ANNOUNCER: "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC HOST (voiceover): The final stretch.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The election is not a referendum, it's a choice.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want our country to fail vote Democrat.
RAPHAEL WARNOCK, JUNIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR (D-GA): There’s too much at stake. The issues are too urgent.
KARL: Just over two weeks until the midterms, over 7 million votes already cast. This morning, a look at the races that could determine the balance of power, as we come to you live from battleground Arizona.
UNKNOWN MALE: Arizona is about electing Kari Lake.
KARL (on camera): What's at stake in the election?
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Democracy is at stake and I -- and it is not hyperbolic to say that.
KARL (voiceover): Election deniers in a battle to take over the GOP.
RUSTY BOWERS, (R-AZ) SPEAKER OF ARIZONA HOUSE OF RESPRESENTATIVES: The Party leadership is a cabal right now.
KARL (on camera): A cabal of what?
BOWERS: A cabal of likeminded thugs.
KARI LAKE, (R-AZ) GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: I know you guys want to act like the Republican Party is fractured, it is not.
KARL (voiceover): We’ve traveled the states, speaking to both candidates for governor, the House speaker, local election officials, and voters.
UNKNOWN MALE: We're on our way to becoming a socialist country.
UNKNOWN FEMALE: I used to be a Republican and I no longer am.
KARL (on camera): Why?
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Because of Trump.
KARL (voiceover): Joining us this Sunday, Rick Klein with our new poll and the latest forecast from FiveThirtyEight. The Democrat tasked with holding the House. Sean Patrick Maloney joins us live. And our Powerhouse Roundtable is here to break down the state of play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, this is a special edition of "This Week" live from Phoenix, Arizona. Here now, Jonathan Karl.
KARL (on camera): Good morning and welcome to "This Week." We are coming to you live this morning from Arizona, part of our special coverage of the midterms, now just 16 days away.
Arizona, of course, is one of the states that could decide control of Congress but this cycle it's become something even more, ground zero in the battle for the future of the Republican Party and perhaps a harbinger for the future of our democracy.
Every major Republican running for statewide office here has refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. Although, as you'll see, one of them recently backtracked.
KARL (voiceover): The Republican candidates for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general have all signaled they want massive changes to the way Arizona conducts its elections. No small thing in a state that played a central role in the 2020 presidential election and may well again in 2024.
This morning, we are going to meet some of the conservative Republicans here who are fighting against the Trump election deniers in their own Party, and we're going examine the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party in the land of John McCain and Barry Goldwater.
We've been on the ground here for days talking to Republicans and Democrats, we've spoken to the two candidates for governor, bitterly divided over Arizona’s future, a race with national repercussions because it has been one animated by lies and misinformation that strike at the heart of American democracy.
KARL (on camera): We begin this morning with the national state of play, 16 days until Election Day, voting already under way in 34 states.
ABC News Political Director Rick Klein is here to break down FiveThirtyEight's latest election forecast and the results of our new ABC News poll with IPSOS.
Good morning, Rick. So tell me, it seems like the momentum here nationally has shifted towards the Republicans, is that what you're seeing?
RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, Jon, things look a lot different than they did just a few weeks ago.
Take a look at this, our partners at FiveThirtyEight now show a slight lead in polling average in the so-called generic ballot for Republicans. That’s just the question, “Are you likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat this fall?”
Over in the House, Republicans have a distinct advantage, and it’s a growing advantage. Right now, FiveThirtyEight thinks it’s about an 8 in 10 chance that the Republicans take control of the House. They only need to flip five House seats to make that happen.
In the Senate, the Democrats still have an edge but that edge has been shrinking and shrinking fast, just in the last week or 10 days. Right now it’s not much better than a coin flip, that Democrats keep control of a Senate that is now 50/50.
KARL: And we have our new poll. And, Rick, it seems that the issue set that’s driving this election, also favoring Republicans.
KLEIN: Yes, Jon, this poll with IPSOS shows that both parties have their areas of strength. But Republicans are starting to open -- pretty -- open up a pretty significant gap on some of the biggest issues that motivate voters - inflation, crime, issues around the economy, double-digit-plus gap. That’s what the campaign has been about. That’s what the ads have been focused on.
Now Democrats got -- have their issues as well. They have yawning (ph.) advantages on things like gun violence, abortion, climate change, but the problem for them, Jon, is that those aren't the issues that are motivating voters first and foremost, either in polls or talking to voters. It’s those issues around the economy. And if this campaign is about inflation, high prices, about crime, Republicans have a big, big advantage.
KARL: Okay, and here in Arizona, Senator Mark Kelly, the Democrat, obviously, running against Blake Masters, tight race. You have been saying that this could come down to something you’re calling “McCain Democrats.”
KLEIN: Yes. And, Jon, this is kind of a microcosm of what we’ve seen around the country. Keep in mind that right here, this used to be red territory. Maricopa County, fastest growing county in the country, John McCain won right here in 2016, last time he was on the ballot, by 15 points. Fast forward just four years though, Mark Kelly and Joe Biden both win this state, Biden winning by barely 10,000 votes. One of the biggest upsets of the election cycle.
So the battle right now it's over suburban voters, it’s over new voters in this fast-growing county, it’s over Latino voters, these are the trends you’re seeing everywhere. And this group (ph) of voters, people that for decades voted Republican, now have been voting Democrat, where they land almost certainly determines where Arizona lands.
