tv PBS News Hour Election Night 2014 A Special Report PBS November 4, 2014 11:00pm-11:31pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: welcome to our special coverage of election 2014 i'm judy woodruff. the big story of the night. republicans are closing in on their goal of taking control of the u.s. senate. the polls now closed in 48 states. republicans only need to pick up one more seat to gain the majority. >> what is looking like a very big night for the party. >> woodruff: the g.o.p. has picked up five senate seats
defeating two incumbents along the way. in arkansas, tom cotton defeated senator mark pryor in colorado, republican cory gardner beat incumbent democrat mark udall. >> ifill: republicans have won seats left over by retiring democrats in montana, south dakota and west virginia. they have held on to closely contested seats in georgia where david perdue defeated michelle nunn, the former senator sam nunn. in kansas where pat roberts beat back challenge by greg other man. in kentucky where senate minority leader mitch mcconnell won. >> woodruff: other key races have yet to be called in such closely watched states at iowa, north carolina and virginia. we are watching them all. in the house of representatives, republicans are on track to add to their majority and in the 36 governor races neither party hats made any net gains yet but
there are some big winners to report. >> ifill: in wisconsin republican scott walker held off democratic challenger to win re-election. he's a potential 2016 presidential candidate. >> woodruff: in florida republican rick scott turns back a former republican governor turned democrat charlie crist. >> ifill: republican governor tom core bet lost to democrat tom wolf. >> woodruff: former congressman asa hutch in ton claimed open governorship. if the republican victories, mitch mccontinental is poised to be the next majority leader of the senate he spoke earlier this evening to his supporters in lex can ton. >> when you get right down to it that's what this campaign was really all about. it wasn't about me or my opponent. it was about a government that people no longer trust to carry out its most basic duties.
to keep them safe. to protect the border, provide dignified and quality care for our veterans. a government that can't be trusted to a government that can't be trusted to do the basic things because it is too busy focusing on thing it shouldn't be focused on at all. [applause] a government too busy imposing its view of the world on people that don't share that view. >> just a short while ago the head of the republican national committee spoke in washington. >> we feel pretty good. it's been a good night so far, we are excited about cory gardner coming in and lot of house races coming in. we feel like getting to six tonight is clearly in the view and we couldn't be happier with what's been happening around the country. >> we get now our own words of wisdom from syndicated columnist
mike shields and michael gerson. everybody didn't want to walk talk about a wave but it's feeling like it. >> republican we talked to, they seem on track to have 53, 54 in the senate. they call that an a-minus like. they didn't win everything but they won the major ones. this is a good thing if they have 53 votes, republican leaders think that's quite important because there's at least three members of the senate who are running for president that are going to be hard to corral. majority actually helps. it helps with their margin going in to a very difficulty lex next time so they can possibly hold on to this. created some stars, if ernst wins which is not determined but cory gardner in iowa -- cory gardner these are going to be major republican stars who are in battleground states. >> woodruff: how much can -- assuming republicans take control of the senate if they
have 53, 54, if they don't have 60, if they don't have that filibuster number, what can they get done? >> well, it comes down to what each side wants to do. what the president looks at his last two years, if there are couple of places that he wants to work with the republicans and republicans at the same time, i think it's a test for the republicans. i think no question right now is not real endorsement of them by any means. this is a rejection of the status quo. another vote to change. americans believed that those who voted even though voted republican believe the system is rigged against ordinary people. rigged in favor of the well off and the well to do. and this is a chance for the republicans to prove that they really can do something and democratic president. let's be very frank, rhetoric has been very intense and very personal toward this president and they have run against him
and i think it's just tough for them to look -- work with him as it was for democrats to work with president george w. bush in the last two years of his presidency. >> ifill: no secret that pollsters said leading up to tonight said this would be a republican night. what surprised you the most of what you've seen so far unfold tonight including some of the races which still haven't been called. >> well, there's so many close races. but some of them seem to have kept -- enough of a wave to tip in the direction. some like north carolina are still out -- not clear. i completely agree with mark the question is, what lesson republicans win from victory. can they make the changes that are necessary to compete with minorities and women and younger voters in a general election. and then what lessons does barack obama draw from defeat. can he change his leadership
style? can he do genuine outreach to the congress or will he be more confrontational, going to burn down the process rather than building it up. both have choices to make going forward. >> woodruff: he was on the ballot his policies were on the pallet. >> later democrats said that that was mistake and la meanting. mark, are there any bits of evidence out there about that, about whether president obama, the people around him are prepared to do business with or work -- we know the white house put word out tonight, coincidentally, the president is calling a meeting at the white house on friday of bipartisan congressional leaders. what is the evidence that the president may want to try something different? >> i think president has two years, this is a president who has by any measurement been transformational in what he's done. but there's also a question of his second term.
