Where are 2020 Democrats getting the most money from?

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Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, two of the contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential candidates are rounding up as much cash as they can get their hands on in a stacked primary. Though Democrats are relying more than ever on small donors and rejecting corporate PACs, a significant chunk of their campaign money still comes from large individual contributions from those employed at major companies.

CandidateTop Contributor (Individuals listing organization as employer)Total Contributions as of Q1 2019
Cory BookerPaul, Weiss et al$134,750
Pete ButtigiegWicklow Capital$16,800
Julian CastroStris & Maher Llp$22,000
John DelaneyGoldenTree Asset Management$26,400
Tulsi GabbardAmerican Spraytech LLC$16,240
Kirsten GillibrandBoies, Schiller & Flexner$67,852
Kamala HarrisPaul, Weiss et al$137,675
John HickenlooperLiberty Media Corp$38,200
Jay InsleeUniversity of Washington$15,950
Amy KlobucharWachtell, Lipton et al$26,400
Beto O’RourkeHunt Companies$25,958
Bernie SandersGoogle$29,819
Elizabeth WarrenGoogle$26,221
Andrew YangYin’s McDonald’s$6,000

Bernie Sanders’ top career donor — employees of Google — contributed $29,819 to his presidential campaign, more than any other organization. They also gave an organization-high $26,221 to Elizabeth Warren. Google employees and affiliates typically top the list for Democratic presidential candidates — they gave a combined $1.6 million to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Cory Booker’s top all-time donor — New York law firm Paul, Weiss, which employs more than 900 attorneys — shows up as the top donor for both Booker ($134,750) and Kamala Harris’ ($137,675) presidential runs. But the firm’s attorneys don’t stop contributing there — they also gave substantial sums to Kirsten Gillibrand ($54,600), Amy Klobuchar ($16,950) and Pete Buttigieg ($12,498). Several partners at the firm hedged their bets by giving the maximum $2,800 contribution to two different presidential candidates.

Lawyers prefer Democratic candidates, so it isn’t surprising to see law firms show up early and often in the Democratic primary. Stris & Maher LLP employees gave $22,000 to Julian Castro while those working for Wachtell, Lipton et al gave $26,400 to Amy Klobuchar.

Harris also received large sums from employees of law firms DLA Piper ($48,550), Hueston Hennigan LLP ($35,100), along with Warner Brothers ($26,265) and News Corp ($25,364). Although News Corp is owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, its employees tend to give more to Democrats.

Location plays a factor too. New York-based Boies, Schiller & Flexner employees — Gillibrand’s top all-time contributor — gave $67,852 to Gillibrand’s presidential campaign. Employees of Gibbons P.C., which has a Newark office, saw its employees contribute $54,150 to Booker. Hunt Companies, an El Paso-based real estate developer, accounted for more contributions to Beto O’Rourke than any other organization at $25,958. Boston-based Brown Rudnick LLP’s employees gave $20,400 to Warren. Jay Inslee received $15,950 from employees of the University of Washington.

John Hickenlooper got a little help from his friends at Colorado multi-billion dollar media conglomerate Liberty Media Corp, where his wife Robin serves as an executive. Robin Hickenlooper gave the maximum $2,800 to John Hickenlooper, along with several of her co-workers.

John Delaney doesn’t get much money from anyone outside of self-funding, but he did get $26,400 from employees of New York investment firm GoldenTree Asset Management. Company founder Steven Tananbaum frequently contributes Delaney despite sending most of his money to Republicans.

Maximum contributions from Chicago investment firm Wicklow Capital’s Daniel Tierney and Stephen and Mary Jo Schuler were enough to make up Pete Buttigieg’s top contributor. Buttigieg also received a total of $6,234 from executives at South Bend-based Great Lakes Capital, which benefited from his redevelopment plans as mayor.

Andrew Yang’s top donor gave just $6,000. The money came from C.C. Yin, a Chinese American immigrant who owns several McDonald’s locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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