And if you want to see why that matters, Jon, take a look at this. If just this one Senate seat flips, if Blake Masters is able to beat Mark Kelly in few weeks, Republicans go from a 4 in 10 chance to an 8 in 10 chance to take the Senate.
KARL: I got to say, if Republicans win here in Arizona, I don’t see how they don’t also win the Senate.
Thank you very much, Rick. Appreciate it.
We came to Arizona in part because this state is ground zero in the battle over the future of the Republican Party. And there is no doubt that at least for now the Trump forces are winning. But we found a dedicated band of Republicans fighting back in a battle they believe matters not just for Arizona but for the whole country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL (voiceover): Nowhere has the Trump takeover of the Republican Party as aggressive as it is in Arizona. There’s the GOP candidate for secretary of state, he's taken the oath of the militant group, the Oath Keepers, and he was there on the Capitol grounds on January 6th.
MARK FINCHEM, (R-AZ) SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: If there’s violence, it’ll be at the hands of Antifa.
KARL: He says he’s never met anybody who voted for Joe Biden and now he’s running to oversee Arizona’s elections.
There’s the election denying candidate for attorney general and the Trump-backed Senate candidate, Blake Masters, and at the very top of the ticket, there’s the new MAGA star Kari Lake.
KARI LAKE, (R-AZ) GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: We want to replace the woke garbage with common sense.
KARL: A longtime Arizona TV news anchor, she's wowed the Trump forces by attacking vaccines, insisting Trump won the election, and hitting the news media every bit as hard as she hits Democrats.
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Do you have a minute to chat?
LAKE: I'll do an interview --
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Okay.
LAKE: -- as long as it airs on CNN+. Does that still exist?
UNKNOWN FEMALE: No (ph).
LAKE: I didn't think so because the people don’t like what you guys are peddling --
UNKNOWN FEMALE: So --
LAKE: -- which is propaganda. Thank you.
KARL: Lake's campaign lives for moments like that, all captured on camera by her husband. He and his camera are always there, including when we met in Phoenix.
KARL (on camera): And is Jeff here?
LAKE: My husband? Yes, he's right there in the cowboy hat.
KARL: Can I say hi?
LAKE: Yes, of course.
KARL (voiceover): For Lake and others, repeating Trump's lies about the 2020 election is a defining issue.
LAKE: And I know for a fact we will no longer accept rigged elections. Who’s with me on that?
KARL: But while Trump accolades swept through the primaries here this year, there is an old guard of conservative Republicans trying to fight back.
RUSTY BOWERS, (R-AZ) HOUSE SPEAKERS: The party leadership is a cabal right now.
KARL (on camera): A cabal of what?
BOWERS: A cabal of like-minded thugs. I mean, their whole methodology seems to be as -- and I'm talking about the Party leadership, we’re going to beat you into submission. I's our way or walk the plank.
KARL (voiceover): Republican Speaker of House Rusty Bowers testified before the January 6th Committee this summer, telling the dramatic story about how he refused the demands of Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona.
BOWERS: I didn't want to be used as a pawn.
KARL: That earned him death threats and a decisive defeat in the Republican primary. Bowers leaves office in January but the Republican leadership of Arizona’s largest county is still here and determined to push back against the election deniers in their Party.
KARL (on camera): You're a Republican.
BILL GATES, (R) CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: I am.
KARL: Lifelong Republican.
KARL (voiceover): Bill Gates is the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
KARL (on camera): Why have Republicans questioned the integrity of the elections that are overseen by your office?
GATES: It hurts my heart to say why they've done it. They’ve done it because they think it is good politics. If you don't believe in this perspective that 2020 was stolen, then you're not a good Republican, you're a RINO. We've never seen that before and that is what's dangerous to our Party but, more importantly, to this Democratic republic.
KARL (voiceover): Stephen Richer is another lifelong Republican, he's the guy actually running the election here.
STEPHEN RICHER (R), MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER: This is where every single ballot is counted except for those that are cast in person on Election Day. Those are fed directly by the voter into a mini tabulator.
KARL: And keep in mind, most of the people in Arizona vote by mail.
What percentage of Arizona voters vote early?
RICHER: In the August primary, about 85 percent.
KARL: How about in 2020?
RICHER: In 2020, 91 percent.
KARL: He points out that none of the computers used to counts the voters are connected to the Internet. They cannot be hacked.
RICHER: Even if everything was of hacked, even though this has no connection to the internet, every electronic file was deleted, it was still revealed in a post election -- because we have 100 percent paper ballots. We have a paper ballot for every vote cast. So, even if we had electronic Armageddon here, we’d still be able to go back to those and we would be able to determine if the tabulators read the ballots correctly.
KARL: And there are multiple steps along the way to ensure that only registered voters vote and nobody can vote more than once.
Still, Richer is bombarded every day with lies from his own party's leadership.
RICHER: There's a whole culture, a whole industry of people in leadership positions who are now motivated incentivize, to propagate this falsehood.
KARL: He too has faced death threats, lots of them, and he's seen rank and election workers taunted and intimidated.
Are you worried about those threats? Many people threatening your life?
RICHER: I don’t love it by any stretch of the imagination.
More importantly, there’s the team here and the continued success of these operations, the continued viability of these operation.
KARL: Repeating the lies is how the people now dominating the Republican Party here earned Donald Trump's endorsement, although Blake Masters, the Trump-backed Senate candidate running against Democrat Mark Kelly has now reversed course. He no longer says Joe Biden stole the election.
