Nov. 11, 2022 US election coverage

By Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer, Elise Hammond, Tara Subramaniam and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 10:07 a.m. ET, November 12, 2022
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6:38 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Various groups push voters to "cure" flawed mail ballots with Nevada races still uncalled 

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Political organizations, especially Democratic-leaning unions, but also Republican organizations, that spent months urging people to vote in Nevada’s key Senate race are now turning their focus toward “curing” flawed mail-in ballots in the still-uncalled contest.

“Curing” is a process where voters correct problems with their mail ballot, ensuring that it gets counted. This can mean validating that a ballot is truly from them, by adding a missing signature, or by addressing signature-match issues. The deadline for voters to “cure” their ballots in Nevada is Nov. 14, according to state law

With the razor-thin margin in the contest between Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, the relatively small universe of ballots that need to be “cured” could make a difference. Laxalt currently leads Cortez Masto by about 9,000 votes, according to the latest tally.

The Clark County Registrar announced earlier on Friday that 9,659 ballots were eligible to be cured in the pivotal county, which includes Las Vegas. Officials from Washoe County, which is home to Reno, said they have 1,440 ballots that need to be cured.

The Culinary Union Local 226, which represent roughly 60,000 workers in populous Clark and Washoe County and is central in Democratic efforts in the state, tells CNN they have the “largest cure team in the state," with union spokesperson Bethany Khan saying the group has "200 canvassers doing phone bank, door knocking, and employee dining room cures." 

Other Democratic groups are also engaged in the curing effort. Somos Votantes, a political organization founded in 2019 that targeted boosting Latino turnout in Nevada, is reaching out to voters in both Spanish and English and offering to provide transportation to voters who need it.

Republicans are also engaged in the effort. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Hallie Balch said in a statement that the group had “a duty to inform voters that their ballot needs curing in order to be counted.” 

According to Clark County’s Election website, curing happens “if a question arises about your signature on the outside of your mail ballot return envelope or if you did not put your signature on the outside of that envelope, the Election Department will notify you using the contact information in your voter registration.”

5:48 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Trump mounts anti-McConnell campaign as conservatives seek to delay leadership vote

From CNN's Gabby Orr, Manu Raju and Dana Bash

Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chambers at the US Capitol building on September 27.
Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chambers at the US Capitol building on September 27. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump is calling up his allies in the Senate, GOP sources tell CNN, and making a suggestion on the heels of a lackluster midterms performance: Take aim at Mitch McConnell.

Trump, who is facing a round of sharp criticism from inside his own party for hurting Republican candidates in the midterms, has instead sought to gin up opposition to McConnell before leadership elections next week.

The GOP leader has already locked down enough support to win another two years, which would make him the longest-serving Senate party leader in US history. But he is facing new dissension within the ranks as a faction of Senate Republicans are grumbling internally about the timing of the leadership elections next week and are now calling for a delay —  something that several GOP sources signal is unlikely to happen.

Privately, Trump is trying to turn GOP anger toward McConnell. 

In phone calls with allies, elected officials and incoming members of Congress, the former president has accused McConnell of spending recklessly in states where Republicans faced significant headwinds at the expense of candidates in more competitive contests.

He and aides have specifically alluded to the Alaska Senate race, where the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund spent more than $5 million attacking a Trump-backed Republican challenger to incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski. That candidate, Kelly Tshibaka, appears poised to advance to a ranked-choice runoff against Murkowski on Nov. 23.

Trump has been extremely critical of McConnell's decision to slash support for Arizona Senate hopeful Blake Masters over the summer, one aide noted. Masters currently trails incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly by more than 100,000 votes with 80% of votes counted, according to the latest CNN data.  

Sources said Trump has conveyed these frustrations to nearly everyone he has spoken to since Tuesday, hoping it will translate into an onslaught of public criticism of McConnell.  

"He isn't making explicit asks but he wants to see more Republicans holding Mitch accountable," said a second person close to Trump. 

Listen to the CNN Political Briefing podcast to learn where the vote counts stand in key states.

CNN’s Alex Rogers contributed to this report.

4:45 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

GOP senators call for a delay in next week’s leadership elections due to Georgia runoff

From CNN's Manu Raju and Alex Rogers

Several prominent Republican senators are calling for a delay in next week’s Senate GOP leadership elections.

