The Vote: America’s Future. TRANSCRIPT: 11/6/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show.
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: November 6, 2018
Guest: James Carville
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: We`re going have now poll closings in Arizona,
Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New
York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, all of those
states are pulling in their poll closings right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Nine p.m. in the east has just turned, and
here we go. These are our latest projections.
Texas Senate too early to call. We`re giving Cruz a slight lead in this
race as of now.
Texas governor re-elected. The winner, Governor Abbott. Here is the two-
way race of the Texas governor`s race as we look at the map that went into
Wisconsin Governor Evers is the lead, but officially, too close to call.
Arizona Senate, too close to call. Remember, these Western states just
North Dakota Senate, too early, though so far Cramer is leading.
New York City Senator Kirsten Gillibrand going back to the Senate.
In Minnesota, our guest earlier, Amy Klobuchar going back to the Senate.
And then these are coming in fresh. This is Heinrich going back to the
Senate, New Mexico. And now I`ll take them off the side of the building,
Tammy Baldwin, Democrat in Wisconsin, going back to the Senate. Wyoming,
Barrasso, a member of the senior Republican leadership returning to the
Here is the Michigan race, too early to call. Minnesota, too early to
call. And at this hour, the U.S. Senate, let`s pan down on the ice.
Notice again gray seats undecided, 17 question marks with a 44-39 split in
the U.S. Senate.
MADDOW: We should mention that in Minnesota in the unusual position of
having both of its senators.
MADDOW: Both of its Senate seats up right now. The senior senator from
Minnesota right now is Amy Klobuchar. She did not have a difficult race
this year. NBC News has projected that she will be returning to the
And again, that was an easy one. The second Minnesota Senate race is the
one that was just too early to call there. That`s Tina Smith. She holds
the seat that was held by Democrat Al Franken until he resigned from that
Tina Smith is facing a challenge from Karen Housley right now. Tina Smith
is an incumbent, though she has never before run for this seat. She was
appointed to fill that seat. Minnesota one of the only states where we`ve
got both seats up.
WILLIAMS: We have two pieces of business. Tennessee Senate I`m told we`re
going to get an update live from the control room. Blackburn wins. She
has turned away Bredesen in the Tennessee Senate race, both parties fought
hard for this one, but our projection is when it`s all counted, all said
and done, Marsha Blackburn will represent the United States Senate.
Remember, this is a net hold for the Republican Party. This is the Corker
Back over to the board. Steve Kornacki has the – we have a nail biter in
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, so take
a look here. Let`s start on the governor`s side here you can see. It is
90,000 votes. We just want the take you through again, the Democrat Andrew
Gillum 90,000 votes behind right now.
Where is the outstanding vote for Democrats? There are two places where
we`re really talking about here. It is Broward and Miami-Dade. These are
the two places where Gillum, he is running very strongly. There is a lot
of vote left.
Again, our estimate here has been, and this is an estimate. So this is
subject to a little bit of change here. But our estimate has been about
630,000 will end up being the final vote count out of Broward. We may get
somewhere closer to 900,000 out of Miami-Dade. If we use those two
estimates and we put Gillum at the current rate he is getting, he may be
able to get a 60,000 vote or so plurality out of these two counties.
So, again, if you`re down basically 90,000 votes statewide, that would eat
into it. Now in terms of the Republican side, though, go up to the
panhandle, and you can find a couple of places here. They`re smaller, but
they`re places where DeSantis, you can see here for instance, Bay County,
DeSantis winning by better than a 2-1 margin. There is still vote to come
You can go to Calhoun County. DeSantis is going to win this by a huge
margin. Still plenty of vote to come in there.
So, Democrats have big, densely populated areas with a lot of votes and
Gillum can make up lot of ground. But there are around the states
scatterings of precincts and big chunks of these smaller Republican
counties where DeSantis will be able to counter not all of that, but some
of that. And when he goes in 90,000 votes ahead, that`s worth keeping in
Also on the Senate side, you can see the margin, 58,000 here for Rick Scott
over Bill Nelson. Keep in mind the basic turnout math I just took you
through right there. Nelson may be a little closer than Gillum in this
MADDOW: Steve Kornacki at the big board for us, thank you.
A little bit of news out of Florida. One of the ballot initiatives in
Florida that has raised a lot of national attention, including statewide
effort has been Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to felons.
This affects over a potential million voters in Florida, and that is now
we`ve got a projected answer on Amendment 4 in Florida. It looks to be –
it looks like Amendment 4 will pass. That`s a big deal not just for the
people directly affected by having their voting rights restored in Florida,
this is a big issue of racial justice because the racial disproportionate
impact of this type of policy.
And this was also thought to be a potential turnout issue in terms of
Democratic turnout in Florida. With the Senate race and the governor`s
race still too close to call at this point, we`ll wait to see if this may
end up being a determinative factor.
We want to go now to Florida to our great friend Joy Reid who is at Gillum
headquarters as this governor`s race seems to be riding in on a knife edge
at the end.
Joy, how it is there?
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, how are you, Rachel? It is back and
forth. You know, welcome to Florida elections. You heard Steve Kornacki
explaining how close it is.
I can tell you that having worked in a couple when I was not in media, I
was working in politics, what you know is coming in at the end of the road
is always Broward County, my former county. It`s always bringing up the
rear. So for Democrats, basically what has to happen, as Steve mentioned
is you`re going to have to get a big piece of the vote in.
Broward is the largest county. It`s the county with the heaviest
Democratic registration. It`s a county that`s heavily African American.
