Candidates look for support in the Valley

June 3, 2015

Aaron Levie, co-founder and chief executive of Box, speaks during Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Silicon Valley is the final funding frontier for political campaigns. There has always been political support coming out of the tech sector’s billions in private wealth, but with the big companies of today – Twitter, Facebook, Airbnb – employing hundreds of wealthy voters under 30, it is an ever new landscape for candidates to navigate.

Reuters’ Sarah McBride reports that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has made friends with one of those wealthy young tech millionaires in the Valley. Aaron Levie, who started the cloud-services company Box and has built it into a public company worth around $2 billion, has agreed to host a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.

“There’s more intersection between the technology industry and policy than ever before,” said Levie, whose trademark mad-scientist hair showed signs of gray, countered by youthful bright orange sneakers. He said he was backing Clinton because Democrats’ social policies, for example on marriage equality, resonated more with him than Republican ones.

McBride writes:

Many in Silicon Valley gravitate toward Democrats, because the party is seen as more in sync with the tech community on social issues such as gay marriage. But Republican 2016 hopefuls such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul are trying to woo the technorati on economic and regulatory issues. A packed room of start-up workers at his San Francisco office opening last month suggested he may be having some success.

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