BLAKE MASTERS (R), ARIZONA SENATE NOMINEE: He's duly sworn and certified. He’s the legitimate president. He’s in the White House, and, unfortunately, for all of us.
KARL: Even Kari Lake is talking less about 2020 now, insisting it’s a, quote, media obsession. But election lies have propelled lake to stardom among Trump diehards, leading to growing talk that she could be Trump's running mate in 2024.
My question is, if you're elected, will you commit to serving all four years as governor?
KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I’m going to serve eight years as governor of Arizona.
KARL: But I’m asking, is that a commitment that you will finish your team?
LAKE: Yeah, I’m going to serve eight years. Listen --
KARL: Even if Donald Trump comes to you and says, I want you to be my running mate, you will say no because I made a commitment for me to serve --
LAKE: I just have to laugh at this question. First of all --
KARL: Well, I mean, I’m not asking because I think you should be his running mate, it’s just that this was something written in “The National Review”. And one of our top supporters, I won’t say who, told me just a couple of days ago, she's the running mate if Trump runs.
KARL: But my question was just a simple one, you’re committed?
LAKE: Okay. I just -- I’m hearing this a lot on the campaign trail and what I think is happening, Jonathan, is the media is trying to scare the public I’m going to leave. I am devoted and dedicated to saving Arizona --
KARL: All four years.
LAKE: -- to turning it around. And I like to say I’m the fake news' worst nightmare. I’m going to be their worst nightmare in Arizona for eight years. I’m going to have two terms as governor.
KARL: If she were to step down to be Donald Trump's running mate, under Arizona law, it’s the secretary of state would become governor. And if Republicans prevail here, that would be Mark Finchem, the guy who was at the Capitol on January 6th.
KARL: And joining me now here in Phoenix, former DNC chair Donna Brazile and former chief of staff to Vice President Pence, Marc Short.
Thank you for making the trek all the way out here.
Mark, I want to start with you. What does it say about the Republican Party that a guy like Rusty Bowers, the speaker of the house here, lifelong conservative is exiled from his party because he will not lie about the 2020 election?
SHORT: I think that Rusty is an admirable public servant and he served the people of Arizona well and I’m sorry to see him not still in public office, Jonathan.
But I also think Republicans are going to win Arizona and they're going to win in November because it is a referendum on Joe Biden and what you're seeing here in Arizona is record numbers of illegal immigrants last month crossing the border, two and a half million over the last 12 months, inflation at a 40-year high. And that’s -- those are the issues that are driving this midterm elections. And that's why Republicans will win in Arizona and that’s why they’re going to win across the country.
KARL: We’ll get to that the issue set, and there’s no as I’ve talked to Rick -- there’s no question that the issue seem to be favoring Republicans right now. We -- another part of the poll which I want to bring up right now, we asked about, you know, if a candidate denies the election, are you more or less likely to support them. And look at this, only 8 percent of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for somebody if they deny the election results in 2020. Fifty-two percent say less likely.
So, why are they doing it? I mean, they're still doing it. Is it really just an audience of one, they're afraid of upsetting Donald Trump or do they believe this stuff?
SHORT: I – I question whether they truly believe it. I think that it was something that was done in a primary to try to curry favor with Donald Trump.
But, Jonathan, I think that the media has focused on one side of this right now, understandably because of the 2020 election. But, let’s keep in mind that the last three times Republicans have been elected president, you’ve had scores of Democrats vote against certification when there’s no evidence of fraud.
KARL: Well, not scores. It’s been a handful. It’s been a handful.
DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER DNC CHAIR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: A handful.
SHORT: No, it’s not. It’s more than 30. And there’s actually more than a dozen who are still serving in Congress to this day.
KARL: So, a score is 20. So, a score and a half or --
SHORT: There’s more than a dozen still serving in Congress today, Jonathan.
BRAZILE: There’s no (INAUDIBLE).
SHORT: There are Democrats who voted against certification when there was no evidence of fraud in the last three presidential elections.
SHORT: So, this is something – even -- even this election cycle, Joe Biden has said the election reforms in Georgia are Jim Crow 2.0. You have record numbers of people voting early in Georgia, record number of African Americans voting early, and yet the Democrats are saying it's Jim Crow 2.0.
BRAZILE: It is. It is. Unfortunately, it is Jim Crow in – in the case of –
SHORT: How is that?
BRAZILE: It’s – it’s Jim Crow SB202, as you well know, allow anyone to challenge the validity of a voter. There are many African Americans and others, young people especially, who are going out to vote and they are being challenged.
So, here’s to – here’s to a level set that we should do to 2022. We know that the electoral headwinds have shifted a little bit. Maybe it’s shifted towards the issues that Republicans care about --
KARL: Crime, inflation, gas prices, the economy.
BRAZILE: Absolutely. And if you list every one of those issues, including immigration, there’s no plan that the Republicans are offering. What they're offering is a basic compact with voters that they just want power.
Here's what I believe. I think that Democrats are going to, once again, surprise the pundits, surprise the status quo. They will do well. Early voting is looking good, not just in Arizona, but across the country. Democrats have ideas. They also would challenge these election deniers. Over half of the people running on the Republican side are election deniers. And not only are they election deniers, many of them showed up at the United States Capitol where we saw over 100 – over 140 people, cops get injured.
So this is going to – this election is a referendum on the future and which party will promise to protect, defend and ensure that every American -- defend our democracy and ensure that every American has freedom and prosperity.
