WASHINGTON -- Silicon Valley has supported President Barack Obama with huge contributions to the super PAC backing his reelection in the final month before the election.
Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting Obama, raised $13 million in the first half of October, according to a report filed on Thursday. That included three $1 million checks from first-time donors from Silicon Valley, including Zynga's Mark Pincus, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, and LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman.
The super PAC also pulled in $1 million checks from some usual suspects, including hedge fund billionaire George Soros and the International Union of Allied Painters and Allied Trades. Sidney Kimmel, the chairman of Jones Apparel Group, which owns brands Nine West, Dockers and Easy Spirit, among others, also gave $1 million.
The pro-Obama super PAC had trouble raising money early on in the election, particularly among mega-donors. In January, the group raised less than $100,000 -- a pathetic amount for super PACs, which raise the majority of their money from six-figure or higher donors.
That changed in recent months after an effort by Priorities USA Action chairman Bill Burton and others to get pro-Obama donors to contribute. The $1 million contribution from the previously reticent Soros can be seen as the fruit of their efforts.
Priorities USA Action has raised more than half of its full election total of $63.9 million since the beginning of August. The group had $10.8 million cash on hand heading into the final three weeks of the election.
Despite this fundraising push, the group still trails the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future in total money raised. The pro-Romney group has pulled in $127 million for the election, twice as much as the pro-Obama super PAC.
Still, Burton has consistently said that the Priorities ads have been far more effective. In a memo the group released, it noted that its survey of political ad viewers found one ad, called "Stage," stood out. The memo said about an Ohio focus group: "Participants were able to describe it in detail and recall the emotional impact it had on them, despite the fact that it had not run in that market for over six weeks."
The ad featured a worker telling a story of how he and his coworkers were told to build a stage that would eventually be used by company executives to announce the closure of the plant, which was part of a downsizing plan implemented after Romney's Bain Capital took over the company.
The super PAC is now planning to give this ad a second run in Ohio and other key swing states during the campaign home stretch.
Another ad set to air in swing states including Ohio also features workers whose jobs were eliminated after Romney's Bain Capital took over the companies they worked for.
One man, named Donnie, says in the ad, "This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned it into a junkyard."
This ad is airing beyond Ohio, in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin.