NICK DOUGLAS — There are plenty of reasons for Silicon Valley to lean left. Silicon Valley is just south of San Francisco, home of liberal Congresswoman Nancy "Palomino" Pelosi. Techies are young, idealistic, and progressive. Their votes and their money end up with the Democrats.
But their bosses? Well, not everyone can be as liberal as Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Check out these tech execs who donated to the Republican party — including a certain man in black who decided to "Think Different."
- Michael Dell: $754,100 R, $17,800 D. Dell's founder is the Big Kahuna of GOP donors. He threw $250k at the Republican National Committee in '02.
- Bill Gates: $70,292 R, $55,266 D. Plays both sides of the aisle (and all over the country), with another hundy thou going to political action committees.
- Meg Whitman: $117,101 R, $10,000 D. While eBay founder and progressive philanthropist Pierre Omidyar almost exclusively donates to Democrats, his CEO Whitman does just the opposite.
- Larry Ellison: $103,000 R, $123,200 D. Gave $100k each to Progress For America (established to support Bush's 2004 campaign) and Americans for Peace Through Strength (big on defense spending, down on Kerry).
- Terry Semel: $267,000 R, $242,818 D. At Warner Brothers, Semel donated almost entirely to Democrats until '91. After a whopping $100k soft-money contribution to the RNC in 2000, he joined Yahoo as CEO and has given mostly to Republicans. Is he just leaning right as he ages, or is there less pressure to look like a Democrat now that he's out of Hollywood?
- Steve Ballmer: $61,142 R, $42,450 D. The Microsoft CEO's biggest drop was a $25k contribution to the RNC in '04.
- Eric Schmidt: $6500 R, $219,216 D. The Google CEO seeded plenty of Democrats over the past few years, but he tossed cash at a few Republicans including Senator Orrin Hatch and Bush.
- Michael Arrington: $1000 R. The TechCrunch blog founder gave to Tom Campbell's Senate campaign in 2000 Since then? Nuffin'.
- Jerry Yang: $ 28,000 R, $123,441 D. This past year, the Yahoo co-founder donated $75k to the Dem Congressional Campaign Committee and $20k to the GOP. In '03 had a $2k gift for President Bush.
- Steve Jobs: $1000 R, $254,700 D. Donated to one Republican in 1982: Pete McCloskey, an anti-war Nixon opponent in the Republican presidential primaries. McCloskey later endorsed Kerry against Bush.