NOW Tonight with Joshua Johnson – Nov. 11 | NBC News NOW

>>> HEY THERE, I’M JOSHUA JOHNSON. IT’S GREAT TO BE WITH YOU ON THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th, AND TONIGHT, THE COUNTING CONTINUES. ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE STILL PROCESSING BALLOTS, INCLUDING IN ARIZONA AND NEVADA. WHICH PARTY WILL END UP IN CONTROL OF CONGRESS? OUR REPORTERS ARE ON THE GROUND WITH THE LATEST.

>>> IN GEORGIA, THE RACE FOR THE RUNOFF HAS BEGUN. WE’LL HAVE AN UPDATE FROM ATLANTA.

WHAT WILL THIS WEEK’S MIDTERMS MEAN FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY? WE’LL HAVE ANALYSIS OF THE GOP’S OPTIONS, ALL OF WHICH COULD CHANGE NEXT WEEK WITH FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ANNOUNCEMENT. IF HE DOES RUN IN 2024, WHAT’S NEXT?

>>> ALSO TONIGHT, A CLOSER LOOK AT HOW COLLEGES ARE RESPONDING TO THE END OF ROE V WADE. SOME ARE OFFERING STUDENTS ABORTION PILLS. OTHERS ARE ENFORCING STATE RESTRICTIONS. AND TODAY IS VETERANS DAY, HONORING AMERICA’S SERVICE MEMBERS. HARRY SMITH MARKS THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL.

>> LET US BEGIN TONIGHT WITH A PROJECTION THAT JUST CAME IN FROM THE NBC NEWS DECISION DESK . IT’S ONE THAT WILL MAKE EVEN MORE HISTORY IN THESE MIDTERMS.

IN OREGON, NBC NEWS CAN PROJECT THAT FORMER STATE HOUSE SPEAKER TINA KOTICK THE DEMOCRAT IN THE GOVERNOR’S RACE, WILL WIN. SHE DECLARED VICTORY YESTERDAY AFTER OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS CALLED THAT RACE. >> THE CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN A TREMENDOUS JOURNEY.

I’VE HEARD FROM OREGONIANS ACROSS OUR BEAUTIFUL STATE, THAT THEY WANT THINGS TO BE BETTER. THEY WANT PROBLEMS SOLVED AND THEY WANT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE SOLUTIONS TO OUR TOUGHEST CHALLENGES. I WANT TO THANK MY FAMILY, ESPECIALLY MY WIFE, AMY. MY TEAM, THE THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS AND SUPPORTERS, AND THE VOTERS, FOR THE PRIVILEGE TO SERVE AS THE NEXT GOVERNOR. >> THAT WOULD MAKE HER THE SECOND OUT GOVERNOR ELECTED THIS WEEK.

IN MASSACHUSETTS WE ARE PROJECTING THAT THE STATE’S ATTORNEY GENERAL, MORA HEALEY, WILL BE ITS NEXT GOVERNOR. THAT IS A DEMOCRATIC PICKUP IN GOVERNOR’S RACES. BUT THE RACES FOR ARIZONA SENATE AND GOVERNOR ARE STILL UP IN THE AIR. AT THE MOMENT, THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES ARE AHEAD BUT ONLY ABOUT 80% OF THE VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED.

IN THE SENATE RACE WE ARE CHARACTERIZING THAT ONE AS TO EARLY TO CALL.

SAME THING WITH THE GOVERNOR’S RACE. TO EARLY TO CALL. YESTERDAY THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE KARI LAKE SUGGESTED AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE BEHIND THE PACE OF COUNTING THE VOTES. THE CHAIR OF MARICOPA COUNTY’S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS SCOFFED AT THAT. >> I THINK THEY’RE DOING, IS SLOW ROLLING OUR VICTORY.

THEY WANT TO TAKE THE AIR OUT OF THIS MOVEMENT, AND THEY CAN’T DO IT.

>> QUITE FRANKLY, IT IS OFFENSIVE FOR KARI LAKE TO SAY THAT THESE PEOPLE BEHIND ME ARE SLOW ROLLING THIS, WHEN THEY ARE WORKING 14 TO 18 HOURS, SO I REALLY HOPE THIS IS THE END OF THAT NOW. WE CAN BE PATIENT AND RESPECT THE RESULTS WHEN THEY COME OUT. >> LET’S BEGIN WITH NBC POLITICAL REPORTER VON HILLIARD, WHO JOINS US FROM PHOENIX WITH MORE. WHAT’S THE LATEST WITH GETTING THOSE BALLOTS COUNTED?

>> WELL, IN JUST A COUPLE HOURS FROM NOW, WE’RE LOOKING AT TWO HOURS FROM NOW, WE ARE EXPECTING ABOUT 80,000 MORE BALLOTS TO BE RELEASED. THOSE RESULTS HERE AT MARICOPA COUNTY TABULATION CENTER HERE.

