Almanac

News - January 9, 2013

Election 2012: Locals give $21 million to candidates, PACs

by Dave Boyce

The wallets of donors claiming ZIP codes in the Almanac's circulation area are lighter by $21 million due to donations to 2012 federal candidates and political action committees that supported them, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Menlo Park led with almost $6.5 million, followed by Atherton with around $6 million, Portola Valley with around $5 million and Woodside at just under $4 million.

In notable donations from Menlo Park to PACs, Mercury Trust gave $1.4 million to American Crossroads, which spent $96 million to defeat Democrats, according to the FEC. Donors who each gave $100,000 or more to Republican causes include Meg Whitman and Griff Harsh of Atherton; Richard Boyce, Richard W. Boyce, Dick W. Boyce and Sandy Boyce, all listed with a Portola Valley ZIP code (and no relation to the author of this story); and John Mumford of Portola Valley.

According to FEC records and OpenSecrets.org, the website of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, Vinod Khosla, a Portola Valley venture capitalist, gave $1 million to Priorities USA Action, which spent $66 million to defeat Republicans. Among other local donors giving $100,000 or more to Democratic causes were Marcia L. Goldman, Elizabeth Simons, Chris Kelly and Eric Schmidt of Atherton; Cindy Goldberg and Evan Goldberg of Woodside; and Warren Spieker Jr. of Menlo Park.

The larger sums overall went to candidates for president and U.S. Senate and House seats in California, but FEC records show out-of-state races also attracted significant local support. Those include races by Ohio Republican and Speaker of the House John Boehner and Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, as well as the Massachusetts Senate race, in which Sen. Scott Brown fell to Democratic challenger, consumer champion and banking industry critic Elizabeth Warren.

Two Super PACs, "Obama for America" and "Obama Victory Fund," led with $6.08 million in total individual contributions from local ZIP codes. For Mr. Romney, the Super PACs "Romney for President" and "Romney Victory" received a total of $3.8 million, records show.

The other Republican presidential candidates shared $154,387, in order of amounts received: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Rep. Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, pizza magnate Herman Cain, and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Former candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann received local funding, but for her congressional campaign.

Local donors were generous to committees fundraising for House and Senate races, with Democrats receiving $560,297 and Republicans $352,910. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, received $196,200, while Sen. Diane Feinstein gathered $75,085, FEC records show.

Congressional races

Mr. Boehner received $51,900 from local donors, Mr. Hatch $84,500, and Massachusetts, Sen. Brown received $82,500 to Ms. Warren's $21,065, records show. Others receiving local donations without obvious local ties included Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine; Minnesota Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; and two Florida Republicans: Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Allen West, who was widely reported to have referred to Mr. Obama as a "low-level socialist agitator" and to members of the House Democratic Progressive Caucus as "members of the Communist Party."

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill received $39,400 locally in her successful campaign against Republican Rep. Todd Akin, who was widely criticized for his comments about "legitimate rape" and asserting that in the case of rape, women's bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy.

Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator to be elected in U.S. history, received $10,058 from local donors, records show.

Other heavy recipients: $409,414 for the Republican National Committee; $357,800 for Romney-backing PAC Restore Our Future; $137,086 for Emily's List, which supports Democratic women; and $254,443 for the Democratic National Committee.

If the National Rifle Association were looking for funds in the Almanac's circulation area, they should probably look elsewhere. The NRA's Political Victory Fund received $1,022 from local sources in this election cycle.

Searching the record

• Go to opensecrets.org or fec.gov for information on federal elections,.

• The California Secretary of State's website lists Santa Clara County and some of its cities, and San Francisco city and county, as having finance records online for candidates and ballot measures. San Mateo County is not listed, nor are any of its cities or towns. Records are available at Town/City Halls and at the county Elections Office at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo.

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