The Real Deal New York

Obama bests Romney in 2012 campaign cash from N.Y. real estate industry pros

Corcoran Group agents give most to Obama, Cushman pros prefer Romney

September 18, 2012 06:00PM
By Adam Pincus

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

President Barack Obama has pulled ahead of his rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in the quest for direct campaign donations from residents of New York state who work in the real estate industry, an analysis of campaign finance data from the U.S. Federal Elections Commission shows.

In the first seven months of the year, Obama’s campaign took in 610 contributions worth a total of $202,620 from real estate industry professionals; during the same period, Romney’s campaign took in 214 contributions worth $182,554.

That represents a reversal of fortunes for the president. In all of 2011, Obama’s campaign took in $206,487 from 312 contributions from New York individuals working in the real estate sector. That put Obama’s team well behind Romney’s campaign, which raised $344,325 from 215 industry professionals.

For all of last year, New Yorkers involved in real estate in and around the city gave $656,000 in direct contributions to all the presidential candidates.

The Real Deal analyzed campaign finance data for New Yorkers who lived in or near the city, defined themselves as having worked in the real estate sector and contributed directly to the presidential campaign committees.

Contributions to political action committees, the parties and independent campaign committees such as the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future and the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, were not included. They will be analyzed in a future Real Deal article.

Nationwide, Obama has outraised Romney in direct campaign donations, pulling in $348 million versus Romney’s $193 million, figures from OpenSecrets.org show, although Romney leads in independent campaign expenditures.

Top industry contributors to Obama included Daniel Tishman, chairman of Tishman Construction, Gary Barnett, president of Extell Development, and Jeffrey Gural, chairman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who each gave $5,000 to Obama’s campaign in 2012. The maximum that can be donated is $2,500 per election cycle, including the primary and the general election.

Romney took in contributions of $2,500 each from Raphael De Niro, managing director at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Peter S. Kalikow, president of H.J. Kalikow & Co., Glenn Rufrano, CEO of commercial firm Cushman & Wakefield, and Leonard Litwin, CEO of Glenwood Management, the records show.

Agents and executives from the residential brokerage firm the Corcoran Group provided more donations so far this year than any other company, which totaled $13,373 to Obama, and $3,050 to Romney, the analysis reveals. Cushman’s professionals gave the second largest total, with the vast majority going to Romney, whose campaign took in $11,750. Cushman agents donated $277 to Obama. Prudential Douglas Elliman’s agents and executives were next, giving a total of $9,275, with $6,525 of that going to Obama.

Professionals at the city’s top investment sales company, Eastdil Secured, donated $8,480 through nine contributions, all to Obama. Then Halstead professionals contributed a total of $6,105, with $3,605 going to Obama and $2,500 to Romney, rounding out the top five firms.

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