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November 08, 2022
What A Day
Stuck In The Midterms With You

In This Episode

  • Election Day has wrapped, but now the wait begins as votes are counted and results pour in from across the country. We walk through what we know so far, and what to watch in some key races.
  • And in headlines: Tropical Storm Nicole is tracking toward Florida, the January 6th committee interviewed Donald Trump’s driver from the day of the insurrection, and someone in Southern California won the record $2 billion Powerball jackpot.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, November 9th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day where we’re asking that if you’re still in line to vote for People magazine’s sexiest man alive, please stay in line, people. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, apparently they gave it to Chris Evans already, but I think something must have gone wrong if they’re not giving it to Chris Pine. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my gosh. Chris Pine over Chris Evans, friend. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, a tropical storm is gathering strength as it barrels towards Florida. Plus, there’s a new billionaire somewhere in Southern California following Monday’s historic Powerball drawing. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, let’s start with a few bright spots coming out of day one of election week. Yes, I said election week. You heard me right, because we will be waiting for full results for at least the next five days or so. In Massachusetts, not only the Democrats won a trifecta by gaining control of the governor’s mansion, the state House and the state Senate. The Bay State also made history by electing Maura Healey as governor. Healey is the first openly lesbian governor and the first woman governor elected in Massachusetts. Similarly in Maryland, Democrats also won a trifecta, and they too made history by electing Wes Moore governor. Moore is the first Black governor of Maryland. Another first is that Gen-Z will now be represented in Congress. Maxwell Frost won his election in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, and I’m really excited to see him join Congress. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, these are all really exciting wins. But Maxwell Frost, especially like big friend of WAD, we loved interviewing him on the show and just couldn’t be more excited for him. 


Juanita Tolliver: Shout out to Maxwell. We can’t wait to see you thriving in D.C., bringing new perspective and voice to critical issues. And another bright spot is that ballot questions about abortion have been garnering wide support. And as of our recording time at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, there is strong support for abortion rights in Michigan, Kentucky and in Vermont. Proposition five, the right to reproductive autonomy has passed. Victory!


Priyanka Aribindi: This is so, so exciting, these propositions. And in many cases, we’re doing even better than Democrats on these tickets, which means that–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –You know, Republicans were crossing over and voting for them, independents as well. Really, really exciting to see that people value these things. And so I know you mentioned it’s only night one of election week, but are there any races that could give us an idea of how things will trend going forward? 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, there are a few bellwether races that I’ve got my eye on at the House and Senate levels. I call them bellwethers because they are races that essentially serve as an indicator for how similar candidates and similar races will perform around the country. One key bellwether is the New Hampshire Senate race, and as of our recording time, media reports have called that Senate race for Democratic incumbent Senator Maggie Hassan after her Republican challenger, Don Bolduc, lagged behind Trump’s performance in 2020. That signals that Republican voters have rejected Bolduc’s election lies, his conspiracy theories, and his extremist positions. This is an example of a MAGA Republican that performed poorly, and that tracks with what Mitch McConnell called a low quality candidate that comprised Republican tickets across the nation. It also shows the impact Trump has had on the GOP and the candidates who try to make themselves in his likeness. And it ain’t great. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, listen, not great for them, but I’m happy. I’m happy with this result. 


Juanita Tolliver: We will take this bright spot. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Sucks for you guys, but. [laughing]


Juanita Tolliver: We can also look at this New Hampshire standing and see that it also helps Democratic Congressman Chris Pappas, who is facing Gen Z Republican Karoline Levitt. Representative Pappas is also up by double digits and that shows just how much of a drag that Bolduc was as an election denying statewide candidate. Another bellwether I’m watching closely is Virginia’s seventh Congressional District, which A.P. has called for Democratic incumbent Representative Abigail Spanberger. Now, this is a district that spans from the D.C. suburbs all the way down to Richmond, Virginia. And it was a tight race, with Spanberger winning by a few thousand votes. Considering how tight this race was, let this be a sign of how much of a toss up other races around the nation will be, and a toss up environment is nowhere near the red wave that Republicans were looking for at the start of this election cycle when, let’s be real, they were just giddy about their prospects. If anything, Democrats have made these midterms competitive, and that competitive environment is going to keep us on the edge of our seats as we wait for more election results. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, wasn’t sure how to feel heading into tonight. Now I am. I’m cool waiting a little bit. 