It`s a county where the Cuban-American population is younger, and so they
tend to vote more Democratic. But it also is a very slow counting county.
It takes a long time to get that vote in.
So, basically, for Democrats to win that, they essentially have to run up
the score in places like Tampa, Hillsboro County, in places where I am now,
Leon County, and they have to really max it out in Broward. So, it is
tight. All Florida elections are tight.
Never listen to polls that say anybody is up 2 to 4 in Florida. No one is
ever up 2 to 4 in Florida. It`s always tight until the very end. You
really won`t know really until the absentees come in.
So, it`s tough. But I think people here are casually optimistic. You
always have to be optimistic because Florida really can go either way.
There are people cheering behind me because MSNBC just came up. We`re a
little delayed. So you`re going to hear a lot of noise behind me, and
people like you guys.
MADDOW: Hi, you guys!
REID: People are being enthusiastic. They are staying positive. We`re
just going to have to ride it out to the bitter end.
MADDOW: Joy Reid at Gillum headquarters, which is definitely a party at
REID: Oh, I tell you one real quick thing?
REID: Let me tell you one real quick thing. One thing that did happen
here in Florida that is important, Amendment 4, which is the amendment that
will restore voting rights to 1.5 million people who already paid their
debt to society and had felony records, that passed.
So, whatever happens tonight, that amendment is going to be hugely
important for voting rights in Florida.
MADDOW: Appreciate that, joy. Absolutely just reported that just before
we got to you.
Again, we do have a projection on that ballot measure in Florida. And
there`s ballot measures that are of interest across the country. As these
minimum wage ballots and redistricting ballot initiatives and medical
marijuana and recreational marijuana initiatives come in to the extent we
get calls on those at the national level from states that are considering
those things, we will keep you posted.
The first one we conveyed tonight, Amendment 4, restoring votes rights to
felons in Florida, affecting well over a million potential voters that one
seems to have passed with flying colors.
WILLIAMS: That`s a big deal.
In fact, the first cheer when Joy was talking was the delayed graphic being
seen by the crowd.
Steve Kornacki, if you`ve watched any of our broadcast, has explained the
lineup of the Senate by taking states in and out of the center, and now
tonight it becomes for real.
KORNACKI: Yes, and with those calls now, this becomes – let me just show
you where we stand now. With the calls in Indiana, in Tennessee that have
just been made, we`ve got North Dakota. I`m going to put this out here.
We haven`t actually made a call.
So, that puts Republicans at 49, with this being the battlefield. You
could see just a minute ago, if North Dakota, if Heitkamp does not come
through in North Dakota we will see. That right there would put
Republicans at 50, that would preserve the majority except for this.
I got to take you through this scenario, because this will come up, become
an issue on the screen here. What`s going to happen in the next few
minutes, Democrats obviously will have to win everything else that`s left
here. That`s a very tall order for them.
But the other thing that`s going to happen is you`ve got that Senate race
in Mississippi. In fact, I can show it to you. You have the race in
Mississippi that is a primary tonight, the special election. If nobody
gets 50 percent here, they go to a special election. Now, right now, this
is designated as a Republican seat. If you get – the top two get locked
in here, that will then be designated as a toss-up.
And what it will do, it`s complicated accounting here. But what will
happen is this Republican number will be reduced by one, and Mississippi is
going to pop up in this toss-up screen. So what that would mean, possibly
even if the Republicans got North Dakota, if the Democrats somehow got
everything, then Mississippi and that runoff would end up being the
So, again, the trend Democrats are seeing here just in terms of Indiana
going, Tennessee going so quickly is not encouraging for them on the Senate
side. But that math is still alive for them. It`s something no matter
what, you need to keep in mind as we return to this screen tonight.
You will probably see Mississippi pop up here. You will probably see this
Republican number drop by one at some point. That`s what it is. It means
Mississippi is taken off the board. It`s declared a toss-up seat because
we have the runoff coming.
WILLIAMS: Steve, I have to ask you about some of these. Anything from
Montana? Anything from Nevada and what`s the update on Florida? Forgive
me for hopping over.
KORNACKI: I`m as curious as you are about Florida. Let`s take a look and
let`s just call it up and see where we stand, 893, 56,000 lead for Rick
Scott over Bill Nelson. So, again, I think we`re in the same position we
were in, that`s the same position we were in Miami-Dade. Same position we
were in Broward County. Just make sure there has been no change here on
the governor`s side.
That`s not the statewide. Here is the statewide number. That`s – 88,000
vote advantage there, yes, that is about the same as we were before in
terms of the Senate here.
Missouri, you can see right now Josh Hawley, this is earlier waiting. St.
Louis city is just coming in. We await on St. Louis County. There is only
a few counties in Missouri the Democrats win, but they get a lot of votes
out of them.
And we can take a look up here, see if anything is coming. In we`ve got
our very earliest votes coming from Republican counties here. In Montana -
WILLIAMS: Montana, of course, is 10:00 Eastern Time.
KORNACKI: I can`t keep track of the time anymore.
WILLIAMS: Me too.
KORNACKI: That`s where we are. And on the House side, one I want to show
you very quickly, we`ve been talking about Virginia seven all night. Dave
Brat leading here.
I just want to flag this though, the big piece of outstanding real estate
here in Virginia is right here, is this county, Chesterfield County. This
is a third of the district. This was a tie in 2016, Trump versus Clinton.
The Democrats have been counting on Spanberger winning this by a couple of
points. It`s a big part of the district, so there is an opportunity for
the Democrats to make up some of the gap.
But, again, you see, it`s about 6,500-vote gap span burglar take in that
county in one of these key districts we`ve been following.
WILLIAMS: Our friend Mr. Carville was so critical to sensing the turn
WILLIAMS: And I have a feeling tonight his comments are going to be
critical on what he sees, the way he would term what he is witnessing.
MADDOW: Well, he was very clear saying clearly, this isn`t a Democratic
MADDOW: But not knowing what`s going the happen in Florida, watching it
come down to the wire, first of all, are there going to be recounts in
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNC HOST: Well, there`s an automatic recount.
MADDOW: At what threshold?
WALLACE: At 1 percent.
WILLIAMS: How did they go traditionally?
WALLACE: Ask the Supreme Court. There is so much that happens. I mean,
they count absentees and they count military ballots, and sometimes you go
to court to figure out who – you know, which ballots get count and which
don`t. But you rule out overvotes and undervotes and whatnot.
What`s interesting to me, we had Texas a minute ago. What`s interesting is
how far below Abbott`s number Ted Cruz is running tonight. You know, if
you`re a Republican, a Texas Republican you think Texas Republicans vote
for Republicans. Not so. There are people that voted for the Republican
governor and voted for Beto.
And Garrett Haake was in the state, has been in the state for days. He was
talking about the Abbott-Beto voter. We saw that in the numbers we put up
before. Ted Cruz also runs, you know, behind Donald Trump, who won the
state by 9 points, which sounds like a lot, but it`s not that much for a
Republican. So, this is going to be interesting no matter how it turns
And, you know, Florida hasn`t had a Democratic governor in a long time.
And we may have misrepresented the ease with which Gillum is going to win.
It`s a really hard state.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The other thing that could be
happening in Florida is the old Bradley effect which lowered the election
day vote totals of black candidates.
MADDOW: Explain how that works.
ROBINSON: Former Mayor Tom Bradley who kept running for governor, and
polls would show that he would win, and somehow on election day he would
MADDOW: So, people attacking the pollsters say I`m going to vote for the
ROBINSON: Yes, I`m going to vote for the black candidate, and then they
WALLACE: But they could also be voting for Donald Trump who is lying on
overly racist themes.
ROBINSON: That`s true. You were tempted to think that maybe that was done
with after Barack Obama won the presidency twice in many places, doing
better than his polls. But nothing ever really goes away, does it? I
don`t think it`s gone away.
MADDOW: We`re talking about the possibility of a recount in Florida, and
we`re all remembering 2000 recount there. And a lot of people are saying
heading into tonight, I did the thing about this on my show this week about
the prospect of there being recounts in southern California, if that`s what
it come downs to in terms of control of Congress, imagining everybody
crowding into the Orange County registrar`s office to fight those fights.
But what Steve just laid about Mississippi, it`s like let`s say that Heidi
Heitkamp losses in North Dakota but Beto wins in Texas and those other
states in the Senate go for the Democrats. They do great. And ultimately,
it looks like there probably is going to be a runoff in Mississippi. I`m
not saying that mathematically. I`m just saying there are three people in
the race. Nobody looks like they`re getting a 50.
If the Democrats win control of the House, and control of the Senate then
depends on a Mississippi recount that happens five days after Thanksgiving,
with a black candidate running against a Republican who had to beat out the
other Republican in order to make it, can you imagine how insane that`s
going to be for the country? Can you imagine the way Trump is going to
campaign in Mississippi on a recount that`s going to turn whether or not
the entire Congress is controlled by the opposite party?
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: It`s a tough one for Democrats because we`ve
got two Republicans really running in that, you know.
MADDOW: Splitting the Republican vote.
MATTHEWS: The vote will combine in the general.
MADDOW: When it becomes the national race and it comes – when it becomes
a race of national importance, it`s down to the Senate Mississippi race.
MATTHEWS: Can I be a morale officer for progressives watching right now?
A couple of minutes.
MADDOW: Hit it.
MATTHEWS: I listened to Steve who is the expert, and nobody is better than
him. He said basically the meme right now possibilities is 224. Well,
that`s six more than 218. They could go up to 232, and that would be mid-
So, I think we`re still for those who are hopeful people, it`s a good night
to have a couple cups of coffee and stay with us until 2:00 in the morning,
because I think the Democrats could end up picking up what I would call a
wave, 30-some points, 30-plus seats.
I don`t know what Carville meant by a wave. He may have meant 60. I`m not
sure what he meant. We didn`t really nail him down by what he meant.
WILLIAMS: We can do this. Let`s give everyone time to think about it,
because I`ve been asked to send us to a break. We`ll be right back, and
any big calls will come out of the break and report.
WILLIAMS: Nine-twenty p.m. Eastern Time, we knew this was going to be a
long night. We knew it was going to be a dramatic night. We just didn`t
know exactly where.
Here`s your answer. Florida Senate too close to call. Florida governor,
too close to call.
Oh, and for good measure, let`s go out to the lone star state where Greg
Abbott has been elected governor, but where the drama right now is in the
race for Senate, Ted Cruz`s Senate seat in Texas. Too early to call. We
are at 49.7 to 49.7, with coming up on 60 percent of the vote –
MADDOW: Less than 100 votes between them.
WILLIAMS: Between Florida and Texas at this hour. Mostly because it`s an
east coast state because of the overwhelming percentage of raw vote in from
Florida, that`s causing most of the perspiration over in the corner with
Hey, Steve, what about Florida House?
KORNACKI: Yes. Well, the House situation, first of all, should I tell
you, a call just in the last minute, one more flip. This one expected.
Remember, we said that new map in Pennsylvania created almost layups for
Here is one, it`s now official, the 5th district, Mary Gay Scanlon will go
to Congress. She is going to win easily here. Under the new line, Clinton
would have won this district in 2016 by 30 points. Well figured this would
happen. It`s now officially happened.
It means on the big chart here Democrats have now posted three pickups
tonight. Again, these are three pickups all in districts that Hillary
Clinton carried or would have carried in 2016. In Florida, you see this
kind of tells you the story I think in terms of the closeness we are seeing
in the Senate race, a little unexpected resiliency for the Republican
candidates. Four Republican targets, for congressional districts,
Democrats thought they had a chance and have already been called and will
remain in Republican hands, still waiting on the 26 district.
This is Carlos Curbelo. This is another Clinton district. Clinton won
this district you can see by double-digits, in fact, 16 points. This was
the second most pro-Clinton Republican seat in the 2016 election, a 16-
point Hillary Clinton victory in this district. Carlos Curbelo fighting
for his political life right now down there.
So, there still could be a Democratic pickup out of Florida. But the
statewide story in Florida continues to be we can just show you here in the
senatorial race, Rick Scott leading 52,000 votes right now. Democrats do
still have some vote to come in. No more out of Palm Beach here.
Take a look in Broward. Democrats do have some vote left. It`s shrinking
a little bit in Miami-Dade, continues to shrink as well. Still
opportunities for Democrats. But that is, you know, over 50,000 votes
there. That`s a gap.
And in governor`s race in Florida, you can see it here. It`s still sitting
at about 85,000 votes. A steeper hill to climb for Gillum still compared
Look, the story we`re seeing here, Democrats have made some gains. They`ve
gotten some very good turnout, especially we showed you in Texas in the
But I`m seeing it up here in the Florida panhandle. I`m seeing it. We
showed you in some of the counties where Donald Trump surged in 2016, and
where you`re getting similar performance tonight, 55, 55 from the
Republican. I`m seeing it here in Florida. I`m starting to look over in
Texas, some of those core Republican areas, not swing areas.
But those core Republican areas, that same Trump level of support still
seeing it there. And I think it`s factoring into the results you`re seeing
here in Florida, and perhaps as Texas develops, we`ll keep a closer eye on
that, but I think a little bit there as well.
MADDOW: Steve, as we are looking at the Texas race, I want to bring us
back to El Paso actually. Chris Hayes is at El Paso headquarters for the
Beto O`Rourke campaign, and as we`ve been watching those Senate numbers
come in, the last numbers that we actually got, Chris, were within 100
votes. The tie is so close in terms of what we`re seeing right now between
Cruz and O`Rourke. We`re also seeing the Texas governor`s race has already
been called very early for Greg Abbott.
I don`t think Chris can hear me. I can tell by the hand motion. Go ahead.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, “ALL IN”: It is very loud here, and there is lots
of people streaming in. The Texas Democrats continue to feel pretty good
about where things stand, particularly as it pertains to their House races
which are important bellwethers for them for the national race.
In Harris County, he is still about where he needs to be, at least in the
early vote. He came in at about 123,000 plus. He`s got to run up the
score in those kinds of districts, and, of course, the polls are going to
close later here in Mountain Time in El Paso, which should be a pretty big
bank of votes right now. But there is a lot of energy here.
MADDOW: Chris, thank you. Chris for us at Beto O`Rourke headquarters.
We`ve gone back and forth to Chris over the course of the night. You can
see things filling in there.
WILLIAMS: Yes, it`s noisier.
MADDOW: Yes, for sure. These numbers, look at this.
WILLIAMS: Look at that.
MADDOW: Forty-nine-point-seven to 49.7.
WILLIAMS: Come on.
MADDOW: We`re just looking at a difference of 100 votes. Now it`s a
different of 1500 votes. This is with less than two-thirds of the vote.
And Chris made a good point there in terms of the polls closing completely
But this is just like – is this the story of Ted Cruz? Is this the story
of Beto O`Rourke or is this the story of a new Texas?
WILLIAMS: I think to Nicolle`s point, this tells the story of the lawn
signs, and this also tells the story of the enormous unpopularity of Ted
WALLACE: And of Donald Trump. Ted Cruz ran arm and arm with Donald Trump
in a state that should be Donald Trump country. And if a Democrat can win
in Texas, a Democrat can win anywhere.
If Beto O`Rourke can beat a Trump ally like Ted Cruz, which is what Ted
Cruz chose to become, he could have gone to the Senate and been, I don`t
know, a Jeff Flake, could have been like the late John McCain. He
certainly had enough differences on the campaign to have done. So he chose
a different path.
He locked arms with Donald Trump. He flattered him. He didn`t just vote
with him like all the other Republicans, he flattered him and kissed up to
Beto ran a positive campaign. He went negative at one debate. He
regretted it afterwards. He called Ted Cruz Lyin` Ted which was Donald
Trump`s nickname. Beto used it in a debate and said he regretted it.
He ran a positive campaign. He ran on the message President Obama closed
on that, the character of the country is on the ballot. And if he prevails
in deep, deep red Texas, it will be stunning.
MATTHEWS: Can I quote a former colleague in the Senate of Ted Cruz? He
said I don`t – I don`t dislike him as much as most of my colleagues do. I
ROBINSON: I think the other thing we`re seeing tonight, though, and
Kornacki just pointed it out, we`re seeing people come out to vote against
Donald Trump, and we`re seeing his people come out to vote for Donald
Trump, in large numbers.
