Professor Robert Smith Discusses Chevron's Influence in Richmond Elections

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
RICHMOND CONFIDENTIAL -- Two years after spending more than $3 million only to see each candidate it backed lose, Chevron and its political action committee, Moving Forward, have been notably absent from the 2016 election cycle. “It might simply be that they think the investment is not worth it,” said Robert Smith, a Richmond resident and Political Science professor at San Francisco State University. In 2014, two weeks before the election, Smith told Richmond Confidential that Chevron’s aggressive bid for influence could “offend people’s democratic sensibilities” and cost its candidates the election. Now, Smith said, it is clear he was correct. “I think it did. I thought it was overkill,” he said. “I think for a lot of people, it appeared to be unfair and it appeared to be what it was: big corporate money trying to influence their local election.”