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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 8/2/22

Guests: Cecile Richards, Celinda Lake, Susan Del Percio, Cornell Belcher, Hugo Lowell, Emily Wales, Reginald Bolding


NBC News is now projecting that in the referendum to amend the state constitution to remove the right to abortion, "No" is going to win in Kansas tonight. The federal grand jury investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed Pat Cipollone who served as Donald Trump's White House counsel.


ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much, Ali. It's great to see you. Thank you again for the toss.

It's primary night in America, everybody, and in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and in Washington, polls just closed in Arizona with three Trump-endorsed election deniers on the ballot.

But the big, big story tonight is Kansas. Voter turnout is high and right now the pro-choice no vote to keep the right to an abortion in the Kansas constitution is leading, which would be huge, really gigantic in terms of a victory in a very red state.

Let's get right to the big board and Steve Kornacki for the latest.

Steve, what is happening there on the ground? This seems like a surprise. Is it given the polling going in? Take us through what we're seeing.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, look, there wasn't too much polling, one poll showed this very close, the yes leading 47 to 43. What's happening here -- there's a couple of things -- generally what you're seeing -- first of all, you're seeing massive turnout.

We think now about 800,000 people maybe more are going to end up voting in this primary. Typically in a Kansas primary, you're looking at about 400,000 or 450,000 something in that neighborhood. So a massive spike in turnout that was generally generating clearly by this referendum.

Some of the big, highly populated counties, let's start with the biggest in the state. This is Johnson County. This is the suburbs of Kansas City. What they reported out here was the early vote, the vote by mail, the no vote racking up 72 percent.

The early vote, and a vote by mail is me most friendly to Democrats generally, so we assume it's the most friendly to the no vote. But we can see here in Johnson County, this is by far the biggest county in the state. Joe Biden won it with 53 percent of the vote in 2020. The no side wanted to get up in the low sun 60s in this county.

I think with the rest of the vote coming up that were cast today will be most Republican friendly, yes will tick up, no will tick down, but it's hard to see no ticking down far enough below the mid to low 60s. The no is getting the huge, gigantic, enormous early numbers that that side wanted to get. We are seeing that in Johnson County, we're seeing that in county after county in the state.

What we have been waiting for here as I said liken Johnson county in the state, you get that early vote, then the same day vote comes in. The same-day vote will be more Republican and more conservative, presumably more supportive of yes. So, you do expect to see these numbers tighten somewhat. But we're looking for a county where we do have all the vote.

There are a few now where that's the case. We basically, where's an example, have all the vote in Franklin county. It's not a huge county but I think this could be telling. Joe Biden in 2020 got 29.6 percent of the vote in Franklin County. Now, Joe Biden statewide in Kansas in 2020 got 41 percent of the vote. So, if you do the math, a benchmark for the no side is they want to do about nine points better than Joe Biden did, right?

If Biden got 41 percent, the nine points better would be 50 percent. So, any given county that is not doing nine points better than Biden when all is said and done. Biden got 29.6 percent in Franklin County and no, there's only a couple of precincts left is almost doubling that. That's the kind of shift here. That's much more than a shift that the no side was hoping to see in this referendum.

There's some other small counties getting into western Kansas, Meade County. This is a deeply Republican county here. Joe Biden only got 14 percent of the vote. Just about on the vote is counted up in Meade County.

And again, the no side wanted to run nine points better than Biden did, it's running 17 points better than Biden did. And it's deeply Republican rural county.

So, we're starting to see counties here with the complete -- with the almost a complete vote in, and what we're seeing is that no is hitting the benchmarks than it needs to hit and then even blowing past them. So while we don't have the full vote in from these gigantic, enormous counties that will really decide elections in Kansas, no is putting up the numbers it was too early there, and in places where the vote is complete, no's meeting and exceeding its benchmark.

So, I think, again, we just check back here with the statewide vote, almost a 30-point margin for no, getting almost all of half the vote in statewide, we want to see what we're looking here in terms of the declaration of this race is some of these bigger counties to get all of that same day vote counted in. But if you start seeing in these bigger counties what you're seeing, and I just showed you in these smaller counties, that's going to be a victory for no.

MAXWELL: It's so fascinating to see all of this laid out Steve. In terms of that extra that the no side is getting, is that Republicans? Do we know who is creating this boost for the no vote here?

KORNACKI: Yeah. I mean, it has to be -- in a county like Meade County, again, it almost has to be. Donald Trump got 84 percent of the vote here in 2020. Joe Biden, 14.4 percent. So, I'm not sure what the makeup of the electorate is in any of these given counties but when you start seeing a place like this with a no number exceeding the Biden number by that much, that's not just a question of the Democrats shore up -- that showing you that in a place like Meade, there are some Republicans, Trump voting Republicans who voted no on this. It's probably a good number of them.