WILLIAMS: On that, Steve has just disappeared around the corner.
Steve, do you have a call?
KORNACKI: Yes, I am being told and our board is being a little finicky
here, but I`m being told that Colorado 6th district, that our decision desk
is calling that for Jason Crow, the Democratic challenger against Mike
Coffman. This is one of the districts we can show you. I`m going to sound
lucky a broken record here.
Hillary Clinton Republican-held district. Clinton won this district
outside Denver by a nine-point margin in 2016 through September into
October. There had been multiple polls in this district showing Coffman
running pretty far behind. Republicans pulled out their national financial
support, at one point.
So, this an expected development. But again, this speaks to one of the
patterns we`re seeing tonight. Republicans in Trump country seem to be
digging in. The voters who didn`t vote for Trump in 2016 seem to be
digging in against his party now down ballot.
This – if you go back to our list here of pickups, let`s see if it`s in
there we expect this to turn blue. I guess I can`t even make it through
that. We`ll be one, two, three, four now. We`ll have four districts
turned blue, and they`re all Clinton districts.
MADDOW: That Mike Coffman district has been thinking they`ve been able to
get that for the last two or three cycle, but it took Jason Crow to do it.
WILLIAMS: We`re going to put more wood on our graphics fire to develop
more steam. We`ll be right back. Another break for us. We`ll come right
back with more live results.
WILLIAMS: We`re back three minutes past the bottom of the hour, 9:33
We have multiple story lines at this hour. I think that`s safe to say.
MADDOW: Yes. Right now, I think the big picture freak-out that is
genuinely bipartisan is the freak-out in the Democratic party that Beto
O`Rourke might actually win Texas, and the freak-out in the Republican
Party that any Democrat might win a statewide race in Texas, which has not
happened in the last 25 years.
WILLIAMS: And you`re not even mentioning that.
MADDOW: In Florida, both the Senate race and the governor`s race too close
to call. And look at how much percent of the vote it is? Ninety-eight
percent of the vote in that Senate race, 50.4 percent for Rick Scott, 49.6
percent for Bill Nelson, a difference of just over 60,000 votes.
We`re also looking at a race that is too close to call in the Florida
governor`s race. Ron DeSantis at 50 percent. Andrew Gillum at 48.8
percent. A difference of just under 100,000 votes with 99 percent in,
which means DeSantis is in a slightly better position than Rick Scott is,
but both of these races too close to call, and coming down to the end of
the end of the end of the wire.
WILLIAMS: And yet, if you`re Chris Matthews, whose boss famously uttered
all politics is local when he worked for Tip O`Neill, if you ask Chris`s
lead story at this hour, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, has gone –
MATTHEWS: Can I get back about Beto? If Beto pulls this off, it shows
courage works. And also excitement.
And I`ve always thought that being a moderate person that sometimes you can
edge your way into victory, but in these states like Texas, you got to come
in with excitement. You got to get your base going. You got to come in
like Reagan came in on the right. You can`t sneak in and say, OK, I`m
almost as good as a conservative Republican.
MADDOW: Bold colors, not pale pastels.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
And I think that he came in and he had the retail ability. We`ve seen
politician, all of us, who don`t have it. I mean, there have been a lot of
Democratic presidential nominees in recent years that don`t have that
personal touch. He`s got it. He has the opposite.
ROBINSON: He does not have the personal touch.
MADDOW: I have to say, in Ted Cruz`s defense.
MATTHEWS: Oh, stop, stop!
MADDOW: We`ve been having a lot of conversations, a lot of jeering
conversations, myself included about how much everybody hates Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz knows that everybody hates him. There are a lot of Republicans
who would love to be the senator from Texas, especially because Texas is
seen as a place where you can be a senator for life, right?
Ted Cruz was able to win a Texas Senate primary. He was able to get into
that Senate seat. He did very, very well in the Republican presidential
primaries against Donald Trump.
He has never campaigned as a politician on being a guy who you`d like to be
around. He has campaigned as a sort of world wrestling villain, right? I
love – like your hate makes me stronger. So we`re all talking than like
that`s a weakness.
Ted Cruz knows that he has a repellent personality. He has just turned it
to his advantage, up until now.
ROBINSON: In his career, right.
MADDOW: What has he lost before this?
ROBINSON: Now he is up against a very attractive, charismatic candidate,
who has the x factor.
WALLACE: He lost the presidency to Donald Trump.
MADDOW: Everybody else did too. We have a call.
WILLIAMS: Let`s also not forget Princeton undergrad, Harvard law doesn`t
Here is another projection in Colorado. Wow. All right.
MADDOW: Democratic Governor Jared Polis in Colorado is the projection from
NBC News. I should tell you, there will be a number of firsts this
evening. Jared polis will be the first openly gay man to ever be the
governor of an American state, and congratulations to him for that.
WILLIAMS: Mr. Kornacki has new numbers from Florida.
KORNACKI: Yes, it is coming down to the final votes in Florida. You see
statewide, they say 98 percent in. Let`s take you through. It`s getting
very simple right now.
The lead for Rick Scott in the Senate race sitting at 63,000 votes and
change. OK, 63,000 votes, that`s what Bill Nelson needs to make up there.
Is basically two places here that are left without standing vote. The
biggest by far, right here, the core Democratic county of Broward County.
We believe – I`ll put the math on the screen in fact, it might be easier
to understand this way.
