One of the owners of the Atlanta Dream could be on her way to Washington. No, we aren’t talking about her assuming a similar role within Monumental Sports with the Mystics, we’re talking Washington Washington.
As in Capitol Hill. As in the United States Congress.
Even though Georgia is becoming an increasingly purple state with its dark blue nucleus being Atlanta and its rapidly expanding metro area, the Peach State still remains with two Republican senators.
One of those senators is David Perdue and the other is Johnny Isakson, Georgia’s senior senator. Isakson is retiring at the close of the year due to health reasons, creating an opening for that seat, meaning that both of Georgia’s senate seats will be up for grabs in next year’s election.
Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, accepted applications to fill Isakson’s seat. One of those applications happened to come from Kelly Loeffler, co-owner of the Atlanta Dream – and favorite of the governor.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained Loeffler’s letter. Here are some excerpts.
From working on the family to creating jobs and opportunity in the business world, I have been blessed to live the American Dream. I am offering myself to serve hardworking Georgians as a political outsider in the United States Senate to protect that dream for everyone.
I will champion our farmers and Georgia’s oldest and largest industry – agriculture. I will protect our military installations and the communities they support. Most importantly, I will be a steadfast partner with you to put hardworking Georgians – not the status quo or the special interests – first.
Governor, thank you for your service and all you are doing to keep our state safe and strong. I humbly ask for the opportunity to serve and build on the efforts to move our great state and country forward.
While Loeffler’s letter indicated she would support the *president’s* agenda, allies of his are not so sure. Reports out of Georgia have indicated Kemp wants to appoint Loeffler to fill Isakson’s seat, but those to Kemp’s right – including the *president* would prefer he tap Rep. Doug Collins to that seat instead of Loeffler.
Collins has been one of the president’s most ardent defenders with his loyalty to him on full display throughout the impeachment trial following the Ukraine/Joe Biden revelations. Collins represents Georgia’s ninth congressional district – virtually all of the northeastern part of the state extending into Gainesville and north Athens-Clarke County.
Collins’ allies are slamming Loeffler for her WNBA connections to Planned Parenthood (which in WNBA circles has done work with teams such as the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty) and Stacey Abrams (who was instrumental in the establishment of the Atlanta Dream).
Loeffler is a well-known name in the WNBA – and in Republican circles. She donated $750,000 to a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, one that Romney lost to Barack Obama 332-206, but Romney won Georgia (and its 16 electoral votes) 53-45.
When another now former Georgia senator, Saxby Chambliss, announced his retirement prior to the 2014 midterm elections, Loeffler’s name was also thrown out as a potential suitor, but Loeffler punted on a 2014 run.
Politico reported that she did an interview with a Georgia political website (called zpolitics) where she mentioned the talk of a Senate run that year was running concurrent with her company, Intercontinental Exchange (an owner of exchanges for finance and commodities) merging with the New York Stock Exchange.
Loeffler is CEO of Bakkt – an Intercontinental Exchange subsidiary.
Kemp’s decision must be in by December 31 on who will fill the seat prior to next year’s election. Other suitors for the seat, according to reports, include the son of former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman and Georgia state senator Michael “Doc” Rhett of Marietta.
The obvious question WNBA fans should ask once again pertains to the Dream’s long-term future. Even though Atlanta will play its home games at the Gateway Center Arena in College Park next season, questions have been abound about the franchise given its attendance struggles.
The team also struggled on the court last season without Angel McCoughtry, finishing with an 8-26 record – last in the WNBA a year after the Dream were one win shy (and perhaps a healthy McCoughtry) of facing the Storm in the Finals. And with would-be WNBA owners in markets such as the San Francisco Bay Area lurking, those questions will only be more frequent.