And again, that would be the case I think two in Johnson County when all is said and done, this is a county that went for Biden with 53 percent. If no is ending up in the 60s, and I think there were some crossover as well. Johnson County, this is one where, when this all comes in Johnson we will be talking about beyond tonight, because Johnson County in many ways is representative of the type of county that you see in a lot of places around the country. It's going to be key to a lot of races this fall.

Johnson County is a big, popular suburban county right outside Kansas City. It has been trending. I'll show you the political trend of Johnson County. Look at this. It went from Mitt Romney by almost 20 points back in 2012. It was competitive in 2016, and then it flipped to the Democrats by almost nine points in 2020 to Joe Biden.

This is the kind of electorate, a lot of college educated voters, suburbanites, this is the kind of electorate that has shifted towards the Democrats, had a negative reaction to Trump tends to be more moderate, and social and cultural issues. This is a place where the Democrats said, hey, the Supreme Court ruling on abortion is going to take voters to a place like this it's going to activate them and energize them. Democrats say it's going to eventually bring them out to vote Democratic in November.

Now, this is a referendum on abortion, this is not a Democratic, Republican race per se, we are seeing these early numbers here in Johnson, you're seeing the kind of energy that Democrats were predicting the Supreme Court ruling would set off. And if that energy is visible in other counties like Johnson across the country, big suburban counties, places like the suburbs of Philadelphia, the suburbs of Atlanta, suburbs and states in Phoenix that a crucial elections this November, if that can attach itself to the Democrats this November, that's what Democrats have been saying the Supreme Court ruling would do.

We are certainly seeing in these numbers that the voting numbers, seeing the kind of energy around this issue the Democrats said would be there.

MAXWELL: Steve, that is such an amazing piece of the story that I think we should keep an eye on as these results continue to come in. This was the first time since the Roe decision that abortion was on a ballot, so it's so interesting to see that uptick and we will be back with you for more results out in Arizona. Thank you so much for that helpful breakdown.

For more on the Kansas abortion referendum, let's go to NBC's senior national correspondent Chris Jansing who is down in Kansas City.

Chris, you've been talking to voters. Are these numbers a surprise to you?

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDSENT: I think all day long. People have been talking to that have been saying the numbers are huge, the lines are long, but we just got an update, Zerlina, from the secretary of state and these numbers are off the charts. He said they may end up rivaling the Obama presidential election in 2008. So many people were still standing in line as the polls were closing, something believe me you never see this time of year.


It was a hot August day. So many people standing in line at the secretary of state actually tweeted, don't leave the line if you are standing in line you still get the vote. This is an extraordinary turnout by any measure and there are several reasons probably why.

It is indeed to this is tied to this abortion question. The day after Roe, registrations in Kansas went up thousand percent, a very early indication that people were going to be motivated by this issue. And then he couldn't get away from $12 million were spent on TV ads alone, about $6 million on each side in a state where there are fewer than 2 million voters.

And even if you didn't have the television, literally hundreds of thousands of door knocks by again, people on both sides of this issue. One organization told me they did 250 houses just that one group. So you absolutely couldn't get away from it. But I think one of the big pictures that emerge from this is unaffiliated voters. There are more unaffiliated in Kansas than there are Democrats. But they have been growing while the number of Republicans have actually been going down.

And unaffiliated voters almost never turnout for a primary because they can't vote in Kansas for candidates. They can only vote on issues, but because this issue was getting so much attention, because it was so highly motivating, we will see huge numbers of unaffiliated voters, many of them who newly registered came out for this.

You know, there was a question here about exactly why would you have such an important issue in the dead of summer. If you talk to folks who support abortion rights, they were trying to bury it they said. They thought if they could put it on the ballot in August, they could push it through because not many people would turn out. We don't know what the results are yet, Zerlina, but we do know the turnout was exceeding everyone's expectations.

MAXWELL: Such interesting analysis of unaffiliated voters. Were there any crossover voters we mentioned in the breakdown with Steve Kornacki, it looks like there may be some Republican voters coming in and voting no. Did you speak to any today on the ground?

JANSING: Yeah, I haven't spoken to any who have spoken no but I will tell you this. I spent a good time of this afternoon talking to organizers on both sides of this issue and they really didn't know where this was going. I think one of the big reasons is again, when you see these shifts since 2021, the number of unaffiliated voters going up, the number of Republicans going down.

Don't get me wrong, this is still a heavy Republican state, but it shows you that there was already some movement. Then you have this huge issue that is blowing up and you can't get away from it. I will leave that to Steve also to sort of dissect where that vote comes out but I don't think that there was any doubt in the minds of folks who were on the side of abortion rights that they were seeing a lot of particularly they said, mothers who would say to them, and there were people who said this at the polls,

I want to protect the rights of my daughters. So this was something they were saying over and over again as they were talking to people as they were coming out of the polls -- Zerlina.

MAXWELL: Chris Jansing, thank you so much for being here tonight. Please stay safe.

Joining us tonight is Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

So, Emily, how are you feeling about the turnout being so high and the vote so far?

EMILY WALES, PRESIDENT & CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD GREAT PLAINS: I just stepped out of a watch party and there is an incredible amount of excitement and energy and engagement. We knew that this would be a watershed moment. We knew that Kansas and Kansas voters were registering in higher numbers than before, that you should trust patients to make their medical decisions is really rewarding especially in this dark time in the country when other people are being stripped of their rights. Kansans are pushing back and said not here.

MAXWELL: As Chris mentioned, this election and referendum comes in the middle of summer. But there was also one other problem today and that was just confusion over the language of the actual referendum, and Dasha Burns from and NBC spoke to voters in the ground about this thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I found a very complicated try to figure out swath of time to do a little bit of research, trying to understand what they actually, man and what it meant for our family and our family values.


And we tried to make sure that we were voting correctly for women's rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's pretty hard because they make it -- they don't make it easy. That's because whoever signed writes it, that way, I think. It was hard. I wish they would use simple language. I understand they have to use language that can be legal. You know? But for me, it was, it's hard to understand.


MAXWELL: So interesting to see voters there, one a yes vote, one a no vote, both confused about the language. Do you think that there was enough are wariness going in? Do you think it being in the summer was part of the strategy to lose people's attention? And do you hope that perhaps the results tonight can bring even more people to this moment and fight to protect body atomic city going forward?

WALES: Absolutely. The conservative legislator in Kansas want to choose when I was on the ballot. And this questionnaire is on August primary for a reason. Kansas Democrats are dependence generally don't have competitor primaries. So I believe that there was an attempt really surprise voters, to have a small group of cans and make this decision.

And instead, Kansans registered, they showed up, some people are only voting on this constitutional question because they are not registered with the party. But that just shows how deeply held candidates' faith in their colleagues, their neighbors, their families, friends, really is.

I think people are going to be engaged across the region because Kansas had a unique opportunity. Take a look across state lines to Kansas, or Oklahoma, Arkansas, and see what the crisis looks like, where we have laws abortion access, where we have conversations about whether emergency contraception is illegal. Whether or doctors can intervene in medical emergencies. And instead of letting that they tap in here, in Kansas, they are stepping up and fighting back. And I hope it really does inspire other states that are struggling in this moment to protect care for individuals.

MAXWELL: In the weeks since the Dobbs decision, there aren't so many reports of unintended consequences, people who are unable to get care for a pregnancies or miscarriages. There was a woman in Texas who walked around for weeks with her dad fetus inside of her body because the doctor would not perform the DNC for her.

Can you talk about those unintended consequences? And how that is designating in the minds of voters including the ones that are going out today in off calendar, off-year election midterm here, to break the voices heard of the specific issue.

WALES: There have been some really public, heartbreaking stories about what it looks like when you lose access to comprehensive care in large parts of the country. And what we have seen in Kansas, this is personal. And during this campaign, again and again, Kansans will talk to us and they would also talk to their friends and family about voting in this election, because abortion had somehow touch their lives, or they had needed care, and not feel comfortable saying it before.

In this moment, when we are a historic point of losing access to rice, going backwards when it comes to human rights, people are talking openly about care they thought they could not before. And that has been hugely empowering, and I think that we are seeing this play out here in Kansas.

MAXWELL: Emily Wales, thank you so much for being here tonight, and please stay safe.

We will have more on the Kansas abortion referendum all throughout the course of this hour. But coming up, we're going to turn to the state of Arizona where polls just closed. And where Donald Trump has been propping up a slate of Republican election deniers. Reginald Bolding who is running for secretary of state in Arizona will join us next.



MAXWELL: Welcome back to primary night in America.

And, Steve, I heard you have more on what's going on on the ground in Kansas. What's happening?

KORNACKI: Yeah, you can see in this referendum, now we are about 60 percent of the vote in and no side continuing to sit here at 63 percent, well over 60 percent. And I think now we are starting to get some more definitive answers here. We have been seeing all night of the question and a lot of these counties was, you had that early votes come in that, mail vote come in, it will be the high watermark for now. Then the question would be when you get the same day vote, how much does the no votes come down?

Well, one of the counties that we started the night looking at, if anybody has been watching all night, it's Shawnee County. This is where the state capital, is this is where Topeka is, and at the start of the night, we got the early vote in from Shawnee, and no was running at 70 percent.

We said, well, that would come down as the night went on and the same-day vote was counted. While the same-day vote is basically all counted now in Shawnee County. And you see it did come down but it only came down to 66 percent. That is well-beyond any benchmark that no would've needed to hit, in a county like Shawnee County. This is a pretty big one.

Again, Topeka, the state capital is. Just to give you a sense of it, Joe Biden got 50 percent of the vote in this county, in 2020. And we have been saying all night, Biden got 50 percent here, he got 41 percent statewide, meaning that basically, the no side needs to be running about nine points better than Biden did in any given county. Well, did they?

Biden got 50, and no gets 66 in Shawnee. That's 16 points better than Biden.

So now we are seeing this pattern here while we show you some small counties where this is happened, here is a much bigger county where it has happened. Where the no side has met and I said vastly surpassed the benchmark is needed. So, you start to see these numbers, I think you are saying to summit here statewide again, as we just check back in, and 60 percent of the vote in here. And no is still holding over 60 percent.

There is a movement we just saw there in Shawnee, in the same day vote, towards yes. But not nearly the kind of movement that yes it needs to reverse this kind of gap here. So now isn't very good shape. You can see here with 60 percent of the votes coming in. We get to complete a county that size, I think about how you.

Quickly, wanted to mention, too, in Michigan, that congressional primary, Peter Meijer, Republican who voted to impeach Trump, we got about a third of the vote in there, that race is dead even.

MAXWELL: Also fascinating, Steve, and again, I love it because in American democracy, you can't make any productions because voters vote, they decide what happens.

Thank you so much for that breakdown and update, we will be back to you for more results later on in the hour.

We are watching there was not coming in from the state of Arizona right now that will test just how extreme the Republican Party is truly become Donald Trump's endorsed election denier candidates, could potentially clinch the nominations and three important races.

Kari Lake, who Trump endorsed for governor, has said she would refuse to certify Joe Biden's win back in 2020, and has called for Arizona's top election official to be put in jail for their handling of the 2020 election.

And the race for senate, Trump-backed Blake Masters has echoed Trump's false claims about a stolen election, declaring a camp campaign ad that Trump won the 2020 election.

State Representative Mark Finchem who was at the capitol on January 6, at the insurrection, is still pushing the state legislature to overturn Arizona's election results. He is running for secretary of state which we should mention, is the position that oversees Arizona's election.

Joining us now, Reginald Bolding, Democratic leader of the Arizona representative and he's running as a Democrat for Arizona secretary of state.

So what are the dangers in your view of Arizona electing a 2020 election denier in the position of secretary of state?

STATE REP. REGINALD BOLDING (D-AZ): Look, first thank you for having me. I made you laid out the facts. The reality is, Mark Finchem is not any election denier. He was on the steps of January 6. He has been subpoenaed by the January 6 committee to an act of insurrection and now he wants to run our elections. You know, this race is going to be about somebody that wants to run elections, where someone that wants to rig elections, and the whole entire country should be on high alert if Mark Finchem is -- if he wins the Republican nomination, or if it is an opportunity to win secretary of state's office here in Arizona.

MAXWELL: Do you think the fact that he actually went to the January 6th insurrection, is significance in of itself? In terms of the continued normalization of political violence. Is that something that you think is a risk if the voters of your state decide to put him in power?

BOLDING: You know, one thing to just have one there, but Mark Finchem, he is someone who helped plan, helped organize, and someone who has continued to push this idea of a conspiracy theory, and actively advocate for essentially the overthrowing of our elections.

You know, Mark Finchem is a danger to the state of Arizona. He is a state danger to our country. And if he is secretary of state, he will put partisan politics over the constitution here in Arizona. That is crucial especially with the battleground state.

MAXWELL: In terms of the harm for voters in your states, I mean, Secretary of state is in a position I think of the month almost every voters and everyday people in your state before 2020 but now I think people understand that that is someone standing in the void protecting democracy.

Does it matter?

I'm so sorry we're going to have to leave it there because we have Steve Kornacki with some breaking news on election results. So Reginald Bolding, thank you so much.

Steve, what do you got?

KORNACKI: We have a call in Kansas. NBC News now projecting that in the referendum to amend the state constitution to remove the right to abortion -- no is going to win in Kansas tonight.


Again I was just down here a few minutes ago showing you we got those final results from a big county there, they confirmed that that early lead, that no were taken (ph) just wasn't eroding that much as the same-day vote came in. There are just enough vote in, in enough places right now that our decision desk feels confident in putting a check mark up there. "No" is going to win this thing tonight. This referendum to amend the state constitution is going to fail.