We believe there are 120,000 or so votes still to be counted out of Broward
County. If you run about 70 percent for Nelson, about 30 percent Scott the
rest of the way, that would mean that Nelson picks up about 48,000 votes in
terms of plurality. He can get close to 50,000 out of Broward.
So, again, you go back to the statewide total. He is running 64,000 behind
right now. Let me make sure that didn`t update while we were in there. He
is running 64,000 behind, and he can get a bulk of that, a big chunk of
that back from Broward.
The other place, however, where there remains outstanding vote is right
here on the Gulf Coast in Charlotte County, and again, you can see right
here, Trumpish numbers here for Rick Scott tonight. Sixty-one to Trump`s
62 two years ago. This is the other big place where you`ve got an
outstanding vote. Probably about 20,000 votes we`re talking about here.
It pales by comparison to Broward.
But that is the problem that Rick Scott faces, and you can see in the
governor`s race, if that`s the gap there in the governor`s race, it is much
larger now closing in on 100,000 votes in the governor`s race, with the
same basic math.
I can also tell you we have made another call now in the house, this one
expected. We told you earlier in the night, Conor Lamb running in that
newly created district. Keith Rothfus is the Republican incumbent. This
is two incumbents who chose to run against each other in this new 17th
district of Pennsylvania.
Actually, if this district had existed in 2016, Trump would have won it by
two points. But Lamb was leading in all the polling big. Republicans
pulled out. This counts on the board as a Democratic pickup. This was
officially a Republican district the way they count these things. We see
there is another Democratic pickup.
We think Colorado 6. You don`t see it here. One, two, three, four, five
now. And you can seee, again, as these counties, as these precincts, as
these districts start to be processed by our decision desk, I told you
about the house estimate we had earlier.
Remember, the first time we checked in on it, I`m thinking 45 minutes ago,
it was a 65 percent chance that Democrats would get control of the House.
It has now gone to 70 percent.
Another reason it`s gone up. I can tell you it`s not a pickup. They tell
me it`s a pickup. It wasn`t a pickup. You can see a 70 percent chance
now. Our decision desk is estimating that when all of these districts come
in, Democrats will end up with a majority. Again, that number subject to
changes as more of these come in.
You see the trend here. Again, of these Clinton-held districts, if the
Democrats came in tonight needing to flip 23 Republican seats – well, how
many districts in the country are Republican held and won by Hillary
Clinton? The answer is 25. So if Democrats just get the lion`s share of
those, and that is basically where their pickups are tonight. If they get
the lion`s share of those, that either gets them there or gets them to the
cusp of being there, and they only need a few others.
Just seeing that success Democrats are having in those Clinton districts,
part of the reason you`re seeing the needle sit there at 70 percent right
WILLIAMS: Hey, Steve, you fly me to two places please, to Nebraska where
we have a call for fisher in the Senate race. There you go.
We`ll put it on up the side of the building. And can you take us out to
KORNACKI: And that Senate race. Everybody wondering, let`s see here.
Right now Beto O`Rourke leading this thing that is a 569 vote margin in
Let`s just – here is the big thing that I think has been happening in last
couple of minutes. We are getting – so, Harris County, largest county in
the state, Houston, we are starting to get – sorry, we should be getting
the results there.
Let`s try that one more time. This thing is being a little – it`s being
uncooperative. Well, the vote was coming in from Harris County. I can
show you the suburban county right outside of it. Fort Bend County. This
is a – basically all in right now.
You can compare this to 2016, an improvement for Democrats. You`re seeing
more improvement for Democrats up 2016 around Austin, around the Dallas
area, also Beto O`Rourke`s El Paso. That is not – having a few glitches
We do have numbers from El Paso. I apologize. I`m going get to the bottom
MADDOW: Yes. Steve, the understanding that you are having some difficulty
with the board, I`m still going to ask you to do something for me. Tell me
if it won`t work. I would like to check in on a couple of governors races
if you don`t mind.
MADDOW: Kansas, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Any of those giving us any
KORNACKI: Yes, here you go. In Kansas, we do have substantial numbers in.
Laura Kelly, the Democrat. Remember, this is a three-way race. Greg Orman
running as an independent getting 6 percent. You see Laura Kelly leading
with a substantial amount of the vote in. You can see the big reason for
this, Johnson County.
This is geographically small in terms of population. This is giant. This
is the big bedroom community outside of Kansas City.
This is traditionally – traditionally was a Republican bastion, people who
liked low taxes, but also maybe they were a little bit more moderate
culturally. With Kris Kobach at the top of the ticket, it was not so hot
but with Kobach at the top of the ticket, you can see big problems here for
Republicans in a place they used to do a lot better in. If Kelly is
running 20 points ahead in Johnson County, that portends big problems for
Republicans across the state there and I`m sorry, what was the other
MADDOW: Michigan and South Dakota.
TAPPER: Yes, let`s take a trip up here to Michigan. It is my first look
at it too. Gretchen Whitmer. About half the vote coming in. Critically,
no votes from Wayne County, Detroit, the biggest Democratic part of the
state right there.
South Dakota, where Democrats have not won a governor`s election since
1974. Look at this. You got 75 – 65 – 75 – 65. Can I add 65 votes
there separating Kristi Noem from Billy Sutton.
MADDOW: I told you that was going to be a race. I told you that was going
to be a race. That`s amazing.
WILLIAMS: Yes, Mike Murray and I just talk and that race.
MADDOW: The governor`s races tonight are going to be fascinating.
Obviously Scott Walker in Wisconsin is the great survivor of Republican
politics, given what he has been through. Michigan, Bill Schuette, having
been through his role as attorney general in the middle of the Flint water
crisis among other things, being criminal charges like manslaughter charges
against officials from the incumbent Republican administration, that
Michigan race super interesting.
