Wealthiest Americans in each state primarily support Republicans

(This post has been updated to reflect more accurate Bill Gates’ political contributions.)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) won the Loop’s Quote of the Week back in March for saying, “I just thank God that there’s a billionaire or two on our side. All the billionaires seem to be on the radical left, so I’m glad that we have a couple on ours.”

But the retiring congresswoman will be glad to know that the number of billionaire GOP backers far exceeds “a couple.”

Real estate Web site Movoto created a map that showed the wealthiest Americans in each state, which was widely shared on the Internet over the weekend (the original posting has over a million views, and the map has been re-purposed on dozens of national, state and local news sites and blogs.)


(Credit: Movoto)

There are plenty of rich political donors shoveling obscene amounts of money to candidates of both parties, but after culling the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets database we found that of the 50 states where the wealthiest residents have made personal political contributions — meaning not from their company’s organization or PAC — close to 70 percent have given exclusively, or mostly, to Republicans:

Bill Gates, Washington, former CEO Microsoft – Democrats

Worth: $76 billion

The richest man in the country, Gates has given $15,000 to both the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees this year, but he’s given almost exclusively to Democratic candidates this cycle. In 2012 he gave $5,000 to Barack Obama and $12,900 to the DNC. He gave $50,000 toward Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Philip Knight, Oregon, Co-founder of Nike, Inc. – Republicans

Worth: $18.4 billion

Knight is a Republican contributor, giving this year $32,400 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Lawrence Ellison, California, Co-founder of Oracle Corporation – Republicans

Worth: $48 billion

Ellison gave $3 million to the Restore Our Future PAC in 2012, the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He has given to a mix of GOP and Democratic candidates over the years, but most of his recent donations have gone to Republicans like John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Dennis Washington, Montana, owner Washington Companies – Republicans

Worth: $5.8 billion

A donor to Republicans, Washington has given $19,800 to NRCC this year and $50,000 to Restore Our Future in 2012.

Frank Vandersloot, Idaho, founder Melaleuca – Republicans

Worth: $1.2 billion

Vandersloot gave $30,800 this year to the RNC and $50,000 to American Crossroads in 2013. In 2012, he gave $200,000 to American Crossroads and $100,000 to Restore Our Future.

Sheldon Adelson, Nevada, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation – Republicans

Worth: $37.5 billion

Adelson’s support for Republicans is well documented. After funneling $15 million into Newt Gingrich’s primary campaign, he gave $10 million to Restore Our Future in 2012, in all spending more than $100 million to try and beat Obama over the last presidential campaign cycle.

Jon Huntsman, Sr., Utah, founder of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation – Republicans

Worth: $1.1 billion

Huntsman paid $2.2 million in donations to Our Destiny PAC, the super PAC in 2012 backing his son’s run for president. He has not given this cycle.

Christy Walton, Wyoming, widow of son of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart – Mixed

Worth: $36.7 billion

Walton gave mostly to Republicans throughout her life, but this cycle has given to only one candidate: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

Bruce Halle, Arizona, founder Discount Tire – Republicans

Worth: $4.8 billion

Halle is a Tea Party backer. This campaign cycle he’s given to the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, FreedomWorks for America, Tea Party Express and the Allen West Guardian Fund.

Charles Ergen, Colorado, co-found Dish Network – Democrats

Worth: $15 billion

Ergen gives almost exclusively to Democrats, and this cycle he’s given to all the endangered Senate Democratic incumbents like Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Warner (Va.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), but strangely it appears that in 2008 he was a political bundler for John McCain‘s presidential campaign (though he made a small contribution to Barack Obama – to cover his bases?).

Maloof Brothers, New Mexico, many businesses including the Palms Casino in Las Vegas – Democrats

Worth: $1 billion

There are four Maloof brothers, and they have all mostly given to Democratic candidates. One brother, Phil Maloof, ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for Congress in 1998. Though this year one brother, Gavin, has given $2,600 each to two Republican candidates for Congress, Niger Innis in Nevada and Ryan Zinke in Montana.

Robert Gillam, Alaska, founder of McKinley Capital Management – Republicans

Worth: $700 million

Gillam’s last big contribution was $50,000 to Alaskans Standing Together, the super PAC backing the reelection of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Alice Walton, Texas, daughter of Sam Walton of Walmart – Republicans

Worth: $35 billion

Walton has a long history of supporting Republican candidates. She gave $200,000 to Restore Our Future in 2012 and $10,000 to the Texas Conservatives Fund. But this cycle, she has jumped on the Hillary Clinton bandwagon, giving $25,000 to Ready for Hillary, the super PAC gearing up for a Clinton 2016 presidential run.

Harold Hamm, Oklahoma, CEO Continental Resources – Republicans

Worth: $14.6 billion

Hamm has given a few Democratic incumbents like Begich and Pryor campaign contributions, but most of his money goes to Republicans. In 2012, he gave $985,000 to Restore Our Future, and this cycle he’s given to the RNC, NRSC and Eric Cantor‘s PAC, Every Republican is Crucial. Moreover, he was an energy adviser on Romney’s campaign.

