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WASHINGTON — Blue is the hot color for the fashion industry this election season.
An analysis of campaign contributions from executives and employees of 27 department stores and mass retailers and apparel vendors during the election cycle shows the industry lining up almost two to one in favor of electing Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to the White House over Republican nominee John McCain.
Individual industry contributions reveal people from apparel brands, department stores, discounters and specialty chains gave a combined $357,865 to Obama and McCain from January 2007 through the end of this August, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Of that total, executives and employees gave $228,154 to Obama and $129,711 to McCain.
The list of companies included in the analysis by the nonprofit center ranged from such vendors as Liz Claiborne Inc., Jones Apparel Group Inc., Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., Calvin Klein Inc., Estée Lauder Cos., Nike Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. to department stores J.C. Penney Co., Nordstrom Inc., Neiman Marcus Group, Macy’s Inc. and Saks Inc.; specialty retailers Gap Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Limited Brands Inc. and Ann Taylor Stores Corp., and mass merchants Target Corp., Sears Holding Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
With only two weeks until Election Day, Obama and McCain are putting those donations to use, filling the airwaves with campaign ads and hiring scores of people to get out their blueprints on the economy and other issues in battleground states, fighting to color them blue, for the Democrats, or red, for the Republicans, and grab their electoral votes.
The two presidential candidates have spent the final stage of the election honing their positions on the economy — the defining issue in this campaign — unveiling new policy proposals aimed at helping the average taxpayer weather the turmoil in the financial markets that has severely cut into retirement savings and pensions, and the mortgage crisis, which has resulted in record levels of home foreclosures.
While retail executives continued to throw their support this year behind McCain and the GOP’s perennial small-government, no-new-taxes, pro-business policies, Seventh Avenue fashion designers and executives largely favored Obama and the Democrats’ emphasis on social issues and restoring the manufacturing base in America.