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 this.
Wisconsin Governor Evers is the lead, but officially, too close to call.
Arizona Senate, too close to call. Remember, these Western states just coming in.
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 Senate.
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 Senate.
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 seat.
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 seat.
Back over to the board. Steve Kornacki has the -- we have a nail biter in Florida.
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 in there.
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 mind.
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 thing.
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 this point.
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 deciding state.
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 2016.
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 wave election.
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 Florida?
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 out.
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 lose.
MADDOW: So, people attacking the pollsters say I`m going to vote for the black candidate.
ROBINSON: Yes, I`m going to vote for the black candidate, and then they wouldn`t.
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- 30s almost.
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 Coach K.
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 Democrats.
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 to Nelson.
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 suburban areas.
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 across Texas.
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 Cruz.
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 him.
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 hate him.
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 Eastern Time.
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 hurt.
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 now.
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 Texas.
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 Texas.
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 here.
We do have numbers from El Paso. I apologize. I`m going get to the bottom of this.
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 substantial numbers?
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 governor`s race?
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 called.
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 automatic.
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 one.
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 state.
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 a pickup.
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 Democratic pickup.
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 Democratic pickup.
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 important first.
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 easily.
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 Democrats.
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 now?
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 task force.
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.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.