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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 8/2/22

Guests: Ruben Gallego, Kathleen Sebelius, Tom Perriello

Summary

Polls have just closed in Missouri, Michigan, and parts of Kansas while voters are still casting ballots in Arizona and Washington State on the big primary night in American politics, especially on the Republican side. Former President Donald Trump endorses "Eric" in Missouri GOP Senate Primary, but does not specify if it`s Greitens or Schmitt. GOP candidates in Arizona push Trump`s Big Lie amid primary election. RNC is working with the lawyer who pushed the stolen election claim to recruit, and train poll workers ahead of the Midterm Election.

Transcript

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Do not go anywhere. You do not want to miss Steve. The khakis are on. He`s ready to party. That is tonight "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts now.

CHARLES BLOW, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Charles Blow in for Chris Hayes. Polls have just closed in Missouri, Michigan, and parts of Kansas. Voters are still casting ballots in Arizona and Washington State. And it`s a big primary night in American politics, especially on the Republican side. We`ll get to Steve Kornacki at the big board with the latest results in just a moment.

But first, here are the big races that we`re watching tonight. In Missouri, it`s Eric Greitens versus Eric Schmitt for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Greitens is the former governor who resigned to disgrace and whose ex-wife accused him of physical abuse. And Schmitt is the state attorney general who joined Trump`s lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election. Both wanted the endorsement of Donald Trump. And last night Trump punted on the decision by simply endorsing Eric.

Both candidates have claimed the endorsement for themselves, but it`s unclear exactly how much Trump`s endorsement matters at all in Missouri today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLINE MILLER, REPUBLICAN VOTER, MISSOURI: To me, it`s a little bit alarming because this man is no longer like a former president to a lot of these people. He is like a god. He is something that they look up to. And to me a lot of times, maybe he isn`t the best person to look up to. That doesn`t go to say that he didn`t do a lot of good things, especially for the middle-class community here. But I think once again, people are running a little bit too far with his influence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLOW: Over in Arizona where polls closed in just two hours, Trump is backing a pair of election deniers. In a Republican gubernatorial primary, Trump endorsed far-right candidate Kari Lake. Lake has made Trump`s anti- democracy false claims of a stolen election, the centerpiece of her campaign. And in the race for Senate, Trump`s candidate is an extremist named Blake Masters whose campaign has been bankrolled by a billionaire Peter Thiel.

Trump has also endorsed a primary opponent to the very conservative Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, because Bowers refused to go along with Trump`s plot to overturn the election and because he`s testified publicly before the January 6 Committee.

And three Republican representatives who voted to impeach Trump the second time Michigan`s Peter Meijer, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Dan Newhouse of Washington are also facing primary challenges backed by the ex- president.

We have a lot to get to tonight as results are trickling in. So, let`s go right to the wizard himself, Steve Kornacki at the big board. Steve?

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, we are waiting for the trickle to begin and maybe a little bit more in some of the states. As you say, polls closing in much of Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, some of the big things we`re looking for. And maybe while I`m speaking, we`ll even start to get some numbers. We`ll see if these maps start to light up.

But just sort of set the scene for what is to come in the next few hours, starting in Kansas, obviously, the headline race there is this referendum. It`s a constitutional amendment that would say that in the state of Kansas constitution, there is no right to abortion. So, if this passes, if this referendum passes tonight, that would then open the door to the legislature in Kansas which is run by -- which is dominated by Republicans, generally anti-abortion Republicans. It would open the door to the legislature taking legislative action -- excuse me -- to either ban abortion or to severely restrict it.

So, it`s sort of a two-prong process that could be set in motion. But this, this is the first time since the end of Roe vs. Wade, Supreme Court decision a couple of months ago. This is the first time a state is having a referendum on abortion. There`s going to be more in some other states this fall. There`s going to be more in the years to come, but this is the first one of the post-Roe era. So, very significant.

We`ve seen some polling in advance of this showing this might be a tight race tonight. So, there`s a lot of suspense here. Also, the fact that it`s occurring on a primary night and not during the general election, somewhat unusual for a referendum. That adds a bit more of an X factor to this in terms of who is actually going to show up and take part in this today in terms of what the turnout will look like.

I tell you one thing we`re going to be looking for, in particular, this county right here. It looks small geographically here on the map, but Johnson County, this is the Kansas City suburbs. About a fifth of the vote or more in the entire state, about a fifth of it is going to come out of Johnson County. This is classic sort of suburban bedroom community. Overland Park is here if you know Kansas at all.

