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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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October 18, 2007 8:36 AM

Locals with big bucks give to presidential candidates

Posted by David Postman

A colleague — well, one of my many bosses — e-mailed this morning after perusing OpenSecrets.org and the latest presidential fundraising numbers. He found that Suzie Burke, the so-called Mayor of Fremont, had donated $3,000 to the former real mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani and that Paul Allen, mayor of South Lake Union, was backing Hillary Clinton with $4,600 in donations.

That sent me to the site to see who else in Washington State is giving to whom in the presidential race. I found:


  • Real Networks founder and CEO Rob Glaser is backing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. He donated $2,300, but that's likely to be only a small piece of his political giving. In 2004 he was the top political giver from Washington state, donating $1 million to an independent group working to defeat President Bush. In 2000 he backed his friend, and the man Democrats love to hate, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

  • One of the top in-state donors to Clinton is a name that I haven't seen pop up in politics, Thomas Campion, founder and chairman of the Zumiez clothing stores, who gave $4,100.

  • Seattle developer Bruce Blume, another little-known name in political giving, donated $4,600 to Obama. I don't see that he gave anything in 2004.

  • In June developer Martin Selig gave $2,300 each to Giuliani and Romney.

  • Carl Behnke, chairman of Sur La Table, and his wife, Renee, have donated $10,300 to Republican Mitt Romney. (There must be an error or a refund due because individuals are limited to giving $4,600 each.) All that money came in March. More recently, though, the Behnkes gave to Giuliani, with $1,000 of donations in August.

  • Bill Gates, Sr., is a $2,300 donor to Obama. His son — a 2004 George Bush backer — doesn't show up yet as donating to any presidential campaigns.

  • Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, gave Republican John McCain $2,000 in August.

  • Joseph Schocken, president of Broadmark Capital and one of the top Democratic donors in the country in 2004, has donated $2,300 each to Clinton and to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

  • Wireless executive John Stanton is a $2,300 donor to Romney.

  • Moneytree executives Dennis and David Bassford have each given Romney $2,100.

  • Trial lawyer Matthew Bergman and his wife, Rebecca, have given a total of $27,000 to Democratic candidates so far. They've given to Obama, Richardson, Sen. Joseph Biden, and to the short-lived candidacy of Tom Vilsack.

  • Al Gore's close friend and confidante Pam Eakes may know something you don't about any possible Gore run for president. She gave Clinton $2,200 in June.

  • Cowlitz Tribal Chairman John Barnett and his son, David, are maximum backers of Sen. Christopher Dodd, each having given $4,600 in April


MORE: Donors are supposed to list their occupations. Ron Paul's supporters have some colorful ways to describe their jobs, as I see from this which I got at the end of a long chain of links, but started at the Wall Street Journal's blog.

Donald Cowles lists himself as self-employed and his occupation as simply "Capitalist." On the opposite end, David Cameron of San Jose, Calif., lists his employer as "Looking for Work" and his job as "Unemployed." Still, Cameron has given a total of $1,900 to the campaign.

Griswold Draz of Wellfleet, Mass., a $500 donor, is a self-described "curmudgeon," and Andrew Maul of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a "Citizen Fighting Tyranny." Others are more coy. James Harper of Vancouver, Wash., a $600 donor, offered "guess? ;)" as his occupation.

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