
It would make it so voters are deciding whether or not they want to put in the state constitution that there is no protection for abortion rights.
And it -- these ultimately could elevate Democratic candidates in these states, because we're seeing that a number of voters are motivated, particularly on the abortion issue, when it's explicitly on the ballot, to come out and vote.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, we're seeing a direct connection between the laws in a particular state and, as you say, whether abortion in one form or another is on the ballot, a direct connection between that and how much voters are focused on the issue as they vote.
All right, Laura Barron-Lopez at the White House, thank you very much.
And now we're going to scoot across the country to Arizona, where our Stephanie Sy is at the Maricopa County elections headquarters in Phoenix.
You have been talking, out talking, Stephanie, pretty much all day long to voters.
What are you hearing from them?
STEPHANIE SY: Yes, my favorite part about covering elections, Judy, is just talking to normal people, figuring out why they decided to exercise their free vote today.
And we did speak to a number of voters.
There's obviously a diversity of issues.
Like the rest of the country, polls show that Arizonans are most concerned about inflation and the economy.
And that is sort of baked in.
But here's what I'm really looking at tonight, those middle voters, those voters that only show up occasionally to vote in elections, especially midterms.
And I met one of those voters today in Mesa, Arizona.
And she said that the reason she turned out today, her biggest concern is that this state is going to elect top officials who may one day overturn the will of the voters.
Listen to our conversation.
BARBARA VAUGHAN, Arizona Voter: Well, I'm pretty concerned about whether the vote really counts, because it was -- like, if my candidate wins, and the other party refuses to accept that, then does my count -- my vote really even count?
And that's something that has really bothered me.
STEPHANIE SY: So you're saying that you voted for Katie Hobbs because her opponent has been saying the election is fraudulent?
BARBARA VAUGHAN: Yes, yes, mainly, yes, mainly why.
And I don't believe that's true.
I believe that they did a good check on, and it's been verified.
And it's -- solidly, and those who are election deniers should not be allowed into office, if they're not going to accept the results.
STEPHANIE SY: But, indeed, Judy, several of the GOP candidates at the top of the ticket and on down have repeated the lies about the 2020 election.
And we heard a lot more Democrats as speaking about that issue.
Throughout the night, I will be bringing you other issues of concern to voters.
We're here at the Maricopa County elections office, where they continue to receive ballots.
There is less than an hour before polls closed.
And, as you can see, there's a steady stream of cars of people dropping off ballots.
There was a kid that yelled out the window to me earlier and just shouted, "Every vote Counts."
So, just a reminder of the joy that some people are experiencing as they drop off their ballots here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A great thing to remember as we're discussing all the problems around voting and the suspicions and the questionable tactics that are that -- are being raised.
It's great to know that.
Stephanie Sy there in Phoenix for us.
We have a call to make.
This is the Senate race in the state of Indiana.
The polls closed in Indiana at 7:00, about an hour-and-a-half ago, but the Associated Press is declaring Todd Young the winner.
He hangs on for a second term in the Senate, defeating the Democrat, Thomas McDermott, not a particular surprise.
Indiana has been reliably Republican for some time.
And now we have been -- just exactly what we have just been hearing Stephanie speak about, the questions raised about the 2020 presidential vote, how all that is hanging over this year's election.
Our William Brangham has been tracking that.
He's been tracking disinformation.
William, I know you're following reports from across the country.
Pull it all together for us.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Judy, I'm thrilled to report that this has been a relatively uneventful day, as far as the mechanics of elections.
And, remember, after months and months of warnings of seeing elections officials being harassed and threatened, of seeing people armed with semiautomatic weapons showing up outside ballot drop boxes, fears of foreign interference, all the officials around the country, both federal and state that are monitoring these elections, say that there have not really been major issues.
I mean, there have been little tiny things.
There was an issue in Maricopa County for a while with their ballots.
They ran out of paper in one Pennsylvania county.
Some election workers in North Carolina showed up late for work, and that delayed things, but, again, nothing terribly major.
And federal officials who are looking out for foreign interference -- and this is something they have been worried about from Russia or China, perhaps Iran -- again, no real evidence that any substantive attacks have been levied against this country and its infrastructure today and in the days leading up to it.
So, again, happy to report it has been a blessedly boring day in the election infrastructure world.
(LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: For sure, that's something we celebrate, the fact that there haven't been any reports of anything serious.
What you cite is -- sounds like an issue here or there, but nothing that adds up to some of the -- some of the major interruptions or interferences that have been -- that were feared, frankly.
All right, William Brangham watching that, and we will come back to you through the night.
Another call to make.
The polls have closed in the state of Arkansas.
And we can report that, in the Senate race there, Republican John Boozman has won reelection to the Senate.
He will sail to a third term, I think it's fair to say, since the AP is calling this race right at the poll, closing time, defeating the Democrat Natalie James.
So, John Boozman will be returning to Washington, returning to the Senate.
Another call to make in the state of Arkansas, where the polls have also just closed, and, there, a little bit of history being made.
Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the daughter of the former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, has been elected, according to the AP, to fill that seat.
She was also -- many of you will recognize her.
She was for some time a press secretary to former President Donald Trump.
And then she decided to go home to Arkansas and eventually announced that she was planning to run for governor.
And it turned out she's successful, defeating the Democrat, Chris Jones.
So, while we're digesting all of this, let's turn to our own Amna Nawaz and Lisa Desjardins, who are keeping tabs on crucial races across the country for the House of Representatives and other slots.
Amna and Lisa, what are you seeing?
LISA DESJARDINS: That's right, Judy, just after 8:30 here on the East Coast.
And polls that we know have closed in a number of states across the country, those votes are being tallied, they're being counted.
As you have been reporting too, we have been making those calls in a few of those House and gubernatorial and Senate races.
And when you look at the national map of where we are right now in making those House calls, in particular, you're starting to see a picture emerge.
LISA DESJARDINS: We're getting a few results, finally.
AMNA NAWAZ: It is early.
We should say that.
LISA DESJARDINS: Yes.
(CROSSTALK) AMNA NAWAZ: But you can see right now some of these seats starting to be called in these races here.
And, Lisa, it's fair to say these have largely gone the way we expected them to go.
LISA DESJARDINS: Most of these are races that were predictable in very solid Republican or solid Democratic seats.
It's something Amy Walter talks about all the time.
The whole nation has been redistributed in a way that there are not as many toss-up seats as there used to be.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's right.
So, we're still waiting for a lot of races to be called, for this map to be filled in.
In the meantime, we want to focus in on a few very competitive races, which could give us a picture of where things are to go.
Lisa, tell us about Virginia's Second... (CROSSTALK) LISA DESJARDINS: My home state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Second District of Virginia.
Now, here, we're talking about Tidewater area, coastal Virginia, Norfolk.
This is the home of the Atlantic Fleet.
NATO now has a command center there, also, by the way, where my family was stationed for a little while.
It's an interesting race.
Two female Navy veterans are running in this race.
Gas prices and inflation a key issue here.
Military salaries have not kept up with inflation in this area.
And that has been a big issue in this race.
Let's look at the who's trying to win this seat here.
We have two, again, Navy veterans.
If you talk about the candidates in this race, one of them, Jen Kiggans -- here she is, the Republican -- look at these results right now; 47 percent of the vote is in.
She is leading 56 percent to Democrat Elaine Luria.
Jen Kiggans, how important is this race, Amna?
Kevin McCarthy, the man who wants to be speaker of the House, his last event this season was in this district last night, a rally for this woman right here.
Elaine Luria, many people know her from the January 6 Committee.
This is a prime target.
This is one of the races we're watching to see if this is one of the first flips of the night for Democrats -- or for Republicans rather, possibly.
AMNA NAWAZ: Let's head over to North Carolina now, another hugely competitive race there.
LISA DESJARDINS: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: And another newly created district, right?
LISA DESJARDINS: That's right.
North Carolina picked up a seat because of their population gains in the census.
This is the 13th District.
Here, we have Wiley Nickel.
He is winning this race.
He's a former Obama staffer, 46 years old.
And he's beating right now Bo Hines, who's 25-year-old, former football player.
But I want to warn viewers, this is one of those races that this could very well change.
In North Carolina, we believe the advanced vote, the vote before today, comes in first.
So, that benefits Democrats.
So, it's hard to say what this means.
But I think Democrats are not sad to see him ahead with 54 percent of the vote in.
Also, Bo Hines is someone, and so is Jen Kiggans in Virginia Second, who is -- some people refer to as an election denier.
He is more of an outright denier than she is, but we're watching both of those races.
AMNA NAWAZ: And yet to make a call in those, we should note.
LISA DESJARDINS: Right.
AMNA NAWAZ: Patience is key.
Let's go to Florida.
LISA DESJARDINS: Yes, yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: Florida's 10th Congressional District, where we have been able to make a call there.
LISA DESJARDINS: Maxwell Frost.
This was not expected to be competitive.
Why are we talking about this?
This is a historic call right now.
This is -- Maxwell Frost, in winning this race, becomes the first member of Gen Z to become a member of Congress.
He's not the only one on the ballot tonight, as we just said.
There could be other winners tonight from that generation, but he is the first one.
He is a progressive activist, community activist.
That's how he started this.
I interviewed him.
He said he barely had money to eat.
He's an Uber driver at one point during his campaign.
And here he is now.
The Associated Press has said he will be a member of Congress starting in January.
AMNA NAWAZ: A little bit of history made in Florida.
I want to stay in Florida, though, and take a closer look at that governor's race that we weren't able to make a call in earlier.
Lisa, when you look at this, 81 percent of the expected vote.
LISA DESJARDINS: Look at those numbers, yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: But, of course, you look at the gap there between Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist.
LISA DESJARDINS: Now, again, some big cities may not have come in.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's right.
LISA DESJARDINS: So, in Florida, where we're - - in Florida, sometimes, it benefits the Republicans first.
But that is still a huge margin.
Obviously, the AP has seen enough.
AMNA NAWAZ: Yes.
LISA DESJARDINS: But let's look at exactly what's happening in Florida.
This is, I think, a big story tonight.
Look at this Florida map, again, only 80 percent in.
But, Amna, I want to point to some counties here.
Look, this is Miami-Dade right here.
That was a county that was blue in 2020.
You go up here.
Around Orlando, you see Osceola County, also a county that was blue.
Look at Jacksonville, red.
Duval County, that used to be blue.