And just take a look at how this county has moved politically. It`s massive. It went for Biden by about eight points in 2020. It had gone for Trump by a few in 2016. And back just a decade ago, Mitt Romney was winning it by nearly 20 points. Johnson County, Kansas is like a lot of other big suburban counties all around the country where Democrats have been making huge gains in recent years, especially during the Trump years.

Johnson County is the kind of place, in other words, the Democrats think an issue like abortion may activate Democratic-friendly voters in the Midterm elections. So, it`s interesting, a potential interesting test tonight, not just statewide in Kansas, but in Johnson County, because that`s the kind of county Johnson County is the Democrats have been having success in nationally in recent elections. So again, polls closed in a lot of Kansas right now. We saw in 2020, the first 20 minutes or so after poll closed, we started to get some numbers. Nothing yet, but we`ll continue to keep an eye on it.

[20:05:56]

Next door in Missouri, polls also closed there. We`re seeing -- I expect this one will be slower. There`s not a lot of early voting or male vote, anything like that in Missouri. So, I expect it may take more time to get the results in here in Missouri. But this is that Republican Senate primary. Eric Schmitt, the State Attorney General, have led in the polling coming into today, sort of a late shift in his favor.

Eric Greitens, the former governor forced out in scandal several years ago, tried to make the comeback. He had been leading in some polls. There was sort of a push by a lot of Republicans to say, hey, careful here. If Greitens gets the nomination, this could be a Senate seat currently held by Republican Roy Blunt who`s not running for reelection. This could put the race in jeopardy in the general election. So, there`s been movement towards Schmitt in the final polls.

You see also Vicky Hartzler, a congresswoman right here. But we`ll see in Missouri what ends up playing out as the vote starts to come in. And one more place here. We say Michigan, the polls have closed. There`s one particular congressional race in Michigan I think that we`re all keeping a very close eye on tonight. It is the third -- oh boy, it is the third district -- let`s zoom back in there.

And there you go. Peter Meijer and John Gibbs. Peter Meijer is one of 10 Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Meijer was elected in 2020. One of the first votes he cast as a member of Congress was to impeach Donald Trump. This is his challenge here. Here, John Gibbs. Gibbs has Trump`s endorsement. Meijer trying to survive in a district that was changed dramatically by redistricting.

This third district right here you see, it`s in Western Michigan, it`s based in Grand Rapids. Redistricting made it much more competitive in the general election, maybe even a little friendly to Democrats in the general election. And one of the storylines here, it`s not just here at test of Republicans themselves fighting this out, Democrats believe that Gibbs is the most -- is the beatable candidate for them in this district.

Democrats have come in and spent money basically trying to boost Gibbs with Republican voters thinking they could get him nominated and he`d be easier to beat in the fall. That`s a controversial tactic that`s caused a lot of discussion. But that`s a factor here too. So, again, we`ll look for some numbers there. Nothing has come in yet. But as soon as we get any numbers from any of these races or others, I promise you, I`ll shout.

BLOW: Steve Kornacki, we`ll keep checking in with you throughout the night as results come in. Thank you very much. We`ll go now to Missouri where NBC News Washington Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor has been talking to voters all day. Yamiche, thank you for joining us. You heard that voter at the top who spoke in the last segment about, you know, the influence that Trump is having. What are you hearing about the influence of Donald Trump on the ground right now?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NBC NEWS WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, this is a wild and chaotic Senate primary race. There are a number of crowded -- this is a really a crowded field. A number of candidates trying to replace Roy Blunt who is a Republican senator who is retiring. You have to Eric`s in this race who are at the top of the pack.

Eric Schmitt is the Missouri Attorney General. He is someone who is seen as somewhat of a moderate in this race. He has tact right, I`m told, in order to try to gain the support of former President Trump. He`s someone who came out in against Mitch McConnell becoming the Senate Majority Leader just in the last few days trying to in some ways echo the criticism that Trump has had for Mitch McConnell.

Then you have Eric Greitens which is I`m with his sort of group right now. This is an Eric Greitens watch party. I`m here in Chesterfield, Missouri. He is the embattled former governor of Missouri. He resigned just 18 months after being inaugurated in disgrace. He is facing allegations of sexual abuse of domestic abuse.

Now, his political campaign and he himself are saying that these are politically motivated, but his wife says that she was abused by her husband. Of course, his wife being the former first lady of this state. So, there`s a lot of talk here about of course that endorsement because both Eric`s, top Eric`s in this race have claimed that Eric endorsement for former president -- from former President Trump is about them.

Eric Greitens came out with a graphic just a few seconds after the announcement came out. Eric Schmitt has soon followed. Both of them claim that they have talked to former President Trump and thanked him for the endorsement. We`re hearing at NBC News, though, that this is all intentional, that former President Trump wants to have an influence in this race.

[20:10:12]

Now, you talked about that voter who said she doesn`t like the way that former President Trump is wielding all this power. She said as you -- as we played that President Trump is a sort of God to some of -- some of the people here. That`s problematic. I also talked to a Democratic voter about what`s going on in this race. Take a listen to what she told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALCINDOR: What do you make of this Senate primary race and the candidates that are running?

LINDA MARTS, MISSOURI VOTER: So, I`ve been watching like, some of the advertisements and emails and stuff like that, that I`ve been getting on my social media, and they`re all hot mess. I mean, there`s something wrong with every single Republican that`s running. And I just think we need to find people with a little more integrity to represent the Republican side because they`re an important party, you know, for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLOW: So, Yamiche, I want to go back --

ALCINDOR: So, you heard it there from that voter --

BLOW: No, go ahead. Finish.

ALCINDOR: I was going to say, you heard it there from that voter. She thinks they`re all a hot mess. And part of that is because they`ve been talking about cultural issues. They`ve been going after these candidates, CRT, and open borders, not local issues that Missourians are talking about. They`ve been really trying to echo the language of the grievance politics of former President Trump, Charles.

BLOW: Yes, I think Trump has a long coattails in this. But, you know, I still don`t understand the Eric thing, right? Because, you know, if people say that Trump is trying to have an influence, but what is the influence beyond confusion? Is he being too clever by half by doing this?

ALCINDOR: Charles, it`s a great question. When I talked to voters here, they`re deeply confused. I will say some of them are even entertained by this because there is really no clarity on what former President Trump was trying to do other than the fact that he was intentionally doing this on both Eric`s having to say that they are claiming this endorsement really doesn`t I think, help either one of them.

Now, Eric Greitens, who was again, that embattled former governor, he`s saying that this is for him, and that Donald Trump Jr., emphasis on the Jr., that since he`s supporting him, that the father is also supporting him. But as we know, former President Trump has not provided any clarity on what he meant. So, it`s really, really a confusing situation here.

What we do know is that this is really I think a microcosm of former President Trump wanting to have power, wanting to have influence. And now it`s really led to a battle of the Eric`s. I also have to tell you, Charles, something that`s a little interesting and a little weird. There is a third Eric in this race, Charles. He`s not a top candidate but he`s notable because his name is Eric.

BLOW: Listen, all the millions of Eric`s in America, Donald Trump likes you, so there we go. Yamiche Alcindor live in Missouri for us tonight, thank you so much.

Up next, we`ll go live to Arizona where some of the country`s loudest pro- coup candidates are on the ballot. And I`ll talk to Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego about the dangers to his state. That`s all coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:15:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK FINCHEM (R-AZ), SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: Now, there are people that are in this race who they didn`t like the audit. They say it undermines democracy. They didn`t believe that there was a problem. To this day, there`s at least one who says there`s nothing wrong with our elections. Joe Biden won, Beau Lane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLOW: That is the guy Donald Trump endorsed to be the Republican candidate for Secretary of State of Arizona, State Representative Mark Finchem. In that clip, he`s criticizing one of his primary opponents for recognizing that legitimate results of the 2020 election. Heading into today`s primaries, Finchem tops his nearest rival by 11 points. The polls in Arizona close at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, less than two hours from now.

But if Finchem wins tonight, he`ll be the Republican candidate for the Secretary of State and just one election away from becoming the guy in charge of elections in Arizona, an anti-democracy Republican who believes the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. And Mark Finchem is just one of many candidates on the ballot this cycle who pose a real threat to our democracy.

Vaughn Hillyard is NBC News Correspondent. He`s joining me live from Phoenix, Arizona where he has been talking to voters and candidates. Vaughn, you are in a state that has a number of candidates who are opponents -- proponents, I`m sorry, of the Big Lie of the stolen election. Last week, Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Kari Lake claimed her campaign was "already detecting some stealing going on." You spoke to her. What did she have said?

VAUGHN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, I attempted -- this was last night after her first -- her final campaign event. I attempted to ask her what irregularities or fraud that she was speaking about when we`re talking about this Republican primary. I`ll just let you listen to a little bit of the exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLYARD: You`re already contending that there`s irregularities and there was fraud in this election. At what point does Kari Lake stop and say, am I undermining Americans` faith in our elections?

KARI LAKE (R-AZ), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Kari Lake is going to help bring harvest elections back to America.

HILLYARD: But you haven`t even laid out any fraud or irregularities?

LAKE: And unfortunately, people like Vaughn are about destroying America.

HILLYARD: But what fraud is there, Kari?

LAKE: Vaughn --

HILLYARD: What fraud is there?

LAKE: Vaughn --

HILLYARD: This is serious.

LAKE: Do you want to make this about you?

[20:20:01]

HILLYARD: No, this is about Arizona voters and their faith in this election.

LAKE: The last person that I`d tell on the planet earth that I would tell what we discovered is you and MSDNC.

HILLYARD: So, you know about a crime and yet you`re not going to report it to authorities?

LAKE: And I`m not telling you about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILLYARD: Now, to note, I reached out to Maricopa County elections officials, as well as elections officials from the Arizona Secretary of State`s office. They say neither Kari Lake nor anybody from her campaign have come to them with any concerns or irregularities or specifics of supposed fraud here.

When you`re looking at the polling, Kari Lake has been the front runner for the better part of the last year. But you`ve seen Karrin Taylor Robson. She is the other candidate who is backed by current governor Doug Ducey, as well as former Vice President Mike Pence, incrementally chip away here at the lead.

Essentially, this is two paths forward. It`s going to be up to Republican voters in this first major primary after these January 6 public hearings to choose which direction they want their party to take. And right now, the front runners in these polling have been those Trump acolyte figures, those Trump-endorsed figures from Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate, Kari Lake for Governor, Mark Finchem for Secretary of State, Abe Hamadeh for Attorney General.

We could be having a discussion tomorrow about despite the evidence that came forward from those hearings, that the Republican Party`s voters are choosing to continue to lie with the former president and move their statewide officials in that direction as well. Charles?

BLOW: Vaughn Hillyard in Phoenix, Arizona, thanks so much.

Now, I want to turn to Congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat who represents much of Phoenix, that area around Phoenix and communities to the west of the city. Congressman, we just spoke to Vaughn about allegations the Republicans are saying that there may be election stealing in their own primary. How --

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Unless they win.

BLOW: Right, exactly. But these are Republican voters, right? So, that`s just insane on some level. How worried are you about November even if Democrats hold the House, given the level of election denialism in the Republican Party?

GALLEGO: Listen, if this insurrectionists trifecta wins, Arizona is in a very serious situation. They will do everything they can to undermine any legitimate election. They will, you know, use and pass laws. They will actually even make fake laws to really undermine the election. And it will affect everybody, Democrats, Republicans, Independents. If anything, what they actually end up doing, they`ll end up actually trying to help their Republican friends that may not even win elections by trying to throw results.

This is a very dangerous situation. And it`s not just Arizona, it`s all parts -- these types of candidates are in all parts of this country. And they`re systematically going around in trying to undermine elections, because they know that they can`t win a substance so they have to win on lies, and that there is a danger to democracy.

BLOW: So, the Republican Attorney General of Arizona has been reviewing these election allegations just in a letter to the State Senate saying that they only found one out of 282 individuals was deceased at the time of the election. Do you think that we will see -- this will do anything to kind of disabuse people of this notion, this mythology around stolen elections and election fraud and you can`t trust anything unless Republicans win?

GALLEGO: Yes, not really because Republicans profit from this, right? And they know that you get voters that will come along and will ignore the fact that they have no plans to deal with inflation. They have no plans to deal or to protect, you know, a woman`s right to choose. They have no plans to really help revive the economy. So, this is a way for them to distract them.

And that doesn`t just mean like the insurrectionist trifecta of Finchem, Lake, an Abe. It also includes, you know, Karrin Taylor Robson who`s supposed to be the "more moderate" person. She never has denied that the election was ever stolen. She actually has kind of been tiptoeing around. And so, most -- a lot of Republicans are also kind of playing the game, even though they truly in their hearts believe that the election and was legitimate because they still want to get those votes.

