The old axiom is true: politics does make strange bedfellows. While Silicon Valley is not exactly known for being a very conservative place, one of the area's biggest stars is about to attach himself to one of the rising stars of the Republican party.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to hold a fundraiser for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook has confirmed to VatorNews.
The event will take place at the Palo Alto home of Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan on February 13. Donations will be a maximum of $3,800, as that is the legal limit under New Jersey law.
That Zuckerberg would get into New Jersey politics is not very surprising. The Facebook founder has a long relationship with New Jersey, and with Christie, beginning In 2010, when Zuckerberg founded the Startup: Education foundation in Newark, New Jersey, and personally donated $100 million to the Newark public school system.
Since then, Zuckerberg has been working alongside Christie, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, to help sign the most progressive teachers contract in our country, open four new district high schools, 11 new charter schools and more.
"Mark and Priscilla have worked closely with Governor Christie on education reform in the Newark school system," Sarah Feinberg, a spokesperson for Facebook, told VatorNews. "They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark's schoolchildren. Mark and Priscilla are happy to host him at their home to support his reelection."
Putting their relationship, and their shared passion over eduation reform, aside, is still a bit surprising that a Silicon Valley pioneer would host a Republican, given how liberal the area is.
To put it into perspective, in this last presidential election, a total of 3,299 Silicon Valley employees gave $2,462,038 to Barack Obama's reelection campaign. In contrast, only 528 Silicon Valley employees gave Mitt Romney a total of $357,438.
While campaign contribution laws limit individual contributions to $2,500 per election to a federal candidate, the primary and general election are considered separate elections, so that money can be donated twice, meaning that $5,000 is the highest amount that can be given.
All but three of Silicon Valley's top business leaders gave the full amount to Obama, including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer; John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures; angel investor Ron Conway; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings; Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk; Google co-founder Sergey Brin; LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman; Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg; and Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
The only ones to donate to Romney were venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who gave $2,500 to Romney; Intel CEO Paul Otellini and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who both gave $5,000.
So, as you can see, Silicon Valley seems to heavily favor Democrats. If there is a conservative that you'd expect the Valley to love, though, it would be Chris Christie, a man who has no trouble speaking his mind, even if it means going up against his own party.
Christie has recently become pretty famous, and very popular, for calling out his own party, whether it be for House Republicans delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief or calling out the National Rifle Association for an ad that featured President Obama's children.
If there is one thing that Silicon Valley is known for it is rebelious people who think outside the box and are not afraid to speak their minds. That seems to be Christie in a nutshell.
"Mark and Priscilla expressed interest in supporting the governor for reelection, and he's gratified to have their help," Mike DuHaime, the governor’s campaign strategist told Buzzfeed. "This illustrates that Governor Christie's sincere efforts to improve education where it is so badly needed have not gone unnoticed. Education is an issue Gov. Christie cares deeply and passionately about, even though fighting for education reform has not always been politically popular or easy."
(Image source: http://www.forbes.com)