Campaign Financing

Donations from Developers and Real Estate Interests: In 2024, when running for the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee, Raj sent out a mailer saying his campaign took ‘No Developer Money‘ (below). This is an absurd claim considering that Raj himself is a developer with over $100 million in real estate assets. Any campaign he funds IS in fact funded by developers.

Raj mailer

Raj has a history of taking in large corporate and real estate money in his campaigns. After losing his election to City Council in 2014, Raj spent heavily to win in 2016. He personally give his campaign a staggering $135,000! Again, since most of Raj’s income is from his real estate business, it’s fair to say this itself is real estate/developer money.

He also went to his friends in the real estate industry to ask for their help, receiving $12,850 from various real estate interests in his 2016 campaign. He also received over $13,000 in contributions from corporate interests.

In 2016 Lily Mei beat Bill Harrison in the Mayor’s race largely by bragging that she didn’t take developer money while Harrison did. This, and the fact that Raj was an incumbent facing a weak candidate in 2020, probably led Raj to back off taking real estate money. Still, he took the maximum donation ($690) from Dublin Real Estate LLC, Dosanjh Real Estate LLC, and Fremont Real Estate LLC. All three of these also maxed out to his campaign in 2016.

Thanks to the increased awareness of the role of developer money in Fremont elections, and his ability to adequately fund his own campaign, Raj will probably not take a lot of real estate/developer money in this race. Will he also lie again and say ‘No Developer Money’ on his campaign materials? We shall see.

Endorsements: Everyone knows that money is the key driver in much of American politics at the national, state and local level. It’s not a surprise that Raj Salwan has used his wealth to gain political influence and endorsements. The Salwan family is a known contributor to many different candidates. Raj’s father’s house in Fremont is well known as a location where many campaign fundraising events have been held.

Raj boasts many endorsements from people he has contributed to in the past. Are these people truly fans of the decisions that Raj has made as a Councilmember? Or is it possible that these large contributions have made them more amenable to providing their endorsement?

  • Ro Khanna – received a total of $15,800.00.
  • Eric Swalwell – received $7,750.00.
  • Gavin Newsom – received $22,500.00.
  • Rob Bonta – received $5,001.00.
  • Lily Mei – received $4,900.00.

It is a shame that many politicians, even ones with good intentions, feel the need to do favors for wealthy people who have the wherewithal to finance their campaigns. Unfortunately, politicians need a lot of money to run their campaigns, especially if they’re seeking higher office.