and it has not been a stellar second term he's got a chance now to work with them in some areas, i don't think there's any question about it. but i think it's a test of goodwill on both sides. i think the suspicion on both sides, the skepticism of both sides and deservedly so. but i think this is a test of the goodwill of both. it certainly is not in the republicans interest to simply go back to bin gazi go hearing crazy and subpoena administration figures up, hearings on the hill to play that game. and i think there's going to be a battle within the republican ranks as to determine what their approach will be to this president. >> woodruff: we have lot to look at tonight as michael said we are still some really important and interesting -- they're all interesting, they're all important but there's some we're particularly watching that have yet to come in. as part of our special coverage we are getting on the ground reports from public media
reporters in two key states. hari sreenivasan leads the way from our newsroom. >> thanks, we've been hearing from pbs partners all night long all over the country and a couple are along with us, start in georgia, republican dave perdue had clear victory over michelle nunn. so they join us from atlanta with the latest. it could have ended up closer but right now we're talking about a double digit losss there something that the democrats wished obviously went differently? >> obviously turn out in the end there's a lot of talk about the democrats ground game. but the republicans turned voters out in much larger numbers that's what made the difference. everyone predicted run off but clear victory for the republicans. >> does this show that possibility away now?
>> definitely. i think the democrats weren't expected to make real showing in georgia until 2018 or 2020 because of changing demographics. >> of georgia public broadcasting thanks so much for your time tonight. >> republicans in the blue grass state are singing a spirited tune with mitch mcconnell's win. michelle cobly joins us from lex can ring ton. are these votes for mcconnell or against obama? >> well, i think there were votes both ways. i think a lot of people went to the polls today voting against president obama he's been unpopular, in 2008, 2012, cycles and it continued on here. but many people were very
optimistic about the possibility of mitch mcconnell ascending to that top role as majority leader. they thought that was a grass ring that would be good reflex on the state that helped bully him to victory. >> renee shaw of kentucky educational television. back to you at the election desk. >> thank you. thank those reporter for public media across the country. hereof break down some of the numbers we've been looking at in these results, also those that were waiting for and what they mean for the country going forward, two of the best election watchers in the business, amy walter of the cook political report and stu rothenberg. stu, i think you heard us talking with mark and michael a few minutes ago about whether this -- may not be a wave, one of you earlier called it a stiff breeze i think it was amy. what would you call it and why? >> well, i was shocked to hear that mike said that this was --
somebody said was a-minus for the republicans. what a hard grader. when i looked at the senate, i look at the house races right now the republicans at this point appear to be something like plus ten, when i look at governors races where whole bunch of republicans we thought were in trouble, rick scott. scott walker. boy, it just looks like -- it's not just a breeze, judy. this is a pretty strong wind. and when we look at the senate and house and governors we step back, this is -- republicans would be in better position in most cases than they were after the first mid term, after 2010. that is a big deal. >> woodruff: amy, what do you see? >> that's exactly right. we're going to talk a lot about 2016 because of course we just spend a little bit of time in 2014 before going to 2016, it is
true, republicans are going to have a different map in 2016. reality of this election is what they have been able to do is not only pick up those states but able to hold on in blue states and purple states for governors, the cory gardner did as well as he did in colorado, that has to be something republicans have to be very excited about. if you can replicate that kind of campaign two years from now, yes, there will be more voters. yes, those voters will be more democratic but suggests that ther
evening, these races were fought, many of them on tough territory for democrats and it is the case that presidents lose seats in mid term elections. whether it's the second year out or the sixth year out. >> that is certainly true. if you look at senate, house, and governors, it looks like a good republican year. you can nitpick say, well, louisiana and all those, kentucky, that's true. but let's remember, let's give mark pryor in arkansas some credit. the democrats had good candidates, ran good races a year ago mark udall, nobody thought, iowa not even in play. the terrain helps republicans in
the senate. when they stand back say, they won a lot of the close ones and those tight races flipped all in their direction. that's kind of the definition of a wave, really. >> woodruff: we believe in giving credit where credit is due. we thank you both. >> sure, thanks. >> ifill: what do we think will change on capitol hill and in states across the country based on voters' choices. for that we turn to domenico montanaro and lisa desjardins, what is the difference going to make on capitol hill. >> we've been tracking races all night long let's go right to our scorecard so you can see right where we're at. just how close republicans are at this point. you can see 50 seats now that republicans have won, 44 for democrats. even if republicans won nothing else tonight it would be a tie with joe biden breaking that tie. like we've been talking about
there are several seats, several races still out where women play cans could still win. that would be north carolina, iowa, alaska, that's hat 1:00 a.m. louisiana which is going to that december 6th run off. when you look at those, talk about maybe 53, 54, that's real important because democrats were hoping to mitigate their losses to maybe two seats because they have such an important -- such a playing field that favors them in 2016. but they were hoping that they could take back the senate maybe only be two-year mitch mcconnell majority but that makes that tougher. >> earlier we talked about a couple of big issues that we expected to be debated on capitol hill after tonight. that is climate change and immigration. two issues that don't go away, republicans and democrats don't agree. are there other issues which are now moving right to the top of the list or the agenda republicans take control? >> you can bet energy interests tonight are going to be happy.