Now, we will see if perhaps some of the more urban districts come in and these flip back to blue.
But this is very bad news for Democrats in a state that, if you had any doubt of that Florida is now red, look at this map, and Ron DeSantis red is the color of Florida tonight.
AMNA NAWAZ: Miami-Dade, worth pointing out, used to be a lock for Democrats.
I don't think Republicans have won it in 20 years.
LISA DESJARDINS: You're so good with those facts.
AMNA NAWAZ: I mean, every now and again.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, back to you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you both.
So interesting, what we're seeing in the state of Florida.
And, again, they are counting their votes speedily in Florida, helping us get some results there, I think, probably earlier than we expected.
We do have another call to make in the state of New Hampshire.
This is a hold for the Republicans.
Chris Sununu, yet another son of or daughter of a governor has been reelected, in this case, Chris Sununu, governor, son of the former Governor John Sununu.
He is -- has defeated, according to the Associated Press, Tom Sherman, the Democrat.
So let's check in now with our panel.
I think we have enough -- more information to sort of chew over, if you will.
Gary Abernathy., I mean, I think several of you weighed in on -- have weighed in on Florida.
I mean, this is -- this is an example of a state that is hugely consequential in presidential years.
GARY ABERNATHY: Yes.
And I have Republicans that are telling me that what we saw in Florida, really a wider margin than a lot of people thought for DeSantis and also for Rubio, is going to play out in a lot of places across the country.
It represents a kind of a Latino movement toward the GOP, more specifically, Latino Catholic movement that they think we're going to see replicated in different parts of the country tonight.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David, you mentioned earlier in the evening that you're looking at what happens with the Latino vote in this election.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
We always have to say there's no monolithic Latino vote.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I know.
There's no monolithic... (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: But -- so it could be different in Miami-Dade, went -- really swung one way.
It could be different.
California Latinos, I think that's too soon to tell.
I'm sort of looking at a lot of House races.
At this point, we don't have results from complete districts.
So it's hard to get a flavor of the night.
But I would say that, if you compare to counties and districts that have reported fully in, and compare them to how those same counties did two years ago or four years ago, my general vibe so far -- and, again, it's early -- is that the Republicans are doing well, but not spectacularly well, and that there are a lot of places in the -- the Abigail Spanberger race in Virginia, where the Democratic numbers are holding up reasonably well, I think in Virginia 10, which is sort of around here, this area.
The Democrats are not -- maybe not going to have a spectacular night, but, so far, at whatever time it is, it doesn't appear to be around a rout.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It's roughly 8:40 in the U.S., but my watch gets to be slow every couple of days.
(CROSSTALK) Amy, what are you seeing?
AMY WALTER: I have been writing about this for a while, this idea about whether we're in an era where we just don't see the same sort of landslides, or Faiz called it the bottom dropping out.
We have been through -- all of us have been through enough midterm elections where it feels, by this time at night, you're seeing the signs all across the country of the party that's out of power, their voters just didn't show up, or independents are breaking by such a wide margin that it's pretty clear at this point.
Right now, again, it's still very early in so many of the states we need to have done in order to understand where we're going to go for control, or either west of the Mississippi, or we know they're going to take some time.
The other thing that I have been watching very closely is this question about how well Democratic incumbents are going to be able to outrun an unpopular president.
In normal or traditional times, it's very hard to do more than four or five, six points ahead of the president.
But what I started to notice early in the cycle was that there was a group of voters, maybe 10 percent of voters, who said they disapproved of Biden, but only somewhat.
You can categorize them.
Pollsters categorize, are you very disapproving or somewhat?
And those voters were actually supporting Democrats, and they continue to be.
So, in 2018, Donald -- Democrats won over those who only somewhat disapproved of Donald Trump 60 percent to 36 percent.
Right now, Democrats are actually winning over, barely, but winning over those somewhat disapprovers of the -- this president by three points 47 to 44 percent.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You call them meh voters.
(CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Yes, they're like the, eh, I don't really like Biden so much.
(LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: But this was always the question, right, which was going to be the bigger force pulling this election, opinions about the Republican candidate that maybe they didn't really like very much or had some views or positions that were really outside of the mainstream, or was it going to be opinions about the president, which is normally what drives these elections?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marc Short, how much have Republicans in this cycle been counting on the president's relatively low approval rating to be a boost?
MARC SHORT: Well, I think it has been, but I think you can't disqualify what sort of quality candidate Republicans put forward.
So, if you're looking, as we said, in Florida, you see Rubio basically having the same numbers as the Sanders, which I think is a surprise for a lot of us.
We thought the Rubio-Demings race is going to be close.
But, actually, that would suggest a big Republican surge across Florida.
In Georgia right now, Brian Kemp is outpolling Herschel Walker nine or 10 points.
And I think that what you would say -- I saw a very well-publicized focus group down there of voters who were Trump voters and 16 and Biden voters in '20 in Georgia.
And of that group of 10, all 10 were voting for Brian Kemp, but nine of 10 were voting for Warnock.
And I think that that's a reflection that, yes, the tide is in our favor, but you also need to run a competent campaign.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You want to weigh in, Perry?
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ Just a couple of results we had earlier that I think are worth noting.
Wes Moore will be the third African American elected governor of a state, all three men so far.
Stacey Abrams, she looks like she's not going to win tonight.
But it's still notable the Wes Moore, historic figure in that sense.
Second, Governor Pritzker in Illinois, he went to New Hampshire.
He, I think wins another state this early.
He is definitely -- if Joe Biden says he's not running, Pritzker will announcing for president maybe the next day.
(LAUGHTER) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ He's very interested in it.
He's one who -- Buttigieg, I think, is making that wave.
So it's worth watching tonight which Democrats are keeping the door open in case Joe Biden says he doesn't want to run for president.
And the third point, Maxwell Frost is a 20-something in Florida who won.
I think Lisa mentioned him.
Watch for him.
I think he's going to be somebody who's maybe not as left as AOC, but an activist, interesting, somebody who I think's going to make a name for themselves, who I think is going to be an interesting member from a different generation who will bring a different sensibility to Congress.
I think I will watch for him, no matter if they're in the majority or the minority.
I think he will be a figure to watch either way.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Maxwell, he's Afro-Cuban who will be -- or Afro-Latino will be -- was endorsed by Senator Sanders, is going to be -- the Florida Democratic Party needs to be fully retooled.
I mean, you got to go back to the drawing board.
As somebody who used to work for Senator Bob Graham, there's an old... JUDY WOODRUFF: You said the Florida Democratic Party.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Florida Democratic Party.
I mean, we just got to go back, clear the slate.
Maxwell has got to be a core part of it, a young future leader of that state, but also going back to the issues that used to demarcate somebody like a Bob Graham winning that state, thinking about being protectors of Medicare.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
FAIZ SHAKIR: One other point that we're going to be watching as the results come through is abortion and the role that it will have with voter behavior.
I'm watching Kentucky.
Kentucky, you have got a state that just voted.
You reported it.
Rand Paul wins.
There's a ballot initiative in that state.
The ballot initiative that wants to overturn and end abortion rights loses -- I think it's - - we will see you at the end of the day, but it's on a path to lose by a large margin, and in Kentucky.
What does that tell you about voter behavior, right?
If we put up abortion as an issue, as somebody who has an abortion rights issue all across the country, I think voters want to protect Roe v. Wade.
They want to protect abortion rights.
But we got to speak to voter behavior that also says, OK, if you stand with us on abortion, we also have to speak to you on other economic issues, because, certainly -- certainly, in a place like Kentucky, it wasn't enough that merely they agreed with a Democratic candidate on abortion, that you had to make a case on economic issues about the distinction to the Republican.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In addition.
FAIZ SHAKIR: In addition, in addition, because a lot of those voters say, hey, I'm with you on this issue, but, clearly, I'm voting against you, as a Democrat, for other reasons.
And I would argue that a lot of those are economic, class-based issues.
And I think that's one takeaway in the early going here that I will continue to go to beat the drum on.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, I was struck when I spoke with Speaker Pelosi earlier this evening, when I asked her about the criticism that Democratic candidates have not addressed the economic criticism about inflation and crime, and her answer was, she believes they are, that they are focusing on these... FAIZ SHAKIR: The hardest part of this, Judy, as is that you head into a conflict, and you have to embrace conflict.
Joe Biden is a wonderful peacemaker.
He's somebody who brings people together, but in this fight over inflation, I think part of that element that you have to take on is corporate pricing and the corporate power over the consumer and the way they have jacked up prices, and reported record profits, not just profits, but incredible record profits during the last year.
And you got to have some kind of conflict, a windfall profits tax or something.
And it upsets people.
You're going to see some reactions, right?
And now you're getting at the emotion of the issue.
When you start to see reactions from people, you get the emotion of this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I see Marc Short smiling.
MARC SHORT: Well, I mean, the reality is, they did propose a windfall profits tax just a couple of weeks ago.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Days ago.
MARC SHORT: And the reality is that Democrat spending has been over the cliff.
I mean, we have had record amounts of economic spending, which is created inflation.
So, yes, inflation was on the ballot because of the out-of-control spending habits of the Democrat Party.
FAIZ SHAKIR: It's the narrative that the Democrats are prepared to take on corporate excess and impose this windfall profits tax.
I think, if we had that debate, I am -- I think that would have been a really good one to have.
I do think that many of these undecided voters will still fall on the Democratic side, because they know that the Republican choice is to just stand in lockstep with a lot of those actors and blame Democrats for inflation, while not offering any solutions of their own.
So I think some of those are rational thinkers.
(CROSSTALK) MARC SHORT: The solution is stop spending.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Just stop spending.
(CROSSTALK) MARC SHORT: That's the solution to helping control inflation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will definitely come back to this.
Meantime, Amna Nawaz is at the other end, in another part of our studio right now talking to one of the public media state reporters stationed across the country -- Amna.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's right, Judy.
We are keeping a close eye on Georgia tonight.
Democrat Stacey Abrams is in a rematch with incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
And the Senate race pits Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock against Republican and former NFL player Herschel Walker.
Now, Walker, you will remember, came under increased scrutiny in recent weeks after two women said that he pressured them to have abortions and paid for the procedures.
Walker has campaigned on an anti-abortion stance.
For more on all of this, I want to turn now to two of our friends from Georgia Public Broadcasting.
They're both reporters there in Atlanta.
Donna Lowry is at Walker's watch party.
Stephen Fowler is at Senator Warnock's event.
