tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC March 13, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
this is the entire election vote, that's what's left. >> and that is the last word. steve kornacki gets the last word. i want to thank my panel. thank you all for joining us for this extraordinary hour. coming up, much more special election coverage in pennsylvania. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts right now. and without delay tonight, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. we should tell you at the outset we're going two hours because of the pace of news tonight. while this was day 418 of the trump administration, we are following, if you've been following it along with us, you know a barnburner in western pennsylvania. an extremely close special election in the 18th congressional district. right now the race is too close to call. it's been too close to call with the democrat conor lamb leading the republican rick saccone by just 95 votes.
this is a congressional district, as we've been saying for days and weeks. president trump carried by nearly 20 points back in 2016. that's why tonight's race has been viewed as a bellweather for things to come, potentially in the midterm elections. if you've been watching our coverage, you know that steve kornacki has been manning the big board tonight. and steve, the takeaway from watching your coverage is that this may turn out to be an absentee race decided -- absentee vote-decided ratece, correct? >> here's where we are. 95 votes is the lead for conor lamb. 95 votes, i finally got it. it only took me three tries. here's the deal right now where we stand. every election day vote is in in allegheny county. that's the heart of conor lamb's base there. every election vote is in republican area. every vote early on was in
greene county. what do we have left election day? we have two precincts left in westmoreland county. here's the thing that's killing me right now. every other one of these counties has been releasing their vote by precinct tonight. westmoreland announced a few hours ago no precinct reporting. i can't tell you exactly what those precincts are like. i can tell you this is the most republican part of the district. this is -- donald trump won this thing in excess of 30 points. saccone has been doing well here. you probably expect those are going to be saccone precincts, those two that are left. that makes it possible if they are republican precincts that saccone is going to erase that 95-vote conor lamb lead. that would do it for the election vote. drop about drama, the absentee ballots. here's what we know about the absentee ballots and what is out there. here in allegheny county, 3500 absentee ballots were requested. in westmoreland county, that
republican area we were talking about, 1800 absentee ballots were requested. in greene, not many people here in terms of the demographics, but 203 absentee ballots, and over here in washington, 1,140. what we can tell you about these absentee ballots that might be of interest to you is that you can see 18, 11, 203, more than half easily coming out of allegheny. that's much more than the allegheny share of the election day vote. so the democratic area of the district overrepresented, you might say, in terms of the number of absentee ballots that are out there. that would be an encouraging piece of news for the lamb campaign. the other encouraging piece of news for the lamb campaign would be that the history in allegheny county is that democrats do a little bit better on the absentee ballots than they do on the election day. hillary clinton won the absentee ballots here by four points a couple years ago. she lost the election day by
four. so there was a swing of eight points in the democrats' favor. so -- >> what just happened? >> this might be it. they might have been democratic precincts. look at this. we've got conor lamb signatures here. his lead just went up. there are democratic counties there. you take 27 off the 47, 847 votes. let me see if this is it for election day. do we have word on that? >> these are votes en route by car? >> no, that was washington county. washington county we knew came in,al ganl allegheny we knew ca we were waiting on two in westmoreland. i say the other possibility here, and i'm trying to get word as fast as i can. the other possibility here is that westmoreland and allegheny are going to be counting their absentee vote. there is the possibility we just
got something from the absentees but i think this might have been the last two precincts we were talking about. that might be the election day vote. if that's the election day vote, then what we were just talking about goes doubly because the lion's share doing well in allegheny, the democrats doing especially well in the absentee ballots. >> i have to ask you graphically over your other shoulder the viewers can see, it says 98% in. is that us? will that automatically update, and is 98% kind of the dead top of election day? are the others absentee? >> yes, we're looking at a total here, just some quick math, 53, 55 -- we're looking at about 6,700 absentee ballots here. you look at that relative. that would get that number up there. close to 7,000 absentee ballots are going to come in and be counted here. you're getting close to 99% of
