About 180 Silicon Valley executives, venture capitalists and lawyers plan to announce they are endorsing Republican Bob Dole for president, an organizer of the group said on Monday.
The executives were due to make the announcement Tuesday at a news conference at the headquarters of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in Sunnyvale in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, one of the world's leading high-tech centers.
The executives' support is a boost for Dole, who is trailing President Bill Clinton in the polls. Democrat Clinton enjoyed strong support from Silicon Valley in the 1992 campaign and 75 Silicon Valley executives, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, endorsed Clinton Aug. 20.
The chief executives endorsing the Dole-Jack Kemp ticket include Jerry Sanders of Advanced Micro Devices, T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor Corp , Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems Inc , Gilbert Amelio of Apple Computer Inc and Wilfred Corrigan of LSI Logic Corp , said Floyd Kvamme, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
They also include Thomas Weisel, chairman and chief executive officer of Montgomery Securities, said Kvamme, one of the organizers of the group.
Kvamme said the Republican group came into being within the last 15 to 20 days. It got off the ground after the executives saw a newspaper report that said Silicon Valley was backing Clinton again in 1996, Kvamme said.
"Everybody that I knew said: 'What! You've got to be kidding me.' ... We sent out some letters to folks and the response has been absolutely incredible," he said.
"When we looked at it, frankly we don't really need to establish an agenda that we are going to ask Dole-Kemp to subscribe to," Kvamme said.
When you looked at Dole's record, the Republican had "been on the right side of an awful lot" of the issues the Silicon Valley executives were concerned about, he told Reuters.
Kvamme said the group had not yet been in contact with Dole.
Kvamme said many Silicon Valley executives wanted capital gains tax cuts and faster U.S. economic growth. He said they strongly opposed Proposition 211, a measure on the California ballot in November that would make it easier to file securities fraud lawsuits in the state.
Both Clinton and Dole oppose the California measure. But Clinton last December vetoed federal legislation restricting securities fraud lawsuits, costing him support in Silicon Valley, even though Congress later overrode the veto.
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