David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
Liberal billionaire George Soros joins cell phone magnate and DeMaio backer in giving big to pro-Obama super PAC
On the heels of news that Qualcomm billionaire and La Jolla Democrat Irwin Jacobs has endorsed GOP city councilman Carl DeMaio for mayor comes word that fellow billionaire George Soros has joined Jacobs in backing the pro-Obama "Priorities USA Action" super PAC.
The New York Times today says that Soros has kicked in $1 million to the Priorities PAC, adding that "Mr. Soros will also give an additional $500,000 to two super PACs backing congressional Democrats. Other donors at the lunch were expected to commit between at least $10 million more to Democratic super PACs, suggesting that many — like Mr. Soros — had overcome their aversion to the purely advertising-oriented super PACs."
The wealthy La Jollan also gave $100,000 to American Bridge 21st Century, self-billed as “a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.”
According to the Times, Soros, like Jacobs, is also a major backer of American Bridge, having given $1 million.
In a statement today, Soros lashed out at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, saying he was "appalled by the Romney campaign which is openly soliciting the money of the rich to starve the state of the money it needs to provide social services.”
The alignment between Jacobs and the liberal Soros seems unsurprising, but that can't be said for this morning's announcement that the wealthy local Democrat was backing GOP mayoral candidate DeMaio over Democratic House member Bob Filner.
"I am pleased to support Carl DeMaio to be San Diego's next Mayor," Jacobs said in a statement released by the DeMaio campaign.
"He has impressed me with his intelligence and his command of the issues facing our city and its neighborhoods. His thoughtful innovations will attract businesses, create jobs, and improve our cultural life. Carl will be a worthy successor to Mayor Jerry Sanders."
Though a liberal Democrat in national politics, Jacobs has not exclusively backed the local party.
He was a financial backer of and fundraiser for lame duck mayor Jerry Sanders, and has since been rewarded with a host of favorable actions, including authority for the now infamous Snapdragon stadium renaming gambit and red carpet treatment for Jacobs's controversial road and parking makeover of Balboa Park.
The Jacobs endorsement of DeMaio brings two local media powerhouses together on the same team. Romney backer and GOP Conservative Doug Manchester, publisher of U-T San Diego, has long supported DeMaio.
Jacobs controls no media outlets outright, but is a major donor to the city's biggest non-profit news operations, San Diego State University-run KPBS TV and FM, and the website, Voice of San Diego.
“KPBS is one of the better sources for news and information in our region,” Jacobs said in a statement issued at the time. “Joan and I wanted to do something that would enhance their ability to cover local news.”