all the vote. we add the absentees in, that's going to be pretty much what we've got. i got to say, we teased this possibility earlier. we have to check the decimal point. if it ends up within half a point. if the margin between lamb and saccone, if the margin were 0.5% or less, then we go to a recount. lamb would be less than half a percentage vote. if he got that up in the absentee ballots, then you're not counting recount anymore. if it stayed in that range, we would be talking recount. >> so if steve is correct and our computers are correct, and we will allow steve to correct both, this is very close to the election night total of votes cast. what's outstanding and we'll know some of it but not all of it tonight, are the absentee ballots. we're going to keep steve. he's 15 feet from me. we're going to keep him within shouting distance. we want to check in with kasie hunt who is at conor lamb
headquarters tonight where it's been something of a roller coaster. casey, i got to tell you, watching cable news tonight, depending on whether it was a democrat talking or a republican, the democrats late in the evening started saying things like, well, this guy had a huge mountain to climb, donald trump took this district by 20. but i heard trump surrogates tonight just after the polls closed, trashed their candidate as weak thinking this thing was going down by them with a 3.6% differential. >> you're right, it's been a totally wild night here at conor land hq. people are anxiously watching these results come in. i think the pundits on both sides are right here. this is a situation where the democrats should never have had a shot here. this is a place that voted overwhelmingly for trump, and frankly it voted overwhelmingly for romney before that. it was not as though trump was
necessarily one fluke in an area that is reliably democratic -- >> kacie, i have to stop you. steve kornacki has something in his mouth and he's playing with a hard paw. >> i'm sorry, and i wouldn't do it. we have the absentee ballot count from allegheny county. here are the totals. conor lamb gets 1,930 votes. these are the absentees in allegheny. saccone gets 1,178. so that's the difference right there, 752. that is the difference. a margin of 752. so that's what just happened. when we were standing here and i'm like an idiot trying to figure out where they came from, that's where they came from. they counted the allegheny vote. here's where we stand, basically. allegheny, the election day vote is now in. no more votes. now the absentee vote. the largest share of the absentee vote in the district, that is now in. it netted a 7200-vote for conor
lamb. that's why he's sitting with 847 votes districtwide. he gets that courtesy of the absentees in allegheny. what is left? i think we still have two precincts sitting in westmoreland and then it's the absentees. we have absentees in republican areas. the margin is 847. lamb is now down with his base in allegheny. how many absentee ballots are left in the district? if 847 is the margin, we're sitting here looking at 1,800 ballots. these were the ballots that were requested. if you keep in mind the number returned will probably be a little south of that. that's what we just saw in allegheny. 1140 here in washington, 203 down here in greene, 3143. so 3,143 absentee ballots requested in these republican areas trying, rick saccone is, to make up a gap about 847
votes. what would he need to win that? you can do the math. that's where we stand. the big headline now, allegheny all in. >> steve kornacki, thank you. i'm already getting comments from people about your hurt paw. let's just put it this way. steve came out on the winning end of a bicycle versus pavement contest here in new york. you should see the other guy. we appreciate him playing hurt. now, to kasie hunt back at lamb headquarters. please forgive the interruption. ka sir ark kasie, continue. >> of course i can forgive you. i, like the rest of the world, is rivet bid steve kornacki. steve, thank you for playing with your hurt hand. this was never supposed to happen. they were never supposed to win a district where trump won by 22 points. the republicans never should have lost it. they were essentially sleeping when this candidate ended up
running against conor lamb, and this is something we've seen in the past sometimes when, you know, there is a wave coming, and quite frankly, the party that's in power gets caught a little bit by surprise. that's what happened here. rick saccone never -- and republican operatives are right, he never really built a volunteer network, he never activated grassroots fundraising. all these committees had to come in from the outside. it costs much more money for an outside group to raise money for ads on behalf of a candidate than it costs for a campaign to do themselves, so conor relied on money he raised himself, and that gave him an advantage. rick saccone was never able to do that. one thing we can take away from this race, no matter which way this nail-biting contest ends up is that conor lamb has given democrats a blueprint for potentially winning back the house. he took the enthusiasm of the democrats in this room, the
resistance movement across the country that helped him fund-raise and funded all those ads he was able to put on tv, but he stayed true to the swing voters in this district. and i spent yesterday talking to a couple, dan and elkie miller, and he was a coal miner for 30-plus years, he's a registered democrat. they have been very active in the steelworkers union for all of those years, and they vote, you know, a lot of times the way the union votes, and they voted for trump in 2016 but they're voting for conor lamb this time around. and that's the kind of voter that, you know, it doesn't make sense for conor lamb to go out there and say, i think the president is wrong on everything. he needs to try and not necessarily offend those voters while at the same time reassuring democrats that at the end of the day he is going to put their priorities first as well. that's a careful line to walk, and it does take, you know -- sometimes we use the word talented to refer to a politician who doesn't make a lot of mistakes. conor lamb has not made a lot of mistakes. i asked him today, for example,
