Reid Hoffman, Kevin Scott Back Abigail Spanberger 2025 VA Governor Run

Estimated read time 4 min read

Two of the tech industry’s biggest AI champions are backing Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s run for governor of Virginia in 2025, campaign finance records show.

The billionaire tech investor and cofounder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman and Microsoft CTO and EVP of AI Kevin Scott donated a combined $375,000 to Spanberger’s gubernatorial campaign in the six weeks following her announcement to run on November 13.

Spanberger, who over three terms in Congress, has developed a reputation as a centrist lawmaker, represents Virginia’s conservative-leaning 7th congressional district.

Hoffman donated $250,000 on November 30, and Scott donated $125,000 on December 22. Hoffman recently stepped back from his general partner duties at Greylock and is focused on promoting the “blitzscaling,” or rapid adoption, of AI.

Scott’s wife Shannon Hunt-Scott, a philanthropist and activist for the Democratic party, donated an additional $125,000 to Spanberger on December 22.

The donations, representing a total of $500,000 are the three largest individual contributions on record for Spanberger’s campaign, which ended 2023 with over $3.6 million in funds received.

Both Scott and Hunt-Scott previously attended the University of Virginia. Aside from their personal connections to the state, Virginia is home to the largest concentration of data centers in the world.

Microsoft owns data centers in southern Virginia and has recently purchased land and begun construction on new facilities in Prince William County, home to a massive data center development project known as the digital gateway. Spanberger’s congressional district includes the eastern half of Prince William County and other counties where data centers are spreading, such as Spotsylvania and Culpeper.

Data centers have rapidly proliferated in Virginia as more companies transition to the cloud, and development is accelerating to accommodate the growing demand for training generative AI models. The rampant growth of data centers has sparked concern in Virginia and other states over the increasing strain on the electric grid.

In a campaign video announcing her run, Spanberger, a former CIA and law enforcement officer, touts her record of consensus-making despite “extreme polarization” in Congress. She also talks about preserving abortion rights, supporting small businesses and veterans, lowering prescription drug prices, and easing inflation.

“While some politicians in Richmond focus on banning abortions and books, what they’re not doing is helping people,” Spanberger says in the video, a missive seemingly aimed at sitting Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican. “I know how to bring people together and get real things done,” she says.

Previous political donations

Scott, who joined Microsoft as part of its acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 and now leads the tech giant’s AI efforts, and Hunt-Scott are prolific donors to Democratic candidates. Starting in 2017, Scott and Hunt-Scott have each made seven donations under $5,000 each to Spanberger’s congressional campaign, according to federal campaign finance records.

Scott, who was born and raised in Virginia and was a one-time doctoral candidate in computer science at the University of Virginia, now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to his LinkedIn. Scott has not previously donated to a state or local election in Virginia.

Hunt-Scott previously donated a total of roughly $100,000 to candidates in state and local campaigns, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Scott published a book, titled “Reprogramming the American Dream: From Rural America to Silicon Valley — Making AI Serve Us All,” in 2020. The book’s forward is written by conservative Ohio US Sen. JD Vance, who authored the best-selling 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy.

Hoffman has made eight donations, all under $5,000 each, to Spanberger’s congressional campaign fund since 2018, according to federal campaign finance records. He is a longtime major donor to political campaigns, mostly to Democratic candidates and more recently to anti-Trump Republicans. He recently donated nearly $2 million to President Joe Biden’s write-in campaign in the 2024 New Hampshire primary. Last year, he donated $250,000 to a super PAC supporting former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican.

Hoffman has previously donated over $300,000 to WinVirginia, a PAC that supports Democratic candidates in the state.

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