When we published earlier this month a breakdown of which political party the richest person in each state supports, a question we heard was: What about the richest Americans overall?
Surely there would be people in New York or California wealthier than the richest person in say, Maine, who is worth only $800 million.
True. Though as it turns out, the top 9 richest people in the country are also the richest in their state. According to Forbes list of The Richest Americans from March they are:
1. Bill Gates (wealthiest in Washington) – Democrats
2. Warren Buffett (wealthiest in Nebraska) – Democrats
3. Larry Ellison (wealthiest in California) – Republicans
4. (tied) Charles Koch (wealthiest in Kansas) and David Koch (wealthiest in New York) – Republicans
6. Sheldon Adelson (wealthiest in Nevada) – Republicans
7. Christy Walton (wealthiest in Wyoming) – Mixed
8. Jim Walton (wealthiest in Arkansas) – Republicans
9. Alice Walton (wealthiest in Texas) – Republicans
But in the top 25 there are fewer overlaps. So, because you asked so nicely, we have broken down how the remaining top 25 richest people across the whole country spend their political capital, again using the invaluable OpenSecrets.org database.
And while the wealthiest overall still tilt Republican, the Democrats on the list have some of the deepest pockets. And several company executives play both sides, cutting checks for candidates and committees of each party.
(Those on our previous list are italicized. You can see their worth and contribution history here.)
10. S. Robson Walton (narrowly beat out for top slot in Arkansas by brother Jim), heir to Wal-Mart – Republicans
Worth: $34.2 billion
Walton does not appear to have donated this cycle, but in 2012 he gave $10,000 to Secure Arizona PAC, which supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. He also gave $2,500 to Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), son of former Vice President Dan Quayle.
11. Michael Bloomberg (beat out for wealthiest in New York by David Koch), owner of Bloomberg LP – lean Democrats
Worth: $33 billion
It’s well known that Bloomberg is a prolific political donor. He’s donated millions just this cycle – the most to his own Independence USA PAC at $5 million. He gave $2.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC to support Democrats in the Senate. From his own pockets, he’s given only to Democratic candidates this cycle, other than $10,400 to moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). He also gave $250,000 to the Mississippi Conservatives that backed Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) re-election.
12. Larry Page (beat out in California by Ellison), co-founder of Google – Mixed/lean Democrat
Worth: $32.3 billion
Almost every year since 2006, Page gives $5,000 to Google’s political action committee. The PAC splits its campaign contributions evenly between Democrats and Republicans. But Page did make a $25,000 donation to Obama’s first inauguration.
13. Jeff Bezos (beat out in Washington by Gates), founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post – Democrats
Worth: $32 billion
Bezos gives generously to his homestate senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, who are both Democrats. He also gives $5,000 a year to Amazon’s PAC, which splits its party allegiance. He made a $2.5 million donation to support legalizing gay marriage in Washington in 2012.
14. Sergey Brin (beat out in Califonia by Ellison), co-founder Google – Democrats
Worth: $31.8 billion
It does not appear Brin has been politically active since giving $5,000 to Obama’s re-election in 2011, and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee in the same year.
15. Mark Zuckerberg (beat out in California by Ellison), founder of Facebook – Mixed
Worth: $28.5 billion
Zuckerberg has donated to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.Y.) as well as Sean Eldridge, a Democratic candidate for Congress in upstate New York who is married to Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook. And he held a fundraiser at his Palo Alto home for Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) in February 2013.
16. Carl Icahn (beat out in New York by Koch), founder Icahn & Co., an investment firm – Republicans
Worth: $20.3 billion
Icahn supports Republicans, but so far this cycle has only given to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). In the 2011-2012 cycle, he gave $30,800 each to the NRSC and the NRCC. He gave Mitt Romney $2,500.
17. George Soros (beat out in New York by Koch), chairman of Soros Fund Managagement – Democrats
Worth: $23 billion
Soros is actively involved in Democratic politics. This cycle he’s given $1 million to the American Bridge 21st Century PAC, which supports Democratic candidates. He gave them $1 million in 2012 and $1 million to Priorities USA, the super PAC backing Obama’s re-election.
18. (tied) Forrest Mars and John Mars (beat out in Wyoming by Walton), Jacqueline Mars (wealthiest in Virginia), heirs of Mars, Inc., the candy company – Republicans
Worth: $20.5 billion each
Forrest Mars gave $500 this cycle to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), but other than that hasn’t given since the 1990s when he used to donate consistently to national Republican committees and candidates. John Mars and his wife each gave $300 in 2013 to the Reclaim America PAC, which is the leadership committee of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
21. Steve Ballmer (beat out in Washington by Gates), former Microsoft CEO – Mixed
Worth: $19.3 billion
So far this cycle, Ballmer has given $30,000 to the DNC and $2,500 to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). In previous cycles, he’s given both to Democrats and Republicans across the political spectrum ranging from $2,500 each to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Kay Hagen (D-N.C.) in the last campaign cycle.
22. Len Blavatnik (American but lives in London), founder Access Industries – Mixed
Worth: $18.7 B
Blavatnik also plays it down the middle giving to a wide range of politicians from Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a conservative running for the Senate, to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). In the 2012 presidential election, he gave $5,000 to Obama and $2,500 to Romney.
23. Phil Knight (wealthiest person in Oregon) – Republicans
24. Michael Dell (beat out in Texas by Alice Walton), founder of Dell Inc., the personal computer company – Republicans
Worth: $17.5 B
Dell has only given money this cycle to the PACs for Dell and Ernest & Young – both split their contributions pretty evenly between the parties, though Ernest & Young leans more Republican. Last campaign cycle, Dell himself gave to several Republican candidates, mostly in Texas, including $1,000 to home state Gov. Rick Perry, who was running for president.
25. Abigail Johnson (wealthiest person in Massachusetts) – Mixed