So, you know, at this point, you know, everyone is really casting a really bad spell on elections on the Republican side.

BLOW: Do Republicans, generally speaking, have any platform other than restricting, right? Restricting a woman`s right to make choices about her own body, restricting who can participate in girls force, restricting what you can teach children in history classes, restricting who can vote? Is there any other policy -- restricting immigration policy. Is there any other policy? I`m having a hard time figuring out what Republicans are for. I get a lot of what they`re against, but what are they for?

GALLEGO: Well, look -- and don`t forget that they`re strongly against any type of real climate change legislation. What they`re for is inciting fear. They know that this country is changing. They know that this country is going to be a more open society. And they`re really picking on a portion of the population that has some angst about this change, while at the same time, not really offering any economic solutions, right?

We have the opportunity to bring 60 percent of children out of poverty with the Child Care Tax Credit. Did they help participate in making sure we extend to that? Absolutely not. We just passed the Chips Act which is something that`s going to bring a lot of manufacturing back to this country. Most Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against that, including Republicans that actually have chip manufacturing plants in their districts.

So, they don`t have much to offer. What they have to offer is just fear and angst. And that`s not how you run a country.

[20:25:42]

BLOW: Politico reports that the Republican National Committee is working to recruit and train poll workers in battleground states, including Arizona, who are part of the Stop the Steal Movement, including a lawyer who worked on the Trump 2020 election challenge. What can Democrats do? What can any of us do when it looks like Republicans are attacking the electoral process on every single level and trying to intimidate or exclude voters who don`t vote like them?

GALLEGO: Look, I think it`s important for Democrats because you know, we have Democrats come from all walks of life. We`re a big tent party. I think we have to recognize that while we may not be in 100 percent alignment with what`s happening in this country and the direction the country is going, although I think we`ve had a hell of a good run in the last month in terms of good stories for Democrats, that the most important thing right now is preserving democracy.

And right now, we have a party that at its core, the Republican Party that is authoritarian. And if given power, they will use that power to wield it against their enemies, against corporations they don`t like, against organizations they don`t like, against voters they don`t like. So, we need to unite ourselves and say that our common cause is to make sure that we protect our democracy and our rights.

The fact that, you know, we`re returning that the rights of women to choose what to do with their body after 50 years, it`s something that we just cannot let go.

BLOW: Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you so much.

Coming up, Republicans tried to trick Kansas voters into undermining abortion rights. And Steve Kornacki is back with the latest results. And that`s all next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:00]

BLOW: It`s primary night in five states, Washington, Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, and Kansas. And we`re covering all the results as they come in. I want to bring back NBC News National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki at the big board. Steve, what`s the latest on these races?

KORNACKI: Well, the map of Kansas is still pretty empty here, but we do have our first county with some results in this abortion referendum here. Again, this is a proposed constitutional amendment that would say that the Constitution in the state of Kansas does not allow for the right to -- does not provide for the right to abortion.

We have one county now with some of its results. This is Shawnee County. You could see it`s where Topeka, the state capitol is. And you can see that No is doing extremely well in this early report. But there`s some key context. And I think you need to keep this in mind as these results come in and potentially come in slowly in Kansas tonight.

Kansas allows for and has extensive vote by mail and early voting in a lot of the big counties in Kansas. And this includes Shawnee County, which you`re seeing right here on this screen, report out that mail vote in that early vote first. And then later on throughout the night, the same day vote, the folks who went out and voted in person today, those votes get added in.

And we have seen this since 2020. Vote by mail especially is a heavily, heavily Democratic type of vote. This has been true in state after state. Whereas the same day vote, the vote in person same day at the polls that will be counted later in a county like Shawnee, that tends to be much more Republican. So take this 70-30 no in Shawnee with a grain of salt.

But key -- a little more context here. He could tell you -- I could tell you, in this county in 2020, Joe Biden won Shawnee County 50 to 49. Joe Biden lost statewide big time in Kansas in 2020. He did win Shawnee 50-49. One rule of thumb here is in most counties, if tonight when you look at the results, the No side and this referendum probably needs to be doing about 10 points better than Biden did in 2020, maybe a little bit less than 10.