SHORT: Again, record number of African Americans turned out in Georgia right now. I don't see know that's a Jim Crow 2.0. I think that the election this cycle is going to be about a referendum on Joe Biden and it’s why Republicans are going to win.
KARL: Is it a referendum on the Trump takeover on your party, though, because, I mean, he does loom large. Although it’s interesting, he was in Texas.
KARL: He was in Texas yesterday. Not exactly a battleground that's going to determine the control of Congress. He seems to want to get out there but there seems to be also suggestion that Republicans don’t necessarily -- if you were campaigning in – in – in – in Pennsylvania or in Georgia or in Nevada, would you want Donald Trump out here campaigning for you?
SHORT: I think it's clear that Donald Trump had a huge influence over the primary.
SHORT: He has a core base of roughly 30 percent. And a lot of the candidates he championed won with 30, 32, 33 percent in those primaries. But I think as you head into the general election, it’s – I mean I think it's obvious that the Republicans need broader support than just the core support that Donald Trump brings.
BRAZILE: Look, I think Donald Trump is the music in the – in the heads of many Republicans. They – they -- they're listening to him. They – they are repeating his lies about the last election. But the – but the failure of the Republican Party to break away from someone who's being investigated, not just at the federal level but also in the state of Georgia, the state of New York. The fact that Republicans are comfortable running with Donald Trump and not running on their own agenda, that – that speak volumes.
Look, Joe Biden has not been a perfect president. I don’t believe we’ve had a perfect president, although I've liked a few of them. But you know what, he's been a president who has put his elbow into these issues, whether it’s fixing our supply chain problem, whether it’s working to lower our gas prices.
KARL: Why isn’t he out there, by the way?
BRAZILE: Well, he’s out – he was Pennsylvania just the other day.
KARL: No. Yes, but – but –
BRAZILE: Then he went to Delaware state. He's going to Florida on November 1st. Look, he –
KARL: I mean, but you know he’s not out there anywhere near as much. I mean Obama, in 2010, was – was doing like 16 rallies in the final stretch.
BRAZILE: That – that’s – and I remember back in the day when we wanted Bill Clinton to go everywhere.
But, look, these candidates are running on their records and in some cases like – like Tim Ryan, they're running on what they hope to do in future, not what they're doing today.
Look, Democrats have a good message in this closing moment, which is, who's on your side? I mean, will the Republican raise your wage? They're complaining about gas price but they’re not -- they won't raise your wage. Will they help to lower prescription drug prices? No.
So, will – will the Republicans cut Medicare and Social Security? So, I think Democrats have a way to compete with Republicans, although the electoral environment is going to get tougher.
KARL: Go ahead.
SHORT: I haven't seen a lot of Democrats campaigning on what they've accomplished. I think, frankly, they have been trying to scare voters about Donald Trump, and that's their primary message.
That's why, again, I think, as you just said on your issue set, and you've seen they come back to immigration; crime, which is why I think we win in Pennsylvania; and inflation.
KARL: Do you think the Senate, the control of the Senate, will come down to a runoff in Georgia, again?
SHORT: I do. I think that it will come down to the runoff in Georgia. I think that we'll be that...
KARL: Herschel Walker -- so your majority or not majority will depend on Herschel Walker?
SHORT: Well, I think Herschel Walker did really well in his last debate, enough to make sure that we go to a runoff. And I think, then, when the runoff happens in Georgia...
KARL: I think Donna disagrees with him doing very well...
SHORT: Well, when you get to the runoff in Georgia...
BRAZILE: The bar was so low...
SHORT: I do think then it becomes a national referendum. And I think...
KARL: And does Trump go back there again...
SHORT: I think Georgia is a more Republican state.
KARL: Does Trump go back and campaign for...
SHORT: Well, I hope, if he goes back to Georgia, he encourages people to vote this time, as opposed to urging them not to vote.
BRAZILE: Warnock is going to do very well. And I also believe that Stacey Abrams is underrated. She's going to do well, too.
KARL: All right. We've got to take a quick break. The roundtable will be back later. They'll be joined by Rick Klein. But first, the man tasked with maintaining the Democratic majority in the House, is he about to lose his own seat in Congress?
We'll talk to the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sean Patrick Maloney, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.: The election is not a referendum; it's a choice. It's a choice. And the Republicans criticized my economic record, but look at what I've inherited and what I've done. And look at what they're offering. It's mega-MAGA trickle-down -- mega-MAGA trickle-down, the kind of policies that have failed the country before and will fail it again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: That was President Biden making the case against Republicans in what looks to be shaping up to a challenging midterm election for Democrats.
Joining me now is the man in charge of leading the effort to defend the Democratic majority in the House, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney.
Congressman Maloney, thank you very much for joining us. So you've been pretty optimistic all along. You still feeling good about your -- your chances in the House?
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY), DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE CHAIR: Oh, look, you guys have been writing us off for two years, and we just went to work fixing people's problems, helping our veterans with healthcare, capping seniors' out-of-pocket costs in Medicare, taking on big drug companies, passing gun safety legislation, you know -- you know, bringing jobs back from China. We've got a record of progress, and we're doing a lot better than people thought we would. And we are in a very competitive election. We know it's going to be a challenge. We know it's going to be hard. My mom used to say, "Everything good in life is hard. You've got to go work." That's what we're going to do.
KARL: OK, so we know the historic trends, first term -- first midterms for a -- for the president's party are tough. You scoffed at the historic record back in November of 2020 when you were running for the job you now have. And I want to bring up a quote from what you said back in November 2020. "I don't give a damn about the past,” you said, “I'm not a historian … My job is not to whine about it, my job is to win. If I get this position, we’re going to break that curse. And we’re going to win seats. Write it down.”
