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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Obama, who ranked second among fashion industry contribution recipients, received $4,600 from Fubu chief executive officer Daymond John, and $1,300 from J. Miles Reidy, chief financial officer of Sears Holdings, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Former North Carolina senator John Edwards, who has taken a strong antitrade, pro-U.S. worker stance, had the fewest individual contributions from the retail industry among the top three Democratic contenders. He has received a total of $58,856, which includes $49,600 from apparel manufacturers.

Clinton has the biggest war chest, raising $81 million from individual contributors and political action committees, including the fashion industry in the first three quarters of the year. The caucuses and primaries are to begin in Iowa on Jan. 3.

The 2008 presidential election — the first time since 1952 that no incumbent president or vice president is running — comes as President Bush has one of the lowest approval ratings of any chief executive because of discontent over the Iraq war, a slowing economy, record-high oil prices and tightening credit.

The Iraq war has dominated the presidential debates nationwide, but industry issues such as immigration, health care, trade and taxes are also being raised.

Among Republicans, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani has received the most industry funds, slightly ahead of ex-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, but far behind the former first lady.

In the first nine months, Giuliani received $45,300 from apparel and accessories retailers, $43,700 from the apparel manufacturing sector and $5,100 from department store executives.

Giuliani and Romney are neck-and-neck in overall campaign contributions in the first nine months. Giuliani raised $44 million from individuals and corporate political action committees, while Romney raised $44.7 million, according to federal records.

Giuliani brought in donations from such executives as John D. Idol, ceo of Michael Kors Inc., and Ben Cammarata, chairman of TJX Cos. Inc. Idol has donated $4,500 and Cammarata, $2,300.

Romney, who was a close second with a total of $89,950 versus Giuliani's $94,100 in contributions, has received support from Bud Konheim, president and ceo of Nicole Miller, and Richard D. Moss, treasurer of Hanesbrands Inc., with both giving $2,300, records show. Romney received $27,100 from department store executives, $14,100 from apparel and accessories stores and $48,750 from the apparel sector.
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