Again this is the first time that the question of abortion placed before the voters following that Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe versus Wade. It is taking place in a red state, a state that Donald Trump won by 15 points. But "No" is going to prevail tonight. And it looks like "No" is going to prevail handily tonight.

MAXWELL: Is there any other election primary that is a parallel to this specific moment. I mean it's post Dobbs and as you mentioned, this is the very first time that voters are going out in America and saying yes or no to a question around abortion after it's been overruled.

Do you think it's a trend? Do you think it signals that voters are very engaged on that question?

KORNACKI: Well, I think again given the fact that this is taking place in Kansas, a red state; and given what is shaping up to be the margin here, I think this is something that is going to cause a recalibration perhaps in how both sides think about this, how to handle the post-Roe environment politically going forward.

You know, because It's interesting, basically this exact same referendum was on four red state ballots over the last decade. But it was on those ballots when Roe V. Wade was still the law of the land. So the referendums didn't get this kind of attention.

But in Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama and West Virginia basically this exact same question, this exact same constitutional amendment was on the ballot in those states, and it passed in all of those states. And it was only close in one of the states, West Virginia. The margin there was four points. So it had gone four for four over the last decade before Roe v. Wade was overturned. Then Roe v. Wade was overturned, and now it pops up on the ballot in Kansas for the first time in this changed political atmosphere.

And now "No" it's going to win that "No' is going to win and by a wide margin. So I think there's going to be to be a lot of fallout from this. I think especially on the pro-life side in terms of how -- what they think the best way to proceed politically would be if they get this kind of rebuke in a state like Kansas.

And as I mentioned, the other question here that I think now comes out of this, when you start looking at -- I'm just seeing if we are getting any more numbers. We are getting more numbers here.

A place like Johnson County, the biggest county in the state, huge sprawling suburban county, kind of place where Democrats have been doing better and better in recent years. There are a lot of counties like Johnson County all across the country.

There are a lot of counties like Johnson County in big, important 2022 swing states. Places like Pennsylvania, like Georgia, like Arizona. And Democrats have been saying since that Supreme Court ruling that this issue would galvanize voters specifically in places like Johnson County.

We are certainly seeing that when it comes to this referendum tonight. What Democrats are also saying is that same energy and that same sentiment will attach itself to Democratic candidates in the midterm election in November saying that they would protect the right to abortion and saying -- and arguing that Republicans wouldn't.

I don't know if that's going to happen. That's been the Democratic argument though since the Supreme Court decision and I think half of that Democratic argument in terms of what the political fallout of this would be is validated by this result.

The half of the argument that says as voters are going to be galvanized especially in places like Johnson County. Now whether the second part of the Democratic argument, that it attaches itself to Democratic candidates in November, it makes a difference in the midterm election, that's a huge question now. That's something we're going to find out in the next 98 days.

But yes, this result here, again we'll go back statewide to see where it sits here, nearly 80 percent in here. Yes, I think this is going to have tremendous repercussions nationally, both the midterm this year and in terms of the politics of abortion as we move forward.

MAXWELL: Thank you so much Steve Kornacki for that helpful breakdown.

And to talk more about those repercussions potentially, Jennifer Rubin Washington Post opinion columnist. Also an MSNBC political analyst.

So Jennifer, what are you seeing. Do you think it's Republicans coming out to express at least when it comes to the question that was on the ballot today about abortion in the state of Kansas, do you think that they are coming out to vote in support of abortion rights?


JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is a stunning result and there simply are not enough Democrats to make up a margin of that magnitude in a state like Kansas. So some of the people who are voting no, that is to preserve abortion gets a little confusing are voting for Republican candidates in other races.

Obviously the margin for those candidates in many cases is much smaller than it is for the "no' side which has roughly a 25, you know, percent lead. So that tells you that there are tons of Democrats, turnout was huge, some Independents and also some Republicans that simply don't want these kind of draconian bans that you're seeing pop-up all over the country.

And I could not agree with Steve Moore that this is going to have serious ramifications. As we are talking, the state of Indiana is now considering a draconian ban that would ban abortion from conception with very limited exceptions for rape and incest. It has to be within the first trimester and for a substantial risk to the woman's life.

Are they going to go forward with that now seeing that Kansas, a state that's arguably just as conservative, if not more so, has come out so strongly against it? And I think you're going to see this issue now reverberate in every single ways up and down the ballot.

Democrats have thought that this was an important issue. They've looked at the generic polling numbers close since Dobbs and, I think this will encourage them to bring this issue front and center and to make the midterms a referendum again on women's autonomy, women's rights, women's fundamental and human desire to control their own lives.

And I think the so-called pro-life which really isn't really pro-life for us are going to be in for a surprise if they think that this position is going to sustain them in the long term.

