We did so in 2018 in those midterms and the result was a flip of the House of Representatives from Republican to Democratic while the GOP maintained control of the Senate.
We did so in 2020 in a presidential election (COVID-19 pandemic and all) that ushered Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House and flipped the Senate blue because of Georgia’s two Senate seats.
WNBA players had a big hand in helping flip those seats given one of those seats was held by a now-former Atlanta Dream owner who showed her antagonism toward the Black Lives Matter movement.
Now it is time to head to the polls once again for another midterm election. Democrats are on defense this time as a number of close House and Senate races – including Reverend Raphael Warnock’s in Georgia – could tip either way to determine if Congress stays blue or if at least one of its chambers flips back to red.
There are also a number of tight races for Governor around the country as well – including a second effort by Stacey Abrams (WNBPA Board of Advocates) to win Georgia’s gubernatorial race and a valiant effort by Beto O’Rourke to win that of Texas.
And despite voter suppression efforts in a number of states, we may once again see high turnout for this year’s midterms. Young voters – who do not always show up to the polls for midterms the way they do for presidential elections – did show up in 2018 and played a huge role in Democrats winning the House, but it is up in the air if they will show up again this year.
Here is a look at how WNBA entities are encouraging us to vote in this year’s midterms.
Gateway Center Arena
A large crowd gathers at the Gateway Center Arena in College Park to await a Democratic unity rally headlined by former President Barack Obama. #gapol pic.twitter.com/8X5eBsYNaJ
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) October 28, 2022
Obama: Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say you’re at the airport and you see Mr. Walker and you say “There’s Herschel Walker. Heiman winner. Let’s have him fly the plane” pic.twitter.com/EXVDyvp1NO
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 29, 2022
Hmm…Gateway Center Arena is a familiar venue for WNBA fans as it is the home venue for the Dream. It is only fitting given both Abrams’ and Rev. Warnock’s history with the Dream that former President Barack Obama participated in a rally at the College Park venue aimed at getting Dems “fired up and ready to go” for the Senate incumbent and the gubernatorial hopeful.
Polls have shown Warnock slightly ahead of his challenger – Republican and former Georgia Bulldogs football player Herschel Walker as well as Abrams slightly trailing incumbent Republican governor Brian Kemp. But the Peach State appears to be showing up to the polls in record numbers in its early vote and that may make all the difference in the Governor, Senate and House races.
Back in April, the New York Liberty’s Jocelyn Willoughby spotlighted one of Abrams’ books for her Read What You Sow Book Club. Abrams has also written romance novels under the alias Selena Montgomery.
Join me this WEDNESDAY (04/27) at 6pm ET as Read What You Sow discusses voting rights and @staceyabrams New York Times Bestseller, Our Time is Now! #RWYS
(Zoom link will be emailed to participants) pic.twitter.com/ZXHtPvcBes
— Jocelyn Willoughby (@swishbeast) April 26, 2022
I own my truth. And I’m so thankful for my ability to CHOOSE what was best for MY future. @PPFA thank you for helping a panicked 19 year old who’s source of protection broke. 🙏🏽 https://t.co/QOa4eyXgoP
— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) September 20, 2022
Natasha Cloud may represent the Washington Mystics throughout the Summer and early Fall months of WNBA ball, but we know she eats, sleeps, lives and breathes Philadelphia. And the City of Brotherly Love is once again in the national political spotlight.
Pennsylvania, similar to Georgia, is getting plenty of attention from political pundits for its close Senate and Governor’s races. The gubernatorial race features Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano, but it is the Senate race that has received the lion’s share of attention.
It includes Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz (yeah – the Dr. Oz of Oprah fame). Fetterman has led in most polls, but those polls appear to have tightened with the media (for some reason) putting focus on the Democrat’s physical health.
Cloud mentioned Planned Parenthood in her above tweet. The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade may have been the fire that lit a fuse under the seats of Democrats across the country – and turned what looked like a GOP rout in this year’s midterms to an effort where Dems may at least draw even with Republicans.
