Nov 5, 2018

How Fox News' Bret Baier preps for Election Day

Mike Allen, author of AM

Fox News' Bret Baier. Screenshot: YouTube

Since tomorrow is political journalism's Game Day, we talked with three of the cable stars of election night about how they prep. Today, we interview Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier, who'll co-anchor "America’s Election HQ: 2018 Midterms" with Martha MacCallum, from 6 p.m. until the wee hours.

What he's saying: Some of the prep is "kind of osmosis, as we're covering all these races," Baier said. "But we have this massive briefing book ... and all kinds of stats in there. So there'll be a little studying over the weekend ... But on game day, on Election Day, it's about staying calm and moving things around."

  • "People are in our ears throughout, because we're bouncing from state to state, or different calls. And I consider myself, and Martha is the same way, as kind of a conductor: I'm getting people to where they need to go. Hopefully we're first. But we want to be right, and do it in a way that's watchable."

Bret's Game Day tradition: "I go for a run in the morning ... I just go down to Central Park and do a couple miles. I make a swing by St. Patrick's Cathedral — that has been my ritual for the last four Election Days."

  • "I just go in, light a candle, say a couple prayers and have a little quiet time. I think that that's key on those big nights. I did that in every city that I had a debate or a big night. It's more meditation than it is anything else."

"Then have a good lunch and then get ready to bear down for what could be a long night."

  • In 2016, Baier was in the chair 5 p.m. to 4 a.m.  Tomorrow's coverage is scheduled to go through at least 1 a.m., "but we'll kind of play it by ear."
  • "There's a chance that some of these races are not going to be wrapped up that night, and we expect to be on the set for a long time."

What we'll know Wednesday morning: "If some of these key races — and I'm talking governors' races — go to Democrats, we will know whether it's easier or harder for Donald Trump to run the same kind of map in 2020."

  • "If Florida goes Democrat, so does that machine. And, as you know, Florida is central in a lot of places, in a lot of elections."

Yesterday: CNN's Dana Bash ... Tomorrow: MSNBC's Steve Kornacki.

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