the news of the day was the secretary of state being fired, and conor lamb was in the marine corps, so i said, do you think the president is a stable commander in chief? you're a veteran. he said, you know, i don't really have a comment, haven't really thought about that particular question, and that was kind of the theme throughout this election. and instead he would say, but, you know, i'm going to work with the president where i can. that's what my voters want me to do. so being that kind of a candidate who fits the district but still manages to capture and capitalize on the enthusiasm, i think, is going to be -- if democrats are going to win back the house, that's how they're going to do it, brian. >> kasie hunt at conor lamb headquarters where it's turning out to be a long night as it is in our studio. if you saw the movie "i beautiful mind," then the steve kornacki corner of your picture will look familiar to you. steve, i keep wondering if you're looking for my attention. pen, pen. there we go. >> let's go to math class and try to figure this one out together. here's what we know right now.
the election day vote, there are two precincts left in the district that are going to report. they are both in westmoreland county. we believe they are republican counties, we believe that saccone is going to net some level of vote out of there. let's do the math right here. you're sitting at 847. that's lamb's lead right now. okay, 847. let's say, you know, 200 votes comes off that lead with what's left. then we knock it down to 647. let's say 650 so it's easy. 650. let's estimate that that's where we're going to end up on election day. that then brings us to what's left of the absentee ballots. what's left of the absentee ballots, here's what's interesting. we know most of them were cast in allegheny county. what's left is washington, westmoreland and greene. we know about 3200 ballots are out there. we also know not all of them are going to be returned. the rate in allegheny county was about 90%. if we extrapolate that -- again, this is an if -- but if we
extrapolate that, we're sitting at 600 or so absentee ballots. if you have to make up 650 votes, we split that, now we're 1300. we split the 650 in two, 1625. you're probably going to get -- let's say you have to get 1625 out of 2600 -- okay, you probably need about 63% of the vote. that's probably what saccone would need to get if these estimates are right. 63%. how did he do? could he get 63% in these remaining absentees? 53 is what he got election day, 57 is what he got election day, 58. he would have to overperform what he got on election day in these absentees if that series of calculations i just went through is right, and keep in mind those are estimates. >> one more question, steve, while you retrieve your pen, about the automatic trigger of a recount. i suppose to know that, do we have to wait for the absentees, or is that a raw vote trigger?
>> no, we're going to need the absentees and that's the other thing -- that should be up there -- we're not getting all the absentees tonight, so that's the other thing. we may not actually get to a -- boy, i'm just realizing this now, what a sad thing -- we may not get to a clear verdict tonight unless they do get these absentees counted, but the last time we checked, we are not going to get absentee ballots that are counted in these two counties tonight. let's see if i have a note that tells me otherwise but that's where we stand right now. >> steve, thank you. literally wave if you need our attention because i want to go back out to southwestern pennsylvania. vaughn hilliard is at rick saccone's headquarters where i imagine, vaughn, it's been the same kind of up and down. their fortunes increased, got so much better as the night wore on. >> i can only hear, steve, but i'm visualizing what's going on in that studio right now. over here, brian, this is a room that a lot of people coming in,
as kacie was alluding to, republicans were not looking at this campaign happily. it was this concept that they put in an effort. the democrat conor lamb was an exciting figure, right, the 33-year-old former prosecutor, former marine, and this was a democratic race. rick saccone didn't have much of an operation. there was no volunteer apparatus. they were relying on more than $10 million in outside groups. they were having paid doorknockers from the congressional leadership fund which was the paul ryan superpac. i talked to a conor lamb official and i asked, did you have any scenarios where a race was close tonight? he said, to give you an idea, i have a trip booked to abu dhabi tomorrow. i was talking to a lot of these individuals, and of course these were some saccone's closest friends, but kacie was talking
about the miner they was talking to from washington county. there were republicans that came out, voted for conor lamb, and could make a difference in this race. morton and his wife eileen. he was a long-time mayor of pleasant hill, one of those suburbs just outside pittsburgh. he said he had voted for republican tim murphy, mccain, all the way back to reagan, all right? he said he voted for conor lamb because he needed a change in washington to kind of correct the course for the way his own vote for donald trump went. this is what's fun about this, brian, right? being on the ground and that every vote matters, every voice matters. you talk about these issues. when you were talking about the coal miner's pension fund, there is legislation that has held up in court where thousands of residents here are questioning their pensions that they thought they had obligated to them are going to be up in the air. these are issues that are very local, but ultimately it can