And welcome to you both.
Thanks so much for joining us.
So, Stephen, let's start with you.
Just give us the lay of the land, what you're hearing so far.
We have got some results coming in, have not been able to make a call in this Senate race.
What are you hearing on the ground there at Senator Walker -- or Warnock's campaign?
STEPHEN FOWLER, Georgia Public Broadcasting: Well, Amna, here at the Democratic headquarters of Senator Raphael Warnock, the mood is cautiously optimistic.
There have been results coming in.
Warnock is doing very well in the state's Democratic bastions, actually running ahead of Democratic governor nominee Stacey Abrams, and, in many cases, you're seeing record turnout in these counties.
So we have got more than a million or so early votes that have come in.
And people are still waiting, but a good thing for Democrats is that Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, uploaded all of their early voting to totals first, so Warnock started the night with a lead.
And the question is if that lead will hold when all votes are counted.
AMNA NAWAZ: And we're seeing right there, Donna, as some of those early results coming in, again, that this is -- we have not been able to make a call in this race yet, but it will be tight.
We do expect it to be.
What are you hearing from folks on the ground where you are at Walker's event?
DONNA LOWRY, Georgia Public Broadcasting: They remain very hopeful.
There's been a lot of movement in this campaign in the last few weeks.
Of course, it's a virtual dead heat, we were hearing from the polls.
So his supporters are very hopeful that they can pull something out, that they can even coming into the night go over that threshold of 50 percent, going over 50 percent.
They -- there have been the negatives that you have mentioned about Herschel Walker.
He has spent the last few weeks appealing to just his base on those issues and talking about redemption.
That has seemed to work, work for him.
And the other thing that's happened is, he is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
And Trump has not come by at all to campaign for him in Georgia these last few weeks.
That is -- that is a feeling that they were trying to appeal to some of the more moderate Republicans.
And there was the belief that that may work for him.
We will still have to see, of course.
AMNA NAWAZ: Donna, you mentioned that 50 percent threshold.
We should point out to folks, if no candidate reaches that, this will go to a run-off.
We wouldn't have that until the first week of December, December 8.
Is Walker's campaign worried about that run-off?
DONNA LOWRY: Yes.
No, they aren't.
They feel like they it'll be good for them.
One of the interesting things is his background is that he comes from the University of Georgia, Heisman Trophy winner, very popular in this state as a sports star.
The championship, the SEC Championship, it would be right before that run-off.
So there has even been talk about the fact that that would be something in his favor.
So that SEC Championship is the Saturday before the Tuesday of the run-off.
So, like I said, a lot of hope.
There was -- you know, he was far away from Warnock for a while in terms of the polls, and they have recently come to almost neck and neck, and so a lot of hope in this camp tonight.
AMNA NAWAZ: And, Stephen, in just a few seconds that we have left, there was a lot of early voting.
Enormous early voting in this race.
Who does that favor?
STEPHEN FOWLER: Well, typically, early voting does favor Republicans in Georgia.
But, post-pandemic and with Georgia's voting laws changing, Democrats hope that they have the advantage in early voting in an election that could see most of the votes cast before Election Day.
AMNA NAWAZ: That is Stephen Fowler and Donna Lowry from Georgia Public Broadcasting joining us tonight.
My thanks to you both.
And Ohio also has a very tight Senate race between Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan and Republican J.D.
Let's go now to reporter Karen Kasler with the Statehouse News Bureau in Ohio.
She's joining us from Columbus tonight.
Karen, good to see you.
Thanks for being with us.
Let's talk about that Senate race between Tim Ryan and J.D.
We have seen folks, and especially Republicans, in Ohio saying it's a red state, getting redder.
Is that what you're seeing in the race so far?
KAREN KASLER, Ohio Public Radio and Television: Well, so far, definitely in the governor's race, in the race with Mike DeWine, the incumbent Republican vs. Nan Whaley, the Democratic challenger.
That race was called almost immediately after the polls closed at 7:30 with DeWine as the winner.
And we're expecting that to follow.
In the last couple of midterm election cycles, Republicans have won, and they have done well in these four executive -- these five executive statewide offices.
But you're right.
That Senate race is really interesting here to watch, because, in the early returns right now, which we're seeing early voting -- we have had almost a month of early voting in Ohio.
And right now, Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan is leading Republican challenger J.D.
Vance by about 10 point -- well, no, I guess it's about -- yes, a little over 10 points right now.
AMNA NAWAZ: It's a little over 10 points right now.
It's still being counted.
We should also note the AP has not made a call in that DeWine just yet.
But, Karen, when you look at the top issues, we should point out the Republican candidate in the Senate race here, J.D.
Vance, is a Trump-backed candidate.
He has repeated some of the election denialism of former President Trump.
How does that resonate with voters on the ground?
Is that going to mobilize them in a midterm?
KAREN KASLER: Well, let me correct myself really quickly that, in the early results, Tim Ryan is leading J.D.
Vance by six points, but, still, that's considered significant here.
And I think that the way that Ryan has been campaigning has been really interesting to watch.
He's been trying to go after a lot of the same voters that J.D.
Vance was going after, moderates, Trump Republicans, but also blue-collar Democrats, many of whom did vote for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.
And it would be significant if Tim Ryan were to win, because Trump did carry Ohio by eight points in 2016 and 2020.
So this would be a big shift from 2020.
But also remember that Sherrod Brown, Ohio's other senator, is also a Democrat.
He and Tim Ryan have a similar campaigning style.
And I think that a lot of people have noticed that during this campaign.
AMNA NAWAZ: Some key races there tonight.
We will be watching.
Karen Kasler from Statehouse News joining us tonight from Columbus, Ohio, thank you so much.
KAREN KASLER: Great to be here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, Amna.
And thank you to our public media reporters across the country.
We do have two more calls to make, thanks to the Associated Press, both governor calls.
In the state of South Carolina, Governor -- the Republican governor is going to be returning.
He is a Henry McMaster, defeating a former Democratic congressman, Joe Cunningham.
Again, this is -- they're -- AP making this call with 24 percent of the expected vote in.
And one other governor call to make in the state of Rhode Island, a pretty blue state, although I know we're watching a House race in Rhode Island, but it is a hold for the Democrats.
Governor Daniel McKee running for his first full term after taking over for Gina Raimondo, who was named by President Biden to be his secretary of commerce, defeating Ashley Kalus.
So we have a couple of governor calls.
Amy Walter, what are you seeing?
You are bent over your computer.
AMY WALTER: I know.
I'm trying to if we can get anything, anything else new.
(LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: I want you to tell me what you know in the next 30 seconds.
AMY WALTER: I think it's also important, looking at some of these governor's races that we called earlier, when we had Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
Those were all places too where Donald Trump endorsed the Republican candidate or, in some cases, where the Democrat tried to get the more conservative candidate through the primary, so supporting those candidates through outside groups to ensure they were running against a candidate that was considered less likely to win.
And, in this case, it actually paid off.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And that's something we're going to keep watching.
And we're going to take a short break now.
Some of our PBS stations will be bring you more local results, but we will be back in a minute.
AMNA NAWAZ: On this election night, we will be hearing from a few lawmakers who will be leaving Capitol Hill at the end of this year.
Lisa Desjardins has the first in her series, Leaving Congress.
LISA DESJARDINS: Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler represents Washington's Third Congressional District.
She lost a close primary, and she leaves office after six terms in Congress.
Congresswoman Herrera Beutler, there is a different kinds of tension, I think, that there was there before.
But how is that atmosphere actually working behind the scenes, both within the Republican Party and in general?
REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER (R-WA): I would say, across Congress, there still are a majority of people who do want to work together.
It just doesn't make the news.
What makes the news, what's clickbait are the small but very local extremes on both sides.
But one of the things I'm most proud of -- there's a few things, but I'm a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
It's an equally split caucus of Republicans and Democrats.
And these are where the meat of Congress are.
These are the folks who work their tails off to pass legislation to move the regulations to get things done for folks at home.
But I would bet most of your viewers couldn't name even a small fraction of the folks in that caucus.
So, some of it is, I think that the more obnoxious and loud you are, the more viewership, the more TV time you get, and it rewards bad behavior.
But I would still argue that a majority of the folks who are here represent their districts really well and work their tails off.
It's one of those -- it's such a weird dichotomy, what people see Congress is and what you know it is for your time spent here.
It doesn't always line up.
LISA DESJARDINS: Are you concerned about the future?
What do you say to people who are concerned?
REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER: There's no doubt that there is a high level of anxiety.
And you look over just the last 10 years, and you see financial collapse, you see COVID, you see disputed elections, right?
You see all this stuff that we just didn't - - really wouldn't have been on anybody's radar.
And it has caused a while -- you see war.
And you see a high level of anxiety in people.
And that anxiety, I think, produces fear and can produce anger.
And so one of the things that really, as I have sought to lead through this time, what's important?
When people are fearful and they're angry, what do they need to see from their leaders?
I think they need to see the truth.
I think they need to see people making hard decisions.
It doesn't always have to be right.
That's what's been so amazing to me is, you don't always -- nobody can make the right decision 100 percent of the time.
But if they know they can trust you because you're going to have integrity, they know you're going to work on their behalf, I -- that instills some confidence in people.
LISA DESJARDINS: Are you personally concerned?
Where are you right now?
JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER: We will get through this.
This democracy will hold.
I think the brighter days for this country continue to be ahead of us.
And I have that competence because, when I'm at home and when I talk to people, when I meet with folks, when I see people doing amazing things, extraordinary things in very ordinary circumstances, I know that this democracy is going to continue to shine.
But it's going to take a lot of work.
There's no doubt about it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Welcome back to our live election coverage at this hour, 9:00 in the East.
The polls have closed in another 15 states.
And we now know the winners in some of the races in those states.
These calls come from the Associated Press.
And let's run down what we know right now.
In Kansas, Jerry Moran, the AP says he has won reelection, easily winning a third term against the Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland.
In North Dakota, John Hoeven also returning to the Senate, this for his third term.
We would point out he's had 75 percent of the vote or more the last two times.
In the state of New York, Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, winning easily.
The polls have just closed in New York.
Chuck Schumer comes back for his fifth term in the Upper Chamber.
And, finally South Dakota, another member of leadership, John Thune, who has been the minority whip in the Senate, number two to the leader in the Senate.
And he -- Mitch McConnell -- Brain freeze.
