Election Day 2020 Highlights

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Follow Katie’s Election Day coverage as she talks to journalists on the state of the race.

Katie speaks with GOP political consultant Mike Murphy

GOP Political Consultant: ‘I think Biden is going to have a great night’

In my first Instagram Live of the day, I spoke with Mike Murphy, a longtime Republican political strategist who has worked with John McCain and Jeb Bush. “Biden is going to have a great night tonight,” he told me. “It’s going to look like how the national polls have been looking for months.” His predictions?

  • He believes Florida, Georgia and North Carolina might all go early to Biden. “If Trump loses in Florida, it’s game over,” he told me. 
  • He thinks Jaime Harrison will lose to Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina — but not by much. 
  • He thinks there’s a possibility Biden could win Texas, but he “thinks Democrats should not be greedy.” 
  • In Pennsylvania, he said he thinks the race will come down to the western half of the state, where President Trump won big last time. He predicts Trump will get “killed in metro Philly.” 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Reporter on What’s Happening in the Swing State

Speaking of Pennsylvania… Next up, I spoke with Julian Routh, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, about what’s happening in the swing state. He told me: 

  • Regarding Murphy’s comments, Routh says he thinks President Trump is having a “little harder time” convincing working-class, non-college educated voters to vote for him, than he did in 2016 — mostly because Scranton-native Joe Biden is also tailoring his message to them. 
  • On the ground: He’s been seeing long lines at the polls, but says, “Allegheny County has done a fantastic job of counting quickly.” 
  • “In many of these races, there could be a clear-cut winner quickly — even tonight,” he told me. However, he emphasized Pennsylvania probably won’t have completely clear answers until Friday. 

Politico Reporter Marc Caputo: ‘We’ll likely know Florida’s outcome by 8:15 p.m’

Katie Couric speaks with Politico reporter Marc Caputo.

On to Florida! Marc Caputo, a Politico reporter covering the state, told me more about the state of the race there…

  • Caputo’s more ambivalent about predicting any outcomes than Murphy: “I’m not even comfortable saying this is going to be close.” 
  • On the ground: “Republicans stormed the gates this morning in political terms,” Caputo told me. That being said, around 9 million Floridians already cast their ballots. 
  • Republicans had cast around 2% more votes than Democrats by mid-afternoon on Election Day. It’s unclear how many Republicans might have diverted to Biden — and vice-versa. 
  • Caputo says we’ll likely know Florida’s outcome by around 8:15 p.m. Stay tuned.

NPR’s Maria Hinojosa on the Latino Vote

Many have been talking about the potential impact of the Latino vote in this election. So I turned to longtime NPR reporter Maria Hinojosa, who just wrote a memoir, Once I Was You. “As a democracy junkie, this is like the coolest thing ever, to see this many people saying, ‘I’m in a democracy, I’m participating in this,’” she told me. 

  • The economy and Covid-19 are the two hot button issues for Latinx voters.
  • On Texas: “You have a long tradition of Latinas and Latinos who are staunch Republicans. We can’t dismiss that. That is coming out and if Donald Trump wins, it will be in large part because of Latino and Latina voters.” 
  • On Florida: “If [the Democrats] lose Florida it was theirs to lose, and it’s because they didn’t understand the power of the Latino evangelical vote.” She also noted the Trump campaign has played into Florida-based Cuban and Venezeulan voters’ fears of socialism, by labeling Biden as a socialist — which is not true.
  • “We’re about to witness something that we never could have imagined before that was spurred on by all the trauma and tragedy that we’ve lived through,” she told me.

What’s happening in Wisconsin? Katie asked a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter

Covid-19 cases are surging in Wisconsin, an important swing state. So we asked Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Molly Beck about the state of the race there. 

