Giuliani, Romney lead in River Oaks primary

Houston Chronicle:

In Houston's prosperous River Oaks, campaign donations have been flowing to the presidential contenders, particularly Republicans Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

Over in eclectic Montrose, however, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama is tops in raking in the contributions. And on the city's working class east side, none of the national candidates is reaping big campaign checks.

How do we know?

Voters don't have to divulge what they do in the privacy of the ballot booth. But the candidates do have to publicly report the names of their donors and their ZIP codes, plus the amounts and dates of donations.

Thanks to improved Internet technology, it's easier than ever to peek at those campaign contributions, which watchdog organizations have categorized by ZIP code.

With a few keystrokes and clicks on a computer, you can see which of your neighbors gave how much money to which candidates so far in 2007.

You can see, for instance, that some of the city's top executives spread out their contributions. River Oaks resident John Hofmeister, the president of Shell Oil Co., and his wife, Karen, each donated to Democrat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign as well as Giuliani's, for instance.

ZIP code data show that in the Houston area, not surprisingly, the White House contenders are bringing in big bucks from the toniest neighborhoods.

The River Oaks ZIP code of 77019, home to many of Houston's corporate titans, led the region in political contributions for the first six months of 2007, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Residents there contributed about $572,000, with Giuliani receiving $168,900 and Romney $163,850. Clinton drew $68,350 in contributions from the area, ahead of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who took in $57,350 and Obama, who raised $50,750.

In Texas, only the Dallas area ZIP code of 75205, which includes the wealthy enclave of Highland Park, gave away more presidential cash.

By contrast, the poorer and heavily minority neighborhoods do not often rank high on the fundraising circuit. No major contributions were raised from the Houston ZIP code of 77011, which encompasses working class, heavily Hispanic neighborhoods on the city's east side.


Residents of Montrose, a Democratic-leaning neighborhood near downtown, gave $61,183, eclipsing the $37,118 donated by those living in the Republican-leaning suburban community of The Woodlands.

In the ZIP code covering suburban Clear Lake, home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, residents gave only $4,300 this year (and an additional $2,500 last year), less than the $8,000 donated by those living in more economically diverse Galveston.


Who knew that poor people did not contribute to campaigns? Actually middle class folds don't contribute that much either at this stage. River Oaks is where the people with excess funds live and is the best place to prospect. The description of Montrose as "eclectic" is interesting. The dominant population demographic for the area would be described as gay, followed by a bohemian mix is artists and professors with a few professionals. I notice that the 77880 zip code did not make much of a splash either which probably says something about my recent contributions.


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