Okay, as you can see, we wrote it down. You still think you are going to win seats -- pick up seats in the House?
MALONEY: Well, why not? We're doing -- we’re doing better than anybody predicted.
I’d like you to meet Congressman Pat Ryan, where you all had him down three to seven points in the polls. We won in Alaska for goodness sake. Yes, I said Alaska. We have a Democratic woman representing Alaska.
So what do you say we let the voters speak? Because when they have spoken, it turns out they care that this MAGA crowd has taken away 50 years of reproductive freedom, all of the privacy rights we used to take for granted. It turns out that they care that we're making progress on the problems and we have a plan to bring down your costs to help our seniors, to help our veterans, to bring jobs back to the United States.
The other side is working on their own power so they've got a ploy to win back power. We've got a plan to fix your problems. Yes, when voters have spoken, we’ve done well.
KARL: I recall in 2010 President Obama doing 16 rallies all across the country in the month of October alone, we don't see much of Joe Biden out on the campaign trail, I know he's announced an event in Florida for next week. But why aren't we seeing Biden out more? Would you like to see him out more?
MALONEY: Well, I saw him in Poughkeepsie, which is my district, where we announced $120 billion of private sector investments in upstate, in Hudson Valley, New York, tens of thousands of good jobs coming back from China, whether you’ve got a high school degree or a PhD.
And I stood on the stage with him and celebrated an economic plan to rebuild upstate New York with good jobs and manufacturing jobs and construction jobs, so I guess I don't know what you're talking about. And we know what the results were --
KARL: Wait, wait, wait. You don't know what I’m talking about?
MALONEY: -- we’re going to do that.
KARL: But, excuse me, I mean, just -- like I said, Obama 10 rallies -- I'm sorry, 16 rallies in the month of October alone during his first midterm and we are not seeing that. I'm -- he went to Poughkeepsie, like I said, he's going to go to Florida, there was a trip to Pennsylvania, but as you know, he has not been out there anywhere near as much as previous presidents, even as much as President Trump in 2018.
MALONEY: Right. And Donald Trump lost 42 seats in 2018 and we lost --
KARL: So is that what you’re worried --
KARL: -- happen?
MALONEY: -- praising him (ph), so I guess, that’s -- I guess, well -- well, I guess we’ve got a strategy that might work out better than those. Why don’t we let the voters --
KARL: By keeping --
MALONEY: -- speak?
KARL: -- the speak (ph)?
MALONEY: And what I'm telling you is in my own district, where the -- in my own district, where the Republicans are lighting on fire $7 million trying to beat me, I stood next to a president who’s bringing jobs back from China, a president who is fixing the problems that are concerning people.
I don't think voters want to punish the person fixing the problem and reward the person trying to exploit the problem for political gain. And so, why don't we let the strategy play out of trying to solve problems, tell people about it? And when voters have spoken, we've won.
KARL: So you're obviously bullish on President Biden, do you -- would you like to see him run for re-election?
MALONEY: Look, the president will make that decision. I think if he keeps getting the results that I want for the people I represent, good jobs here in America, whether you got a high school degree or a PhD. Helping our seniors, we’ve capped your out-of-pocket costs in Medicare, a plan for safe streets. I brought $7 million back for good policing here in the Hudson Valley.
Those are the kind of results that voters want. And if we keep getting results, I think the voters will reward that, whether you're the President of the United States or a member of Congress.
KARL: Speaking of New York, as you mentioned, the Republicans have gone in big to try to defeat you. They think that your seat is winnable. We've also seen recent polling that shows that Governor Hochul is facing a very tough challenge, much tougher than expected, from Lee Zeldin, the Republican.
Could we really see Democrats in trouble in New York of all places?
MALONEY: Well, what I can tell you is that the other side is acting like angry people and they're lashing out with what they've got which, is big, dark MAGA millions. Like I said, they're lighting on fire $7 million trying to beat me and on the day after the election they're going to lose this seat and wish they had that $7 million out in races they could win.
That tells me they’re not good at their jobs and I don’t want those people making decisions about my national security, or my economy or my reproductive freedom because they're angry people, using dark mega (ph) millions to try to win power.
They have no plan to fix your economy. They have no plan to make our streets safer. We know what they’re going to do to our reproductive freedoms and they look the other way when our -- when our democracy, our voting rights, our very Capitol is attacked.
No, what you're seeing is a bunch of irrational angry decisions using money, not a plan to help our communities or move our country forward.
KARL: All right. Congressman Maloney, thank you very much for joining us. We're going to write it again.
You’re still saying you think you can pick up seats in the House. We’ll come back and talk to you after the election. Thank you very much.
MALONEY: Look --
KARL: Coming up next, I challenge Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, about the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The American people must know that conservatives will not simply pay lip service to keeping faith with the Constitution but that we will always keep our oath.
We will stand for the Constitution. We will uphold its principles. Even when it would be politically expedient to do otherwise.
Because if conservatives don’t defend the constitution, we won't just lose elections, we'll lose our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: That's Vice President Pence at the Heritage Foundation this week putting some distance between himself and the Trump-endorsed candidates who falsely claim that the 2020 presidential election was not legitimate. No candidate has been more forceful in spreading Donald Trump's lies about the election than the Arizona Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake.