  • Her predictions? “The national polling has shown a very wide lead for Joe Biden. But the Marquette University poll, the gold standard poll that reporters rely on, has shown a much closer race,” she told me. “We’ve seen President Trump here a lot [in the past few days]…to me that would imply that he sees a path to winning here. “
  • On the importance of turnout: “In 2016, a lot of the national stories were about [low] turnout in Milwaukee. That was a big factor in Donald Trump winning. We’ve seen that that might be different this time around.” 
  • “I’m not anticipating knowing how things are shaking out until 3 or 4 am”
Katie Couric speaks with New York Times correspondent Kathy Gray

New York Times’ Kathy Gray on the State of the Race in Michigan

On to Michigan… where tensions are high between President Trump and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Katie spoke with New York Times correspondent Kathy Gray on where voters stand in the swing state. Some takeaways: 

  • What to expect: “All I can tell you is that the polls seem to favor Joe Biden,” Gray said. “But President Trump was here five times last week and he had massive rallies across the state.” 
  • On timing: “Clerks have said we might not get results until Friday,” Gray explained.
  • On voter suppression: A robocall went out to Flint, Michigan residents today, encouraging people to wait until Wednesday to vote due to the long lines at polling places. Gray said state officials are investigating. 
  • The court recently ruled that mail-in ballots that arrive past the 8pm deadline will not be counted. “When you have a margin like we did in 2016, that could be the difference in the final result,” Gray said. 
Emily Ramshaw, founder of ‘The 19th’ on Texas

Founder of ‘The 19th’ on What to Expect in Texas

Emily Ramshaw, founder of The 19th, a newsroom covering the intersection of gender, politics, and policy, weighed in on what we are seeing tonight in Texas. Key takeaways?

  • Although Texas seems to be experiencing somewhat of a blue wave, she says she thinks President Trump will still “peak it out.” “But it’s possible the state house could flip which [would be] the first time in two decades,” she said. 
  • On that wave: She says the state is looking more purple because of suburban women changing their minds and an increasingly younger demographic.
  • On the Latinx vote: “Texas isn’t like Florida where there’s more Latino political diversity,” she said. “Latinos skew really young in Texas, and therefore Democratic. In South Texas, those are really Democratic strongholds.” 
  • She says to expect Texas’ results later tonight. 

GOP Political Analyst Charles Sykes: ‘If Donald Trump is elected, this will be the worst polling year in history’

What should we expect tonight? Katie spoke with political commentator and editor-in-chief of the website The Bulwark Charles Sykes about what’s to come tonight. Here’s what he told me: 

  • On swing states: “Florida is immensely important, but it’s much more important for President Trump than Joe Biden at this point,” Sykes said. “Ultimately, Pennsylvania is going to be the turning point.” 
  • “In Wisconsin, they did a poll last week and found that 80 percent of Trump supporters were absolutely certain President Trump would win.” Sykes said. “And win by a landslide.” 
  • On what voters want: Sykes said “voters are exhausted. They want a return to empathy. They want someone who can protect someone from the coronavirus.”
  • On tonight: “I don’t want to jinx it… we’re either going to know if it’s going to be final by 9pm or we’ll know that we’ll be having this conversation for another several weeks.”

Political Consultant Brian Goldsmith on What to Look for on Election Night

I talked to my friend and political consultant Brian Goldsmith, as election results filtered in. Here’s what he had to say:

  • On Florida: Biden’s not doing as well as hoped in Miami-Dade, but “if you look at the rest of the state, the number of countries that Hillary lost — he’s doing better.”
  • On the Senate race in South Carolina: “Despite the money Jaime has raised, I still think it’s South Carolina, and I think Lindsey Graham’s going to win but I think it’s too soon to tell.” 
  • On North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida: “If Biden wins any of them, we can say with any confidence that Biden’s going to be elected president and we’re going to know tonight.”
  • On other swing states: “Michigan and Wisconsin are both very strong for Biden. I don’t think the Trump campaign is aggressively contesting those at this point. They’re pouring all their effort into Pennsylvania.”