Guardian fundraising analysis reveals wealthy areas fondness for moderate Democrats
The town of Atherton, California has only 7,000 residents, but its home to enough titans of the tech industry to field a polo team: Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, Tim Draper and Marc Andreessen are just some of the Silicon Valley suburbs rich and famous. When the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg decamped from British public life to Facebook public relations, he traded a townhouse in Putney for a $9m estate in the exclusive enclave.
The richest zip code in the United States, Atherton is home to those who know how to bet on the right horse. And yet the presidential candidate of choice in this sanctuary for the 1% is one who has yet to come close to the top of the polls: the New Jersey senator Cory Booker.
Americans who live in the countrys 20 wealthiest zip codes have donated the most to the moderate Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Booker and Joe Biden, a Guardian analysis of presidential campaign finance filings for the first nine months of 2019 found.
The vast majority of the fundraising from the 20 wealthy areas went to Democrats. Residents of these bastions of actual limousine liberals including Westchester, New York, Beverly Hills, and Greenwich, Connecticut have ponied up nearly $880,000 for Senator Harris and nearly $600,000 for Mayor Buttigieg. Booker and the former vice-president Biden raised more than half a million dollars each.
Donald Trump cashed his share of checks, too. The president raised more than $500,000 in total across the 20 locales, and was the top recipient in three: Palm Beach, Florida; Newport Beach, California; and Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump spends significant time at his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach and his golf club in Bedminster.
Meanwhile, the senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are among the frontrunners nationally, have amassed the largest campaign war chests of all the Democratic candidates while refusing to hold high-dollar fundraisers and calling for higher taxes on the wealthy. Their aversion to the rich appears to be reciprocal.
Sanders, who has raised the most of all Democratic candidates this cycle, has received just $59,130.05 from donors in these areas. Warren brought in slightly more than $160,000.
The Guardians analysis does not include every donor because campaigns are not required to report contributions from those who gave less than $200 in total. We used data from the Internal Revenue Service to identify those zip codes with at least 1,000 tax-filing households and the highest average adjusted gross income.