change the outcome of a race like this when you're down to just 1,000 votes, brian. >> 435 congressional districts in this country. all of them fascinating, all of them unique. one of them is our focus tonight. i just got the high sign from steve kornacki. what do you have? >> a little more information in those calculations i was just running. i think that might be about where we're heading in this because i think we've identified those two remaining precincts. remember, westmoreland the republican county. we think we know trump won one of these things in 2016 by about 20, he won the other by 40. you have to keep in mind saccone has been running south of those numbers, so we would expect his margin to be a little bit short of that. but that is consistent with the calculation i was doing, that if those are the two outstanding precincts, then yeah, i think we're going to probably trim about 200 votes from lamb's margin. when you get all the election day vote counted, that's going
to leave them at 650 and then you'll just have absentees in washington, westmoreland an update there. we are now expected -- they're counting the absentee ballots in both of these counties, so we do now think we'll get absentees out of these counties tonight. greene, only about 200 absentees there. basically what that means, if those indeed are the precincts, to make up 650 in those absentees, saccone has to pretty dramatically overperform what he did on election day in these republican areas. i like to tell people we live in the age of surprises. maybe he'll surprise us here, but it looks like he's got the tall order of the two candidates that are left. >> steve, along wait the way we to teach folks about these counties. in greene county you can't get any more south or any more west in the state of pennsylvania. in a way it's like west virginia. very rural and tends to be very, very red.
>> that's what i always tell people to try to understand pittsburgh. we lump it with philly. pittsburgh is the capital of appalachian. culturally, that's what it is. >> all right. steve kornacki at the big board. our own john heilman is going to be with us for much of the evening. you've been taking this all in. your reaction to where we stand right now at 11:21 eastern time. >> i think it's obviously worth noting that this is a purely symbolic exercise. we have said this all night on television in the sense that this district is going away. it's a special election. the person here will serve for a couple months and then there will be new lines that are drawn. we're looking at this and taking a temperature of the electorate and trying to draw some lessons and conclusions about what it means more broadly for the country. and then for the votes in midterms in november. and then factor through a lens that donald trump has put upon
it, going to the district and analyze this race, the argument republicans have made to try to drag mr. saccone across the finish line. it's been said every five minutes on this network all night long. this is a republican district. it's a district donald trump won by 20, that mitt romney won by 17, that before that republicans won in this district in some cases unopposed going back some decades, right? in terms of the national swing, the fact this race is super close -- it doesn't matter who wins this race -- 20 points have swung in less than a year and a half off of donald trump's vote total towards the democrats. that is consistent with what we have seen in special elections and in off-year elections in places like virginia, new jersey, alabama. this is illustrating and deepening our sense of the trend, which is that there is a giant swing happening in this country towards democrats. and i think the other thing that's important here is that
what has been happening in this district with the race that saccone has run and that republicans have run on his behalf has been a race that notably was not what you thought it might be about. it's not about the trump economy and how well the trump economy is performing. it's not about the trump tax cuts, which is the biggest achievement for donald trump. what this race has come down to in the final days are republicans trying to run against immigration, crime and nancy pelosi. the arguments that you would have expected in any normal midterm year where the president has the kinds of accomplishments he does on the kpik sieconomic you would have thought that was the central argument. republicans don't think they can win with that. they think you have to go to a cultural base argument to try to rile up the trump vote, and what we're seeing tonight is there is not enough out there to push across a republican candidate in
what should be an easy republican win district. >> hold that thought. i want to talk about nancy pelosi when we next get the chance. steve kornacki, we have a note from washington county. >> yes. just filling in the blanks here on the absentees. here's two things we can tell you. remember, the lion's share of the vote that has now left two counties absentee vote -- we're looking at washington doi count there is 1195 sitting in absentees. in westmoreland county, we're looking at 1800 absentee. remember what saccone has to be dealing with. we talked about the challenge, that we're getting two-thirds, or maybe more of the absentee vote? in 2016 in westmoreland county, in 2016, donald trump won the county. it's not quite the district, but almost. that's 66% that trump got on election day.
