Silicon Valley’s mixed bag from the midterm elections

We know how the Democrats did in the midterm elections, but what do the results mean for the tech industry?

With votes still being counted, tech-backed Ro Khanna appears to be losing his race against Rep. Mike Honda. Both Democrats, they fought over a newly drawn congressional district.

On the plus side for tech, with the GOP taking over the U.S. Senate, patent reform efforts received new life, as Mike Allen of Politico noted this morning.

On the negative side: Tech is losing a key ally in Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, whose Senate seat went to Cory Gardner, a Republican congressman. Udall pushed for NSA surveillance reforms and would talk tough with the intelligence agencies, calling for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan over reports that the agency was snooping on Senate files, as Ars Technica reported. Udall also supported immigration reform. 

Up in the air: The fate of comprehensive immigration reform and tech’s interests in the issue. It may all depend what President Barack Obama does with an expected executive order on the issue before the end of the year. Bloomberg View‘s Albert Hunt says the GOP, eager to win over the growing Latino electorate, may have an incentive to pass a bill.

And there will have to be some making up to do. The Fred Upton race is an example of the tech industry not moving in lockstep. Or, one hand doesn’t know what the other one is doing.

Tech leaders like Sean Parker, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel threw their support behind Larry Lessig’s MayDay PAC, which focused on candidates who support campaign finance reform. But five out of seven candidates the PAC backed lost, as Recode noted.

Chief among those losses was MayDay’s effort to unseat Rep. Upton, R-Michigan, from securing his 15th term in office. But Upton was the chief recipient of campaign contributions from Google’s NetPAC, as the New Yorker reported. He supported immigration reform.

Upton will keep his position as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, an important committee, which oversees Internet, telecommunications, interstate and foreign commerce and media. 

 

Above: The Capitol building. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

 

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