Georgia election results could reshape Kamala Harris’s vice presidency

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
[email protected]

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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