But what that would set as a benchmark in a county like Shawnee County, is that when all of the votes get counted here, if the no side is let`s say at about 60 percent or more, that would probably be a good sign for No in terms of how it`s doing statewide. The more comes under 60, it`s a bad sign. So, with probably the best batch of votes that No is going to get in Shawnee County, it`s starting at 70 percent.

I expect throughout the night that number is going to come down. And the question is going to be, how far does it come down? And again, this is going to be true -- what I just described is going to be true in a lot of the big counties in Kansas. No is going to get a big boost when the first batch of votes comes in. And then it`s going to come down as the night goes on. And so, the question will be -- I suspect here the question will be ultimately, you know, can No come down and stay above 50 percent. So, that`s what we`ve -- that`s what we -- that`s what we`ve got in Kansas.

[20:35:02]

And just quickly, checking in next door, Missouri, a few votes scattering. We`re talking about 6000 here in this Missouri Republican Senate primary. You can see though what`s in there right now, the former governor Eric Greitens, a distant third in a little bit that`s been reported. And we teed up that Michigan congressional primary. No results there yet. We`re still looking for our first numbers.

BLOW: Steve Kornacki making us understand what only Steve Kornacki can. Thank you so much.

In Kansas where that critical abortion access vote is happening right now, voters across the state received this misleading text message yesterday. "Women in Kansas are losing their choice of reproductive rights. Vote Yes on the amendment will give women a choice. Vote yes to protect women`s health."

That is not true. The measure on the ballot does not protect choice. In fact, it would change the state constitution and do the exact opposite. One of the people who receive that text is Kathleen Sebelius, the former Democratic Governor of Kansas and also the former Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration. She joins me now.

So, Secretary Sebelius, you got this text message. What was your reaction to this?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER GOVERNOR, KANSAS: Well, I read it, and then I reread it and I was just frankly disgusted by the blatant lies contained in the text message. Unfortunately, the campaign on the Yes side of the ballot measure has been dishonest from the beginning. The ballot measure is very confusing to read, intentionally written to confuse people, voters.

The date was chosen a year and a half ago by legislators who were very hopeful that this would be the lowest possible turnout election and would just slip under the radar screen. And the ads running on the Yes side have alleged that laws have changed in Kansas, that the radical court has gotten rid of safety standards.

The court decision that people are trying to overrule is actually three and a half years old. It was based on a March 19 -- I mean, a March 19 decision in 2019. And nothing in Kansas law has changed since then. So, this has been a very deceptive campaign. It`s been a tough job in the weeks to educate people about how important this vote is, why they should vote in a primary, and convince them that, you know, No is the way to protect women`s reproductive rights and to keep the Constitution the way it was when the abolitionist settlers of Kansas wrote the Constitution.

BLOW: Do we have any idea how widely distributed this text message was? And are you worried at all that coming so late in the process and being so confused -- just outright lie basically, not confusing, it`s a lie. Do you believe -- do you worry that it throws in enough confusion that it causes a problem for how the outcome may be for this -- for this --

SEBELIUS: Well, I worry about everything in this campaign. But a lot of the education effort has been aimed at making sure people understand that in spite of that confusing language, No is the way to preserve women`s reproductive choices. No is the way to make sure we don`t have another government mandate where politicians in the legislature are making decisions about women`s health in Kansas.

So, that education has gone on. I hope that this last-minute attempt to once again confused people will not be successful just because the No effort has been very vocal over and over and over again. But it`s really discouraging and it`s really kind of distressing that former Congressman Tim Huelskamp has now been linked to the website, the Republican base website that put out these calls. We know that in large part, they`ve been paid for by the Catholic Church.

So, that part of this campaign is just overwhelmingly disappointing when Kansas voters are not being asked to make a choice based on real information and opportunity to have a great turnout. What we`re seeing though is record numbers of people coming to vote in this Midterm primary election. We`ve never seen numbers like this. People were still in line in Wichita when I got on this call. So, I`m hopeful that the big turnout means that people have paid attention and they really want to preserve rights here in Kansas.

BLOW: Big turnout is a good thing in this primary vote today. One last thing. We have less than a minute here but today that Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission tweeted that "Under current law, text message advocacy about constitutional battle initiatives, does not require paid for disclaimers." But you know, is it bigger than that? Is there no way to have any accountability about who did this to rein it in, to stop it?