it fell. it fell to 59. that's kind of the history on these absentee ballots, they tend -- look, stale republill an win? they tend to favor democrats on election day. if that past holds, that the republican got 59. if that pattern holds, you're looking at 51 in the absentee for saccone. you're not making up that kind of gap. washington county, it's very republican. not westmoreland at 60% here. he was about 61.5% here. if that same thing happened with the absentees, there could even be a chance that lamb could gain on the absentee votes in washington county. we talked about this recount. it's 49.88 for conor lamb right now. 49.51. that is a difference of 38/100
of a point. if it's under .5, it's a recount. if lamb were to gain votes here in washington, if it was a loss to westmoreland, he could still push it in that vote total. >> steve kornacki, that's why we're asking that you not leave the big. this young, would-be member of congress had to make a commercial to say he wasn't going to go with nancy pelosi. do the democrats in washington understand. a republican, who is up in this midterm is going to run against. >> there's no question about that and you've seen they were
fakes ated -- to demonize her the same way we deone eyes trump. there is no one so much into our politics like there are arguments that might have been. a president who doesn't generate so much enthusiasm on the other side, the pelosi argument has been enough for races in the past. >> does it have to do with fundraisi fundraising? does it have to do with electrical tank either. you look at the thing we were talking about a second ago, this is not a moderate district. this is not a swing district
rkts right? you've got those 23 congressional districts. hillary clinton won the vote in 2016. out of all the arguments the. >> the arguments are only going to alien ate middle of the road voters, swing voters, more than they do here. tax cuts don't work here? >> they're not working here, apparently. it looks like -- what arguments do you deploy in one of the swing districts? it puts democrats in a bind when they say what happened tonight?
>> you're here for the -- >> both here from the "washington post," phil rucker and ashley parker. ashley, i'll start with you. a fasth nalgt night to watch the timeline of cable news. to hear trump surrogates coming out and really letting si coacc have it. some were very vicious, thinking he was going to have a bad night. then to have the dems come around and say, you know what, nobody even expected this was going to be close, even, in a district that trump took by 20. >> well, to hear the spin now that it looks closer than their initial spin, it's not even really about saccone at all. it's about the president. it's always about the president. their argument is from now, it
is a victory for president trump, because they're saying they don't vote for rick saccone or conor lamb. when they argue in those terms, their spin is that a lamb win, potentially, not horrible for the president. because he's also an outsider, and it shows as close as he is, even a pour one, rick saccone, a politician who crosses the finish line or just up to it. >> i just got the bat signal from steve kornacki. steve? >> quick one here, if the night wasn't complicated enough, here come the lawyers, maybe.
that's what we've been saying. we've been talking about this automatic count retriggered. it's 4.8 right now. that would fall in the range. now the question is, what would the law really say because the law that's in the books says statewide race in pennsylvania. is that going to trickle down to a district race? does that preclude it being in a congressional district as opposed to a statewide race? would republicans want to sue? they would to claim that the language means all elections for state ministers? that becomes the question, but the language says statewide, so maybe no recount. >> if you're running a hertz rental car franchise, expect the lawyers to come wanting a ride to opinion pen. this was donald trump campaigning for saccone. at least he started out this way
this past weekend. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> go out on tuesday and just vote. you got to get out there. the world is watching. i hate to put this pressure on you, rick. they're all watching. because i won this district by, like, 22 points. it's a lot. that's why i'm ehere. look at all those red hats, rick. that's a lot of hat. and we just had a poll. we're more popular now than we were on election day. this guy should win easily, and he's going to win easily. >> so, phil, you see what he did there? >> it's all about trump, as ashley was just saying. look, what we saw last saturday night at that rally, it was boisterous, kind of classic, trump flashback to 2016. that's what the president wants to be doing the rest of this year. >> phil, i have to interrupt you for rick saccone who is at the podium. >> all the way to the end.