While Mitch McConnell is widely expected to easily win the top spot again, making him the longest Senate party leader in history, he is facing some dissension in the ranks.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley says he plans to oppose McConnell and called for a delay, citing the upcoming Dec. 6 Georgia runoff. 

“I don’t know why Senate GOP would hold a leadership vote for the next Congress before this election is finished. We have a runoff in #GASenate — are they saying that doesn’t matter? Don’t disenfranchise @HerschelWalker,” Hawley tweeted.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted: “The Senate GOP leadership vote next week should be postponed. First we need to make sure that those who want to lead us are genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities & values of the working Americans (of every background) who gave us big wins in states like #Florida.”

Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah also joined the calls for a delay in a letter that's circulating in Washington, according to sources familiar with the matter.

“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” says the letter. “We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024.”

The comments come as Politico reported that Scott was considering a long-shot bid against McConnell but ultimately dropped the effort amid the lackluster GOP showing on Tuesday. Scott had little chance of defeating McConnell, who has been working for months to lock down the votes and told CNN last month that he has the votes.

CNN has reached out to McConnell’s office about the Hawley and Rubio comments.

4:18 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Tonight Maricopa County will release 1st batch of results from mail ballots dropped off on Election Day

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Election workers process ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 10 in Phoenix.
Election workers process ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 10 in Phoenix. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Arizona's Maricopa County will release tonight its first batch of results from the 290,000 mail-in ballots that voters dropped off on Election Day, a top county official told CNN. 

Officials expect to release the results from about 60,000 to 70,000 votes, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chair Bill Gates estimated in an interview with CNN's Bianna Golodryga and Boris Sanchez.

A majority of those will be mail-in ballots dropped off on Election Day, as well as mail-in ballots received before Election Day and “Box 3” votes (ballots from Election Day that were not able to be read due to technical issues).

Maricopa County officials have estimated there are about 17,000 of those Box 3 ballots.

The number of people who dropped off their mail ballots on Election Day far surpassed previous records, and that is part of the reason why counting has taken as long as it has, Gates said.

He added that he expects workers to finish counting ballots by “very early next week.”

Why it matters: A big batch of results from Maricopa County, which is Arizona's most populous, could bring more clarity to the state of a key race for control of the Senate. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly currently leads his Republican opponent Blake Masters.

Democrats need to win in two out of three states — Arizona, Nevada and Georgia — to maintain a narrow majority in the Senate. CNN has already projected that Georgia will head to a December runoff.

Unfounded claims: Responding to Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who said without evidence that election officials in the state are trying to delay the results, Gates said it’s “particularly hard to digest” her statements.

“Today is a holiday in Maricopa County and we have many people here today working 14 and 18 hours keeping this count going forward,” Gates said. “To have those sorts of comments accusing these good people of slow-rolling or dragging their feet, that’s hard for me to swallow.”

4:10 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Nevada's Clark County expects to report the results from nearly 16,000 mail-in ballots Friday night

From CNN's Ella Nilsen

Election workers process ballots at the Clark County Election Department on November 10 in Las Vegas.
Election workers process ballots at the Clark County Election Department on November 10 in Las Vegas. (Gregory Bull/AP)

The top election official in Nevada’s largest county said workers will tabulate results from about 15,900 mail-in votes by 9 p.m. ET Friday, as the state’s close Senate race hangs in the balance.

Joe Gloria, Clark County Election Department registrar, said he expected to be largely finished with the remaining 34,130 mail-in votes by Saturday. Those ballots are being inspected at the county’s counting board, Gloria said, and some could also be reported Friday night. 

More than 15,000 additional ballots could also eventually be counted if they meet eligibility requirements. Monday is the deadline for voters who need to contact the Clark County elections department to cure their ballots by providing additional details to verify their ballot. Gloria said 9,659 are eligible to be cured. Another 5,555 in-person provisional ballots could be added as well once they are validated.

Across the state, mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day are eligible if they arrive by Saturday.  

Gloria noted that the number of ballots still coming in through the mail has dropped significantly, with his department picking up just a little over 100 of those ballots on Friday.   

Responding to voters who might be wondering why vote counting is going into the weekend, Gloria said he had to follow state laws.  

“I can’t finish all the mail until it all comes in; I can’t finish until Saturday,” he said. “I don’t want voters to be discouraged. We’re doing everything we possibly can to move this process forward.”