Juanita Tolliver: You went from mixed feelings to feeling all right. Pretty chill. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Well, I’m like, great. I’ll sit tight. I’ll wait. I don’t know. We’re getting some good news. And I, as someone is not always used to hearing good news. 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, I’m not going to say good. 


Priyanka Aribindi: [?] used to it. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m gonna say decent news, right? Like, I think decent is my word of the night. 


Priyanka Aribindi: So what races should we expect to hear a little bit more about next? 


Juanita Tolliver: All right. Let me get my roster. So at the top of the list, we should expect to hear more about Georgia and whether or not it will be heading to a December runoff within the coming days. Again, as we’re recording this at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, Senator Warnock is just above 50%. But with third party candidate Chase Oliver at about 1.8 percentage points, it’s likely to head to a runoff because otherwise the math wouldn’t be mathin. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mm. 


Juanita Tolliver: We should also keep an eye on Pennsylvania, where media reports have called the governor’s race for Democrat Josh Shapiro. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, exciting sign. 


Juanita Tolliver: And of course we’ve already heard about Florida. Oh Florida, a special place where AP called the Senate and gubernatorial races for Senator Rubio and Governor DeSantis. Now, I know Florida is a red state, but I honestly hope that Democrats make a long term investment in infrastructure and messaging in order to yield some type of results ahead of 2024. And I’ll be real. That’s all I got to say about Florida. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Um. But let’s talk a little bit about, you know, the results so far and, you know, the lack thereof for some of these races. So as you’ve heard us say nonstop on the show over the past few days, we don’t know everything today. We might not tomorrow or the next day. There are some elections that we may not even be able to call with confidence until next week or beyond. As Juanita said, this is election week, not Election Day. And I wanted to take a few minutes to talk through why that is, because it’s a deliberate choice by certain states. Hint hint wink, wink. And it’s one that’s allowed for a lot of election disinformation to proliferate back in 2020. And we don’t want to see a repeat of that this time around. So we want to give everybody the information to understand why this is happening. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. I want to pick up on that wink Priyanka, because certain states mean states with Republican controlled statehouses. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: We know exactly who is behind all of the delays in counting and all of the delays and issues around voter suppression. So that’s what’s up. But tell us a little bit more. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So every state has their own laws about when ballots can start being counted. So most states let election workers start opening early or mail in ballots ahead of Election Day. This can be as many as two weeks in advance, and almost half of states allow election officials to start tabulating these results before Election Day so they can be counted as soon as possible. And so they’re part of the results that are reported on election night. But there are few states, including key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where that is not the case. There, save for a few exceptions, election workers can’t start opening ballots before Election Day. This makes Election Day way more of a chaotic scramble than it needs to be. It can create the appearance of results that look one way when you go to bed because of the voters who showed up in person on Election Day, but, you know, might look completely different the next morning or the day after because of mail in and early votes that are started to be counted. There are also ballots out there that haven’t even been received yet. So several states accept mail in ballots that have been postmarked by Election Day rather than received by that date. So in the off chance that there are mail delays, that that doesn’t cost somebody their right to vote. But that also means that there can be a longer wait for those outcomes, especially in close races that depend on those last few votes. The last category is provisional ballots. This is a super small percentage of ballots, they made up just .125% of all ballots in 2020. And they’re the last to be counted, but they still count. They’re basically backup ballots that people get if they showed up to vote on Election Day but had some issues with their eligibility. But you should know that these are like super normal things for people to have, you know? So if they got married and changed their name, for example, but aren’t registered to vote under their new name, uh you know, if they’re removed from their state’s voter rolls and haven’t voted in a while and are showing up, you know, assuming that they are registered or if they forgot to bring an I.D. in states that require voter ID, you know, all of these things can lead to someone getting a provisional ballot, which means, you know, they have to verify that this person is still registered to vote and all those good things. But once they do, those will be counted. But they’re the last to get counted. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. I feel like in summary, all of this means no matter how you voted, your vote is valid. Your vote deserves to be counted. No matter what–


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes! 


Juanita Tolliver: –Those Republicans say. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 


Juanita Tolliver: So ignore the lies that they’re likely going to try to hit us with over the next few days, because we know they’re coming. But as I mentioned earlier, the Georgia Senate race may be headed into a runoff if no candidate crosses the 50% threshold, which means we might not know the winner for another month. What other big Senate races will we have to wait on? 