you know i never give up. you know my first race went into the night and we won that, and my second race was the same way. we're kind of used to this now, right? >> 3 for 3. >> we're not giving up. but i wanted to come down and thank you yall. i know everybody has to go to work tomorrow, and you've got things to do. i don't want to keep you here longer than you need to be, but i want to thank y'all because i know how hard you worked. i was out at the polls today, i know how cold it was. i know you spent all those hours out there for us, for our family and for all of you, for the agenda we're working on. you never gave up on us, you never gave up on me. thank you, thank you. thank you. [ applause ]
>> you guys are amazing. i'm not kidding. you're always so upbeat, you're salt of the earth, you're the best people in the world. i couldn't ask for a better blessing than to have supporters like you, and i'm pleased that you're still here. and again, i don't want you to try to hang on too much. i know many of you have to go, but i definitely wanted to come down and say to you that i thank you ever so much. we're going to keep fighting. don't give up and we'll keep it up! we're going to win it! god bless y'all. >> that was about as animated as we've seen rick saccone. neither a victory nor concession appearance. just one of those, as you heard him say, it's a working class district, a lot of folks have to work in the morning, and this, by all accounts, is going to go late/early tomorrow, perhaps beyond that. before we go back to steve kornacki, i owe phil rucker and his thoughts.
phil? >> brian, we were talking about that rally last saturday night, and i was just making a point that white house officials say the president wants to be out on the trail like that every time, every week. they actually say those rally performances are his special sauce and that that's going to help republicans carry in the midterms. >> you should have won but perhaps it will be different down the road. over is to steve kornacki at the board. steve? >>. >> it's what we've been saying. we are getting absentee from westmoreland. there's only about 200 afternoons that you would shave
him there. but if past is pro log for absentee "let's go." here's what we look at for the last hour. he ran on election day in 2016, but in the absentees, he's got 59%. so you might expect saccone's absentee number to be a lot closer to that 61 to 67. if it anything like that. in washington county, you're looking at the meeting with trump. if it's the same thing that happened and you're looking at 53 from the absentee, so if there is a chance at 45 gains
votes in this republic. it renders green meaningless. we already saw. if that continues, it shuts off the wanting to do that. let's say go nice, i'm not conceding things go away. a lot of experts didn't think it would go, that is where you can take it back in the absentees. >> reporter: a city/director of washington county for the pennsylvania being elections. thank you for being with us. let's start out by confirming
some numbers. we have, 195 absentee ballots to count. >> you have officially changed your mind in. you're going by hand or by scanner. and that process is officially under way? >> yes. . something tells me you don't release preliminary totally all of the absentee ballots before we. you're thing you started this approximate approximately. >> we started opening the 8:300. we are just finished and we're going to begin counting them.
>> all right. i know you've got a lot on your plate tonight. if you have so much for calling in to us. do you have any questions so she's aware of the job we have to do. >> do you know guys come in box. the rest of you counted the 2017 votes. i know it was take me to poll that. overall, i don't know what the results are. >> mary ann, you get points for balance or. sharing the drama of the count with the national audience. our thanks to washington county, pa for the pennsylvania elections department. it's where all the work -- we
always say no matter what election night we're covering, elections are a series of local events. there is no overarch iing for protecting the integrity rit of our elections. we just saw mr. saccone. up against this -- >> looking positively lifelime. i haven't heard a democrat. western p.a., pro gun democrat. he is a person opposed to abortion, he's a marine prosecutor and someone who closed the door on trade.
