Jul 22, 2015 ยท 3 minutes

It seems you can’t walk down the street in Silicon Valley today without running into a presidential candidate.

Hillary, Jeb!, Rand -- they’ve all made their pilgrimage to beg for tech cash, and already we’ve seen our first attempt at policy pandering, prompting some publications to only slightly prematurely describe 2016 as the Uber election.

I’ve just spent the past couple of hours scanning through the most recent FEC campaign finance report data (up to July 2015) to try to figure out where all the tech money is coming from and going to. The answer: Right now, it’s coming from almost nowhere and going to almost no one.

The FEC disclosures tell us a few things about campaign contributors including who they are, where they live and where they work. “Silicon Valley” is geographically difficult to define today but even if you look at the entire state of California, the fundraising by the various presidential campaigns has barely got started. Of the candidates who have made a determined effort to raise cash in California, Hillary Clinton has been by far the most successful, raising a little over $8m from individual donors in the state. Jeb! Bush trails way behind with just $760k in Californian donations, followed by Carly Fiorina ($407k) and Rand Paul ($265k).

Even if they combined all of the contributions by all of the tech workers in all of California, no “tech candidate” is getting anywhere close to the White House.

Of all the tech workers, Google executives and employees have been most generous -- donating around $60k. Of that, $57.5k went to Hillary Clinton. According to the July numbers, not a dime has gone to Jeb! Bush from Google employees.

Clinton’s campaign is the big tech money recipient across the board, especially when it comes to startups. Bush’s largest support from tech workers came from employees and executives of Palo Alto Networks, who have contributed a little over $8k to his campaign. By contrast, Clinton has received more than that from employees and executives of Verizon ($15.7k), Twitter ($11.7k), Sony ($10.8k) and Salesforce ($9.3k).

Scrolling down a few lines, Clinton saw smaller donations from employees and executives of Tumblr, Facebook, Union Square Ventures, Yelp, Zynga, Tesla, Solar City, Space X, Honest Company, Pandora, Snapchat, Paypal… and even $500 from someone who works at Smugmug.

Bush’s contributions came from a much smaller pool of tech companies, trending much more towards older, fustier players: Amazon, Blackberry, HP.

Ah, yes, HP. You might think that Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign would have that company on lock. And, yes, HP employees and executives are Fiorina’s biggest tech donors.  And yet, the total received from HP employees by Carly For President in the July report is… $5.9k. That’s just sad. It’s also just $300 more than Jeb! has received from the company’s workers.

It’s in Rand Paul’s disclosures that, for me, the biggest surprises are found. Paul, son of Ron Paul, is the darling of American libertarians and, given tech’s love of libertarianism, you might expect him to be drowning in tech cash. Perhaps all those Paul supporting libertarians have all their money tied up in bitcoin or gold bars because, as of July, the biggest contribution to his campaign came from workers at a company called Net2Valut ($5.4k). You have to scroll right down his list of contributors to find $2950 from workers at Facebook and a little over $2k from Amazon.

And yet, the biggest takeaway from the July numbers is how much money is still up for grabs. Peter Thiel, who previously  backed Rand Paul’s dad, hasn’t yet donated to any of the campaigns. Mark Zuckerberg is still to write a check. None of the heads of any of the major sharing economy companies -- Travis Kalanick, John Zimmer, Brian Chesky -- has stumped up. Nor has Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Dick Costolo or Marissa Mayer.

Oh, and as for this being the Uber election: As of July not one single Uber employee had contributed one single dime to any of the major campaigns. 

It looks like the candidates aren’t coming to Silicon Valley because tech workers are writing checks, they’re visiting the Valley in the hope they might actually start.