San Francisco plays kingmaker

Only five cities in the U.S. contributed more money than San Francisco to national political campaigns in 2008 with Pacific Heights the largest treasure trove of political money.

The 94115 ZIP code, which also includes Japantown and the Western Addition, has donated $2,818,112 to national races so far in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The fundraising in Pacific Heights has already outpaced money collected within the ZIP code for the last presidential election. Donors in the ZIP code have contributed 75 times the amount of the average ZIP code.
Fundraising for national elections in the new millennium has also become a priority for neighborhoods that weren’t as politically active in the 1990s. The 94110 ZIP code, which includes the Mission district and Bernal Heights, raised almost $700,000 in 2004 and has already raised about $600,000 for the 2008 election. In 2000, the year George W. Bush was elected, that amount was $170,900.

The most recent campaign finance numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics, an open-government think tank, also show that the Financial District, 94104, is the only ZIP code that has seen a large decrease in political contributions over the last decade.
With the loss of major corporate headquarters such as Chevron and Bank of America, big businesses in the Financial District have donated almost $1 million less than 10 years ago. So far in 2008, donors in the ZIP code have raised about $1.3 million.

Both presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who held a fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel last month, and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, who is scheduled to have his own fundraiser at the hotel Sunday, have made visiting San Francisco a priority.

Obama raised over $9 million in The City while McCain has pulled in more than $2.1 million. Sen. Hillary Clinton raised more than $5 million in San Francisco for her presidential bid.

The least financially politically active ZIP code in San Francisco is 94134, which includes Visitacion Valley. Donors have contributed $25,871 to national campaigns in 2008, an amount, however, that is already outpacing the funds raised during the 2004 election.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

My Story

I wouldn’t give any candidate anything. They have way too much money to run campaigns.”

Krystle Struthers, 25, Oakland,food service worker

“They should be using it for kids and schools instead. That’s where the money needs to be donated.”

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