Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders out-raised Hillary Clinton in Silicon Valley in the last three months of 2015, despite the fact that Sanders has only campaigned in the area three times and his last visit was back in August of 2015, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Valley is an area where Clinton has regularly campaigned.
From October to December 2015, Sanders raised just over $105,000 from employees at the five largest tech firms in the area. That’s almost $10,000 more than Clinton raised in the same period, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
What’s interesting about the level of funds raised, notes the Journal, is that Clinton’s fundraising among Silicon Valley companies has remained steady throughout 2015, while Sanders has only recently experienced a surge in fundraising in the area. This means Sanders is now "turning out donors there who were not previously making political contributions," notes the WSJ.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has said that almost half of the top 20 employers donating to Sanders’s campaign last year were technology companies, including Google, Apple, and Microsoft. The Journal notes, however, that most donations to the Sanders campaign from Silicon Valley are from smaller contributions by individuals and not large sums by top Silicon Valley leaders. It reports that fewer than 150 donors gave the maximum $2,700 limit to Sanders in the last quarter of 2015.
Sanders's message about income inequality—an issue that especially strikes a chord in the Bay area, which has seen increased tension between wealthier tech workers and poorer residents—has attracted a surge of supporters, claims Michael Briggs, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign.
"That’s something that people there are very well aware of," Briggs told the WSJ. "It makes sense that it would be part of the reason that people are drawn to Bernie’s message."
Though residents of the Valley seem to be throwing money at Sanders and Clinton, both Democratic contenders for the presidency, the largely liberal region actually gives more money to Republican candidates than you'd expect, according to FEC data compiled by Bloomberg. While the overwhelming majority of donations from employees at Google, Facebook, and Apple went to Democrats, employees at companies including Oracle, Cisco, Yahoo, and Intel gave a majority of their donations to Republican candidates.
Yet despite the partisan divide, the Journal notes that Sanders's increased fundraising in the area could prove critical to keeping his campaign coffers full in the months ahead as it becomes an increasingly close raise between Clinton and him.