[20:40:28]

SEBELIUS: Well, the good news is in spite of the ethics laws that don`t require it, there were some really tenacious news reporters, and it`s now been reported in Kansas widely by this afternoon who exactly is responsible for this. A tech based company run by Republicans, as I say, former Congressman Tim Huelskamp who lost his primary a couple of years ago is behind it. So, that information is available to Kansans. And it`s very clear that this was designed specifically to confuse Kansas voters.

BLOW: Kathleen Sebelius, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Still to come, every once in a while, the Senate does something just objectively good. And of course, Republicans are against it. The latest on the Republican crusade against clean air and cheaper medicine. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:45:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Everyone`s upset for whatever reason because they`re afraid it`s a political bill. This is not a Democrat bill. This is not a Republican bill.

HARRIS FAULKNER, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: All right --

MANCHIN: This is not a Green Deal. This is a red white and blue deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLOW: Policy debates in our country often centered around which team you`re on, the red team or the blue team. They`re just some policies that are just objectively good no matter where your loyalties lie. And one of them is this climate bill negotiated by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Today, the red team mentality was on full display on Fox News. And Senator Manchin did his best to swat it down and focus on the collective good.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANCHIN: This is not a political piece of legislation. This is an American legislation. We need energy. We need to pay down debt. We need to accelerate our permitting process so we can build things and meet the challenges:

FAULKNER: Yes, but the elections are going to need some help. You got a president --

MANCHIN: The election? So, what happens? I am not going to make a statement on that.

FAULKNER: -- who`s approval rating is like as low as Congress`.

MANCHIN: Well, can`t we all do something great? Are you afraid --

FAULKNER: I mean, no offense, but you know that when you get into the 30s, no one is that popular and that`s this president.

MANCHIN: Harris, are scared we`re going to do something good or help our country and someone might take credit for it?

FAULKNER: I`m, of course, not. I`d rather serve. Are you kidding? Service is in the Bible.

MANCHIN: Well, it sounds like you are.

FAULKNER: That`s what we do. We serve our fellow man and woman.

MANCHIN: That`s exactly what I`m going. Exactly, Harris.

FAULKNER: Don`t make this personal.

MANCHIN: The proposal I`ve put forward and negotiated which is a balanced energy policy. That`s wonderful for our country. I know people who don`t like the president, who don`t like Democrats might be upset. This is not about whether you like the president or whether you like Democrats. Do you like America? Do you want us to succeed as a country? Do you want to fight inflation? This bill does it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLOW: And here`s the thing, Joe Manchin is right, and I have very rarely said that about anything that Joe Manchin has ever done. This bill would help the country and the planet. It would cut U.S. emissions by 40 percent and invest in clean energy, along with cutting health care costs and reducing a deficit. It is good. Is it everything progressives wanted? No, but it is good.

And the fear is that if Democrats pass this bill to help the planet and Americans, then those Americans will vote for Democrats as Senator Manchin said the only real reason some people are against this bill is because they don`t want to see Joe Biden and Democrats succeed at anything. It is all about partisanship. We`ve heard this directly from elected Republicans like Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas who seemed more concerned that Joe Manchin came to an agreement with fellow Democrats than about anything actually in the bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AK): Well, it was obviously a double-cross by Joe Manchin. You know, just two weeks ago, he said he wasn`t going to support a bill like this. But you know, Laura, he has been saying for months that he wouldn`t support so many of the provisions in this bill. He`s called them gimmicks or smoke-in-mirrors budgeting. But now, he`s going to apparently support all of them.

I would urge every House Republican after this double-cross not to support that $250 billion spending bill on semiconductors and other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLOW: Democrats didn`t behave like this when Donald Trump was in office. They voted for bills that were good for the country, like the COVID stimulus bill, because some things are just bigger than partisanship, like a pandemic and like climate change. And the Republican opposition to this bill is just standing in the way of helping people in the planet for purely partisan reading -- reasons.

My colleague and fellow opinion columnist at the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg, and Tom Perriello, a former Democratic congressman from Virginia who now serves as Executive Director for U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations. Both join me now.

Michelle, I just want you to weigh in on the merits of this bill. Is it -- you know, is it a good bill?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it`s absolutely a good bill. Although, Charles, I actually do disagree with you about the idea that it`s a good bill from wherever you stand or sort of whatever your predispositions are, because it`s not a great bill for people who run hedge funds. It`s not a great bill for billionaires who made their money -- who make their money through investments. It`s not a great bill for the drug companies who will now see some, you know, kind of government negotiation of drug prices through Medicare.

