Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham…Which Candidates Did Owners of Bay Area Sports Teams Support?

Giants Chairman Emeritus Bill Neukom
Giants Chairman Emeritus Bill Neukom at the 2010 World Series parade. Photo by Mike Deekoski/Wikipedia

Tonight the San Francisco Giants will take the field against the Los Angeles Dodgers in what could be a bitter battle for first place in the National League West. Off the diamond, however, some in the teams’ front offices are on the same side – at least when it comes to politics.

Giants Chairman Emeritus Bill Neukom and four members of the Dodgers’ ownership group have made significant donations to the Democratic cause this election cycle, according to information from OpenSecrets.org. A project of the The Center for Responsive Politics, the site allows users to find out more details about political donors. Our colleagues at WNYC have combed through that data in an effort to find out which parties and candidates are supported by sports team owners.

Their work shows that Neukom has donated a total of $27,900 to the Democratic candidates and organizations this election cycle, including $12,900 to the Democratic National Committee and $10,000 t0 the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Meanwhile, Magic Johnson, Todd Boehly, Robert Patton and Mark Walter – all members of the Dodgers’ ownership group – have given a total of $178,200 to the Democrats.

A closer look at the OpenSecrets data also finds owners of Bay Area sports teams on the other side of the political aisle. Peter Magowan, a member of the Giants’ ownership group and the team’s former managing general partner, has donated $61,600 to the Republican National Committee. Magowan also has given $5,000 to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.

Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff, meanwhile, has given $2,500 to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Wolff also is the co-owner of the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team.

Of course, baseball and soccer aren’t the only professional sports played in the Bay Area. Here’s a look at contributions made by owners and players from other local teams:

Football

49ers tight end Vernon Davis was among team’s leaders in yards and touchdowns last season. This year he’s leading the team in political contributions. Davis has given $7,500 to Democratic causes, including $5,000 in donations to the president.

Team owner Jed York gave $3,000 to former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee, a Democrat.

The Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, are either staying out of politics or contributing in other ways. We searched the OpenSecrets data for Raiders employees and team owners Mark and Carol Davis but turned up no records.

Basketball

Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob gave $2,288 to the National Venture Capital Association, a PAC that OpenSecrets says gave 43 percent of its donations to Democratic federal candidates in 2012 and 57 percent to Republicans.

Hockey

San Jose Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison gave $1,000 to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former GOP candidate for president.

Are you a fan of a pro sports team based outside the Bay Area? Check out WNYC’s interactive map of donations by sports team owners from around the country:

  • tcbrekke

    Lew Wolff is stingy even when he’s donating to a candidate who’d let him keep more of his money. Lucky for me, in this case. My brain might explode if he had more money for a losing candidate than a winning team.

    I must note, though, that Lew is also a little stingier with his O’s and more generous with his F’s than Mr. Hill.

    • http://www.kqednews.org/ Ian Hill, KQED News

      In the spirit of giving, we decided to add an O to his name. And subtract an F. (We’ve since corrected the typo.)

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