THESE BALLOTS COULD BE A KEY INDICATOR OF WHERE THIS RACE IS GOING TO HEAD, NOT ONLY IN THE SENATE RACE BUT ALSO THE GOVERNOR’S RACE. THE MAIN BALLOTS THAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR HERE AT THIS POINT ARE THESE BALLOTS THAT WERE HAND DELIVERED ON TUESDAY. THERE’S ABOUT 290,000 OF THEM.

FOR THE FIRST TIME WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE RESULTS OF SOME OF THOSE BALLOTS. ABOUT 40,000 OF THEM. BUT THOSE 40,000 SHOULD BE REFLECTIVE OF THE GREATER 290,000. SO BLAKE MASTERS, YOU ARE LOOKING AT THAT DIFFERENCE RIGHT THERE, AMONG THE BALANCE THAT ARE RELEASED TONIGHT, HE NEEDS TO WIN BY QUITE A LARGE GAP HERE IN ORDER TO HAVE ANY SHOT OF OVERCOMING BLAKE MASTERS IN THE DAYS AHEAD. AND OF COURSE KARI LAKE, SHE NEEDS TO PERFORM WELL AMONG THIS BATCH THAT IS SET TO DROP TONIGHT.

NOT BY QUITE THE SAME MARGIN. SHE IS STILL VERY MUCH IN THE HUNT HERE.

BUT WE ARE LOOKING AT ABOUT 400,000 BALLOTS STATEWIDE THAT STILL HAVE TO BE COUNTED. BOTH OF THESE CONTESTS ARE STILL VERY MUCH BALL GAMES AT THIS HOUR. >> TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE PACE OF THE COUNTS.

KARI LAKE OBVIOUSLY HAS INTIMATED, AT LEAST, THAT SHE HAS PREVAILED IN THIS RACE AND THAT ARIZONA OFFICIALS ARE JUST KIND OF SLOW WALKING THE ANNOUNCEMENT. WE HAVE NO PROOF OF THAT, BUT TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT HAVE BEEN BEHIND THE PACE OF THE COUNT, AS IT IS. I KNOW IN SOME STATES IT’S BECAUSE THEY HAD TO OPEN A LOT OF ENVELOPES FOR MAIL BALLOTS. SO BECAUSE THERE ARE ISSUES WITH CURING CERTAIN BALLOTS. WHAT HAVE OFFICIALS IN ARIZONA BEEN DEALING WITH?

>> THEY SAY LOOK, WE HAVE A LONG TRADITION OF VOTING BY MAIL HERE IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA, AND IT WAS EVEN COMPLICATED FURTHER BY THE FACT THAT THERE WERE 290,000 MAIL BALLOTS THAT INSTEAD OF FOLKS MAILING THEM BACK AHEAD OF TIME, THEY CAME AND HAND DELIVERED THEM ON ELECTION DAY.

HERE IN THE STATE, THERE IS THAT SIGNATURE VERIFICATION PROCESS WHERE THE COUNTY OFFICIALS, THEY GO AND LOOK AT THE SIGNATURE ON EVERY SINGLE ENVELOPE CARRYING A BALLOT AND THEY COMPARE IT TO STATE RECORDS TO ENSURE IMPACT, THAT MOTOR, THAT LEGAL VOTER WAS THE ONE THAT FILLED OUT THE BALLOT AND MAILED IT BACK. THAT TAKES TIME. THERE’S ALSO 70,000 BALLOTS THAT WERE INITIALLY REJECTED BY TABULATION MACHINES. THOSE BALLOTS ARE HERE.

THOSE ARE RESPECTED TO BE PART OF THE DROP TONIGHT. THEY HAD TO GO AND SCAN THOSE IN PART OF A SEPARATE MACHINE HERE. THIS IS A PROCESS AND THEY SAID LOOK, EVERYBODY IS WAITING ON ARIZONA BECAUSE ONE, THE RACES ARE CLOSE, AND THE FACT IS THAT A LOT OF THESE BALLOTS CAME IN HERE AT THE LAST MOMENT. BUT THERE’S NO REASON TO SUGGEST THAT THESE ARE NOT SECURE, SAFE, OR ACCURATE OR FAIR ELECTIONS HERE AT THIS TIME. >> WHAT’S THE MOOD LIKE IN ARIZONA AMONG ARIZONANS?

I KNOW THAT THOSE OF US FURTHER EAST, A LOT OF US ARE KIND OF WAITING ON TENTERHOOKS TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS WITH THIS RACE. BUT AS YOU MENTIONED, THERE’S A LONG HISTORY OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS IN ARIZONA, SO I’M SURE PEOPLE THERE ARE A LITTLE MORE USED TO THE TASTE OF THIS COUNT.

