It is becoming clear that the road to the White House in 2016 leads straight through Silicon Valley.
Once a bit-player in the political money game, the technology industry came in second behind the oil and gas industry among the top sources for political contributions in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. The candidates have noticed and are courting the Valley's wealthy tech elite.
With 435 days to go until Election Day 2016, several of the major party candidates — including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio — have already made early pilgrimages to Silicon Valley, looking to drum up support and to build their campaign war chests.
The price of running for president will be steep: Informed estimates suggest that when the smoke clears 16 months from now, candidates and political organizations will have burned through between $5 billion and $10 billion. That would shatter the record set in 2012 when President Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $1.1 billion on their own campaigns, while third-party Super PACs spent more than both combined for a total of $2.3 billion, according to an analysis by the Cato Institute.