He will, John Thune, be returning for his fourth term in the United Senate -- United States Senate.
Sorry about that.
Let's look at that.
None of these are a surprise, David Brooks.
And yet, the numbers are piling up.
We have a little more information about what the next Senate is going to look like.
DAVID BROOKS: A little.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A little.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: We know it's going to be closely divided.
In New Hampshire, only about 16, 20 percent in, but it's looking pretty good for Maggie Hassan, the Democrat.
Again, these are -- we're like -- we have to say these are all very preliminary.
But New Hampshire is trending a little more Democratic than maybe some people had thought, Florida trending a little more Republican.
Way many hours ago, when we first started talking, I talked about the college education divide.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You did.
DAVID BROOKS: And New Hampshire is a pretty educated state.
Florida's much more diverse on educational grounds.
So, we could be seeing that show up, that the Democrats are doing well, where people have those college degrees.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Gary Abernathy, how do you see this?
I mean, again, these numbers are not a surprise, these winners.
GARY ABERNATHY: No, no, not what we have reported so far.
On the Ohio race, going back toward the report a few minutes ago about Ryan being in the lead right now, again, I think most of those are still early votes, which are going to favor him.
However, a six- to eight-point lead or something is significant.
And a lot of Republicans were never happy with J.D.
Vance either in his campaign.
They weren't happy that he got the Trump endorsement.
They weren't happy that he won the crowded primary of the six or seven candidates, never really got enthused about him, and have agreed, by and large, that if someone won based on running the best campaign, Tim Ryan ran a tremendous campaign.
He was more energetic.
He had the better ads.
He raised more money.
But it's still may be a year where, just because of the landscape, just because of what's happening tonight overall, J.D.
still pulls it out by a couple of points when all the votes end up being counted tonight.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Faiz Shakir, you're nodding your head FAIZ SHAKIR: Right.
I mean, he will a huge turnout in Cuyahoga.
I don't know if he will get it.
But, certainly, if you look at Tim Ryan's campaign, he ran very aggressively on economic - - he distinguished himself, quite frankly, as a Senate candidate among this field, saying: I'm talking about trade deals.
I'm talking about labor in America.
I'm talking about union jobs.
And I'm talking about corporate taxation.
(CROSSTALK) GARY ABERNATHY: And I agree with Trump on trade.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Yes, in fact, going there, yes.
And that had blue-collar appeal.
And the question is, how much?
Was it enough?
Can you turn some of these areas of rural Ohio?
Because you would have to overperform places where -- but what we definitely know is, he overperformed the Democrat, basically any Democrat.
I don't know -- if Tim Ryan couldn't win, I'm not sure any Democrat could have won it, and just worth listening to what -- the way in which he campaigned and made the... (CROSSTALK) GARY ABERNATHY: And one quick point on Mike DeWine winning big tonight.
DeWine only got like 48 percent in the Republican primary.
That's just an interesting point of how well he's drawing from independents and Democrats.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
I don't know that we have called that race yet, but... GARY ABERNATHY: Well... JUDY WOODRUFF: ...
I think he's -- but you're - - based on what you're seeing, nobody... GARY ABERNATHY: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: ... nobody -- people -- nobody will be surprised if he wins.
GARY ABERNATHY: Right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy.
AMY WALTER: Just in -- this is feeling very status quo right now.
And, again, it's early, but it does feel as if we are kind of in the place we have been for these last four or five years, where you just see, in some cases, that predictable things are happening.
But if we're looking for a wave of some sort, it does have to be New Hampshire.
Senator Hassan would be trailing at this point or people would be writing in to us saying, the numbers aren't looking great for Democrats in New Hampshire.
We're not hearing that right now.
It also suggests that, actually, the polling was, at least at this point, pretty accurate.
The polling had her ahead.
But, again, we don't have the final numbers yet.
But there was a sense that the ground had shifted, and Republicans feeling much more optimistic about it.
So, again, early, but this is kind of in line with where things had been or where they had been expected to be based on what we knew about those states going into it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And having said that, Marc Short, Republicans were putting a lot of money into Don Bolduc's campaign in the last few weeks, thinking they saw an opening there.
MARC SHORT: Sure.
I think that their belief is that Hassan is not as strong of an incumbent perhaps, but I -- as we were just talking about before.
I think the issue set was -- favored Republicans.
I think we got a lot of low-hanging fruit in 2020 in the House races, which kept the ceiling kind of low on what you could get.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
MARC SHORT: But candidates ultimately matter.
And I think our concern going into the night was whether or not we would leave points on the board with some of the candidates we had running statewide.
And perhaps -- it's still early, but perhaps that may be the lesson you come out of this, is to say, the issue set was on your side, you want a lot of seats, which we should be happy with, but perhaps there were some opportunities missed too.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we want to continue this conversation.
(CROSSTALK) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ Can I add one... JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, Perry.
(CROSSTALK) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ One race that has been called is -- and is not a Senate race or House -- or Senate or governor's is Marjorie Taylor Greene won reelection.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ Not surprising, but she's one of the most prominent... JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ ... popular in the Republican Party and bad, normatively, I would argue, figures in politics.
And I think she's going to be more famous and more influential than most of who we have talked about tonight.
And if the Republicans get the majority in the House, I think she is going to be a very important figure.
And people like her will be a very important figure in how the Republican leadership leads, and probably leads more in terms of trying to investigate Biden than governing, is my sense of it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, even she is the one who has talked about impeaching... PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ Yes, true, Biden at the very beginning, right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Biden.
All right, we do have a few governor's races to call.
This is, again, the Associated Press.
These are -- and, again, these are states where the polls have just closed.
In the state of Wyoming, the winner is Republican Mark Gordon, one of the most solidly Republican states in the country.
He has defeated military veteran Theresa Livingston.
And that is -- that is -- that is not a surprise, but we want to share with you what the -- what the AP is calling.
And here in the state of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, running for governor, reelection as governor, and the AP has declared, just as the polls close in Iowa, that she will win a second full term, challenged by Deidre DeJear, again, not a surprise.
That's a Republican -- has been a Republican state.
And we will continue to look at a Senate race there, Chuck Grassley.
And, here, another governor call, Kay Ivey winning reelection in the state of Alabama.
She -- I believe this is her second term defeating the Democrat, Yolanda Flowers.
And then one other governor raised a call, and we were just talking about this one.
Gary Abernathy mentioned this.
Mike DeWine, popular Republican governor, right now with -- is at 38 percent of the expected vote in, DeWine running well ahead of Nan Whaley, a mayor in -- yes, thank you very much.
And that race has already been called just as the polls have closed -- or, actually, an hour after the polls closed in Ohio.
So, let's talk about some of that.
I want to come back -- I want to come back to you, because I sort of abruptly cut you off, Perry Bacon.
But when we look at a state -- we have been talking about Ohio, and we have been talking about whether -- the shifting dynamics in these states.
What did Democrats need to do in order to turn some of these, not just suburbs, blue-collar voters and others that have been, frankly, smiling on the Republicans in this... PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ If I knew that, I'd probably be making a lot more money and not sitting on this panel, but advising... (LAUGHTER) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ But I think the answer is, I'm not sure, because I think that - - I think it's not necessarily a Democratic problem.
I think it's that what Trump has done has inspired and engaged a lot of Republican voters, the kind of Republicanism, the Mitt Romney form of Republicanism I might have preferred, David Brooks might have preferred, but I think what you're seeing in these rural areas in much of Ohio, Latino communities in Florida, is that Trumpism is popular.
So I'm not exactly sure.
I think someone running like the way Tim Ryan is running, focusing more on populism, is better than talking about necessarily other issues.
But I still think, at the end of the day, it's going to be hard for Tim Ryan to win.
I will be curious about tonight.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ But, in general, I think the Republican Party is effective, is what I think.
And I think it's like understated.
We all -- a lot of us on this panel may not like Republicanism is going, but I think it is connecting with people in a way that the McCain, Romney, sort of boring kind did not.
DAVID BROOKS: And this is a global thing.
The British Conservative Party in France, the right, the -- all the parties that used to be the rich people party are now the working-class party.
And so, when you got a global trend, you have to think it has to be something fundamental that's happening across the world to different degrees.
And we have had a good colloquy over here about whether a kind of Bernie Sanders economic populism would work.
And I think it's definitely worth giving it a shot, because the Democratic Party has to get the working class.
But it could just be, if you look at corporate America, the CEOs of corporate America are not Trump supporters.
And it could be that we're just seeing a fundamental inversion, where a lot of corporations, especially those coastal information age corporations, are primarily Democrats.
And that's what the Democratic Party is.
And so it becomes harder, I would think, for the Democrats to go after the corporations the way a lot of the working-class people would want them to.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Well, jump off that point, David.
You know that one of the things we will learn about the exit polls is 70 percent of the country thinks that they're -- the country is on the wrong track.
There's populist -- if you look at the -- dissect that, there's people who are angry.
And you have to tap and understand the emotion to begin with any analysis, why are people frustrated?
And then, when we get into that emotion, we want to channel that frustration into a populist rage that is good, not destructive, not turning us against one another.
They're not beating up on each other because of our color of our skin or our different religions or what have you.
We want to turn that populism into -- let's expand Medicare.
Let's build more rural hospitals.
Let's tax CEOs and close the worker-to-CEO gap.
Let's build more trade unions in America.
That is the fight that I think we're in.
Do you channel populism that is honestly and truly felt in the right direction or let it go in the wrong one?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marc Short?
MARC SHORT: I agree with a lot of his comments that I think the reality is, the Democrats did put a lot of weight into a pro-abortion message.
They spent $400 million on that message.
It was not connected to an economic message.
And I think that the pro-democracy message, our democracy is always fragile.
Every election cycle, it's fragile.
I think Joe Biden's message would resonate better if, actually, there was a little more reflection to say, what -- did anybody call out Stacey Abrams for four years of denying elections?
Did anybody call out 35 House Democrats who voted against certification of Republicans the last three presidential cycles when Republicans won?
Has anybody called them out for saying it's Jim Crow 2.0 in Georgia, when there's record African American turnout?
So I think the Democrats weren't focused on the economic issues that were resonating with the Republican message in this cycle.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Republicans are just benefiting from the fact that they aren't in power.
I would say, if you connect this to the populace rage, there's understandable anger around, does government even work for me?
And that's what we're fighting for.
So, if you're a Democratic -- if you're a Democrat running for office, you're actually trying to make the argument that government functions.