>>. a race in which you have a dominant, who gives you a lot of leeway. in a race before you don't have to chew anything. when you run a candidate who isn't the perfect embodiment or stature all we really want is the guy who, is suddenly much wiser and all your rally lg around night now is to put, what do you do to deal a blow to trump? that gives you a lot of they're limited to working in new york and washington and go out to
greene county, usa. and the numbers 2 and 3 are specially during local issue is farm runoff. and a really big yes, in that part of the world. that's what makes up the 35th, you've known donald trump. it's been alive at the blue stage level. you get out there and you describe. and fill lefl are like new york city and the rest of the state is like alabama or louisiana, whatever your analogy is. president trump is complicated and it's not at all what a lot of people who stereotype this
way are the ways others think, and you start to look at counties like greene county and you realize, hey, that's a little different. even close to pittsburgh. it's nothing like what you think of when you think of the pittsburgh pirates. >> steve kornacki has that look in his eye. >> i think we've got it answered as clearly as we can be. we just heard it's going to take a few hours to get the absentee ballots here in washington county counted. we're looking at 1195 that were requested. the question here is how many of these are going to be for saccone? is it going to help him eat into this lead at all? here's what we know from the past. remember we were saying we think allegheny county tends to favor republican votes. the county is not sure how many of these were absentee versus outstanding precinct votes. i think it's probably consistent with us that a lot of these are
absentee ballots. here's what we know. on election day it was 63% trump, give or take, in the county. in the absentee, it went down to 56. we said trump did seven points worse in the man as a tee is what it's going to be in washington. this thing we were playing out would then hole it. saccone has been doing eight tumps worse than. if that gets knocked down eight points -- we haven't established that yet -- but if u a district where blam gets a lot of absentee votes than saccone. it loses ground in washington and that leaves the 200 points
in greene and hope maybe he's not buying so much. >> just so i can get a reality check for my son john, can you believe, here we are, 11:44 p.m. on the east coast. we're 45 minutes into this broadcast. >> i know where we're going. >> a job once occupied by rex tillerson and twitter. we're about to get a few secretary of state. >> and we haven't mentioned it yet on the show. what's going on here is we're focused on the wind. what's going on here -- what happened today? an extraordinary thing in which -- in some sense extraordinary for the reasons you just said. in some things totally
unextraordinary. the note that they might get in a hand stand there was there were people in washington and instead of the dignity discussion with the president that his so-year was opening, he found himself a few firings, so many dismissals, so much of his presidency, it would be sort of horrifying and shocking. it is par for the course with this president who, for all "you're fired" bluster, really can't sit apart in fox and tell them how to make big jobs. can't stand out there in front of them and give them the dignity of a goodbye! >> we'll think of it like a
pier. embrace your man. let's not forget a trip to the south of africa is in large part to clear out the distance those issues. back to the issue at hand. we've been focusing a whole lot on the corner of southwestern pennsylvania. it looked like you spilled i think on it and just forget the name. that's because we're too close to hit at this hour. now that your candidate has said r said rkts everyone is skebabbling except for some holdouts, right? >> absolutelily. rick santorum told me to go home. what we set up on stage is multiple times. these will pumped his fists up
in the air. frayed frayed if what we saw then and a campo fishl, what does it look like? it's money how you southwestern pennsylvania and over the last week i've been here, confine, it's a site to watch neshlly. the amount of energy rekwirz thoud of pound in which they were shoelg the, vfb. they're rolling out these kpliktsz, that i've been to about rick saccone. if this was the remote campaign and what. the candidate was saying, i
don't know if understanding that a republican has held this seat. you can call this a success at one point. the phenomenal issue of this campaign is something to be noted. before we take a break and just kind of take a breath and reprioritize our meeting and aa rkts something else that hasn't happened are in the regular coffee mug which is a depression. when you associated prets here in this country. this is being disseminated on seeshl media where this is a plan to see them, steven hawking has died at the age of 76.
