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NBC Sports sideline reporter Michele Tafoya immediately jumped into Minnesota GOP politics following Sunday night’s Super Bowl LVI, ditching the network to become co-chairwoman for Republican Kendall Qualls’ gubernatorial bid.
During an exclusive interview with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Tafoya revealed her plans to join Qualls’ team to help Republicans reclaim control in Minnesota after the disastrous policies and stances of state Attorney General Keith Ellison, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Governor Tim Walz… all progressive Democrats.
“This is all my decision,” she said during the interview. “Everyone at NBC will back me up on that. They have always told me I can stay as long as I want. For me, I have to make my move while I’ve still got the energy to do other things and have an impact. I don’t want to wait.”
“I got to a point in my life where I wanted to try other things, and there are some things that are really important to me,” Tafoya stated. “This is not to say that sports isn’t an important field, that my job isn’t an important job. But in my position, I was not as free to be as vocal about world events that I’m concerned about. It’s not because I was told to shut up. I want to be very clear about that. But look, if you’re on a show like Sunday Night Football, which is the No. 1 show in prime time for 11 straight years, unprecedented, the last thing they want to do is invite controversy.”
“I’ll say this — I’ve been asked multiple times to run for office in Minnesota,” she commented. “But I just don’t know yet. Not at the moment. I will say not at the moment. A lot will depend on what transpires here over the next year.”
🚨 BIG Announcement 🚨 Sports broadcaster Michele Tafoya will be joining my campaign as co-chairwoman! I’m excited to work with Michele & hope you’ll join us as we focus on saving Minnesota https://t.co/3gBUoJF9yv
— Kendall for Governor (@KQforMN) February 14, 2022
As she exits NFL sideline reporting, veteran NBC broadcaster Michele Tafoya is jumping deeper into Minnesota politics. #mngov candidate @KQforMN announced her this morning as his campaign co-chair.
Already rumblings she'll run for something in coming years. pic.twitter.com/MWIPBIbv0j
— Brian Bakst (@Stowydad) February 14, 2022
Qualls is an Army veteran and a businessman. He announced his candidacy for governor in January.
“I have been fortunate to get to know Michele on a deeper level and appreciate her taking time from her busy schedule to help our campaign lead Minnesota in the right direction. I’m confident with her reach we’ll be able to connect with people across the state to ensure that all Minnesotans feel as if their needs are being heard. Together, we’re going to win, and then we’re going to tackle the war on crime, improve test scores and address the racial disparities in our schools, and lower taxes,” the Republican candidate asserted in an announcement welcoming Tafoya to his campaign team.
“After taking a step back from the sports broadcasting world, I’m honored that my next phase involves supporting Kendall in his run for Governor of Minnesota. Kendall has a clear message that resonates with the issues Minnesotans are facing under the current administration. He’s smart and with his background and work ethic, I’m positive that he’s exactly what Minnesota needs in its next governor,” Tafoya also said in the announcement.
Thank you, Michele Tafoya, for being the gold standard in our industry, man or woman.
You may be stepping away from the sideline, but you have opened the door for so many, and shown all of us how to do it right. No gimmicks. Sheer intellect, passion and integrity. Always. 🙏
— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) February 14, 2022
Besides taking the position of co-chairwoman with Qualls’ campaign, Tafoya will appear more frequently on political talk shows. She will also attend the Conservative Political Action Conference later in February. This week, Tafoya is scheduled to appear on former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s podcast and the Fox News late-night show hosted by Greg Gutfeld, according to The Daily Beast.
Before Tafoya announced that this would be her final NFL season with NBC, she sat in the conservative chair of “The View” for two episodes. Leftists roundly criticized her for comments on COVID and former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick.
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