So, this fight over democracy is much deeper than, do the institutions work or not?
It's, does competent governance work or not?
Can they even trust that you're going to be able to do the things we do it?
And Biden has been making an effective case for competent governance.
But now you got to translate that into emotion in a campaign cycle.
You have got to give people a sense of what the fight is truly about.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you're saying... FAIZ SHAKIR: That's what we miss.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you're saying that wasn't done?
FAIZ SHAKIR: Yes, it was very a peaceable campaign.
(LAUGHTER) GARY ABERNATHY: I think there's national exit polling out there today showing that about 70 percent of voters agree that democracy is under threat.
An equal number of Republicans blame the Democrats as Democrats blame the Republicans.
So we're speaking two different languages.
But you also can't -- you can't just ignore basic problems everybody can see.
One reason for Latino movement toward the GOP is, they don't like what's happening at the border.
They want law and order.
And when we -- when the Biden administration claims the border is not open, the border is closed and secure, and people can see with their own eyes it's not, that's not going to be a winning message.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy, would you like to... (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: To weigh in on where the country goes with this?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and why the Democrats - - how the Democrats are struggling?
AMY WALTER: It feels like we have been having - - no, but it's been the -- the challenge, actually, election after election after election, this deep-seated frustration with the fact that not only is government failing to work, but most institutions that at one point at least stood up for something are failing and failing people who needed them.
What I also find fascinating is, we have this time against so much tumult we have been through when those governors who are up for election, reelection this year, so much tumult they have been through, the pandemic, all of the - - after January 6, et cetera, et cetera, and the economy and public safety.
You're not seeing any governors lose right now, which is also kind of interesting.
All of them were criticized in different ways about how they did or didn't react.
We haven't had a lot of the competitive races quite yet.
JUDY WOODRUFF: No.
AMY WALTER: But I think the fact that we are having both an incredibly deep and important debate here, while we're not seeing big shifts in movement, in terms of how voters are turning out, overwhelming, saying, that's right, I'm sick of it completely, and I'm going to throw - - even though maybe I identify with a Democrat, even though Democratic Party is with me, I'm going to go vote for that Republican or vice versa.
(CROSSTALK) GARY ABERNATHY: Go ahead, David.
DAVID BROOKS: One 30-second point.
One of the big mysteries to me over the last five years, I had the formula in my head, if politicians provide benefits, then they get votes.
And over the last three years, federal officials of both parties have provided trillions and trillions of dollars in benefits.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And, as far as I can tell, they haven't received any benefits.
And that's true for Republicans, as well as Democrats.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: So, we're -- we almost might be in a place where people are so cynical, they will punish you if you're bad, but they won't reward you if you're good.
And it's just a weird phenomenon.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you have talked about it on the "NewsHour."
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ If you ask voters - - if you wanted to ask the question of people to figure out what they're -- who they're going to vote for, ask them, do you support or oppose the Black Lives Matter movement?
So, I disagree with a lot of heard -- what I heard down there about the economics.
Minimum wage voters are on both sides of it, whether you support that or not, but at the core, I think politics is about the sort of these core culture -- questions of culture, race, identity, gender.
And I think that's why we have sort of almost two Americas now, where we have Texas and California have very different laws.
And I don't think it's easy for anybody to bridge that gap, because it's -- I don't think it's about economics.
Joe Biden has tried to be unifying.
He's tried to focus -- we may not like his economic policies, but he's tried to do a lot of economic policies, and they haven't really shifted much of the electorate, because I think the electorate is divided on these other kinds of issues, abortion, transgender rights, those kinds of issues.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So how do Democrats talk about those things then?
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ I don't think they're going to be able to out-oppose abortion or out-oppose... JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ So, I think, how do Republicans win California?
I mean, these -- we have two parties at parity, so I'm leery of saying that one of them has a problem, because neither one of them is winning.
Like, if Democrats lose tonight, I still think I'd rather be Joe Biden than Donald Trump in 2024.
So, I don't think either party is really dominating the other in any real way.
FAIZ SHAKIR: I see a lot of Republicans trying to play on the social and cultural issues that Perry is raising to political effect.
You look at Ron DeSantis' politicizing of immigration and a whole host of other terrible acts that have occurred, and because they think they could be political winners.
And my argument back to Perry on this issue is that, when you look at the economic issues we're talking about, minimum wage and trade unionization, expanding Medicare, windfall profits tax, they have a vast majority of support.
So I'd rather play -- my arguments is, I'd rather play on that terrain, and let everybody know that our brand, the Democratic brand, is fighting for these issues that have 60, 65, 70, 75 percent approval.
And that's what you're definitely going to hear from us, while not sacrificing a moment on being for social, cultural cohesiveness and solidarity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Even if you're saying this is a bad night for Democrats?
And we don't know yet.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Oh, the argument I'm making -- I think it will be a good -- a fine enough turnout, and we will see at the end of the day.
But the argument we're making is, what's the persuasion argument, Judy?
How do you move this electorate?
In the next cycle, when we go forward, how do you get that next 5 percent?
That's... (CROSSTALK) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ I don't disagree with you.
I just think, if the Democratic candidate talks about economic issues, the Republican candidate talks about other things, policing, crime, policing and crime have worked very effectively tonight, and the Democratic candidates are not -- I don't think you can say the minimum wage is going to go -- is going to go up.
That's my working.
FAIZ SHAKIR: My response to you -- I agree with you, Perry.
My response to you is that's because you're not animating the fight against CEOs, to David's point, because we're not picking that fight.
We're not here going up against Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos.
That's not what's animated for people.
So, because it's not animated, what is animated, oh, we -- Ron DeSantis sent a plane of immigrants into Martha's Vineyard.
That's what's animated.
DAVID BROOKS: This is a great microcosm of the debate, essentially, in the Democratic Party.
(LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: Exactly what I was thinking.
DAVID BROOKS: Just enjoying this.
(LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: What's going on inside the Democratic Party?
In a minute, we will talk about what's going on inside the Republican Party.
But, in the meantime, let's go to one of our correspondents, Stephanie Sy, who is in Maricopa County, Arizona, a state we're watching very closely tonight.
She has spent a big chunk of today talking with voters.
Stephanie, what are you seeing there now?
STEPHANIE SY: Well, first of all, polls closed here about 20 minutes ago, Judy.
Anyone still in line will be able to cast their vote, per Arizona law.
I also just want to describe what's happening around me and why it's so noisy.
There is a sheriff's helicopter that is circling around us.
We're at the Maricopa County elections office.
Just in the last 20 minutes, we have seen an increased presence of uniformed sheriff's deputies around the voting center.
I'm going to talk to the sheriff in just a little bit and ask him if that's in response to anything specific, or just part of the protocol he had planned, as polls close here.
We are also where all of the votes end up.
This is the main tabulation center for Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, where more than 50 percent of voters cast their ballots and reside.
All of the data from the different voting centers -- and there are more than 200 of those in this county -- will end up here and will also be at the tabulation center later.
I also want to share some breaking news with.
You may have heard that just in the last two hours, Republican attorneys, including for Blake Masters, who was running against Democrat Mark Kelly for the Senate seat, and a lawyer for Kari Lake's campaign -- she is the GOP nominee for governor -- filed an emergency motion with a municipal judge to try and get Maricopa County to extend its voting hours by three hours.
We have learned just at the top of the hour that the judge has rejected that motion.
And I will actually quote where he said: "The court does not have any evidence that a voter was precluded the right to vote."
This whole lawsuit came as a result, Judy, of these problems with the tabulation machines that we were talking about earlier.
And I will just remind viewers that there were about 60 voting centers out of those more than 200 in Maricopa County where there was a faulty tabulation machine.
And what it really turned out to be was a problem with the printers.
And so the printers were not able to feed the tabulation machines dark enough ink, and so they had to send out technicians and reset the printers.
And about half of those were corrected by the end of the night.
But it has led to a great deal of misinformation, included -- including by elected officials and former President Trump, who suggested that these problems mostly occurred in more conservative-leaning voter areas.
And I can at least debunk that right now and say that at least a couple of these problems with tabulation machines occurred right in downtown Phoenix, which tends to be a Democratic stronghold.
We will start to get results within the hour.
And that will be the initial results from the early ballots that were cast before November 5.
There are a lot of those ballots.
There are more than a million-and-a-half of early ballots.
We will see that first tranche of results within the hour -- Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Stephanie, thank you so much for bringing us up to date on all this.
So, it does sound as if there has been a delay because of this glitch, as you described, with the printers printing out the results.
But it sounds as if the judge has not -- from what you reported, the judge did not agree to extend voting hours.
Just clarifying all that.
STEPHANIE SY: Yes, that's correct.
And I should also add that the Maricopa County recorder, who is a Republican and runs elections here in this county, says that he promises every single vote will be tabulated.
But I think now would be also a good time to remind voters that, per Arizona law, just like in Pennsylvania, like Geoff has been reporting, it's going to take some time for them to count all of these votes.
For example, they don't even start processing the drop-off ballots from today until tomorrow.
And, as you know, these top key races are so tight, as we understand from the polling, that it's highly unlikely we will see clear winners in some of these key races, and certainly not final results until the end of the week.
The Maricopa County supervisors chairperson says that we won't see most of the vote counted until Friday.
So, by Friday, they expect 98 to 99 percent of the vote to be counted in Maricopa County.
They also said, this is very normal, just given the number of people that do early voting, given the number of drop-off ballots.
All of that has to be signature verified.
And they said, the longer it takes, the more it shows the system is actually working.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
Patience is the word tonight, it sounds like, Stephanie, not only in Pennsylvania, but also in Arizona, and no doubt in other states as well.
Thank you, Stephanie Sy.
We will be coming back to you in the hours to come.
Let's go now to our William Brangham, who is keeping an eye on any evidence tonight, today of any malfeasance, any interference in the election process.
What are you seeing tonight, William?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Good evening, Judy.
I mean, that has been the concern for months, both by federal and state officials, after we have seen all of these reports of harassment and intimidation towards election workers, threats potentially from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, that foreign actors might try to interfere in the election.
So far today, there have been no major events that have caused significant disruptions, either at the state level or at the federal level.
There have been some instances, though, of sporadic instances of voter intimidation or problem with poll workers.
Where Stephanie is, in Arizona, there was a about a dozen reported cases of voter intimidation.
Several of those have been referred to law enforcement.