When I sat down with her earlier this week, we talked about her campaign and some of her policy proposals. That interview aired on "GMA 3" on Friday.
When Like brought up false claims about election fraud, the conversation turned to 2020. Here is that part of the interview.
KARL: As governor, would you seek to change the election laws? And specifically would you look to limit early voting and mail-voting in Arizona?
KARI LAKE, (R) ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: I don't know exactly how we'll do it, but we will secure our election, restore faith in our elections, make sure our elections are honest and transparent.
KARL: I assume everybody wants that, but specifically early voting and mail-in voting, which you’ve been very critical of, would you seek to limit it?
LAKE: I think, you know, going –
KARL: There’s a lot of it in this state.
LAKE: Going back to when I first started voting back in the '80s –
KARL: Yes. Yes.
LAKE: We had Election Day.
LAKE: Our Constitution says Election Day. It doesn't say election season, election month. And the longer you drag that out, the more fraud with problems there are.
We just saw problems this week with Katie Hobbs, my opponent. She just put out -- sent out 6,000 ballots that went – the wrong type of ballots to the wrong people.
KARL: Right, they only had the federal. But -- but she – she was the one that pointed this out and says she’s corrected it.
LAKE: Well, I don't care if she pointed it out --
KARL: (voice over): Earlier this week, Lake’s opponent, Katie Hobbs, who also serves as the current secretary of state, announced that 6,000 ballots, printed with only federal races, were incorrectly sent to voters. Corrected ballots are now being mailed out.
KARL (on camera): My question is, whether or not you would limit mail-in voting, limit early voting, given that so many people in this state, it’s like 90 percent, vote early in this state or use early ballots.
LAKE: We want to shore up our elections so they are very honest. And every voter knows that it’s an honest system.
Let me just give you a couple facts.
LAKE: Two thousand mail-in ballots were accepted by Maricopa County after Election Day in 2020. After Election Day.
KARL (voice over): That was a new one on us. So, we took the claim to election officials in Maricopa County, who told us it's just not true. In fact, no ballots were accepted after the election day, 7:00 p.m. deadline.
Some ballots were scanned the next morning, giving them a time stamp after Election Day. But, again, those ballots were turned in on Election Day by the deadline.
Lake offered other unsubstantiated a disproven claims. Arizona’s 2020 election was the most scrutinized in the state’s history and there is no evidence of widespread fraud. A comprehensive investigation by Maricopa County found, quote, 100 potentially questionable ballots cast out of 2.1 million. Hardly enough to change the results.
LAKE: I certainly hope that we're going to talk more than about elections today. Because I sat here today to talk about my policies.
KARL: Well, we've been talking about a whole bunch of other things besides elections. But since you brought up...
LAKE: But I find it funny that...
KARL: Since you brought up -- I didn't ask about 2020. I just asked...
LAKE: I do find it funny that...
KARL: ... about mail-in voters.
LAKE: ... the media thinks I'm only talking about elections. I'm talking about a lot of things.
KARL: But -- but let's be completely clear. You actually brought it up, not me. I asked you about -- about the rules and about early voting, and if you would change the rules. I didn't ask you about 2020. You brought it up.
LAKE: And I want to explain to you why mail-in ballots can be fraught with error.
KARL: Why it is that you have not said -- or maybe you'll do it now -- you have not said that you will accept the certified results of this election even if you lose this election?
LAKE: I will accept the results of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election, absolutely, 100 percent.
KARL: So if -- if -- if you were to lose -- and you're ahead, but if you were to lose, and you had all your appeals; they went through...
LAKE: As long as it's fair, honest and transparent.
KARL: And certified. I mean, who's going to determine that? Are you going to determine that, or -- or what, if...
LAKE: It looks like my opponent might have to determine that. That's an interesting...
KARL: Well, she is the secretary -- she is the secretary of state.
LAKE: That's an interesting conundrum, isn't it?
KARL: You said something last week. You said that there were 740,000 ballots with no chain of custody; those ballots shouldn't have been counted. Are you really saying that you would throw out the ballots of 740,000, nearly three-quarters of a million Arizonans?
I mean, those were -- those were ballots.
LAKE: Seven hundred forty-thousand ballots violated chain of custody requirements in Maricopa County.
KARL: In -- I mean, first of all, it's -- it's not true. I mean, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors put out a 98-page report that went through these allegations.
LAKE: OK, that is a fact. That is a fact. Check your facts.
KARL (voice over): We took that claim to Maricopa County officials, who refuted Lake and pointed to the statement they issued back in May, saying that the county always had control of the ballots, adding, they, quote, "were sealed in envelopes and secured in boxes that bipartisan couriers are prohibited from opening."
KARL (on camera): But just to be clear, the Republicans on the Board of Supervisors, the Republican governor, now the Republican candidate for Senate running along with you, the Republican attorney general under -- under Donald Trump, Bill Barr, all said that there -- that there wasn't -- you know, that the election was -- was not stolen.
LAKE: Are we going to sit and litigate this? I'd be happy to do it.
KARL: No, I'm just -- I'm just wondering why they would all lie?
LAKE: You guys are obsessed -- well, we have a lot of corruption in this system, and they don't want -- I think a lot of people who were responsible for that election know that there were rules broken and laws broken. And they don't want to admit fault, OK?
KARL: Even like Bill Barr...
LAKE: And that's fine. We're going to go forward. And we're going to make sure, going forward, our elections are secure.
