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Friday, April 6, 2012

Peter Magowan, Former Giants President, Among Romney's Top Bay Area Donors

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Peter Magowan gave a lot of money to Barry Zito too.
  • Peter Magowan gave a lot of money to Barry Zito too.

Californians would have loved 2002 Mitt Romney. That guy was the bleeding heart who pushed universal health care in his state; the conservationist who would attack a coal plant by saying "I will not create jobs that kill people!"; a man who signed a Planned Parenthood candidate questionnaire affirming his support for "the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade."

Even if you didn't like him then, it appears that many California Republicans like Mitt Romney now. Just two months from the June 5th primary election, Romney is starting to run away from the pack. Recent polls show him leading Santorum by 20 points in California, which is about a 15-point jump from where he was in February.

After Romney won primaries in Maryland, D.C., and Wisconsin this week, the only question seems to be whether the former Massachusetts governor will be able to accumulate the 1,444 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July. California's 172 delegates -- the most in the contest -- would provide a useful boost.

So would a few bucks from the state's deep-pocketed populace.

According to FEC filings, 10 Bay Area job creators liked him enough (and were rich enough) to write $25,000 checks to Restore Our Future, the super PAC run by Romney advisers. One of those donors was Peter Magowan, former president of the San Francisco Giants.

Magowan -- who, as Giants fans know, isn't afraid to throw around some paper -- gave $25,000 to Restore Our Future in January and $2,500 to the Romney campaign in November. In all, he's contributed $124,600 to Republican causes this election cycle.

At least he didn't give Rick Perry $126 million over seven years.

Other Bay Area locals who chipped in $25,000 to the PAC: Donald Dixon, senior managing director of Palo Alto-based venture capital firm Trident Capital; Tench Coxe, a Palo Alto venture capitalist whom Forbes ranked no. 74 in the magazine's 2007 "Midas List"; and Boyd Smith, a partner at Palo Alto property management company WSJ Properties.

While Magowan is one of the more recognizable figures on the list, he's not among the most generous -- we can call those six people the $100k Club.

Hewlett-Packard CEO-turned-2010 gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman gave Restore $100,000 in January. Howard Leach, former U.S. ambassador to France and head of San Francisco financial firm Leach Capital, donated $100,000, which is about a third of his total contributions to the GOP this cycle.

Jesse Rogers, managing director of Palo Alto-based investment firm Altamont Capital Partners, gave Restore $125,000 -- and so did his wife Melinda.

But the top Bay Area donor to Romney's super PAC was the Wendt Family Trust, which contributed $150,000. Greg Wendt, the presumed man behind the money who resides in the same San Francisco zip code in which the trust is based, is an executive at Capital Group, an investment management organization.

In the scheme of things even this amount is small potatoes. At $150,000, the Wendt Family Trust ranks as Restore Our Future's 56th largest donor.

When it comes to Romney's actual campaign fund, Wells Fargo and its employees stands as the biggest set of Bay Area donors among organizations. Even then, their $163,200 in contributions was far less than that of their banking competitors -- such as Barclay's $221,650, Bank of America's $277,850, CitiGroup's $282,765, JP Morgan Chase's $375,650, and Goldman Sach's $535,680.

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Albert Samaha


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