There was a man in Wisconsin that apparently wielded a knife inside a polling station, and demanded that the vote be stopped there.
No one was hurt, and the man was arrested.
A poll worker was found wearing a MAGA hat in Indiana, which you're not allowed to display any partisan affiliation inside the polling station, especially when you work there.
So he was asked to leave.
And then, early this morning in Fulton County, where Atlanta is, in Georgia, two poll workers were removed from duty because they were discovered to have been at the January 6 insurrection.
It turns out that they had been there at the event, and one of the two had posted on social media that Mike Pence was a traitor and that the 2020 election was a sham, certainly, again, not the kind of people you want or would trust to be running an election or helping voters cast their ballots on a day like today.
But, again, overall, when you think about the tens of millions of votes that have already been cast, plus all the millions of Americans who voted today, for the most part, there have not been any significant issues.
Similarly, federal officials that track foreign interference and concerns about whether Russia or China or Iran perhaps would try to meddle in the election, again, no evidence, no reports that there have been substantive threats or attacks made on our elections infrastructure.
So, so far, good news, an uneventful night on that front.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good news, uneventful.
And as I think you're suggesting, William, it's almost to be expected that there will be -- that something will happen, in a way, in many polling places around the country, just by virtue of mistakes happen, and as what Stephanie's been describing is happening with the with the printers connected to the voting machines in Maricopa County.
So, we expect a few instances.
But if there becomes a pattern, if it becomes widespread, or seems to be part of some organized effort, that's something -- something altogether different.
All right, William Brangham, thank you.
And we're going to come back to you again in the hours to come.
Let's go quickly now to Pittsburgh, where our -- we find our Geoff Bennett.
Geoff, we know the polls closed at 8:00 Eastern.
It's been about an hour-and-a-half.
So tell us about what you're hearing, what you're seeing and what the voters have been telling you.
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, Judy, I can tell you that Fetterman campaign officials are saying privately what they're saying publicly, that they feel good about the campaign that they have run.
They feel like they got the boost that they needed as this race was tightening, starting with that key endorsement from Oprah Winfrey late last week.
Of course, Oprah is responsible for Mehmet Oz's rise to fame some 20-plus years ago.
Add to that the joint appearances by President Biden, former President Obama here in Pennsylvania over the weekend, and then Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the University of Pittsburgh on John Fetterman 's behalf.
We happened to be at the University of Pittsburgh earlier today and spoke with some younger voters about the issues that they care most about.
Take a look.
So, what issues do you and your friends care the most about?
MAN: That's a tough question.
I'd say probably abortion rights.
I think it's the right for the woman to choose.
And I don't know.
What... (CROSSTALK) MAN: I think about.
Of course, talking about minimum wage as well.
MAN: Definitely want to raise that.
Lower the taxes, for sure.
That would be nice.
MAN: But, definitely, especially with this election, very important on the right to -- for your body.
And, of course, we're all pro-choice here.
And this is definitely an election that matters, for sure, so yes.
So, this was our main -- like, for this one, for issues covered, for sure.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, I imagine, then, that you're supporting Democrats?
MAN: For sure.
GEOFF BENNETT: Yes.
What's the level of engagement, do you think, among you and your friends here?
MAN: I'd say it's pretty high.
I think that, like, especially on college campuses, everyone's going to be voting.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, that's the sort of thing that Democrats want to hear, that the level of engagement among that critical voting bloc is fairly high.
But, look, for all of the attention the Fetterman race -- and it gets a lot of attention for good reason.
Democrats see that as really an urgent insurance policy in their hope of retaining control of the Senate.
The governor's race here is particularly interesting.
In texting with some Democratic strategists, they say that, if you look at the four counties - - there are four counties right now where there's a good chunk of the vote, the same day, the in person vote that's in, in Allegheny County, in Philadelphia County, Cumberland County, and Washington county, Shapiro, the Democrat running for governor, is performing well ahead of Fetterman.
And what that suggests to these strategists I was speaking with was that there are Republican swing voters who are breaking for Shapiro and not voting for Doug Mastriano, who is viewed by both Democrats and Republicans as being to the far right, outside of the mainstream.
He is someone who has been promoting election lies,.
He had a role in busing people to the January 6 -- to the rally on the Capitol on January 6 before the insurrection.
He has advocated for a total abortion ban with no exceptions.
So, as that's unfolding, I'm also hearing from Democrats that, as Florida looks like it's less -- less in play for Democrats, that Pennsylvania, particularly in 2024, becomes all that more important.
It becomes the hard-fought, fought-over swing state in a way that Florida used to be that could certainly now be the case for Pennsylvania, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: No question, Geoff Bennett.
It's something we have been talking about here at the table with our analysts.
Everybody right now is very focused on Pennsylvania.
We know it's a state where more money was spent in this election cycle, I think something like $315 million going into the Fetterman - - the race between Fetterman and Oz.
That's one indication of just how much attention these parties are paying and how much stock they place in what happens in that -- in that race.
Of course, if the Democrat wins, if Fetterman wins, that is a pickup for the Democrats, something they very much want to have, just in case one of their more vulnerable Democrats running for reelection doesn't make it.
But, Geoff Bennett, thank you.
I know you are, as we said, at Fetterman headquarters.
And you will be keeping a close eye on what they're keeping a close eye on.
And that is results and trying to understand what's coming in from around the state.
Geoff Bennett, thanks very much.
And now let's go quickly to our own Amna Nawaz, who is speaking with one of our public media reporters -- Amna.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's right, Judy.
Well, in Colorado, Democratic Senator Michael Bennet is trying to hold on to his seat by fending off Republican challenger Joe O'Dea.
Caitlyn Kim is with Colorado Public Radio.
She's been keeping tabs on that race and others across the state.
She joins us now from Denver.
And thank you so much for being with us.
So, we should mention, President Biden one Colorado decisively back in 2020.
People seem to think it's getting bluer.
So how did that impact some of those closing messages from the candidates in those key races in the Senate and for the gubernatorial race in the final days?
CAITLYN KIM, Colorado Public Radio: Well, I think one of the key messages you heard from Republican challenger Joe O'Dea was that this is actually a referendum on President Biden, as well as Democratic Senator Michael Bennet.
And his closing message was, how have you fared the last two years?
Have you gotten better?
Have you gotten worse?
And this was a message that resonated with a lot of, I think, voters here in Colorado, whereas Bennett, his final message was, we have been able to govern, we have been able to pass both bipartisan bills, like the infrastructure bill and the gun law, as well partisan bills like the COVID relief package early on and the climate and health care tax bill that they passed this August.
He's been able to deliver for Colorado on the needs of Colorado.
He's tried to keep the message more locally focused.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, we should note we're seeing some of those early results coming in now.
We do not have a call in that Colorado Senate race there.
But you see, Bennet, the Democrat, the incumbent with a significant so far, about 20 points, but only a third of votes counted so far.
So it is still a little bit early.
But, Caitlyn, let's talk about how people in Colorado vote.
We need to note it's one of the few states where most people vote by mail, right?
Everyone is automatically, all registered voters are sent a ballot.
How does that impact how votes are counted and when we will see final results?
CAITLYN KIM: I mean, I think it -- as you said, this is an all mail ballot state.
Everyone gets mailed a ballot.
People can return it.
People can return it at a ballot box, mail it, or go drop it off in person.
We have the second highest voter turnout participations of all the states in the country.
So people do go out and vote.
And they start counting fairly early.
We should be getting more results later on this hour.
I don't know that we will get a race called as quickly.
This is a challenging -- as you mentioned, a challenging environment for Joe O'Dea, because the state has trended bluer.
There are more registered Democrats than there are Republicans in the state.
But the biggest question mark is unaffiliated voters, that they make about 46 percent of all active voters in the state.
And this is going to be a question of how they break.
AMNA NAWAZ: And what are some of the key issues?
Do we know among those voters?
We mentioned nationwide, of course, the issue of the economy and inflation, but also abortion and women's rights have been on the ballot.
Have those resonated with those voters there?
CAITLYN KIM: Yes, this is something that you hear a lot.
A lot of people talk about sort of the cost of living here in Colorado, the cost of gas, just the cost of everything, housing, inflation.
That is a major issue for voters.
But, a lot of voters are also bring up things like, as you mentioned, abortion rights, access to abortion, election denialism.
That is something that a lot of sort of moderate voters are not happy with the Republican Party about, as well as sort of democracy has come up, surprisingly, a lot in Colorado.
I mean, Colorado has a very educated population.
And that is something that is also going to be somewhat challenging for Joe O'Dea the Republican message here in the state.
AMNA NAWAZ: As you mentioned, there are no calls in some of those key races in Colorado, but we will be tracking them, as we know you will as well.
Caitlyn Kim, joining us tonight from Colorado Public Radio, thank you.
CAITLYN KIM: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And thank you, Amna.
Thank you, Caitlyn.
So good to hear from our Colorado public media reporters.
We're back at the table.
We're waiting for results.
The polls have been closed in so many states, well over half the country.
And we're all -- you're all busy on your devices, laptops, and the rest of it, iPhones, some of you, trying to figure out what's going on.
Amy, I have to turn to you, because you... AMY WALTER: Because I have to... (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: You often have this sort of a wizard-like... AMY WALTER: Well, here's what I have been looking at.
So, in the races that we have at The Cook Political Report listed as toss-ups, so those are the most competitive seats, for Republicans to have a good night, they have to win in districts that Biden carried in many cases by double digits or that Biden carried by five to 10 points.
What we know historically is, when you have good elections for the out party, usually, even on big nights, it's hard to make that much progress into the 10-plus seats.
That's where Republicans are going to need to show that they're able to -- to defy history, they have got to win in these places.
Now, unfortunately, for all of us here on the East Coast, many of these are on the West Coast, Oregon and California, Nevada.
But we're going to get a pretty good idea if they call Rhode Island in the next few whatever, hour or minutes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we haven't seen Virginia yet.
AMY WALTER: We haven't seen Virginia yet.
But those ones are much more competitive districts that we're waiting on.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
AMY WALTER: The Rhode Island district is one that, if you just looked at it by the numbers, you would say, this is a pretty safe Democratic seat.
But the Republican has run a very good campaign.
The polling there showed a very, very tight race.
Republicans spent heavily in that district.
It's another one of those blue-collar districts that has been trending a little more Republican.
You think of Rhode Island as New England and very blue, but this is the kind of place where, on a good night for Republicans, you could see that going... (CROSSTALK) FAIZ SHAKIR: Another one, Amy.