on a busier than normal tuesday night, a special election night in southwest pennsylvania, in the parlance of the newsrooms of old, an editor would ask me to give a situationer. it's now too close to call for lamb and saccone vying for this seat, a seat that is likely to die as they redraw the map of pennsylvania. we've been on and off worried about the physical health of steve kornacki, who is still standing at the big board and
crunching the numbers. steve, a situationer fr esituat if you please. >> that is a gap of 847 votes. that's the lead for conor lamb, 847. so what is left to happen here? there's a couple things. first of all, all of vote, that is the election day vote and the absentee ballots, they are done, they are in, they're counted. we can take allegheny off the board. that leaves the rest of this bat until republican turf. we're talking two precincts, two election day precincts have still yet to report from west moreland. we think we know which ones these are, we think these were pretty big for trump in 16, we think they will recede a little bit, that has been the trend in terms of saccone's margin. that will probably knock a couple hundred off that lead of
847. again, what we know here is the history, the history is that a couple things. first of all, we know trump won this district -- excuse me, this county with 63% in 2016. we know when they counted the absentees only, they only got 56% of those. the republican kind of drops off. on top of that, saccone has been running south of trump's number, pretty much across the board in this district. you knock that down to 50% and you say it's a 50/50 district here, you're not looking at much in terms of a gain for saccone. you'd see the same thing in washington and see maybe lamb getting extra votes and greenes are -- greene, only 200 there. the question then becomes if he ends up 350 votes behind or something like that, you'd be within this half a point margin
we're talking about where now there's some discrepancy in how people interpret the law. some people say half a point, the law says it's an election in pennsylvania, they'll go to a recount automatically. others are looking at the statute saying statewide election, does that the mean not a congressional district election? >> steve kornacki, usual rules apply, flap your arms if you need to get back on the air and we'll get to you. because we are juggling so many different topics, because this day the president decided to make a change at secretary of state, we're lucky to have as many journalists on air with us as we do. job letterman is with us from the associated press who covers the state department. notably josh was on the plate with the secretary of state overnight as he flew back to the u.s. from nigeria. josh, did you have a heads up? were there any tea leaves to
read on the tail end of this trip that this was coming? >> i got to tell you, brian, we were totally unaware of that dynamic, if it was occurring. i've been racking my brain all day trying to see if there was something i could go back and pick up on, some facial expression or something that the secretary would have said or an indication from his staff on that plane with us that there was a huge bombshell about to drop. and if there was, they really had the best poker face of anyone in washington because this was an uneventful flight, the secretary came back, he spoke with us on the record about russia, made some news, talked about north korea, the kind of things that you do when you're the secretary of state and you're traveling. we stopped, we refueled in cape verdi verde, and no idea that a fewer
hours after we landed the secretary of state would be unceremoniously fired by tweet. >> i've been on that flight and refuelled at the canary islands, which can be a weird stop in the middle of the night. it was a fraught relationship between the former head of exxon mobil and the president of the united states now coming to an end. thank you and thank you for your patience tonight. mr. kornacki at the board needs our attention. >> i think we just got a major piece in, the lion's share of what was in. you can see the numbers have changed here. what you had here, we were talking for a long time, lamb was at 748. you look at this now, 579, you're down to 579. what just happened to account for this? we were talking about it. two things we think just happened. westmoreland, this is the biggest outstanding piece of the puzzle.
we said there were two precincts left where trump had done really well in 2016, we expected that 748 to erode a little bit. looks like that happened. every election day vote in the entire district has been counted. that was all that was left election day. but we also now have the absentee ballots for westmoreland. of the 3,000 that were still out, 1,800 of them were from westmoreland. when you look at saccone's running less than trump, democrats do better in the absentee, doesn't like saccone much, no ground made up in the absentee. now in these two counties, all that's left, 1,200 absentee ballots and just based on what you just saw in these absentee ballots in westmoreland, i mean, that's -- come on! the question is recount. will there be some kind of
recount? >> you said all night long he had to overperform to prevail. by your math and those ratios, it has not born out yet. steve kornacki is not going to move an inch. we for the purposes of bookkeeping are coming to the end of this hour, welcoming a new one. >> the breaking news we continue to follow at the top of the hour, a later-than-expected night for a lot of folks in southwestern pennsylvania and by extension in the news media across the country as this is the barn burner we've been covering all night, a race too close to call. you see the difference there, though. the numbers have been changing throughout the night between lamb and saccone, vying for a special election, a very temporary election to the house of representatives. we say that because the map is being smashed with a hammer and redrawn in the state of pennsylvania for political purposes.