The WNBA’s history with Planned Parenthood has been noteworthy over the years with teams such as the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty showing their support for the organization.
It’s #VoteEarlyDay! Voting early ensures that last-minute issues, long lines at the polls and unclear election laws can’t deter YOU from voting. Find out where, when and how to cast your ballot ahead of Election Day at https://t.co/1UnRPGheXq. @AthleteAlly #VoteReady
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) October 28, 2022
If it is one thing one can count on with many a WNBA player it is that they will closely follow politics. Brianna Turner is one of those.
If you’re registered to vote in Texas please do not forget about voting for our future governor on Nov. 8 Early voting is 10/24 – 11/4. Let’s vote Abbott out ✌🏽 #BetoForTexas
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) October 1, 2022
Turner is a native of Pearland, Texas (a suburb of Houston). One can take one look at her Twitter account to see that she is closely following its governor’s race between O’Rourke and incumbent Republican Greg Abbott.
Polls have consistently shown Abbott with a slim lead over O’Rourke but one can expect the Houston area – particularly Harris County and Fort Bend County – to show up big for the Democratic challenger.
As is the case with Cloud, another one of the notables from the Mystics also is hoping for high turnout in this year’s midterms. After all, the DMV is not only a stronghold for Democrats, it is also a heartbeat of Black and Brown voter activity.
Williams recently gave an interview with NBC Sports Washington (which is now under Ted Leonsis’ Monumental Sports and Entertainment umbrella) about the Mystics’ efforts to maximize voter turnout.
Elizabeth Williams speaks with @meghanmcpeak on the @WashMystics initiative to increase VOTING in the DMV! pic.twitter.com/NzsFgwFfAe
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 29, 2022
Virginia has trended blue since Obama first won the state in 2008 in his first and and successful bid for the presidency, but the Commonwealth somehow threw it back to its old GOP days last year when it elected Glenn Youngkin – a Republican – as its governor over Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe was running for his old seat to succeed Democrat Ralph Northam who defeated Team Red’s Ed Gillespie in 2017.
As for Maryland, it appears poised to send a Black member of Team Blue to Annapolis. Polls have shown Wes Moore with a consistent lead over Republican Dan Cox. FiveThirtyEight has Moore as “very likely” to win.
Maryland may be a blue state, but it has been led by a light red Republican in Larry Hogan (also seen as a 2024 presidential hopeful) since 2015.
Total Team Effort
As expected, several teams are also encouraging its aficionados to get to the polls as well – including the Liberty and the Connecticut Sun.
Don’t get caught with the crowd! Make a voting plan ahead of the game with the helpful tools from our friend @RockTheVote ahead of the November 8th election! Head to https://t.co/m4XsHft7KQ and learn how to vote in your state. pic.twitter.com/kSCxZsWard
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) October 17, 2022
No amount of voter suppression can stop us this November! Use @RockTheVote’s helpful tools to check your voter status and encourage friends and family to do the same: https://t.co/NgqTojOfjj | #CTSun pic.twitter.com/B2M63V08Su
— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) September 13, 2022
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Barclays Center – the home court of the Liberty – was one of the many sports arenas around the country that was made available to voters as a polling place to allow for safer voting in the midst of the pandemic.
Both the Liberty and Sun’s home states are in the spotlight nationally primarily for its governor’s races. In New York State, Kathy Hochul succeeded former governor Andrew Cuomo after Andrew Son of Mario stepped down from his post in Albany following his much-ballyhooed sexual harassment transgressions.
Hochul’s opponent for the governorship of New York is Republican Lee Zeldin. While polls have suggested Zeldin has closed the gap against Hochul, per FiveThirtyEight, Hochul has a lead of roughly seven points over Zeldin. Dark blue New York City may prove to be the firewall that saves Hochul in a few days.
As for Connecticut, its governor’s race also appears to be competitive. Democratic incumbent Ned Lamont is leading by roughly 12 points over Republican Robert Stefanowski per FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
Early vote. Vote-By-Mail. Absentee ballots. Election Day.
One week and a few days left to go.