[20:50:30]

And so, I think that there`s two things going on here. On the one hand, there`s Republicans partisan nihilism. You see it obviously in their -- in the people who want to oppose -- who wanted to oppose the Chips Act, which they all supported before this bill. So, there was no sense that there was any kind of an ideological or political opposition to what was in the Chips Act.

You know, and so I think they oppose this bill for the same reason and would oppose it no matter what wasn`t it if was seemed to be helping the Democrats. But I also do think you have a lot of Republicans who are genuinely and deeply committed to protecting the interests of billionaires and big corporations.

BLOW: I enthusiastically take that correction because I don`t mind drug companies and billionaires are not -- are not happy with this bill.

Tom, you were defeated in a Republican-leaning district after voting for ObamaCare. Is the stubborn partisanship that we see on the right based on a fear of angering their own voters by agreeing with Democrats and not owning the libs?

TOM PERRIELLO, FORMER VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN: Well, whatever the thinking, I think it`s been a disaster for Republicans. They`ve had months to put forward a proposal addressing inflation and costs. And instead, they`ve really been focused on conspiracy theories and chaos and, and culture war.

So, now, the Democratic Party is really owning the kitchen table issues of affordability, of job creation, of bringing back American manufacturing. And you know, we talked about not making the perfect the enemy of the good. This was definitely a situation where the good of American families, the good of country, was put ahead of the perfect bill, the perfect bill for progressives, the perfect bill for Joe Manchin.

It was really a compromise which is what people want where there was something were centrist, progressives independents came together and said what does the country the country needs. The country needs a plan on manufacturing. It needs to plan on affordability, on clean energy. And you really saw the problem solvers come to the table across a wide political spectrum to deliver for the American people.

And I think that`s presenting voters with a choice, not a referendum on the perfect but saying, hey, who`s moving us forward and who is presenting kind of a divisive chaos we can`t afford.

BLOW: Michelle Goldberg and Tom Perriello, thank you both.

We`re starting to get numbers in from Kansas. I want to go back to Steve Kornacki at the big board with the latest. Steve?

KORNACKI: Yes, we got about 60,000 in now statewide in Kansas. We`re starting to see a bunch of counties report votes. And you could see No on this referendum by about a two to a little bit less than a two to one margin with the early advantage. And again, this really is starting to come into focus here in terms of how this is probably going to play out tonight here.

What it`s looking like is consistently here. Every county is reporting out that mail vote, that early vote first. So, that is the strongest, most democratic vote. We know that it`s likely to be the strongest vote in opposition to this constitutional amendment. So, you know, some more of the counties that have come in.

Here`s Riley County, for instance. This is where Manhattan, Kansas is, Kansas State University. Hey, just take a look here. In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden carry this county by about four and a half points. Right now, No has about a 50-point advantage. That is on the strength of sort of the mail vote in the early vote. So, again, this is -- you can expect in a county like Riley County that number to come down as the night goes on and as the same day vote comes in.

But what you are seeing here, very, very strong early numbers in these counties. This is why in that county this is Wyandotte County. This is where Kansas City is. This is one of the most Democratic counties in the state. Again, you`re seeing what the No side wants to see, I would say, in the early vote here. And it`s raising the possibility certainly that this is going to be a very close referendum when all of it gets sorted out.

But I think the ride that we`re in for tonight in terms of watching all these results come in is that No is going to get off to a very fast and a very big start as these counties laid up with that early vote and with that mail vote. And then the number is going to come down and the question is going to be, does No land on the north or the south side of 50 percent? This could be a very close night. This could be a very long night.

BLOW: Steve Kornacki, thank you very much. That`s ALL IN on this Tuesday night. Our election coverage continues on "MSNBC PRIME" with Ali Velshi. That`s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:55:00]

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST (on camera): Good evening and welcome to "MSNBC PRIME." I`m Ali Velshi. And thanks for joining us on this big night in American politics. Five states are holding primary elections today. The results from each of them will be telling in entirely different ways. And the polls have just closed in Michigan and Kansas. We`re of course going to have Steve Kornacki here in just a moment to take us through the latest numbers as votes are counted.

Now, all eyes are on Kansas today where abortion rights are on the ballot for the first time since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.