Those employed in real estate may have been rooting more for John McCain than Barack Obama, but all in all the industry’s federal campaign contributions have been more evenly balanced between Democrats and Republicans in the 2008 election cycle than at any time since 1992, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Individuals employed in the industry and real estate political action committees (PACs) have made $105.5 million in federal campaign contributions in 2007 and 2008, according to the center’s analyses of reports released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and published at Of those contributions, 49 percent went to Democrats and 51 percent to Republicans.

The Center for Responsive Politics tracks contributions of $200 or more from PACs and individuals employed in real estate, plus soft money and individual donations to political parties. Contributions by individuals ($96 million in the 2008 cycle) dwarfed PAC spending ($9.4 million).

The real estate industry has favored Republicans in seven out of the last 10 election cycles dating back to 1990, the center’s records show. Democrats got just 41 percent of the industry’s campaign contributions in 2004, when Republican George Bush was elected to a second term as president.

That compares with the 50-50 split between parties among campaign contributions from the real estate industry in 1992, when Democrat Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as president.

In looking at contributions to 2008 presidential campaigns, real estate industry employees and political action committees were more generous in their support of Republican nominee John McCain ($7.64 million) than Democrat Barack Obama ($7.17 million).

Obama’s main challenger in the primary, Hillary Clinton, received $6.22 million in contributions from the industry. McCain’s primary rivals also enjoyed considerable support — Mitt Romney’s campaign got $4.27 million from real estate employees and PACs, and Rudy Giuliani’s campaign tallied $3.98 million in real estate-related contributions.

Based on reports released Oct. 19, the Center said real estate organizations with the most contributions by both employees and PACs were the National Association of Realtors ($3.36 million), Fannie Mae ($1.1 million), the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts ($790,175), The Villages ($725,300), Realogy Corp. ($700,469), the Mortgage Bankers Association ($699,425), Newmark Knight Frank ($626,100), the National Multi Housing Council ($594,492), Forest City Enterprises ($516,800), and Freddie Mac ($509,067).

At the PAC level, the Center said the National Association of Realtors PAC contributed $3.1 million to the election campaigns of candidates for federal office, with 57 percent of that money going to Democrats and 43 percent to Republicans.

The vast majority of that money was spent on U.S. House races, where NAR contributed $1.69 million to Democrats and $1.2 million to Republicans. In U.S. Senate races, however, the trend was reversed, with NAR spending $144,000 in support of Republican candidates and $86,400 on Democrats.

As of Oct. 27, NAR had also made $1.5 million in independent expenditures in the current election cycle — money that’s spent directly on ads produced independently of a candidate’s campaign.

NAR spent $989,893 in an unsuccessful attempt to help Republican Monty Newman, a New Mexico Realtor, win his party’s nomination in the state’s primary election. Another $308,873 in independent expenditures were in support of Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md., a veteran lawmaker who was unable to fend off a challenger from his own party in Maryland’s primary.

NAR’s other independent expenditures included $233,632 in support of Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa.; and $207,000 in support of Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.

The National Association of Home Builders PAC contributed $1.7 million to the campaigns of candidates for federal office, with Republicans netting 57 percent of those contributions.

Like NAR, NAHB’s campaign contributions in Senate races leaned heavily to the Grand Old Party, with Republican candidates receiving $168,500 to Democrats’ $57,500, according to the Center’s analyses of reports released by the FEC on Oct. 27.


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