MAXWELL: I also want to bring in Cecile Richards into the conversation. Former president of Planned Parenthood. Cecile, what is your read on tonight's results? I want to remind everybody that we are talking about the red state of Kansas. And yet voters turned out in record numbers on this specific question post Dobbs. How are you reading the results so far tonight Cecile?

CECILE RICHARDS, FORMER PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Well, it's an extraordinary victory, really. It's amazing. This is -- and of course, the Republicans tried to rig this election, you know, run it on a primary date where they didn't expect anyone to be voting. And instead we've seen people waiting in line for hours to vote.

This is -- I think this shows exactly what we have learned in the many years I was at Planned Parenthood. That if you put on the ballot the issue of whether or not people who are pregnant should make their decisions about their pregnancy or politicians, overwhelmingly people will vote in favor of people who are pregnant.

We saw this in South Dakota. We saw this in Colorado. We saw this in Mississippi. And so it doesn't surprise me in some ways that the people of Kansas have voted overwhelmingly to support the right of people to make their own decisions about their pregnancy and keep politicians out of their personal lives.

But I think this has got to be a wake up call for the Republican Party that has fought to outlaw abortion in this country. This is coming at them hard and fast. And these elections in November, I expect this is going to energize our voters. This is going to energize people who do not vote in midterm elections. And that to me would be the biggest wipeout for this. What we are seeing tonight in Kansas is that people who were not expected to vote, came out in droves.

And I expect they're going to be back for the midterm elections.

MAXWELL: Cecile, just a quick follow-up. In terms of the turnout today, the reason why it is so fascinating to do a breakdown of it is because this is the first time post Dobbs that abortion is actually on a ballot.

So you know, political analysis, you know, it doesn't trump what voters actually go out and do. How can other Democrats, other people running in this election who support the right to choose, how can they message around the issue given what we are seeing in Kansas?

How would they look at these results tonight and utilize the message and take that to the voters in November?

RICHARD: Well, I honestly don't even think it's a messaging issue. I think it's a matter of saying, who do you trust to make decisions about their bodies in their pregnancies? Trust women. That's really all you need to know is to trust women over politicians and that's where the Americans people are.

There's never been a better opportunity for candidates and elected officials who support the right to make your own decisions about your body, to support personal freedoms to say that.


RICHARDS: And put the Republicans on defense. They are way out of line. They are way out of line of where the American people are, and if they are out of line in Kansas, you can imagine they are in every single state that's got -- where there are competitive races this November.

This is a wake up call as big as we could possibly imagine and I really want to thank the voters of Kansas for making this very clear. This country does not want to take away the right to safe and legal abortion.

MAXWELL: Jennifer, do you think that could be the cause of some of the stories that we've been reading just in the last couple of weeks. I mentioned earlier, the woman in Texas who carried her dead fetus inside of her for two weeks because of Texas's ban on abortion post Dobbs.

Speak to those unintended consequences and that wake up call that Cecile is talking about. Did the anti-abortion movement perhaps underestimate the backlash that they would receive after Dobbs?

RUBIN: I actually don't think it was unintended. This is exactly what they think of women. This is exactly what they think of abortion. The Supreme Court put no value whatsoever on women's fundamental rights, on their health, on their lives. And this is the natural consequence of what they did.

And I think these stories have been (INAUDIBLE), have been deeply disturbing but more important than a specific case here or there, they have sustained a conversation among women, among men people who normally would not be discussing this issue or maybe not discussing politics at all.

And now they're looking at this and they're having this conversation. Are politicians going to force someone to remain pregnant and force them to give birth? This sounds like something out of Communist China. And in a sense it is -- it's tyranny.

So I also think, following up on what Cecile said, it's not only national Republicans who are out of touch. All those state lawmakers who've been passing these bans, and the governors who have been signing it, they are completely out of touch with the people in their state.

And those people, many of them, are going to be on the ballot as well and Democrats are certainly going to point out that state lawmakers, governors, all sorts of people up and down the ballot have been promising to enforce these draconian laws who have prosecutors, who have the attorney general of Indiana who's going to go after a doctor who performed an abortion for a ten-year-old rape victim.

So all of these people are going to be accountable. They're going to face the voters, and this is real, this is not now hypothetical. They may wax lyrically about a future person that is yet to be born but we are looking at born people, we are looking at women who have real lives and real interests in maintaining their freedom.

And I think -- I cannot express how far this exceeds expectations that people in the pro-choice community had. This is Kansas. And I think if you had talk to people yesterday, you would've said many people would have been looking just to see if it was close and to say well if it's this close in Kansas, look what it could be in another state.

Instead, it's won by 25 points. That's almost unheard of. And if you want to unify an issue for Americans who are supposedly divided on everything, Democrats or Republicans can't agree on anything.

