Attorney Joe Cotchett looks at a photo in his office in Burlingame, Calif., Thursday, May 3, 2007, showing himself, left, with Al Gore during a fund raising event in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1996. Cotchett is raising money for John Edwards. "The candidate of Silicon Valley is Al Gore," Cotchett said, "but he's not running."
AP Photo / Paul Sakuma
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Even with 18 presidential candidates to choose from, it is Al Gore who draws the allegiance of many high-tech elite.
Since losing the 2000 election, Gore has become an environmental crusader and technology insider. He is on Apple's board of directors, advises Google and has his own startup. The former vice president, who insists he is not running again for the White House in 2008, has close ties to some of the biggest names in the technology industry.
He is one reason that enthusiasm and fund raising in Silicon Valley for any of the current candidates has been noticeably muted even though candidates such as Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois have come courting. Hopes for a Gore candidacy are not limited to California's high-tech and film set. Across the country, some Gore fund-raisers from his 2000 race are staying out of the 2008 campaign or are prepared to switch from a current hopeful to Gore should he decide to run. The no-clear-favorite perspective in the technology industry was borne out by the current candidates' fund raising. Although Clinton came in first, Obama was a close second.
Joe Cotchett, a lawyer with Silicon Valley ties who is raising money for John Edwards, said tech leaders are uncertain. "The candidate of Silicon Valley is Al Gore," he said. "But he's not running." Silicon Valley tends to be libertarian. Its inhabitants traditionally have shied from politics — and political giving.