Atlanta Dream co-owner and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) lost her U.S. Senate runoff election to Democrat Raphael Warnock.
Multiple major news outlets called the election in the early hours of Wednesday morning. As of Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. ET, Warnock held a more than 54,000 vote advantage with 98% of the results released.
Loeffler has been in the Senate seat since December 2019, when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her to the U.S. Senate following Republican Johnny Isakson's retirement.
In recent months, Loeffler, who became a co-owner of the Dream in 2011, has been criticized by a number of WNBA players, including from her own team. She owns a 49% stake in the Dream and has previously said she's not involved in the daily operations of the franchise.
More on Sen. Kelly Loeffler vs. the WNBA: Can WNBA Players Take Down a U.S. Senator?
This summer, ahead of the start of the WNBA season, Loeffler wrote a letter to commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the WNBA’s plans to embrace and promote the Black Lives Matter movement. She also introduced a bill that would effectively ban trans girls and women from playing publicly funded sports, potentially affecting thousands of youth, high school and collegiate athletes nationwide.
Since July, numerous WNBA players have pushed for Loeffler to be removed from the league's ownership ranks.
"She’s got to go,” Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud, who took the 2020 season off to focus on social justice efforts, told Sports Illustrated's Julie Kliegman. “It’s very plain and simple.”
Players from around the WNBA endorsed Warnock this past August and wore "Vote Warnock" shirts to games throughout the league's bubble in Bradenton, Fla.
"I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the WNBA players," Rev. Warnock said on Twitter on Aug. 4. "This movement gives us the opportunity to fight for what we believe in, and I stand by all athletes promoting social justice on and off the court."
Warnock was polling at 9% in August when he received the endorsement of the league's players. The Warnock campaign later told the Financial Times that they “raised nearly $300,000 in the 72 hours after the WNBA players wore their T-shirts” and added thousands of new grassroots donors during that same time frame.
"I hope after this election people can understand that we’re stronger when we ban together," Renee Montgomery, a Dream guard who opted out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on social justice efforts, tweeted on Wednesday morning. "Kudos to my fellow WNBA players. Women Empowering Women."
"Shout out to the local organizers in Georgia who made this happen!!!" Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon tweeted. "We know and love Stacey Abrams and she’s the first to give credit to the other peeps who’ve also done the tireless work."
Following the Lakers' victory over the Grizzlies on Tuesday, star forward LeBron James said, "I'm proud of my people for getting out there and doing what they do best, and that's being heard and being seen and being powerful and being engaged." In mid-2020, James helped start "More Than A Vote," a nonprofit that aims to fight Black voter suppression and encourage minority voters across the United States.
"Think I’m gone put together an ownership group for the The Dream. Whose in?" James later tweeted.
Warnock will become the first Black senator in Georgia history and the first Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate in the South. Warnock and Loeffler entered a runoff after no candidate received 50% of the vote in the November general election.
"Good morning - make sure to support our players by watching them play ball at Gateway Arena this summer," the Dream tweeted from their official Twitter account. "They are incredible women on and off the court."