Mitt Romney gains late traction among tech-industry donors

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2012 8:05 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney steps off his charter plane as he arrives in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, for campaign fundraising events. Romney is making headway among political donors with ties to places like Facebook.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

President Barack Obama may be the one campaigning Monday in Silicon Valley, California — the unofficial capital of America's technology industry — but Mitt Romney is the presidential candidate with surging popularity among tech-sector donors, according to an article in Monday's New York Times.

"Mr. Romney and the Republicans have made visible inroads (in Silicone Valley)," Somini Sengupta wrote for the Times. "By the end of August, Mr. Romney had … tapped the pocketbooks of a few former Obama donors. One is Marc Andreessen, a prominent venture capitalist and Facebook investor who … went on to back Mr. Obama in 2008 with a $4,600 contribution. This year, he put in more than $100,000 for Mr. Romney."

The Times article reported that Obama, the Democratic Party and their affiliated super PACs lead the equivalent Team Romney contingent in overall tech-industry fundraising, $13 million to $8.9 million. But because of the consensus perception that the technology sector leans left politically, Sengupta nonetheless declared, "Republicans have been surprisingly adept at fundraising from the technology industry"; and also, "Republicans have been particularly successful at tapping Silicon Valley billionaires for related super PACs."

In terms of overall presidential fundraising, Bloomberg News reported Sunday, "Obama's campaign, working to recover from his lackluster performance against Romney at the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 in Denver, said (Saturday) the president and allied Democratic Party committees raised $181 million in September, the largest monthly total in his re-election effort."

As for the state of the Romney campaign coffers, the Monday edition of the Wall Street Journal reported, "Mr. Romney's campaign hasn't yet released its September fundraising total. In August, the Obama campaign and its affiliates took in $114 million, while the Romney campaign and affiliated party committees collected $111 million. Those were monthly records for each campaign."

Before heading to Silicone Valley on Monday, Obama spent all of Sunday fundraising in Southern California at a series of events headlined by celebrities like Bill Clinton, George Clooney, Jon Bon Jovi and Wolfgang Puck that was expected to raise several million dollars.

"After trailing Romney in the money race for most of the summer, Obama is back on top and pulling out all the stops to keep it that way," the Associated Press reported Sunday evening. "In what will be his final fundraising trip our West this election, Obama is enlisting his celebrity pals … to donate to his campaign and encourage their fans to do the same."

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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