WHAT YOU HEAR FROM EVERYDAY FOLKS IN TERMS OF JUST THE PROCESS OF GETTING THIS COUNTED AND WHAT THE OUTCOMES MIGHT BE? >> LET’S SAY HISTORICALLY FOLKS HAVE NOT BEEN WAITING ON ARIZONA. ARIZONA WAS A LONGTIME CONSERVATIVE, REPUBLICAN STATE.

JUST ASSUME THAT THE REPUBLICAN WAS GOING TO WIN. IT REALLY WASN’T UNTIL 2018 WHEN KYRSTEN SINEMA, THE DEMOCRAT, SHE ENDED UP — THAT PROCESS TOOK SEVERAL DAYS. SHE ENDED UP WINNING THE U.S. SENATE SEAT HERE.

IT WAS VERY CLOSE. I WAS HERE AT THAT TIME. WE WERE WAITING HERE FOR DAYS. WHAT HAPPENED IN 2020, I WAS HERE FOR ALMOST 2 WEEKS WAITING FOR THE TABULATION PROCESS TO GO FORWARD HERE. SETTLING INTO THEIR ELECTION CYCLE, THE RACES HERE HAVE BEEN CLOSE.

ARIZONANS, THEY ARE FRUSTRATED ON THE LEFT AND ON THE RIGHT, BUT THERE IS ALSO AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT AMONG AT LEAST THOSE WHO ARE RESPECTFUL AND APPRECIATE THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROCESS, THAT THIS DOES TAKE TIME. CONTRARY TO THAT ARE FOLKS LIKE KARI LAKE COULD YOU HERDERS ITSELF SUGGESTING WITHOUT EVIDENCE THAT COUNTY OFFICIALS ARE SLOW WALKING THIS.

A PROMINENT STATE SENATOR WENDY ROGERS IS CALLING FOR A RALLY TO BE A RISE OF RALLY TO BE HELD OUTSIDE OF THIS COUNTY TABULATION CENTER HERE TOMORROW AT NOON. IT’S NOT QUITE CLEAR WHAT THEY ARE RISING UP AGAINST, BECAUSE NOBODY HAS PRESENTED ANY EVIDENCE OR FRAUD OR IRREGULARITIES, AND NOBODY HAS ALLEGED ANY SPECIFIC ISSUES HERE WITH THE ELECTIONS. BUT YES, THESE ARE FOLKS THAT ARE NOT HAPPY THAT THEY ARE IN A DEFICIT RIGHT NOW.

OF COURSE, ONCE THESE BALLOTS ARE COUNTED IT WILL BE CLEAR WHETHER ANY OF THESE REPUBLICANS WILL WIN STATEWIDE OFFICE. AS WE LOOK THROUGH THESE RESULTS RIGHT NOW, THE REPUBLICANS ARE STILL VERY MUCH IN IT, AND THAT IS WHY EVERYBODY IS WAITING FOR THESE BALLOTS TO BE COUNTED. >> WE JUST SHOWED THAT GRAPHIC WITH A NUMBER OF 2020 ELECTION DENIERS WHO HAVE BEEN PROMINENT IN THE RACES IN ARIZONA. HOW IS THAT ELECTION DENIAL PLAYING NOW, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT THESE RACES APPEAR TO BE RATHER CLOSE? >> RIGHT, AND THAT IS WHY I ASKED THE EXPLICIT QUESTION OF THE COUNTY OFFICIALS HERE.

JUST ABOUT AN HOUR AGO, HAVE ANY OF THE CAMPAIGNS SUGGESTED TO YOU THAT THERE WAS FRAUD OR IRREGULARITIES, AND HERE ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY, THREE DAYS LATER, NO EVIDENCE AND NO ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO THEM. YET THESE ARE FOLKS THAT HAVE A HISTORY OF SUGGESTING THAT THE 2020 ELECTION WAS RIGGED OR STOLEN. THEY NEVER PROVIDED CREDIBLE EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT THAT ACTUALLY WAS THE CASE. YET THE CONCERN HERE IS THAT THEY WOULD TRY TO DO THAT AGAIN IN 2022. OF COURSE, EACH OF THESE INDIVIDUALS FEELING HOPEFUL THAT THE BALLOT COUNT WILL COME OUT IN THEIR FAVOR.

PERHAPS THAT’S WHY THEY’RE MAKING THOSE CLAIMS NOW. BUT AT THIS POINT HERE, THEY HAVE PROVIDED NO EVIDENCE THAT WOULD ALLOW THESE INDIVIDUALS TO TRY TO DENY THAT THIS IS AN ACCURATE ELECTION HERE.

OF COURSE, THAT IS WHY A LOT OF OUR EARS ARE PERKED UP AND WILL BE HERE IN THE DAYS AHEAD, IF IN FACT ANY OF THOSE REPUBLICANS DO NOT PULL OUT VICTORIES HERE IN THESE RACES.

>> THANK YOU, VON. THAT’S POLITICAL REPORTER VON HILLIARD STARTING US OFF TONIGHT FROM PHOENIX.

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