KARL: The roundtable is back with more from Phoenix. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICK SCOTT, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATE COMMITTEE CHAIR: We’re going to win 52-plus seats. Ron Johnson’s going to win his seat, Mehmet Oz is going to win in Pennsylvania, Ted Budd, I was there yesterday, he’s going to win there. We’re going to -- Herschel Walker is going to win. I think Blake Masters is going to win. And I think Adam Laxalt is going to win. And we have a really good shot of winning in Colorado and Washington and New Hampshire and in Connecticut. So we have -- we have -- we have opportunities to win all across the country. I think we’re going to get 52-plus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: We are back live in Phoenix with Donna, Marc, and, somehow, Rick Klein snuck his way on to this set.
BRAZILE: Come on back.
KARL: So Rick, you guys all heard that Kari Lake interview. I mean, really remarkable the way she clings to those election claims even as she says she doesn't want to talk about it but the bottom line is, you talk to Trump supporters and they see her as the future of the movement -- of the Trump movement.
KLEIN: She is a glimpse into the future of the Republican Party. If she wins here, I don’t we’ve even begun to process what that means. As much as we talk about control of the House, control of the Senate, who controls the levers of state government in battleground states, that determines how an election is administered going forward.
You asked her directly, and the opportunity or the chance that there’s a close election here with Kari Lake as governor, think -- remember what happened here when Joe Biden won. It was a big upset, Trump wanted it investigated, he wanted it overturned, it was the Republican governor -- the Democratic secretary of state who held the line, said we’re not going to do that.
If those are Republicans who believed that the last election was stolen and won't certify the next one, that is a recipe for absolute chaos right here in Arizona and in a range of battleground states where Republicans could be victorious.
KARL: You know, Marc, I got to say I was looking really hard to find the Mike Pence endorsement of Kari Lake and I couldn’t find it. He hasn’t endorsed her.
SHORT: I think that the vice president supports the ticket, Jon. And I do think that Kari Lake’s --
KARL: But why --
SHORT: -- going to be the next governor.
KARL: But why hasn't he endorsed her? Is there something that’s holding him back?
SHORT: As I said, I think that he's going to support the Republican ticket, Jon, and I think that he believes that right now the bigger concerns of the people of Arizona are the crisis at the border, runaway inflation, and challenges that we have with crime. And so he’s going to support the ticket.
KARL: You saw Lake raise the question of the certification of the election. Her opponent is Katie Hobbs, she is the secretary of state. I mean, she would be among those certifying the election that she is running in.
I remember when Stacey Abrams ran against Kemp when he was the secretary of state four years ago, calls for him to recuse himself. I asked her about this. Would she recuse herself from calling balls and strikes on her own election? This is what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: You know, on the certification, that there will be a perception of partiality because you’re running so will you --
KATIE HOBBS, (D-AZ), SECRETARY OF STATE: Right, so --
KARL: -- say I'm not going to be a part of that and leave it somebody else?
HOBBS: We're having these discussions right now, I don't want to talk about a hypothetical. We don’t know what the outcome of the election is going to be yet.
KARL: Well, we know there will be an outcome and you are --
KARL: -- the secretary of state, traditionally, would be certifying it. So --
HOBBS: Yes. Well, what I think is really important here is that Kari Lake has based her whole campaign on these election lies. And we know she’s going to do that again if she loses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: So, Donna, she does need to recuse herself, doesn't she?
BRAZILE: Well, look, she's running a really good campaign, a very professional campaign and you know Marc talks about the border, talks about crime, you go on Katie Hobbs' website, you know she gives real good problem-solving solutions to everything from the border to the housing crisis to the water shortages.
With regards to whether or not she'll distance herself, there are people on her staff that really helping her conduct this election while she runs for governor. So I don’t think she has to say much more.
But, look --
KARL: I mean -- I mean, if there's a big controversy here, I mean --
BRAZILE: But there’s staff, as you will know, not just in the secretary of state's office.
KARL: But that’s what I’m saying. So, she could pull herself out and let the staff do it and say I’m going to be part of a decision-making.
BRAZILE: I’m sure that might be part of a decision-making. I haven't had a conversation with her on that, but I know her to be competent. I know here to be true to her values, and I know she's running hard across this state from Flagstaff to Phoenix.
But I want to go back to this notion about Kari Lake -- yes, she's a big MAGA personality and Donald Trump loves MAGA personalities. But you know what? There's no “there” there. I mean, you don't hear --
KARL: But you don’t think -- you don't think years of experience in television news qualifies her to be governor? Come on.
BRAZILE: Oh, hell. If that’s the case, I should run for (INAUDIBLE). You want to be my running mate, babe?
SHORT: Donna, as much as I love, it probably won’t work out too well.
BRAZILE: I know, but we can try --
KARL: But she -- but she is -- I mean, she’s caught fire here, I mean, there’s no question.
BRAZILE: Of course. I mean, she knows how to stir fire. The last thing the electorate needs, not just in Arizona but the country, we don't need any more fire starters. We need people who are willing to compromise and help solve problems.
KARL: So, I -- we also saw a little while ago, Mike Pence, the big speech he gave at heritage, he's been out there more first of all making it clear that he's likely to run for president. I know you’re not ready to make an announcement here as his former chief of staff. But what is behind that? One of the phrases he used that caught my attention was encouraging people not to listen to siren song of populism, what is -- what is he talking about?
This is about Trump, right? This movement.
SHORT: No, I think he was honored to be Trump's vice president for four years, and I think he was proud of their record and believes strongly that a lot of the populist approach that Donald Trump brought to party is healthy for our party, a lot of focus on China, a lot of focus on the border actually expanded our party.
