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Tags: candidates | 2016 | Chris Christie | Rand Paul | Silicon Valley

Presidential Hopefuls Woo Silicon Valley Tech Leaders

Monday, 08 December 2014 10:24 AM EST

Presidential hopefuls have set their sights on raising campaign cash from Silicon Valley technology leaders as they lay the groundwork for the White House race.

They are jetting out to northern California at regular intervals to meet with wealthy tech executives at fundraising dinners, company tours and head-to-head sessions as they build their bank balance for the 2016 battle to become the Democratic or GOP nominees, The Hill reported.

"All smart candidates want to associate themselves with the golden goose," said Bruce Mehlman, head of the Technology CEO Council and a partner at the lobby firm Mehlman Castagnetti.

"If you want to be president, you need the nation to believe that you understand what makes the economy tick and you have ideas for driving growth."

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is leading the way when it comes to going after rich donors among the among the Internet tycoons, says the political news website. The libertarian lawmaker, who is expected to announce his candidacy early next year, is even planning to open an office in the San Francisco Bay area.

"With the people who are considered likely to run, I think Rand is pretty far ahead," said Reed Galen, a California-based Republican strategist. "I think he’s put more energy into coming out here and really cultivating relationships. They’ve been pretty savvy on that front."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also expected to sign up for the 2016 race in the coming weeks, may get the support of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who hosted a fundraiser for Christie last year and has pledged $100 million for schools in Newark, according to The Hill.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is also likely to receive the backing of some tech leaders in California because of his focus on education reform, says San Jose State University political science professor Larry Gerston.

"There’s a really wonderful connection that can draw the industry and a national imperative together," Gerston told The Hill. "I would fully expect him to be making moves out here really soon if he jumps in."

Presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is also in line to receive the financial backing of several major Silicon Valley donors, some of whom have already pledged their support.

Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynn, have contributed $50,000 to the pro-Clinton Ready for Hillary super PAC, while Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has said he’ll support the former secretary of state’s campaign if she runs.

Clinton has already visited Silicon Valley several times this year, including trips to the headquarters of Twitter, Facebook, and Google, according to The Hill.

And in February, she plans to give the keynote address at the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women, an event focused on professionals, The Hill said.

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Politics
Presidential hopefuls have set their sights on raising campaign cash from Silicon Valley technology leaders as they lay the groundwork for the White House race.
candidates, 2016, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Silicon Valley
481
2014-24-08
Monday, 08 December 2014 10:24 AM
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