South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, there is a whole bunch of races in in terms of
governors contests tonight where things just – you couldn`t have guessed
them before you got into seeing it between these candidates. It`s just
going to be a fascinating patchwork.
WILLIAMS: I`ve been asked to toss us to a quick break. And when we come
back, we`re walking on up to the 10:00 hour on the East Coast. We are
expecting a number of calls when we come back. That is the meter showing
the percentage chance of Democratic control of the House at this hour.
MADDOW: It`s shaky because it`s nervous.
WILLIAMS: Yes, it`s cold out there on the ice.
MADDOW: The Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in order to win control of
the House of Representatives tonight. They came in to tonight cautiously
confident that they could do it. We have seen a lot of Republican
incumbents who Democrats had targeted hold on, particularly in the state of
Florida tonight, where the top of the ticket races for governor and Senate
are both still too close to call.
But that 23 number is still out there, that overall number Democrats are
aiming for to try to take control of the house. Steve Kornacki is back
with more from the house races, including I think some that have just been
KORNACKI: Yes, we have a couple more calls here clarifying the situation.
Maybe clarifying the is wrong word there. Remember I said there were a
handful of districts out there that are currently Democratic held that are
potential Republican pickups, and one of them was pretty much close to
Well, the automatic one has now come in. This is the newly created 14th
district of Pennsylvania. Again, under these newly drawn lines that the
court imposed this year, this would have been a district Trump won by 30
points a couple of years ago.
So, you got two first-time candidates here. The Republican wins it as
expected, but this goes in the books as a Republican pickup. This is the
only one of those Republican targets that was this automatic for them.
But it`s now gone official. So you`ve got that. Now compare that with the
Democratic target list.
We have a call there as well for you. It is the third district of
Minnesota. Erik Paulsen, the Republican incumbent, losing to Dean Phillips
in this race. Again, here it is. We`ve been yet again, if I can get this
button to work, I was going to dramatically show you – well, OK. I`ll
tell you. How about that?
This is a Hillary Clinton district. Hillary Clinton won this district in
2016. It reelected its Republican congressman. And now, two years later,
the same voters who rejected Trump are rejecting the Republican congressman
in the same numbers.
It means, I can show you this list. Clinton won GOP districts. We said
there were 25 of them, 25 districts held by Republicans now that Hillary
Clinton won in 2016. This is the story of the night on the Democratic side
of the House.
Look at this. The only races that have been called in this list of 25
Republican seats have flipped so far. One, two, three, four, five of them
have flipped. None of them so far have been called as Republican holds.
So, this is why when you see Democrats doing this well in this type of
district, that if they run the table here, that alone gets them past that
number. That is why this needle is quivering at 80 percent confidence that
Democrats are going to get the House.
The story for them right now is that they are doing what they expected in
these Clinton-held districts. The question is, can they expand it and how
much can they expand it beyond that?
We told you technically they got one pickup of a Trump district with the
Conor Lamb victory in Pennsylvania. There are 25 total Clinton Republican
held seats. Republicans are flipping them. They have not held a single
WILLIAMS: Steve Kornacki, thank you.
I`m told James Carville is back with us, having joined us earlier.
James, we are mostly curious to hear what you make of the state of Texas.
What do you think of this race tonight?
JAMES CARVILLE, 1992 CLINTON-GORE CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Well, it`s Harris
County versus the rest of the state. Steve gets the numbers from Harris
County back up, I`m anxious to see them. Before I came out on set, they
didn`t have anything reporting. And that`s the biggest county in the
By the same token, Cruz is doing obviously very, very well in the roll
count. This is exciting. This is the most exciting race we`ve got right
now. I mean, win or lose, Beto O`Rourke`s impact on Democratic politics
and American politics is profound. I mean, something like this, it doesn`t
happen very often, I promise you.
WILLIAMS: We`re flashing the county for those who can`t locate it, as they
look at the map.
MADDOW: Sixteen percent in out of Harris County so far.
CARVILLE: That`s good, that`s good for Beto. That`s the most populist
county in the state.
WILLIAMS: You think it can happen, really?
CARVILLE: I can do a back of envelope calculation. But if I had to have
votes from anywhere, I sure like the fact we got 84 left to go in Harris
County. I don`t know how they bundle up the early count. If you were
deficient coming in with ballots, that would be the place you`d want to be.
My guess is it`s going to be pretty close, pretty exciting.
And I also think the Midwest, I was a little disappointed in some things,
particularly Florida I`m sick about. But the Midwest looks like it might
be pretty good for Democrats. If you`re looking at Minnesota seat, I don`t
know Nebraska – we called, it wasn`t in doubt, it was 53. Might all be
from Omaha. But that`s not a strong a number for Republicans in Nebraska.
We`ll have to wait and see where it ends up.
There`s encouraging reasons to think the Democrats can get the house back.
It`s going to be a thrilling night tonight. Like I said before, it`s not
going to be a wave, but it can still be a good election for Democrats.
It`s possible right now.
WILLIAMS: James, hold that thought. The number just went to 17. We have
KORNACKI: We were telling you about the Kansas governor`s race, the
Democratic strength I should say in Johnson County. That translates into
this, the third congressional district of Kansas, which contains Johnson
county. Kevin Yoder, Republican incumbent, he has been defeated. We
projected Sharice Davids would succeed him tonight. This would be a
Here we go again in a he district that was carried in 2016 by Hillary
Clinton, another Republican in a Clinton district, another suburban
district goes down tonight. So, this goes in the books as another
And you can see one, two, three, four, five, six, there are now seven
Democratic pickups. Remember, we had that one that flipped as well from
Democrat to Republican so that`s a net gain of six so far for Democrats.
