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One San Francisco ZIP Code Outspends Nearly Entire Country on Elections

Four years ago we didn't even crack the top 50

Although you wouldn’t know it from our state’s final lap primary date, San Francisco’s political clout has gone way up. So much so that a single downtown San Francisco ZIP code has become the number three source of political contributions in the entire country, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Overall, San Francisco has been the fifth biggest spender for the 2016 election, paying out $85.5 million. Four years ago we were only ninth nationwide with a total of $99 million for that entire election, a number we’re set to surpass with five more months of campaigning ahead. We've already left 2008's $76 million total in the dust.

The biggest chunk of it comes from just one place—the 94104 ZIP code, which covers only 15 blocks of Belden Place and the Financial District. It is the third biggest spender of any ZIP code in the US, paying out $18.4 million this year.

The 94111 area, which covers the Embarcadero and the rest of the Financial District, has pumped out $8.4 million for 24th place. Compare this to 2012, when NONE of the city’s single ZIP codes managed to crack the top 50. The best we've ever managed before was 2004, the 94115 ZIP code (Lower Pacific Heights) eked into 47th place.

This boost in campaign cash is likely due to the giant meteorite made out of money that exploded over Silicon Valley a few years ago. But while you’d expect San Jose to up its own ante in the wake of that, they’re actually lagging behind, in 17th place with $21.4 million. That’s one spot and more than $2 million behind Oakland.

At this rate, it’s possible San Jose will end up lining fewer pockets than it did four years ago, when its total output for the entire election was over $37 million.

Portola Valley has paid out $6.9 million this year, and Walnut Creek $5.4 million. Atherton, in San Mateo County, home of the nation’s most expensive real estate has spent. $5.2 million. Walnut Creek is also the only Northern California city to give the majority of its contributions (all but $143,000) to conservative politicians and PACs.