Priyanka Aribindi: As of now, it also looks like we’ll be waiting a bit longer to hear about the Senate races in Arizona. Uh. Probably not as long as Georgia if it goes into a runoff. But, you know, sit tight. Those results are coming in. And to end things on a high note here, we wanted to give a shout out to the over 1200 super volunteers in the Vote Save America community. 


Juanita Tolliver: Wooo! 


Priyanka Aribindi: They reached out to over 1.5 million voters throughout their get out the vote efforts, many of which were in, you know, these key districts and races for Democrats. So from all of us at WAD, thank you so much for your work. Thank you so much for your effort. 


Juanita Tolliver: Thank you! [shouting]


Priyanka Aribindi: You should feel really proud of yourselves tonight and as this week continues, we’ll obviously continue to bring you updates on key races as we get results in the days ahead. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Juanita Tolliver: Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to pass through the Bahamas today before reaching Eastern Florida tonight. The late season storm could strengthen to a Category one hurricane by the time it reaches the Sunshine State. Hurricane warnings are in effect for areas that will be in Nicole’s path. And in preparation, Palm Beach County schools and district offices announced they will be closed today and tomorrow. The storm is expected to affect areas still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which made landfall nearly six weeks ago. And if Nicole does become a hurricane, it will be the first hurricane to reach the U.S. during the month of November in almost 40 years. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I really do not like the sound of that, especially after Hurricane Ian. No, thank you. And speaking of unseasonable extreme weather, here are some updates from COP27, the United Nations climate summit that is currently underway in Egypt. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told delegates in a video address on Tuesday that ending the war with Russia is a necessary step towards climate justice. He said Russia’s invasion has forced dozens of countries to burn coal for their power to lower household energy costs. And this comes amid Russia’s continued assault on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, Scotland, Ireland and Austria pledged millions of dollars towards a loss and damage fund, a measure that would redistribute wealth from industrialized countries to developing nations that have been impacted by disasters fueled by climate change. Climate experts called on the U.S. to pitch in too, drawing attention to its status as one of the world’s largest polluters. 


Juanita Tolliver: The January 6th committee on Monday interviewed the driver of then-President Donald Trump’s presidential SUV on the day of the insurrection. To jog your memory on why this testimony could help the investigation. Over the summer, former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchison publicly testified that when Trump was told that he couldn’t go to the Capitol that day after getting his fans all pumped up for treason, he got so mad that he lunged at his security detail and tried to grab the steering wheel of the car. Putting aside how hard and painful it is to imagine Trump lunging. A spokesperson for the Secret Service has since denied Hutchison’s account. But this new testimony is one of the several interviews the committee has held with Secret Service agents in recent days. Ooh, I want that transcript. I want it now. I remember when Cassidy Hutchison made this testimony. I was like, ooh child, what? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Tea. We want it. 


Juanita Tolliver: Spill it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And someone is about to find out how real their relationships are because they just won the biggest lottery jackpot in America’s history. A Powerball ticket worth over $2 billion dollars was sold in Altadena, California, to a yet unidentified individual whose life is about to change in ways they could never imagine. I will continue to not be able to imagine this because that unidentified individual is definitely not me, because my dumb ass did not buy one of these tickets. The payoff had grown steadily in size after 40 straight drawings without a winner, which fueled a surge in ticket sales to people who thought they could beat the odds of one in 292.2 million to win. This is going to sound like we are mad that we didn’t get the jackpot. But it’s important to remember that state lotteries overall are bad and it would be better if they didn’t exist. With lottery retailers disproportionately grouped in low income communities and poor people spending a greater percentage of their incomes on tickets on average. The national director of an organization called Stop Predatory Gambling recently said, quote, “State lotteries are the most neglected example of systemic racism in the United States.” 


Juanita Tolliver: Not a single lie detected there at all. So I appreciate that that is being communicated here. What I also appreciate is how this person is going to claim their $2 billion dollars. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No idea. 


Juanita Tolliver: I assume we will see some funny like cartoon, you know, mascot costume appearance for this pick up. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. I don’t know who you’re going to trust to take you on that journey. And those are the headlines. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, defund Powerball and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you are into reading and not just election results trickling in over the coming days and weeks like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And we made it through election day. 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, day one of election week, y’all. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Day one. 


Juanita Tolliver: This ain’t stopping. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Several pieces of pizza were harmed in the making of this episode. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s called nourishment. 


Priyanka Aribindi: My stomach hurts. [laughing] I can’t handle it. Please call these races. My stomach needs to be released from this hell. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.