Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Caucus: Political Blogging from the New York Times

September 13, 2007, 1:30 pm
Military Donors Shift a Bit To Democrats
By Katharine Q. Seelye

There’s a new surge going on and it involves the military, but it’s not in Iraq. It’s in campaign contributions. And guess who more and more members of the military are giving their money to? Democrats.

That’s the gist of a fascinating new report by Capital Eye, a newsletter from the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.

In the 2002 election cycle, which is the last full period before the war began, members of the military gave 23 percent of their donations to Democrats, the report says. So far this year, they have given 40 percent of their donations to Democrats, both for Congress and president.

The top recipient among presidential candidates is Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, who began building his candidacy on his opposition to the war and has received about $27,000 from uniformed service members.

Among Republican candidates, Representative Ron Paul of Texas is the only one who opposes the war in Iraq and he is the top recipient of money from military members. He has received $19,250 so far.

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican whose military service is the central feature of his biography _ and who has backed President Bush’s strategy in Iraq _ has received $18,600.

Overall, the amount of money from military members is a drop in the bucket compared with donations from other groups. Military members gave $1.8 million to presidential candidates and members of Congress in 2004 and have given just $330,000 so far this year. By contrast, lawyers and law firms have given $55 million so far this year (almost 80 percent of it to Democrats). But the report says the shift by members of the military toward giving to Democrats is “telling for a segment of the population that has historically been labeled as strongly Republican.”

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