49ers pick sides in close Santa Clara mayoral race

The Bay Area has several races that are too close to call and among them is for mayor of Santa Clara.

The San Francisco 49ers have been active in supporting and opposing the two main candidates in the matchup.

By Wednesday evening, just 166 votes separated the two candidates for mayor in the city, which is the home of Levi’s Stadium.

SEE ALSO: Tight race to become next Santa Clara County sheriff

It has been a rough road between the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara, so the team’s ownership has put plenty of money into this race.

Current Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, and some members of the city council, have been at odds with the 49ers since Levi’s Stadium opened in back 2014.

Disputes over revenues, weekday event curfews, accounting practices, and the non-football uses of the stadium have generated plenty of bad blood between the team and the city.

In 2019, Mayor Gillmor held a news conference to announce the city was terminating its agreement with the 49ers to operate the stadium.

"It's clear the 49ers performance off the field is terrible.  That's why we can't continue to let them manage or mismanage our stadium," Gillmor said at that time.

That lawsuit was just recently settled with the team and the city agreeing to move forward with the 49ers remaining as stadium managers.

The 49ers have been active in city elections this year.

According to campaign finance reports filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission, a group called "Frustrated Santa Clarans Opposing Gillmor for Mayor" has spent over $1 million opposing her candidacy.

The group lists the 49ers, and its ownership, as the main backers.

On the flip side the team has been supporting current city council member, and mayoral candidate Anthony Becker.

A group called "Santa Clara Community Leaders Supporting Anthony Becker for Mayor," again listing the 49ers as the main backer of the group, has made contributions of over $1.2 million to help Becker’s campaign.

The 49ers are also supporting incumbent council members Karen Hardy and Raj Chahal, who are both currently ahead in their respective races.

Neither of the mayoral candidates nor the 49ers responded to KTVU’s requests for comment on Wednesday as all sides wait for additional election results.