(CROSSTALK) FAIZ SHAKIR: Sorry.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Faiz, go ahead.
FAIZ SHAKIR: Pennsylvania 12, which is where Summer Lee was running, in Pennsylvania, we seeing the results come in.
We haven't called it yet, but she's looking good.
This is a candidate who... JUDY WOODRUFF: Which district is this?
FAIZ SHAKIR: This is right outside of Pittsburgh.
JUDY WOODRUFF: OK. FAIZ SHAKIR: And so this was a candidate -- this is a candidate who was attacked mercilessly by AIPAC and a bunch of others for her -- quote, unquote -- "defunding the police" and a crime message.
And you would have expected that, if there was a bottom dropping out, she'd be among the top, because they went very hard on crime.
And she's performing well in a D-plus-8 district.
So I think if it holds there, to the point that Amy's making, it suggests that the red wave of hoping of taking over all these suburbs isn't materializing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Marc Short, weigh in on Amy's point about how hard it is to make -- to flip some of these districts where Biden ran well and also it -- coming back to your point earlier, candidates matter.
MARC SHORT: Candidates matter a lot.
I do think that -- I do think Kevin McCarthy did a better job recruiting strong candidates.
And I think you're seeing some of those House pickups, but, to Amy's point, you're probably seeing Republicans winning in seats that perhaps Biden won by five, but not stretching it to 10... JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
MARC SHORT: ... which would be kind of the red wave of '94 or 2010 you would need.
Still, it's a strong -- it's a very strong night.
I think it's -- again, the issues were on the Republicans' side.
But candidate recruitment matters a lot.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ And who didn't recruit good candidates, I think as Marc was hinting at, is Donald Trump.
It looks like J.D.
Vance and Herschel Walker are underperforming the rest of the party in those states.
Vance probably looks like he will win.
Herschel Walker, maybe he wins too.
But it looks like, if you -- if Donald Trump was not getting his thumb in the races and allowing Mitch McConnell, a much savvier person about politics, to pick the candidates, I think the Republicans are -- I think you may look at tonight -- Mastriano won, another - - also I think backed by Trump as well.
So, I -- that won the primary, I should say.
(CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: That's right.
(CROSSTALK) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ So, I just think that having Donald Trump recruiting your candidates is not a good thing, and having an experienced - - because he's judging based on who likes him or who winked at him or who he thinks is charming, as opposed to who has the chance of getting 51 percent the most.
AMY WALTER: But can I raise this question?
Does anybody here think that it's going to matter whether his candidates win or lose as whether he decides to run or take a victory lap?
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ Oh, absolutely not.
DAVID BROOKS: Of course not.
AMY WALTER: Oh, OK. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ He's announcing next week, yes, of course.
(CROSSTALK) DAVID BROOKS: He's a humble guy.
He will have a lot of self-doubt tomorrow morning.
(LAUGHTER) GARY ABERNATHY: I mean, he's going to -- he couldn't even let Election Day -- he had to try to jump into the middle of Election Day to announce he's going to make a big announcement next Tuesday.
He couldn't wait until tomorrow to make that... AMY WALTER: Very probably.
GARY ABERNATHY: Yes, to make that announcement.
But, again, I think this is right.
Even if some of these MAGA candidates, Trump-supported candidates do squeak through, they shouldn't be just squeaking through.
They should be winning big in this environment.
And I think they have -- the whole party has to take a look at this and say, you know what?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
GARY ABERNATHY: Again, I'm someone who gives Trump credit for things -- for some things.
I gave him credit for reviving a party that had really performed terribly in 2008 and 2012 elections.
And some people said -- they were writing the obit.
The party has to completely do a better job of reaching out to minorities and this group and that group.
Well, Trump came along and said, not really, and won, and on a populist message and redefined the party from the party of Reagan.
I love Ronald Reagan, but it's not the party of Reagan anymore.
It's the party of Trump, but it needs to be the party of Trump without Trump.
DAVID BROOKS: I do think underlying that -- and we will see.
If current trends continue, I think some second-guessing among Republicans.
You have got a president with 41, 43 percent approval rating.
In a lot of these swing states, it's 39, 40 percent of swing -- you really should doing - - be doing very well.
And in a lot of elections past, Senate -- the down-ballot candidates have really had trouble going too far beyond the presidential approval.
And we may be seeing a lot of places where they are going on.
I'm just looking at the race, getting a feel for the night, and it's a continuation.
Like this Rhode Island Second House, which Republicans had some hope for, doesn't look so great for them, that -- Virginia Seven, which is Abigail Spanberger, a moderate Democrat and I think a former helicopter pilot, if I got that correctly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: CIA officer.
(CROSSTALK) DAVID BROOKS: Oh, I'm confusing my moderate Republican -- my moderate Democrat.
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: And she seems to be -- well, she's in a very close race right now.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And so you're just not -- it's not only candidate quality, though it is that, but it's also somehow the night and the zeitgeist.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And the other factor is that, whether they squeak through, whether Herschel Walker does that, I think a couple of you have said, or another Trump-endorsed Republican, it seems to me they are going to owe him some kind of loyalty after the election.
GARY ABERNATHY: It was interesting that Trump didn't really -- Trump had a -- is sitting on a lot of money.
He didn't give a lot of to these candidates.
There was also an interesting, I think, New York Times story a few days ago about how many billionaires in this country are giving their money to candidates.
Not one, not the guy from Mar-a-Lago.
He didn't give his personal money to these candidates.
I think, if the party and these candidates owe any debt to Trump, it's long been paid.
JUDY WOODRUFF: OK. You're telling Herschel Walker that and Blake Masters and... PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ I will bet on -- just maybe disagree here.
If Donald Trump runs for president, I will bet on him to win the nomination over anybody else.
And I think that he's still the dominant figure, even if maybe he's not the best... PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ I think the voters are still connected with him, even if maybe the strategists... (CROSSTALK) GARY ABERNATHY: I didn't say what they will do.
I said what they should do.
(LAUGHTER) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ OK. MARC SHORT: I think, every four years, we have these panels and we all predict who's it's going to be, and we're always wrong.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We're always wrong.
(LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: Yes.
MARC SHORT: Whether it was Jeb Bush, who was certainly going to win in 2016, or certainly Bill Clinton was never going to win in '92.
So I think it's good that we let the voters decide.
(CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Hey, I think this is going to be the first panel that was absolutely right on every one of your predictions tonight.
(LAUGHTER) GARY ABERNATHY: But I think Marc was saying he doesn't think Trump's going to win, necessarily.
MARC SHORT: I think that the party is shifting.
I really do.
I do think it's shifting a lot.
And -- I mean, I think the other point in his announcement is, that I think we're not talking about it, is that he wants to get in front of any indictments that are coming, because then he can portray it as, look, they're only indicting me because I'm an announced candidate against Joe Biden.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, either Atlanta or New York or one of those, right?
You want to pick one or... MARC SHORT: Well, as far as -- I think, as far as the timing, we were having that conversation.
I think it'll be soon.
But I -- no, I'm not necessarily sure it'll be a state indictment, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
Well, all right, we are going to go now to the other part of our studio, where we find Amna and Lisa looking at how the congressional map is shaping up, something we have been talking about -- Amna, over to you.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's right, Judy.
Coming up on 9:45 here on the East Coast, as I check my watch to make sure.
It's a good moment to take a step back, see where we stand on the balance of power in the House.
Lisa, we know Republicans need to pick up five additional seats... LISA DESJARDINS: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: ... to win control.
Where do we stand?
LISA DESJARDINS: Look, we're starting to get some of these races.
These -- all these dots represent races that have been called blue for Democrat red for Republican.
You see, more Republican races have been called.
It doesn't really tell us exactly what is going to happen.
But we are also tracking whether Republicans have picked up any seats, lost any seats.
And, so far tonight, we already have one pickup for Republicans by our tracking.
That is in Florida.
Florida is a state that gained two seats because of the census and the reapportionment of congressional seats.
And they have in fact picked up one net seat so far in Florida because of that process through the census.
AMNA NAWAZ: You're paying very close attention to a few vulnerable Democrats in particular, very, very tight races.
We're going to take you first to Texas to the 28th Congressional District.
This is down along the Rio Grande Valley, and it borders Mexico.
LISA DESJARDINS: Right.
AMNA NAWAZ: Republicans have made a lot of gains in this area in recent years.
LISA DESJARDINS: That's correct.
This is a majority Hispanic Latino.
This is a place that President Biden won just two years ago by eight points.
But that was a smaller margin than Democrats had hoped for.
This is one of the top races for outside spending.
You could practically, I don't know, build a dam on the Rio Grande with the amount of dollars that have been spent in this race.
So let's look at the candidates and where we are right now.
The incumbent in this race -- here we go -- Henry Cuellar right now up ahead with 47 percent of the expected vote in this race, according to the Associated Press, 57 percent to Cassy Garcia's 43 percent.
We're still -- we still need half of the vote in, in this race, but he is an incumbent that made it through a blistering primary battle, just won his primary by 1,000 votes.
Both of these candidates are Mexican American.
Big difference between them, this is a member of Congress who has been in Congress almost this entire century.
Cassy Garcia, a former Ted Cruz staffer, this is her first run for political office.
Abortion has been an issue in Texas.
He is one of the few anti-abortion Democrats.
And he is fighting for his political life tonight.
AMNA NAWAZ: We will be tracking that race, of course, only 47 percent of the expected vote in so far there.
Over to Ohio now, where I think it's fair to say Democrats find themselves maybe surprised to be a bit on the defensive in this district.
LISA DESJARDINS: That's right.
This is a Democratic incumbent district.
This is Toledo up here.
This is a district that is primarily white, high school-educated, the kind of place that we have seen former President Trump do very well.
But the Republican challenger here is an election denier.
He's also had a couple of other problems throughout his campaign.
But this is a place we're looking for, if there was a red tsunami, this is where we would see it.
So, let's look at the results here for Ohio 9.
The incumbent here is Marcy Kaptur, the Democrat.
She's ahead right now with more than half of the vote, according to the Associated Press, 57 percent to 43 percent, very similar to what we saw in Texas, actually, at this moment.
J.R. Majewski is someone who has, as I said, had a number of problems in the campaign, one of them being that he on one of his sites that he had combat experience.
He is an Air Force veteran.
However, it turned out he had not been in combat.
