Good morning, Broadsheet readers! It’s Election Day and a lot of the races we’ve been following are down to the wire, women share why they’re voting this year, and we head into Day 2 of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit. Have a civically engaged Tuesday!
• Today’s the day. For many of us in the U.S., the last two years have been building up to today: the 2018 midterm elections.
As you head off to your polling place (right? Please vote everybody!), and later, as we watch the results come in, here’s a Big Picture perspective to consider:
According to this Wall Street Journal story, today’s election really comes down to a face-off between President Donald Trump and the women of the Democratic party—both candidates and voters. To provide a window into just how literal that fight has become, the WSJ notes: “To take back control of the House, one of the places Democrats are looking is Virginia, where they think they have a chance at seizing four seats currently held by Republicans. In each of those four races, the Democratic candidate is a woman.” Indeed, given the record numbers of women running this year—and the number of too-tight-to-call races—there’s probably only one thing we know for sure about the outcome of today’s vote, says the Journal: “the share of women making the nation’s decisions in Congress will go up.”
We have more on those ultra-close races below, but here are three contests that stand out for me: the Georgia governor’s race between Stacey Abrams (D) and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (Abrams would be come the first black woman governor in the U.S.), the Arizona Senate contest between Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and GOP Rep. Martha McSally to replace Jeff Flake, and Missouri, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is attempting to defend her seat against Republican Josh Hawley. (If you’re looking for a list of key races to watch nationally, this is good rundown.)
I admit—it’s strange to be abroad when so much is unfolding in the U.S., but we had a great afternoon at Fortune’s MPW International Summit in Montreal yesterday, with more to come today (Read on for highlights from Day 1).
The evening concluded with an interview with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who talked about everything from immigration, to his country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, to how his leadership style differs from that of his father, Pierre Trudeau, who served as PM for 15 years. He also brought up pay equity—his government introduced federal pay-equity legislation this week—and made a point to praise Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, who led the nation’s recent and very tricky negotiations with the United States over NAFTA. As he told the Summit crowd: “If you have the absolute toughest job—a live or die situation that you need to get done the right way—give it to the best woman you know.”
Not bad words to have ringing in your ears as we head into Election Day…
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• A dozen toss-ups. A lot of today’s midterm elections are really, really close, especially in the House. In the toss-up category, according to the New York Times‘ the Upshot: Democrat Katie Hill’s race in California, the race between Democrat Katie Porter and Republican Mimi Walters in the same state, the fight between Democrat Lucy McBath and Republican Karen Handel in Georgia, Lauren Underwood’s race in Illinois, and Abigail Spanberger’s and Elaine Luria’s challenges in Virginia. And that doesn’t even cover them all—or the Senate. Stay tuned. New York Times
• It takes a (volunteer) village. For all those women waiting to hear their electoral fate tonight, there are more behind the scenes. Twelve women volunteering on behalf of women running for office this year shared why and what they’re hoping to see after the elections. New York Times
• 2020 next. Some in politics are already looking past 2018. EMILY’s List, the organization that supports Democratic women, expects the number of women running for office to surge even higher in 2020. BuzzFeed
• Scooting ahead. Now, a quick politics break! The e-scooter startup Lime recently brought on Pinterest’s Li Fan as its head of engineering and Uber alumna Lindsey Haswell as general counsel. Fan and Haswell are both behind the decisions and technology that control where and how fast your scooter can go as Lime works with cities on regulation. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Andréa Mallard, formerly of Athleta, is Pinterest’s first CMO.
MORE FROM MPW INTERNATIONAL
• Getting defensive. At MPW International yesterday, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson fielded tough questions about how she was weighing Lockheed’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. While she called the incident “unacceptable” and “egregious,” the defense chief said it had not disrupted business dealings. “We do business through the U.S. government,” Hewson said. “We take their lead on what we sell to 70 countries. That’s what we will do in this case; it’s a matter of following the government’s lead.” Fortune
• Retail lessons. When Sears filed for bankruptcy, Hudson’s Bay CEO Helena Foulkes told her employees, “here’s what not to do.” In her nine months on the job, Foulkes has made big decisions, but the hardest part has been deciding what not to address right away, she said. Fortune
• Victims or vital? Rula Ghani, the wife of Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani and the country’s first lady, told the Summit crowd that she believes international aid organizations have distorted the West’s perceptions of Afghan women. She said that while the women of her country need help, they are extremely resilient and resourceful with very little money. Acknowledging that—rather than portraying them as victims—would help “unleash their power,” said Ghani. Fortune
• More than just numbers. Being a CFO these days is about a lot more than numbers, four CFOs from RBC Capital Markets, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Stantec, and Medtronic said. “We’re focused on ensuring that we drive the long-term sustainability and success of our company,” Karen Parkhill of Medtronic said. “In doing so, you get involved in almost everything.” Fortune
ON MY RADAR
US Olympic Committee begins the process of shutting down USA Gymnastics Fortune
Modest fashion is a big business—and these women run it BuzzFeed
50 influential women on why they’re voting in the midterm elections Marie Claire
As Nigerian fashion booms, women lead its coverage New York Times