Heard on the Hill

Food on the Line This World Series in Both Chambers

Bets among Gomez, Jackson Lee and Harris, Cruz

Clockwise from top left, Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jimmy Gomez of California, and Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Ted Cruz of Texas are involved in some friendly World Series wagers. (Photos by Bill Clark and Tom Williams, composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

California and Texas lawmakers aren’t just talking smack about their home-state Dodgers and Astros. They’re putting food on the line for the World Series.

California Rep. Jimmy Gomez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, made a bet with fellow Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, whose Houston district includes Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. If the Astros win, Gomez owes Jackson Lee “French Dipped” sandwiches from Philippe’s, a downtown Los Angeles restaurant. If the Dodgers win, Jackson Lee owes Gomez some Texas barbecue.

In the Senate, California Democrat Kamala Harris tweeted at Texas Republican Ted Cruz, challenging him to a bet over lunch.

“When the @Dodgers bring that trophy home to the Golden State, lunch is on you, right?” Harris asked.

Cruz replied that he was “looking forward to enjoying some of CA’s finest food” if the Astros win.

The Dodgers won Game One on Tuesday night, 3-1, and the Astros evened the series with a 7-6, 11-inning win on Wednesday.

Jackson Lee is hopeful for Houston.

“Houstonians are well accustomed to the art of resilience. We take our lumps and bounce back even stronger,” she said in an email. 

Gomez, on the other hand, was thrilled after the Dodgers’ Game 1 win.

“[It] was one of the fastest, most exhilarating victories I have seen in a long time – [pitcher Clayton] Kershaw’s 11 strikeouts and a solid offense brought us home a win,” he said. “Although this was only the first game, the Los Angeles Dodgers have proven to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said in an email. 

Jackson Lee and Gomez spoke Monday on the House floor about their teams. Holding up a copy of the Houston Chronicle, Jackson Lee said, “After the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, so many impacted, our boys of summer brought it home this weekend,” a reference to the Astros’ 4-0 win over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the American League championship series.

She said she was delighted to have a friendly wager on the series with Gomez, whom she called a dear friend.

“I don’t know for how long,” she joked. “I think he represents the Brooklyn, oh, the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

Gomez, a self-described lifelong Dodgers fan, entered Congress in July after winning a special election to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra, who resigned to become California attorney general.

“The Houston Astros are an amazing team. … But the Dodgers are better,” he said. “I know that the Astros stumbled across that finish line to make it to the World Series. I know it’s going to be a hell of a game between the two teams.”

The Dodgers won their National League championship series over the Chicago Cubs in five games.

Aside from the food, the losing member has to deliver a congratulatory statement on the House floor and wear the winning team’s colors to work that day.

Last year, Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin made a World Series wager with fellow Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Illinois Sen. Mark S. Kirk and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman made a similar wager on the Republican side. 

The Chicago Cubs ended up defeating the Cleveland Indians in a seven-game nail-biter, and both Brown and Portman gave their opponents Cleveland-brewed beer.

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