So there have been a number of issues coming up in his campaign, not just the fact that he was at the January 6 rally.
But this is a case of an election denier becoming a major issue in that campaign, that facet of his life, first-time candidate right now behind.
AMNA NAWAZ: Folks may remember him as the man who had the giant Trump lawn sign.
LISA DESJARDINS: That's correct, turned his lawn into... (CROSSTALK) LISA DESJARDINS: ... President Trump, correct.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's right.
Let's go to Virginia now.
There's another key race you're tracking there in the Seventh Congressional District.
LISA DESJARDINS: Here we go.
Look at this race.
We have been talking about it.
The other panel has been talking about it.
This is what's going on in Virginia Seven.
Right now, Republican Yesli Vega is up just by two points, 84 percent of the expected voting.
But, listen, I want to tell people I have been looking at this very closely.
Here's what's happening.
Prince William County is the dominant population county in this seat.
And most of the vote, according the Associated Press, about -- only 54 percent of the vote in that county, which is generally going for Spanberger right now, has yet to come in.
So I think this race could flip back and forth.
I want to say one thing about Virginia Seven.
This is the old and new Virginia.
This is a district that has three major Civil War battlefields in it, very historic area.
But it is also one of the fastest changing places in Virginia.
And you see this race, a test of all of these kinds of dynamics in Virginia right now.
AMNA NAWAZ: Fascinating dynamics at play in this and some of those other races.
We will continue to track them -- Judy, over to you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.
All that -- all that information helps us understand what may be happening tonight.
Are we going to go to Laura at the White House?
Let's go there.
I didn't hear you.
Please tell me again.
Are we going to -- we're going to Laura at the White House.
Laura Barron-Lopez, you are monitoring everything at the White House, talking to folks who are talking to the president.
What are they telling you?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: So, right now, it's very quiet over here at the White House, Judy.
The president is, of course, monitoring results, along with a lot of his staff and those across the administration.
But, again, they are staying relatively quiet, especially since we haven't heard some of those big races come in yet.
Now, the president today had no public events on his schedule, but he did have a radio -- he did speak to a radio host D.L.
Hughley, who's a known comedian, and he talked specifically trying to reach Black voters, which we know are a key constituency for Democrats.
And whether or not they turn out in big numbers is going to be key to races in Pennsylvania, to races in Georgia, as well as Michigan and others across the country.
And so that's how the president spent his - - the last few hours on Election Day.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it sounds as if -- well, we know they are watching this closely.
Are they giving you any sense of how they see the results that are coming in, whether they are seeing any -- reading the tea leaves a particular way or direction or another?
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, ultimately, a lot of the White House aides that I have talked to are really holding out hope that the Senate stays in Democratic hands, because, again, that will determine the future of the president's agenda, whether or not he's able to pass much more than he has already in the first two years.
We saw that President Biden tried to work across the aisle and pass -- did pass a number of bipartisan bills, including infrastructure, including a gun control bill, which was one of the first in decades that was actually bipartisan.
And so if they are able to hold on to a Senate, he'd be able to get a number of his judicial nominees through.
If they do lose the House, though, again, the White House is preparing extensively for the fact that investigations will be coming down.
They hired -- over the summer, they brought on a top Veterans Affairs lawyer.
They moved that Veterans Affairs lawyer, Dick Sauber, over to the White House.
He's now top legal counsel here at the White House.
And he's specifically preparing for the potential for investigations if the GOP takes the House.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Getting ready just in case.
All right, Laura Barron-Lopez monitoring all going on at the White House, thank you very much.
We do have a call to make.
And that is in the state of Vermont, where the polls closed a few hours ago, almost three hours ago.
This was expected to be an easy win for the incumbent Republican, Phil Scott.
He has been declared the winner by the Associated Press with 46 percent of the expected vote in, defeating the Democrat, Brenda Siegel.
And I want to -- I want to talk to all of you, but, as I do, I'm also asking our colleagues who have control over the pictures that we're showing to look at a couple of these races where the polls have been closed for a few hours, and we're watching them very closely, Ohio Senate, North Carolina Senate, Georgia Senate.
Can we look at some of these latest numbers?
Let's look at -- all right, we're going to - - we're going to break them up in a minute.
But let's talk about Ohio, Gary Abernathy.
GARY ABERNATHY: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned it a minute ago.
It -- this is Rob Portman's seat.
He is stepping down.
And it's J.D.
Vance, the Republican, with a hearty endorsement from President -- former President Trump, running against Congressman Tim Ryan.
We're going to show those numbers in just a second.
GARY ABERNATHY: OK.
And from what I understand that, the -- now that the early votes been counted, the same day vote is being counted, which is going to skew more Republican.
is taking a lead, I believe, now.
Now, we will still see -- yes, there we go.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There we go.
GARY ABERNATHY: We will still see how it turns out.
And that's -- but that's -- again, he's probably going to squeak by just because of the landscape in Ohio and because of the kind of night that it's going to be.
But your last report there talked about the White House preparing for investigations to come if Republicans take over the House, even.
To me, that would be -- the biggest mistake Republicans could do is -- is -- there are some things worth investigating.
I mean, frankly, the Hunter Biden case is really a legitimate thing to look into.
But revenge investigations, constant even talk of trying to draw up articles of impeachment, these are not the reasons Republicans are winning tonight, if they do win.
Voters are not asking you, please take over Congress and open a bunch of investigations.
No, they want Republicans to come in and do what they have campaigned on, tackle inflation, tackle the border situation, tackle crime, tackle the economy in general.
And to come and say, OK, now here's our chance to investigate the Democrats, they're going to find it's a very short span of support they have from the American people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.
As we let that thought settle in, let's look quickly now.
We do believe -- I believe, have the latest numbers coming in from -- this is North Carolina.
This is a Republican seat, the Republican candidate, Congressman Ted Budd, ahead by, what is it, 4 percentage points.
This is with 69 percent of the expected vote in.
He's being -- he's running against Cheri Beasley, the former state chief Supreme Court justice.
That's where that race stands.
We also can take a look at Georgia.
That race has not been called yet.
In the state of Georgia, we have all been talking about that one, again, with about two-thirds of the vote in, very close, Herschel Walker with just over -- with just 50 percent to Raphael Warnock, the incumbent senator, running for his first full term, with 48 percent.
Again, neither one of these -- none of these races was called that we just looked at.
But I wanted to give you all a sense of where they stand and see if you see something there that gives you a tea leaf, and the fact that Herschel Walker is under now -- now I'm told Herschel Walker is under 50 percent.
Perry Bacon, you want to... PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ These races were, in the polls, close.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ And they appear to be very close.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ I'm reluctant to say much more until... JUDY WOODRUFF: Until we know more.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ I'd be very surprised.
I think North Carolina has been a state that's always close.
AMY WALTER: That's right.
PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ But the Democrats always lose.
(LAUGHTER) PERRY BACON JR: D-INOØ Obama won there '08, and since then, it's never -- they have never won a statewide federal race, at least.
So I would be very surprised about that.
Georgia, we should just keep watching.
But the polls have been close.
And that's where we are right now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And these are all states, I should say, where the Republicans have put in a lot of money behind their candidates.
We know that the case in North Carolina, certainly the case in Ohio.
(CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Gary.
GARY ABERNATHY: Have we seen anything out of Pennsylvania with numbers?
JUDY WOODRUFF: We can look quickly?
I think we have got about a minute before we go to a break.
Do we -- can we look at the Pennsylvania numbers?
This is John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz.
GARY ABERNATHY: I know it's going to be slim.
JUDY WOODRUFF: This is the Senate race.
GARY ABERNATHY: And I was told, with the early vote, before it was actually counted, but the projections were that Oz was starting from maybe 600,000 votes behind in the early vote.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There you go.
That's with a third -- I'm sorry to interrupt you, Gary -- a third of the expected vote in.
Here we go.
John Fetterman, the Democrat -- this would be -- if the Democrats win, this is a flip to the Democrats -- 52 percent to 45 percent.
I don't have a sense of what votes are still out.
AMY WALTER: That's right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Two-thirds of them.
AMY WALTER: Right.
GARY ABERNATHY: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That's a lot.
AMY WALTER: Yes, and what's in and where it's from.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, and where it is and which county and which district and so forth.
So, as we think about all this, and we let it settle in and we get closer to the next poll closing, we are going to say to our audience, it's time for a short break.
But please don't go anywhere.
You can get a popcorn or a glass of water, but don't go anywhere.
More election coverage is coming right up.
AMNA NAWAZ: Continuing our series Leaving Congress, Lisa Desjardins speaks with another lawmaker leaving Capitol Hill at the end of this year.
LISA DESJARDINS: Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence represents metropolitan Detroit, and she's retiring after four terms in Congress.
Congresswoman, you have had several careers as a manager with the Postal Service, as a mayor.
Now, as you retire from this job, I wonder how do you see the way that Congress works or doesn't work?
REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE (D-MI): I think we have many challenges.
Every now and then, we have a breakthrough.
We will have a breakthrough in infrastructure.
We're still fighting for voting rights.
We're still fighting for the right for a woman to make decisions about her own body.
They say we make sausage.
I can tell you we absolutely do, and it takes forever.
LISA DESJARDINS: On that note, your district was dramatically significantly remapped.
Now looking at Michigan, which will have a map with no majority Black congressional districts in it, how do you look at redistricting now and race?
REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE: The census count had a direct impact on how the seats were drawn.
We in Michigan elected and -- a commission to redraw seats.
And now I believe that was the legislative body.
We have been confronted with the consequences of the Trump administration cutting off the count.
We were undercounted, which is the formula we use to draw our seats.
We -- we're confronted with the fact that our African American community voted at 15 percent.
Am I satisfied that we don't have Black representation?
But, in two years, we will have an election.
And, again, the people will speak.
LISA DESJARDINS: Looking back, do you have any regrets in Congress?
REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE: Oh, my goodness.
No one's ever asked me that.
I will tell you that learning the process of legislating, I have some very strong and good relationships across the aisle.
I wish I had spent more time investing and getting to know my Republican colleagues and to really have the ability to hear their position, to try to understand it, and to just form those relationships.
That's the beauty of being in Congress.
This is a family.
We are with each other more than we are with our own loved ones.
And the diversity of us in the Democratic Party and in the Republican Party is so stimulating.
And the members that I have formed a relationship with on the other side, I wish I had a larger group of them, because, at the end of the day, we're human beings.