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Politics & Policy

Elon Musk pledges $100K to defeat this San Francisco elected official

A split image of two men, one on the left with a faint smile and suit, and one on the right with glasses and a serious look.
Elon Musk, left, has publicly pledged $100,000 to support efforts to remove Supervisor Dean Preston, right, from office. | Source: Paul Kuroda/SF Standard & Angela Weiss/Getty

Elon Musk appears poised to put his money where his mouth is in the blame game of San Francisco politics, as the CEO of X—formerly known as Twitter—wrote on the platform Friday morning that he will contribute $100,000 to defeat the city’s most progressive supervisor in the 2024 election.

The tweet came in reply to Garry Tan, the equally outspoken CEO of Y Combinator, who noted in a post that he contributed $50,000 to the “Dump Dean PAC,” a committee dedicated to defeating Supervisor Dean Preston, a democratic socialist

Musk wrote: “I will double that.”

Elon Musk on Friday wrote that he would "double" a $50,000 contribution by Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan to defeat San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston in next year's election.

If the head of X, which is based in San Francisco, follows through on his pledge, the contribution would mark the first time Musk has contributed to a political campaign or committee in the city, according to a search of the San Francisco Ethics Commission database.

In a separate reply to the investor Joe Lonsdale, Musk wrote that Preston “is arguably the person most responsible for the destruction of San Francisco.”

Preston has repeatedly butted heads with Mayor London Breed, who defeated him in his first run for office, and his progressive positions on housing, public safety, the drug crisis and other issues in San Francisco have made him the top target of Grow SF, a moderate political group responsible for the “Dump Dean PAC.” The organization counts Tan as a board member. 

Earlier this summer, Steven Buss, a co-founder of Grow SF, told The Standard that the organization had already raised $300,000 to oust Preston in next year’s election.

Preston, a former tenants rights attorney, is the most progressive elected official in San Francisco and the first democratic socialist to sit on the Board of Supervisors going back three decades. His positions on the construction of more market-rate housing and redirecting resources away from the police department have made him a target. 

More recently, a post by Preston floated a massive messaging campaign telling people not to leave items in their cars as a solution for break-ins, eliciting hundreds of negative responses. 

In a recent appearance at a local church, Preston called the forces working against his reelection part of a “billionaire backlash.” Musk’s foray into the fight is unlikely to quell that messaging.

“Even worse than the billionaires like Musk are the wannabe billionaires. Like, they only have hundreds of millions,” Preston said. “Guys like Garry Tan and others, they’re very angry that they’re not yet billionaires, so they’re even more toxic.”

Preston did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.