Cory Booker has friends in low places - Silicon Valley tech elite are funding his political ambitions

Summary:Old boy networks are very handy, especially if you are looking for a new job...

Emma Green at The Atlantic tried 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 are 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. The New York Times knows the answer: 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 fundraiser for him.

And 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. 

The New York Times also looked at Mr Booker's startup Waywire, which raised quite a lot of funding from Silicon Valley leaders such as Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google.

It has has hardly any traffic, but it "provided jobs for associates of Mr Booker: The son of a top campaign supporter and his social media consultant, who is now on his Senate campaign staff". Plus, he appointed the 15-year-old son of CNN president Jeff Zucker to his advisory board.

Money is a politician's favorite "like" button, and just like a politician, Mr Booker knows how to return a favor, and how to curry more.

Topics: Tech Industry

About

In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to make a living as a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley.Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leadi... Full Bio

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