Well, over 60 percent of Kansans agree on pro-choice initiatives. So I think this is going to be important for every office, for judges who are on the ballot in many states, states Supreme Court justices.

And I think we are going to see a real revolution and a real uprising. I think the Republicans maybe expected everyone to roll over and kind of just give up, throw up their hands because the Supreme Court said, there's no right to abortion so there's no right to abortion.

That was the opening bell and now I think you are seeing the real force of the American public come through. And I will add that the reason you see this so strongly and you don't see the same results in state legislatures and governors who are passing these is because we do not have voting rights in this country.

Those state legislators are in districts that are meant to curtail voting, that curtail the rights of the poor people and people of color. And so they don't reflect the views of the people they are supposed to be representing.


RUBIN: So I think this is a big wake up call for pro choice forces and a big wake up call for democracy. And if people aren't representing your interests, you can come out and you get people who are.

MAXWELL: So fascinating. Jen Rubin and Cecile Richards thank you so much for being here tonight. Please stay safe.

Let's get right into your panel of political professionals -- really a power panel. Republican strategist Susan Del Percio; also Celinda Lake a Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners; and Cornell Belcher a Democratic pollster and president of Brilliant Corners Research.

So Celinda, what are your top takeaways from tonight's results, this is pretty surprising even to me. How are you seeing things?

CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER, LAKE RESEARCH PARTNERS: Well, I think we just got the answer to the contours of the 2022 elections and we have been saying that the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the right for people to make their own personal health care decisions is on the ballot in November.

And the voters of Kansas -- not the voters of Manhattan -- the voters of Kansas pointed that out. And we see two problems that the progressives and Democrats had in the election. We were wondering how we were going to motivate voters, and we were wondering how we were going to get suburban women.

And we just got the answer out of Kansas which is Roe v. Wade is on the ballot and the politicians have gone too far. Women are not going to accept women and doctors and nurses being jailed. They're not going to accept politicians interfering in their personal health care decisions. They're not going to accept birth control being banned. They're not going to accept miscarriage as being investigated.

This is the democratic and progressive answer to the 2022 elections.

MAXWELL: Susan, what is your read on tonight's results? We've talked in recent weeks since the Dobbs decision so many times about potentially abortion being utilized by Democrats to galvanize people who support choice. What is your read on the bright red state of Kansas having record turnout on a referendum, the first vote on the issue of abortion after the Supreme Court overturned it.

It is so fascinating to see in real time the American public reacting to the overturning of Roe on the ballot.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: They are reacting, but it's important to recognize that right now that was the primary issue on the ballot. And it will be a little bit of a mistake to go in the direction where I think Jennifer Rubin said earlier to assume that 60 percent of Kansans are pro choice.

It said they are against extremism. That's the key thing to take away from here is that the Republican extremism of putting such a referendum on the ballot was rejected. What I'm going to be looking for is that data driven narrative that tells me, how much of an increase in young people were there because that's going to be important come 2022.

What was the suburban turnout looking like? How many Republican women supported this, not because they are overwhelmingly pro-choice but they do believe there should be some option and that this extremism cannot be accepted?

So I think this is an important thing. I think it's going to be a key motivator to get people to the polls, but I still do not think come 2022 it will be the top issue on the ballot.

MAXWELL: And Cornell, one of the things Susan said that is important to note is that you can't assume that a voter that's coming int o vote "no" is pro choice. Perhaps they have a nuanced take and are even personally pro-life.

But is that important in your view? Do you think that voters are coming out and having that type of nuance when they're thinking about this issue? Or do you think that some voters they think they're pro-life when they actually are pro-choice given the fact that they're landing on the "no" vote saying that women should have options? People who get pregnant should have these options?

CORNELL BLEACHER, PRESIDENT, BRILLIANT CORNERS RESEARCH: I think there is a number of variables at work here. I do think when you look at sort of that result it's going to affect the way you look at other polling data.

You know, I'm fascinated. You know, I look at church frequency a lot in my polling data more so than let's say evangelical, but those who are frequently going to church. Like if you go to church two or three times a week, that says something about your religiosity and overwhelmingly, you're seeing frequent churchgoers are not going for the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

I think there's a nuance here. There's a conversation her about extremism. And there's a conversation about going too far. I think in some voters' minds they cannot be for abortion but they can also not be for this sort of extremism, that's sort of taking away rights from women and women ended up getting hurt.


BELCHER: I also think, you know, I've got to lean in to what Celinda says here. That this is a motivator, right. Democrats are seeing a dynamic changing variable in order for us to overcome history. And I will remind people that Bush overcame history in his midterm and it wasn't about talking about the economy.

The economy was the number one issue actually going into that election as well. And you know what Bush White House talked about? They talked about national security. They actually drove an issue that was benefiting Republicans.

