As the presidential campaign hits its traditional home stretch in early September, Federal Election Commission records show that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is easily topping New York businessman in donations from top organizations and leaders in the travel industry.
Clinton Is Broadly Outpacing Trump In Fundraising
Clinton’s advantage with the travel industry mimics her wider success in raising the hard money that is a lifeblood of modern presidential campaigns. While Trump has relied on a mix of contributions from his own pocket and internet fundraising, Clinton has spent much of the summer visiting wealthy enclaves for fundraisers with millionaires and billionaires. Clinton raised more than $18 million for her campaign during a three-day swing through California in August.
Only one major travel industry organization has contributed through their political action committee to either candidate, according to Skift’s analysis of Federal Election Commission records. That PAC, affiliated with Hilton Hotels, contributed $15,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that supports Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and Democratic Party organizations in each of the 50 states.
In total, Clinton raised more than $143 million in August for her campaign and affiliated Democratic groups. That leaves Clinton with $68 million in cash on hand going into the final sprint to the election on Nov. 8.
Travel Industry Donations Used To Be Reliably Republican
A recent article in Skift notes that Clinton’s considerable advantage over Trump in travel industry dollars is a reversal of recent form. In 2012, for instance, former Massachusetts Governor and corporate executive Mitt Romney raised big bucks from airline, casino, and hotel operators and executives.
Romney, who was one of the United States’ most high-profile members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, drew support from his fellow Mormons of the Marriott clan. Current patriarch J.W. Marriott, Jr. donated $1 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Romney, and other family members and Marriott executives gave big to the Romney campaign and the Republican Party.
However, polling indicates that Trump’s comments about religion have seriously offended Mormon voters this year. It may not be a coincidence, then, that the Marriotts’ have kept their wallets closed to Trump, although they have supported super PACs and other vehicles that fund Republican candidates for House and Senate seats.
One travel industry Republican who has been staunchly supportive of Trump, but has yet to open his checkbook for the GOP standard bearer is Las Vegas Sands Corp. chairman Sheldon Adelson. The enigmatic casino executive – whose political giving has been motivated by both his global casino interests and his strong affinity for Israel – reportedly offered to donate up to $100 million to a super PAC supporting Trump’s’ campaign. But so far he has not donated a penny.
Some Travel Industry Donors Have Switched To Give To Democrats
Clinton’s support among travel industry leaders isn’t just being driven from usual suspects like Expedia chairman and Democratic donor Barry Diller. While Diller contributed the maximum of $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund, he was joined by a more conservative international travel industry leader: former Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson.
In 2014, Anderson courted controversy for contributing thousands of dollars to then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just days after McConnell hosted the then-Delta executive in the exclusive Senate Dining Room. This year, however, Anderson is now all in for the Democrats: he even donated $33,400 – the legal maximum – to the Democratic National Committee.
Anderson, who has been a public supporter of Clinton this year, appeared on a list of Clinton endorsers who cited concern over Trump’s behavior as their reason for swinging to the Democratic ticket. While they may not be switching to Clinton, it appears a similar sentiment may be at work for other travel industry leaders who have kept their wallets closed.
by: Vincent Stokes
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