Warren Buffett, Nebraska, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – Democrats

Worth: $58.2 billion

Buffett is a big supporter of Barack Obama and for at least the last four years has given around $30,000 annually to the Democratic National Committee.

Denny Sanford, South Dakota, CEO United National Corp – Republicans

Worth: $1.3 billion

Sanford has given to Republicans, including $1,000 each to Romney, Rick Perry and $500 to Tim Pawlenty in 2011.

Gary Tharaldson, North Dakota, founder of Tharaldson Companies – Mixed

Worth: $900 million

Tharaldson has given to Democrats and Republicans, including Nevadas two senators Harry Reid (D) and Dean Heller (R). He’s given to the state Democrats in Nevada and the state Republicans in North Dakota.

Charles and David Koch, Kansas/New York, co-owners Koch Industries – Republicans

Worth: $40 billion each

A massive force in conservative Republican politics, the Koch brothers have spent millions to influence American politics through their nonprofit Americans for Prosperity. But each personally have given to candidates as well. Charles, for instance, has given thousands this year to national GOP committees and candidates like Tom Cotton, who is running for the Senate in Arkansas, and for Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). His brother David has also made similar deep-pocketed contributions.

Whitney MacMillan, Minnesota, CEO of Cargill – Republicans

Worth: $4.8 billion

MacMillan has given to a long list of Republican candidates this cycle, as well as to the state GOP parties in Minnesota and Florida.

Dennis Albaugh, Iowa, founder Albaugh Inc – Republicans

Worth: $1.5 billion

This cycle, Albaugh has given to Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa). In 2012, he supported Romney and gave $20,ooo to the RNC and $25,000 to NRCC.

Jack Taylor, Missouri, founder Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Republicans

Worth: $12.8 billion

This year Taylor has given $16,200 to the NRCC, and gave $25,000 to Restore Our Future in 2012.

Jim Walton, Arkansas, son of Sam Walton of Walmart – Republicans

Worth: $34.7 billion

Walton has given $13,000 to the NRSC and $5,000 to Republican Party of Arkansas this year. He gave $200,000 to Restore Our Future in the 2011-2012 cycle.

Tom Benson, Louisana, New Orleans Saints owner – Republicans

Worth: $1.5 billion

It doesn’t appear Benson has donated this cycle, but in the last cycle he supported Romney, gave thousands to state GOP committees in Idaho and Massachusetts and $30,800 to the RNC.

John Menard, Wisconsin, founder of Menards – Republicans

Worth: $7.5 billion

Menard supports Republican candidates and this year has made contributions to Tom Cotton and Monica Wehby, who is running for the Senate in Oregon.

Kenneth Griffin, Illinois, founder of Citadel, LLC – Republicans

Worth: $5.2 billion

Griffin gave $500,000 to American Crossroads this year and $300,000 to the Ending Spending Action Fund. In the 2011-2012 he spent well over $2 million, splitting most of it between Crossroads and Restore Our Future.

Leslie Lampton, Mississippi, founder of Ergon – Republicans

Worth: $2.4 billion

Lampton financially supported hometown Sen. Thad Cochran (R) this year, as well as contributing to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Last year, he gave $1,000 to the NRSC.

Thomas Frist, Tennessee, co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America – Republicans

Worth: $6.1 billion

Frist doesn’t seem to be a big spender, but last year he gave $2,600 to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and in 2012 gave $2,500 to Mitt Romney.

Marguerite Harbert, Alabama, widow of John Harbert, founder of Harbert Corporation – Republicans

Worth: $1 billion

While Harbert has not given to political campaigns since the early 2000s, her son Raymond (who, according to Wikipedia, manages her money) gives contributions to Republicans. In 2013 and 2014 he gave $32,400 to the NRSC. He also supported Romney.

Anne Cox Chambers, Georgia, part owner of Cox Enterprises – Democrats

Worth: $15.5 billion

Chambers is a longtime Democratic supporter, who was appointed in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to be U.S. ambassador to Belgium. She’s been a strong backer of Obama, giving over $2 million to Priorities USA, the super PAC that backed his reelection. This year she has given $32,400 to the DCCC.

Mickey Arison, Florida, chairman of Carnival Corporation/owner of Miami Heat – Mixed

Worth: $6.5 billion

Arison gives more to Democratic candidates, but he does give to a number of Republicans, including Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who is chairman of the Transportation Committee. This year he gave $5,000 to the DCCC, but last year he gave $2,500 to NRCC.

Anita Zucker, South Carolina, former CEO Hudson’s Bay Company – Republicans

Worth: $2.6 billion

Zucker this year has given $5,000 to Tomorrow is Meaningful, the super PAC supporting Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). She has also given Scott $5,000 directly. In 2012, she gave $5,000 to Romney.

