No Super Bowl bet between Newsom and Missouri governor. Instead, a poke at DeSantis

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks on the field before an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, December 12. 29, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(Ted S. Warren/AP)

No Super Bowl bet between Newsom and Missouri governor. Instead, a poke at DeSantis

California Politics, Super Bowl

Taryn Luna

February 9, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom flew to Las Vegas on Friday to cheer on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs and

used the game as an opportunity

to deliver a subtle jab at Florida’s governor. Ron DeSantis.

Although Newsom has made friendly bets with opposing team state governors in the past, this year he and Missouri

‘s Republican

Gov. Mike Parson is teaming up to support a good cause. The couple plans to sign Super Bowl merchandise and memorabilia and donate it to the Special Olympics, Newsom’s office said.

Newsom’s charity is an attack on DeSantis, Newsom’s political rival. Newsom often accuses DeSantis of being a bully and has publicly criticized the


Florida governors are trying to prevent the Special Olympics from requiring vaccination mandates for at-risk athletes during the pandemic. Newsom said his own late mother worked with the Special Olympics.

The governor’s office announced Newsom’s departure in a

press news

release full of puns, in which he said he would “soon land in Nevada to usher in another Super Bowl.” R&B artist Usher will headline the half

time show and Brock Purdy is the quarterback for the 49ers.

Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, predicted his hometown team will emerge victorious on Sunday after losing to the Chiefs on the big stage in 2020. That year, Newsom and Parson exchanged gifts.

Erin Mellon, a spokesperson for Newsom, said the governor secured his ticket through friends he is attending the game with, but did not name names. California places a limit on the value of gifts given to state and local officials from certain sources, although exceptions apply for family and in some cases friends.

Newsom attended the NFC championship game in Santa Clara last month, where he was photographed talking to legendary 49ers receiver Jerry Rice on the sidelines as the team defeated the Detroit Lions in a 34-31 nail-biter.

This time, Taylor Swift tops the list of celebrities expected in the stands or suites. Newsom defended Swift and her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, in an MSNBC interview that aired over the weekend, calling the GOP criticism sad and pathetic.

“Republicans who look down on Taylor Swift do so at their peril,” Newsom told Jonathan Capehart. “What


is her sin? What is her sin? She wants more people to vote.”

Kelce, who has appeared in Pfizer ads encouraging Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and Swift, who endorsed Joe Biden in 2020 and often encourages her fans to register to vote, have become targets of criticism of Donald Trump loyalists and the subject of a series of unproven and bizarre claims in the run-up to the presidential election.

The conspiracy theories have even prompted some conservatives to advocate for San Francisco, despite the fact that the city is commonly vilified as a corrosive emblem of progressivism run amok.

It is unclear whether Trump wants to go to the game. President


Biden declined an interview with CBS News that aired before the Super Bowl and Trump said he would “love to replace him.” Biden will not attend.

Newsom’s presence at NFL games has caused controversy before. He and former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were photographed without face masks during a 2022 NFC championship game between the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

Now that American society has largely returned to pre-pandemic behavior, that shouldn’t be a problem in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Staff writer Noah Bierman contributed to this report.


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