keystone pipeline will be passed by the senate overriding the president's indecision on that issue. also lot of folks who are anti-health care law, hope that republicans will nip away at that. and republicans -- they realize the president wouldn't allow that but instead toe try to sort of undercut it as much as they can. one of the update i want to give on few ballot measures we've been talking about those, people are paying, florida in close election looks like it will not allow medical marijuana in its state, just by few percentage points that loses. arkansas has voted to increase its minimum wage and same state arkansas has voted not to repeal prohibition. i guess lesson there is, in arkansas they want to put more money in workers pockets they don't want them spending it on alcohol. >> woodruff: sometimes i wonder how distinction between what a democrats and republicans are doing, in terms of the
people they are voting for and how that is difference from the issues they vote for. sometimes it's not the same thing. >> i think that's right. we see this year, we've heard this word so many times, a moody lex. there's something in the air that voters are reacting to, we see that economy is number one concern, but as we've talked about tonight, the states with the lower unemployment rates aren't necessarily the states where democrats have done the best. voters are concerned about the economy but that's not necessarily what is really driving them to push which button in the ballot box. >> woodruff: always curious about some of the places that we're talking, the economy, some of the places republicans did the best are states where like west virginia, for instance, where they are not necessarily doing as well as the rest of the country. >> that's true. obviously it's not always the economy. we've talked about that in many occasions, just a lot of other issues in this election, most notably president obama and the drag that he appears to have
been that map, heavily favors republicans, democrats were defending 14 of 17 of the potentially competitive senate seats. president obama said that this could be a worse map since eisenhower. eisenhower, he lost 14 seats his party which is the worst record, worst number ever in the senate. the map, the president's approval rating those kind of things, national mood that do tend to trump the economy when the economy can be bumped in to. >> woodruff: hard nor the white house to say that it had nothing to do with them. we'll continue with the pbs "newshour" special report in just a moment. but first, some of our stations are going to be taking a short break to report on local results in your community. for those of you sticking around with us we'll be right back with a look how the president's role played out in today's results.
>> woodruff: his name is not own a single ballot but as you've heard in our coverage tonight, president obama has been a focal point in this year's election battle on both sides of the aisle. many democrats ran away from him. as republicans attacked his record after six years in offers. our political editor explains he's not alone in finding the oval a lonely office. >> you may have heard this one that the congressional mid terms really are a test of the president. try, not always. but possibly this year. president obama's approval rating has steadily dropped over the past six years. around 40% right now.
result, as like this from the kentucky senate race and the president fellow democrats. >> i'm not barack obama, i disagree with him, i'm done, the epa. >> history backs up that "keep your distance strategy" harry truman faced that after sending troops to korea his approval then, under 40%. democrats lost six senate seats. lyndon johnson, 1966, approval, just over 40%. democrats lost four senate seats and more recently george w. bush in 2006 approval under 40%. republicans lost six seats and control of the senate. now president obama has done his part to help democrats mostly by raising a lot of money. also by staying out of competitive states, he has rarely campaigned at all this year.
>> woodruff: we're still waiting for results in crucial states, republicans need to take over one more seat to clinch majority giving republicans control of both chambers of congress. we wrap up the night with mark shields, mike it gerson, amy walter and stu rothenberg. i think, michael, my question to launch this conversation is, if americans are not happy with what they have been seeing in washington, what are they going to start seeing? in the next month, the next two years that's going to make them more pleased about what goes on in this city? >> they have to have an alternative. this is not just a loss for obama it also represents something the crisis, modern liberalism. this is a president who turned to government in the aftermath of the great resection as an instrument of national purpose.
and now, trust in government is a 20 year lows in america. that will help fuel some of what we're seeing. republicans have a choice here. they can either come up in alternative governing agenda which restores some of that trust and belief incompetence and public institutions. that i think is going to be important test. >> woodruff: fair to say a lot of these races the most successful candidates are the ones who ran against washington. >> ran against washington. is today they ran in to them. republicans nationallized this election, make no mistake about it, where the president did campaign she lost. now in a tough race. i think that this is going to contribute to the narrative that
the president was really the problem for lot of democrats who are going to resist introspection at this point. >> woodruff: bring in stu rothenberg and amy, because you've been saying the governors >> there's a lot of talks that these folks were elected in good year but part of that tea party wave, could they hold on foyer years later when they were on the ballot they were the establishment in florida that rick scott has won, scott walker in wisconsin, really good sign, nathan deal in georgia also holding on. micchi senate race and -- >> woodruff: going to
interrupt you we have call to make in the state of north carolina, another win for the republicans, that is a pick up by kay hagan the incumbent losing. this is projection, tom tillis who is speaker of the house had a bumpy campaign he's the winner. stu, i think it completes the picture. >> you get the final word tonight. >> final word is that calendar may say 2014 but this is 2010 all over again. republican sweep, race is going republican, electorate. republican, danger, great danger as we've heard this evening but i'll reiterate is republicans over read this election wouldn't be surprise understand they -- great one for them. >> woodruff: a big night. obviously a big night before the republicans they take majority in the senate. >> that concludes our special coverage for election 2014. but you can stay with us online where we will still be live streaming results in these races
some of them are still waiting to be called. and we'll be right back here tomorrow evening to look ahead what it all means, now that republicans have won control for all of us here at pbs "newshour," stay with us online at pbs.org slashnewshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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