If Democrats don't drive this issue of extremism and a woman's right and choices, and they, you know, I know a lot of our progressives want to talk about the economy all the time. Economy's important but we would be foolish not to drive an issue like this that clearly benefits us and clearly mobilizes our votes.


MAXWELL: Some people would argue that abortion is an economic issue. Celinda jump in very quick, before we go to break.

LAKE: I think it's about all of our freedoms. There's a slippery slope here. First it's abortion, then it's LGBTQ rights, then it's voting rights, and voters are rejecting its whole trajectory.

MAXWELL: Important point about the slippery slope there.

Susan del Percio, Celinda Lake and Cornell Belcher, thank you so much for being here and breaking it down for us. Please stay safe.

We're going to take a break and we will be right back after this with some breaking news.



MAXWELL: I want to go back to Steve Kornacki right now for a race involving Donald Trump and January 6. Steve?

KORNACKI: Yes. This one's been heating up here. This is the third congressional district western Michigan based in Grand Rapids, Peter Meijer one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump after January 6 being challenged by a Trump-backed opponent here John Gibbs.

Gibbs jumped out to an early lead but you can see now with nearly 60 percent of the vote in, Meijer just in the last minute has taken a very slight lead, it's only 515 votes.

The chunk of vote -- the biggest chunk of vote to come is in the county that's where Grand Rapids is. That is Meijer's based. Meijer has with 60 percent -- almost 60 percent of the vote in. Peter Meijer has a chance of surviving this primary. It will be the first time we've seen a House Republican who voted to endorse Trump. If he can win this, it'd be the first time he holds on against a Trump-backed challenger.

Lot of suspense here, a long way to go but Meijer absolutely in this game, and that alone is a bit of a surprise.

MAXWELL: Really, really interesting. Steve thank you for that update.

We do have some breaking news. ABC News is reporting that federal grand jury investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed Pat Cipollone who served as Donald Trump's White House counsel.

Joining us now Hugo Lowell, congressional correspondent and reporter for "The Guardian". So Hugo, what is the latest on this investigation and the news that Pat Cipollone is now going to have to testify for the grand jury?

HUGO LOWELL, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE GUARDIAN": Yes. It's really significant. I mean the idea that Trump's former White House counsel who was in the West Wing on January 6 and knew and told the former president that his plans to overturn the election were illegal, going before the grand jury in Washington to testify about a January 6 investigation is really, really big news.

I mean we heard last week Zerlina that Marc Short and Greg Jacobs, you know, two top aides to the former vice president also spoke and also testified before the federal grand jury. But the fact that we are now taking West Wing officials, you know, people who were top counsel to the president and having them testify to the grand jury I think is a new step, a new escalation, and really shows how the DOJ has actually penetrated the inner circle now of the former president.

MAXWELL: We only have one more minute here, but the committee has been going methodically through a multiprong attempt to overturn the election. And even throughout the course of their hearings, Pat Cipollone did come and testify.

Do you think there are other folks that are around the president that we may not even know about that may come up in headlines because they've been subpoenaed going forward?

LOWELL: I think that is a safe assumption. I think if, you know, Marc Short, the chief of staff for Mike Pence and the White House counsel is now testifying to the grand jury, there must be dozens of other top White House officials who've been subpoenaed that we just don't know of yet.

I think interesting to note with Pat Cipollone, the White House, the Biden White House declined to waive executive privilege for him when he went before the Select Committee.

Now that he's being interviewed as part of a criminal investigation, I think it's also safe to assume that the White House counsel's office will also waive privilege in this instance. And if that's the case, then Pat Cipollone will have a pre slate, a blank slate to talk about anything with respect to Trump and January 6 and everything that went on in the West Wing.

So I think this criminal investigation is only heating up.

MAXWELL: So fascinating, this breaking news because I want to remind the folks at home, that Pat Cipollone is the one that said that we're going to be charged with every crime imaginable if we go up to the Capitol. So he's got a lot to say to this federal grand jury.

Hugo Lowell, thank you so much for that update on the breaking news.

That is tonight's LAST WORD.

Steve Kornacki will be here with results throughout the course of the night as MSNBC's primary night coverage continues.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE" starts right now.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, polls are now all closed. We are live at the big board with the latest in these critical primary races. We'll break down what voter choices today could mean for the future of election integrity and abortion rights in this country.

Then I go one-on-one with Joe Manchin, on this tax reform and climate bill, it could be a big win for the Biden administration. And the GOP is not happy. But is he worried?

Plus, Speaker Pelosi's controversial trip to Taiwan. What she hopes to accomplish while infuriating China.

As "THE 11TH HOUR" gets underway on this Tuesday night.