Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Friends In Low Places: Cory Booker's Old Boy Silicon Valley Network Funds His Politics

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 15, 2013

CoryBooker

Newark mayor Cory Booker is running for Senate. credit: Karsten Moran - New York Times.

Emma Green at The Atlantic tries to answer this question: What does Silicon Valley get from backing Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker? There's been a huge amount of money headed his way.

Eric Schmidt, Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman, Sean Parker, and more. Some of them backed his 2011 startup, Waywire. Others raised nearly $700 million for his bid in the race for New Jersey's open senate seat, the primary for which Booker won on Tuesday. One donated straight to Newark: In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to improve the city's schools.

There's also "notables like Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer and Instagram's Kevin Systrom."

Why have they all given money to Mr. Booker? Here's The Atlantic's disappointing answer : He uses social media.

With 1.4 million followers on Twitter and more than 30,000 tweets, Booker is definitely big user of social media… But Booker doesn't just engage with social media; he preaches it as a way to fix the problems in politics.

Give me a break. That's not why he has so much support from Silicon Valley.

The New York Times did a far better job: Tech Magnates Bet on Booker and His Future

A graduate of Stanford, Mr. Booker has nurtured close ties to Silicon Valley: he amassed more than $400,000 in campaign contributions from tech executives and employees for his 2010 mayoral re-election and nearly $700,000 this year for his Senate bid, an analysis of state and federal campaign finance records shows. This spring, the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, and the power couple Marc Andreessen and Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen held a fund-raiser for him.

The real reason he has so many Silicon Valley friends? He is viewed "as a future national contender."

The New York Times reported:

The bonds between Mr. Booker and the tech industry are likely to be fruitful. The industry, which is seeking to expand its influence in Washington, can use more friends in Congress.

It's not because he uses Twitter. 

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