But I think where there's concern in some of the recent converts who we welcome, converts into the party and the movement, but some of the recent converts have expressed an allegiance to Putin or even to President Assad, that I think is concerning to many who say, look, welcome them if they want to vote Republican, but let’s not embrace the notion that our party is going to embrace butchers and dictators who have slaughtered innocent civilians across the globe.
KARL: Actually, since you brought it up, I have a piece of sound from the speech specifically on this question of Putin. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: As Russia continues its unconscionably war of aggression in Ukraine, I believe that conservatives must make it clear that Putin must stop and Putin will pay. There can no room in the conservative movement for apologists for Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: And, Rick, the bottom line, there are a lot of apologists for Putin in this movement.
KLEIN: Yes. There’s apologist and there’s also even what Kevin McCarthy said in the last couple of days, which is saying that Biden will have to work hard to prove that there's more funding to Ukraine that’s necessary. I think he’s tempered those remarks a little bit, but you can see how he's trying to position himself as potentially the House speaker in a very fractured party.
And I think, look, these are the issues that Republicans are going to have to confront again if they do win because they're going to have to take over and think about 2024. It’s not just a talking point to say, Biden doesn't deserve this, or Biden doesn’t want that. I think Pence and a number of other 2024 contenders are out there making kind of an interesting case of what the future of Republican Party is, that’s different, at least on the margins, whether Marc agrees with him or not, different than what Donald Trump is out there talking about.
KARL: I mean, on this question of funding, I thought it was very interesting to hear McCarthy say that. There are Republicans in the House that effectively side with Putin over Zelenskyy. I mean, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the most loud-- the loudest of those voices. But why would McCarthy do that? Do you think -- is Ukraine funding potentially in jeopardy if Republicans win the House? Are we --
SHORT: I think so, Jon. But I think there’s a difference here. I think there’s some who look at it from fiscal perspective and say we've already given billions. We shouldn’t be given billions more. I think there’s a small percentage that as you said perhaps show a sort of closer allegiance to Putin and that -- that is where I think there's greater concern.
I think there’s plenty conservatives who are consistent about foreign aid continually, and it doesn’t just apply to Ukraine.
KARL: But McCarthy was such a big booster of Ukraine. Is he being like --
SHORT: Well, I’m not sure he isn’t anymore. I think his comment -- was giving a comment about where he thinks the new Republican conference is going to be. I don’t think it was much as personally.
BRAZILE: As you well know, he's counting votes before. As you well know, all of the eggs come in. Look, McCarthy was speaking I think for a majority of his caucus. They're going to question the aid to Ukraine. And they’re going to question the aid at a time when the Ukrainian people are dependent upon the West to continue to help them fight and put down this Russian aggression.
KARL: OK. We’re almost out of time. I want to quick predictions from the two of you. I won’t put Rick on the spot.
But House/Senate, what happens?
BRAZILE: I think the Democrats will do very well in the Senate. It's an uphill battle, difficult political environment. And I also think in the House, it will not be as bad as forecast.
KARL: But Republicans will win?
BRAZILE: I don’t -- I don't winners or losers because we have 16 days. KARL: I've heard you do winners before. So, go ahead.
SHORT: Jon, I think we – you know, Donna talks about the solutions that Democrats are offering. I think the American people were tired of the problems that they created. And I think we’re going to win 25 seats in the House. I think we’re going to win the Senate by a margin I think of one.
KARL: And you said earlier you think it’s going to come down to Georgia?
SHORT: I think it is going to come down to the runoff in Georgia.
KARL: So, the fate of the Republicans in the Senate is going to come down to Georgia?
KLEIN: Been there before. It’s happened before.
KARL: No question.
BRAZILE: But, you know what, we have 16 days. A lot of hope. A lot of hope.
KARL: OK, we're out of time. Dax (ph) is telling me we’re out of time.
Final thoughts here from Arizona, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Candidates are starting to really step up their campaigns.
You are seeing national figures flock to this state.
We have Tulsi Gabbard. We’ve got Glenn Youngkin coming to town for Kari Lake.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Youngkin-Lake in ’24!
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): That's your call.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People see Ron DeSantis as a potential presidential candidate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to a JD Vance rally, where he’s going to be joined by Senator Tim Scott and Senator Tom Cotton.
You guys rule out a possible run for president in 2024?
SEN TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Who’s she talking to?
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Surely – surely she’s asking you, Tim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: A sneak peek there from the latest episode of "Power Trip." Those seeking power and those who chase them. It drops later today on Hulu.
Before we go, a final thought.
Out here in Arizona I have seen ample reason to be worried about the future of our democracy. Attempts to intimidate voters and election workers, rampant misinformation spread by people who know better and deep divisions between and amongst the parties.
But when I visited the place where they actually counts the votes here in Phoenix, I saw a real reason, a real sign of hope, a large room filled with tables. At every table sits one Democrat and one Republican. Together they examine each ballot that comes in before it's processed.
This is time-consuming work. It’s a bit monotonous. But it is important. These are Arizonians from all walks of life and they are doing their duty without drama and without ranker. We can learn a lesson from them.
That is all for today. Thank you to sharing – thank you to the faculty and staff to ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism for hosting us here in Phoenix. We'll see you next week from Dallas as THIS WEEK and our friends at “GMA 3” continue to travel the country ahead of the midterm elections.
Have a great Sunday.