That leaves them six that they`ve gained, 17 that they still need to gain
to get control of the House.
MADDOW: Let us just take a moment there to notice what just happened.
Kevin Yoder losing that seat in Kansas is, first of all, a Republican
losing a seat in Kansas. There`s been a real question as to whether or not
Kris Kobach`s gubernatorial candidacy in Kansas might be sort of freaking
Kansas Republicans out and hurting down ticket Republicans, especially
those who are allied with him.
But Sharice Edwards winning that seat, she`s a Native American, she`s
openly gay. She`s run an incredibly powerful campaign against him. Her
taking that seat speaks much bigger than that district. It will be
fascinating to see what happens at the top of the ticket in Kansas.
There is another dual headed role where Kris Kobach is running the
election. A lot of voter suppression concerns in Kansas. He is Trumpier
than Trump in terms of the gubernatorial race. He`s running after Sam
Brownback had such a difficult time in the governor`s race, fiscally really
destroying the state. That`s a huge turn.
ROBINSON: I think Sharice Davids just became the first Native American
woman to serve in the House of Representatives, I believe she did, which is
an amazing thing.
ROBINSON: It`s also – it`s amazing – how old is this country? You know,
the people who were here before it was a country? But that`s a really
WILLIAMS: We have another pickup, Steve?
KORNACKI: Yes, we do. I can tell you now the 11th district of New Jersey
has been called. This is a pickup for Democrats. Mikie Sherrill defeating
Jay Webber here. This district is an open seat. Rodney Frelinghuysen,
long time Republican incumbent, elected in 1994, declined to seek
reelection in this district. Mikie Sherrill, she raised millions of
dollars nationally for this race. She`s going to win this thing pretty
This is not technically speaking a Clinton district. Donald Trump won this
district by a point in 2016, but this has all the markings of Clinton
suburban districts. This thing swung very hard. If you went back to 2012,
2008, further back, this is Morris County, New Jersey. This used to be the
heart of the Republican base in New Jersey. It`s been trending towards the
That has accelerated in the age of Trump. I think Rodney Frelinghuysen saw
this number after 2016. He had never run a race in his congressional
career. That`s why he didn`t run. Mikie Sherrill has swooped in. She
gets the pick up here for Democrats.
This is not a Clinton district pickup, but it is another pickup for
Democrats. You can see now, we got eight for the Democrats on this list.
They lost that one in Pennsylvania because the redistricting net gain of
seven so far, knocks their magic number down to 16.
And again, that is why our needle, it has moved again. It has moved to 90
percent right now that the Democrats will end up with at least 218 seats
and with control of the House of Representatives.
MADDOW: And with Sharice Davids and Mikie Sherrill heading to the House of
Representatives for Democrats, Democrats also have two big stars who are
going to punch in their way in terms of attracting attention, get on TV and
branding the Democratic Party.
WILLIAMS: Forgive me. James Carville, how is your meter running right
CARVILLE: The meter drives me crazy but I`m starting to like it a little
bit. I see it going more toward the blue. I wanted to throw something at
it a little bit earlier.
You know, we have to wait and see. There`s a lot of politics left. A lot
of California seats. I`m getting a little more bullish on the Midwest as
the night goes on. I`m feeling a little better than I did the first time I
was on here. You know, let`s wait and see. Harris County, keep that 16
percent 17 percent right now.
WILLIAMS: I also want an accounting at the end of the night on veterans.
This is the year of veterans.
MADDOW: Yes, yes.
Kris Kobach just went down a defeat in Kansas.
MADDOW: Really, did you just get a call?
WILLIAMS: Yes, we`re calling it right now. It just arrived in my ear to
my mouth to the side of the building.
WALLACE: That`s how that works.
MADDOW: Wow, Kansas. You guys, this is a big deal.
Kris Kobach you have heard of, he became part of the Trump administration
without officially joining it. He was brought to head up the voter fraud
WILLIAMS: How did they do?
MADDOW: They didn`t find any, but they made a lot of noise. And then Kris
Kobach narrowly eked out a win of the Republican primary to become the
Republican candidate for governor in that state while simultaneously
serving as secretary of state.
He really has pioneered – forgive me – a lot of the modern Republican
politics of voter suppression, and has put the hardest ragged racial edge
on it with glee. Kansas is a fairly conservative state and Kansas just
finished up a hard time with Sam Brownback as their governor. Kris Kobach
is losing big to Laura Kelly, just speaks volumes from Kansas.
I know so many Kansas Democrats. I just happen to know a lot of people in
Kansas who feel like they`re blue dots in a red sea. Both the House race
going to Sharice Davids and the governorship going to Laura Kelly is going
to be seen as an epic moment for that state.
ROBINSON: Interesting stuff happening in the middle of the country.
WALLACE: There are so many Trump-era debacles that we don`t pay enough
attention to the ones that are, you know, not as recent. But this voting
commission that he ran, it wasn`t to shut down by Democrats. I mean, no
Republican states wanted to turnover their voter rolls either.
So, this is one of those instances where, out in the country, Democrats and
Republicans roundly rejected what was clearly a blatant suppression effort.
WILLIAMS: Look at that graphic. That would indicate we have some poll
closings coming up in one second. Here we are, 10:00 Eastern Time.
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