3:37 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

CNN Projection: Democrat Steve Hobbs will win special election for Washington secretary of state

From CNN's Shania Shelton

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs takes part in a debate in August.
Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs takes part in a debate in August. (Ted S. Warren/AP/File)

Steve Hobbs will win the special election for Washington secretary of state, CNN projects, becoming the first Democrat to win an election for the office since 1960.

He will defeat independent Julie Anderson, the Pierce County auditor, to fill the remaining two years of former Secretary of State Kim Wyman's term.

Hobbs has been serving in the position since last year, when Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee appointed him to succeed Wyman, who left to join the Biden administration. She now leads the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to protect elections from domestic and foreign interference.

Hobbs, the son of a Japanese immigrant, is the first Asian American to serve as Washington secretary of state. He served in the state Senate for more than 14 years prior to his appointment by Inslee.

3:18 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

Nobody breached ballot room during Nevada county livestream outage, officials say

From CNN's Christina Maxouris 

In Washoe County, Nevada, livestream cameras at the registrar of voters’ office went down Wednesday night through early Thursday morning — but officials said footage captured by separate security cameras showed no one entered the ballot room or the registrar’s office. 

The cameras that went down can “intermittently lose connection” with the computer application that allows them to livestream events, county officials said in a statement. On Wednesday night, the livestream cameras lost connection a little before 11:30 p.m., roughly an hour after all the staff had left for the night. Connection was restored shortly before 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, according to the statement

The county’s security administrator confirmed that security camera footage showed no one entered the ballot or registrar’s office during that time. Staff badge reports also showed no one entered the area, officials said. 

The Washoe officials spoke out after baseless speculation on social media that the outage was part of a Democratic scheme to rig the election.

3:23 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

House Democrats quietly plot leadership plans while waiting for Pelosi's next move

From CNN's Annie Grayer, Manu Raju and Daniella Diaz

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a news conference Friday while in Egypt for the COP27 summit.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a news conference Friday while in Egypt for the COP27 summit. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

The internal Democratic maneuvering to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quietly playing out behind the scenes even as lawmakers are completely in the dark about her ambitions and future plans. 

Members of Pelosi’s leadership team and those who have ambitions to succeed her have been reaching out to their colleagues and mounting a shadow campaign of sorts that will be ready to launch once Pelosi makes her decision and in time for the Nov. 30 leadership elections. 

“I’m getting tons of calls,” said one Democratic member, who like others, asked for anonymity to discuss the sensitive situation candidly. “The top three are mostly just checking in and saying, ‘Hi.’” 

Others are preparing letters to announce their bids for the top three spots, planning meetings with new Democratic members next week and are preparing to mount a formal operation to lock down the votes once Pelosi’s future plans become clear, according to multiple Democratic sources. 

Pelosi’s decision is not the only one that will set off a leadership scramble: Her top two deputies, Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, have not yet signaled their intentions. And if they decide to attempt to succeed her in the top spot, or try to keep a position in leadership, it could lead to a messy internal battle in the aftermath of surprising Democratic wins in Tuesday’s midterms. 

Like Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn, are in their 80s, and are facing calls for generational change even as they command loyalty and respect from various wings of their caucus. If Pelosi were to step aside, the widespread belief internally is that Hakeem Jeffries, the 52-year-old Brooklyn Democrat and current caucus chair, would be the frontrunner. And he and two other Democrats from his generation and who have been at the leadership table — 59-year-old Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and 43-year-old Pete Aguilar of California — are seen as a team that would round out the top three leadership positions. 

But those plans could be upset rather quickly since others have signaled interest in leadership spots. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee member, has been quietly meeting with members for months as he sounds out a possible run for Democratic leader, while the head of the Congressional Progressive, Pramila Jayapal, is also seen as a potential candidate for a spot within the leadership team. 

3:27 p.m. ET, November 11, 2022

CNN Projection: Democrat Rep. David Trone will win Maryland’s 6th Congressional District

From CNN staff

US Rep. David Trone greets supporters at an Election Day event in Frederick, Maryland.
US Rep. David Trone greets supporters at an Election Day event in Frederick, Maryland. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Democrat Rep. David Trone will defeat Republican Neil Parrott in the highly competitive 6th Congressional District in Maryland, CNN projects.