The tech elite are big fans of California’s newest Senate candidate, Kamala Harris.
The state Attorney General took an unusually candid dive straight into the race, officially announcing her own campaign a week after longtime Senator Barbara Boxer announced her retirement.
Harris doesn’t really need to form the typical exploratory committee to see if she has the political backing: Silicon Valley did that for her in her last race. She’s known to host packed fundraisers at places like Airbnb’s swanky new headquarters in San Francisco’s SoMa district.
According to California political donation tracker Electiontrack (and double checked with Cal-Access) here’s a list of big tech names that have given generously to Harris:
- Sean Parker (Napster, Facebook)
- Marc Benioff (Salesforce)
- Marissa Mayer (Yahoo)
- John and Anne Doerr (Kleiner Perkins)
- Ron Conway (SV Angel)
- Brian Chesky (Airbnb)
- Laurene Powell Jobs (Widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs)
- Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook)
- John Donahoe (eBay)
- David Drummond (Google VP)
- Tony Fadell (Nest)
As Attorney General, Harris hasn’t been very influential on tech’s big issues. Her website mentions a roster of classic liberal hot-button issues — education, equal rights, consumer rights, coastal environmental protections — but says nothing about issues Silicon Valley cares about, like loosening restrictions on highly-skilled immigrants, streamlining the bureaucracy involved in starting a company, or providing more effective protection against foreign cyberattacks directed at stealing corporate secrets.
But Silicon Valley has a history of backing inspiring rising stars who give lots of face time to the industry, even if they don’t have a distinguished record of backing big tech bills (as it did with President Obama and former congressional candidate Ro Khanna).
Harris doesn’t have many competitors in the Democratic party. Her only potential challenger, Lt. Governor and former San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, said on Monday that he isn’t running.
Harris isn’t guaranteed to wrap up the Silicon Valley vote for the upcoming Senate race. There always could be someone who crashes the party who has more respect in the industry. But, for now, it’s looking good for a Silicon Valley favorite.
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