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Georgia election results could reshape Kamala Harris’s vice presidency

January 6, 2021, 1:29 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women business leaders urged Congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory, only five female founders led IPOs in 2020, and all eyes are on Georgia. Have a productive Wednesday.

– Too close to call. The Georgia Senate runoff is—still!—capturing the attention of Americans this morning as officials and election workers in the state continue to count votes in two races that will determine which party controls the Senate.

What we know so far is that Republican Kelly Loeffler is out of a seat. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated the incumbent, who was appointed to the Senate last year.

Loeffler’s strategy to rebrand herself a hard-line Trump loyalist—she’d vowed to vote against certifying Joe Biden’s win today—turned out to be a losing one. In assessing her loss, let’s also remember the early activism of WNBA players, who campaigned against Loeffler. The former businesswoman and basketball fanatic co-owns the league’s Atlanta Dream franchise. When she entered the Senate, she painted herself as “pro-Second amendment, pro-Trump, pro-military and pro-wall”—politics that clashed with the predominant leanings of league players, who outwardly advocated for social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. Players refused to say her name aloud and, at one point, wore ‘Vote Warnock’ t-shirts to games.

Loeffler has not conceded. “We’ve got some work to do here. This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election,” she told supporters early Wednesday.

What’s still unknown is the result of the second Georgia runoff, that pits incumbent Republican David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff. At press time, Ossoff was leading that race.

The races’ trajectories and the possibility that Georgia may deliver control of the Senate to Democrats is already being attributed to the work of Stacey Abrams, who, along with other Black female activists, spent years building infrastructure to register hundreds of thousands of new voters in the state. (Kristen wrote about the power of failure yesterday, and it’s worth noting that much of Abrams’s effort came after she lost the Georgia gubernatorial contest in 2018.)

“With new votes joining the tally, we are on a strong path,” Abrams tweeted Tuesday night, before Warnock’s win was called. “But even while we wait for more, let’s celebrate the extraordinary organizers, volunteers, canvassers and tireless groups that haven’t stopped going since [November]. Across our state, we roared. A few miles to go…but well done!”

Another outcome that hinges on the second runoff is the role of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Should Ossoff win and clinch the Senate for Democrats, the chamber will be split 50-50, with the incoming vice president serving as the tie-breaker. As No. 2 to the oldest president ever and his likely heir apparent, Harris was already pegged as the most consequential VP in U.S. history. If Democrats take the Senate, her influence will only grow.

Claire Zillman
claire.zillman@fortune.com
@clairezillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Business gets democratic. Two hundred business leaders, including WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and EY U.S. chair Kelly Grier, signed a letter urging members of Congress to certify the electoral votes in the U.S. presidential election on Wednesday. Their letter arrives as a group of GOP lawmakers plan to object to the usually routine certification process. Fortune

- Rest in peace. Michele Evans, EVP at Lockheed Martin for aeronautics, died at 55 this week. The executive, who appeared on Fortune's Most Powerful Women "Ones to Watch" list in 2018, was at one point considered a frontrunner to succeed Marillyn Hewson as chief executive of the defense company. CEO James Taiclet said in a statement that Evans, who served on the boards of Girls Inc. and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, "led some of the most important programs that ensure the security of our nation and its allies and help make our world a safer place." Washington Business Journal 

- IPO info. This analysis of 2020 IPOs finds that of 442 total public offerings last year, only five were for companies founded and led by women. Those IPOs included Maria MacCecchini's Annovis Bio Inc., Roni Mamluk's Ayala Pharmaceuticals, and Leslie Yu's Quhuo Ltd. Business Insider

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Monica Lozano, CEO of College Futures Foundation, former editor and publisher of Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión, and a member of the boards of directors for Target and Bank of America, joins Apple's board of directors. Nicole Didda has joined SellersEaston Media, the company founded by former Fortune MPWs Pattie Sellers and Nina Easton, as managing director. Didda was previously chief communications officer of Skanska USA. Chobani hired CNN correspondent Cristina Alesci as chief corporate affairs officer. Former deputy chief technology officer of the United States Cori Zarek will take over as executive director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University. Susana Suarez Gonzales, EVP and chief human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for International Flavors and Fragrances, joins the board of the Society for Human Resource Management. The National Geographic Society hired former Howard University chief communications officer Crystal Brown in the same role. Financial services company Buckle hired Farmers Business Insurance president Sharon Fernandez as head of insurance. Samsung Next's Deborah Conway joined ACME Capital as investment associate and chief of staff. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Stock saga. The New York Stock Exchange, led by Stacey Cunningham, last week announced plans to delist three Chinese telecom companies to comply with a November executive order by President Donald Trump barring investment in firms that aid the Chinese military. But the NYSE reversed course on that decision this week, allowing those companies to remain on the exchange. The about-face puzzled investors. Bloomberg

- Commerce choice. One of the positions in President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet still awaiting a nominee is commerce secretary. The role is one for which Biden has reportedly considered choosing a Republican in a gesture of bipartisanship, but a new candidate emerging for the slot is Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. The governor's background in business includes cofounding a venture capital firm. Axios

- Illinois election. Amid some Republicans' attempts to overturn U.S. presidential election results, some downballot races are facing similar hurdles. Rep. Lauren Underwood was sworn into her second term in Congress on Sunday after a close race, but her opponent Jim Oberweis is now seeking to contest her election. Underwood won by 5,374 votes in a district that already completed a recount. Chicago Sun-Times

ON MY RADAR

Cleta Mitchell, a key figure in president’s phone call, was an early backer of Trump’s election fraud claims Washington Post

Florida state Rep. Michele Rayner seeks to repeal state's ban on same-sex marriage The Advocate

The implosion of American Dirt Vulture

PARTING WORDS

"Coming to play golf is not what I would consider to be an essential purpose."

-Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on whether President Trump can visit his property there. The White House denied rumors that Trump planned to visit the course rather than attend President-elect Biden's inauguration.