Gayle Cook, Indiana, co-founder Cook Group, Inc. – Republicans

Worth: $5.8 billion

Cook last gave in 2011 to former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)

Bradley Wayne Hughes, Kentucky, founder Public Storage – Republicans

Worth: $2.2 billion

Hughes this year has given $1 million to American Crossroads and $25,000 to the conservative We Can Do Better PAC.

Hank and Doug Meijer, Michigan, co-owners Meijer grocery chain – Republicans

Worth: $8.39 billion

Both brothers give to Republicans candidates and committees. Hank this year has given $5,000 to the NRCC. Both have backed Brian Ellis, the Republican challenging incumbent Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) in Tuesday’s GOP primary.

Leslie Wexner, Ohio, CEO of Limited Brands – Republicans

Worth: $5.7 billion

Wexner gave $15,000 so far this cycle to the NRCC and $10,000 to the NRSC. He gave $250,000 to Restore Our Future in 2012. He also gives to many other Republican candidates and committees.

James Goodnight, North Carolina, co-founder of SAS Institute – Republicans

Worth: $7.5 billion

This year, Goodnight has given $4,800 to the Free Markets PAC and has made several contributions to Tom Cotton.

Jacqueline Mars, Virginia, daughter of founder of Mars, Inc. – Republicans

Worth: $21 billion

Mars gave $23,500 to the RNC in 2012. She has donated over the years to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and supported Romney in 2012.

Robert Gore, Delaware, former CEO of W L Gore & Associates – Democrats

Worth: $830 million

Gore’s stepson is Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), so it’s little surprise his campaign contributions this cycle have been $5,000 to Blue Hen PAC, Coons’ leadership committee and $5,200 to Coons’ campaign.

Theodore Lerner, Maryland, founder Lerner Enterprises/owner Washington Nationals – Mixed

Worth: $4.2 billion

Lerner personally gives every year to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), but last year he gave a small $250 contribution to Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.).

Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, Pennsylania, heir to Campbell’s Soup – Republicans

Worth: $3.1 billion

Malone has made smaller donations to Republicans, including $1,000 to RNC this year.

David Tepper, New Jersey, founder of Appaloosa Management – Republicans

Worth: $10 billion

In 2012, Tepper gave $150,000 to the American Unity PAC, a Republican super PAC supporting gay rights, and $375,000 to Restore Our Future. He also gave $20,000 each to NRCC and NRSC and $30,800 to the RNC.

Raymond Dalio, Connecticut, founder Bridgewater Associates – Republicans

Worth: $14.4 billion

Dalio was a solid John McCain supporter in 2007 and 2008, and even donated to him in 2009 after he’d lost his bid for president. His last political donation appears to be $5,000 in 2009 to McCain’s leadership PAC, Country First.

Jonathan Nelson, Rhode Island, founder of Providence Equity Partners – Mixed

Worth: $1.8 billion

In 2012, Nelson gave $22,500 to the RNC and $5,00o to Romney during that cycle. But in previous election years, he gave to Democrats, including $2,300 to Barack Obama in 2008, $2,300 to Hillary Clinton in 2007 and $27,000 to the DNC in 2004.

John Abele, Vermont, co-founder Boston Scientific – Mixed

Worth: $3.3 billion

Abele in Vermont is only listed as donating $1,000 to Romney in 2007, but a John Abele in Massachusetts with Boston Scientific has given to Hillary Clinton, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) over the past decade.

Abigail Johnson, Massachusetts, president of Fidelity Investments – Mixed

Worth: $17.3 billion

Johnson in 2012 gave $30,800 to the RNC, but this year she’s contributed so far to two Democratic senators, Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Mark Warner (Va.). This cycle she has also given to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) In 2012, she supported Romney.

Richard Cohen, New Hampshire, CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers – Mixed

Worth: $11.2 billion

Every year, Cohen gives a large sum to the NRCC, but when it comes to individual candidates he splits his ticket. He gave $250 to Shaheen this year, and in 2007 donated to both (presumptive frontrunners) Romney and Hillary Clinton.

Leon Gorman, Maine, heir and former president of L.L. Bean – Democrats

Worth: $860 million

Gorman gave to home state Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in 2013, but most of his donations go to Democratic candidates and committees. In 2012, he gave $24,600 to the DNC and several thousand dollars to various state Democratic committees and members of Congress. In 2011, he gave $5,000 to Obama.

James Justice, West Virginia, founder Justice Family Farms – Democrats

Worth: $1.6 billion

This year, Justice has given $5,200 to Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.). In 2011, he gave $60,800 to the DNC. Annually from 2011-2013 he’s given $20,000 to the Kentucky State Democratic Central Executive Committee, a PAC for that state’s Democrats.

Pierre Omidyar, Hawaii, founder of E-bay – Democrats

Worth: $8.2 billion

Omidyar is a huge proponent of open government and has funneled millions into his Democracy Fund that supports watchdog groups and last year started a watchdog journalism news site. He last donated in the 2008 cycle making contributions to Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In 2005, he gave to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) But his wife, Pamela, is a bit more prolific, giving $5,000 to Obama and $30,800 to the DSCC in 2011.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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