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Industry Shifts Toward Democrats in Race for White House

Fashion industry executives are voting with their wallets this presidential primary season, getting behind Democrats, particularly New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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WWD Year In Fashion issue 2007/12/11
WASHINGTON — Fashion industry executives are voting with their wallets this presidential primary season, getting behind Democrats, particularly New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

With the Democratic takeover of Congress last year, the industry has been shifting donations to the majority party. That marks a change from the last 10 years, when most support went to Republicans, who were in power, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that tracks money in politics and its impact.

"Money follows power," Krumholz said.

In the first nine months of the year, statistics based on individual contributions show apparel and accessories retail executives and employees gave $304,200 to presidential candidates — 76 percent to Democrats and 24 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Clothing and accessories manufacturers donated $427,382, with Democrats receiving 74 percent of that total and Republicans 26 percent.

Department store and mass retail executives and employees from companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Macy's Inc., Nordstrom Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc, Sears Holdings Corp., Saks Inc. and Target Corp. gave a total of $118,924, 53 percent to Democrats and 47 percent to Republicans.

The third-quarter and nine-month contributions, released in October, are the last such public records before the primaries and caucuses, and provide the latest snapshot of campaign giving. The deadline for fourth-quarter and year-end presidential contributions from individuals and corporations is Jan. 31.

Individual contributions are limited to $2,300 for primaries and the same amount for the general election.

The fashion industry, including individual gifts from Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg and Nicole Miller, has donated three times as much money to Clinton compared with any other presidential candidate, including her closest Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Klein and von Furstenberg have donated the maximum $4,600, and Miller, $2,300.

Clinton also received the most contributions from individual donors in the fashion industry, netting $185,600 in the first nine months of the year from the apparel sector, $164,450 from specialty and accessories retailers and $46,950 from department store executives, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
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