With the presidential elections just seven months away, Ann
Arbor residents have donated the second largest amount of money
among Michigan metro areas to candidates, political action
committees and parties in the 2004 election cycle, according to the
website Opensecrets.org.

Some of the money comes from groups such as political action
committees, but most of it comes from individual donors.

Washtenaw county voters typically favor Democratic candidates
— the county gave a majority vote to the Democratic
candidates for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and
U.S. senator in 2002, while county residents have voted for
Democratic presidential candidates in the past four elections.

But the statistics from the Federal Elections Committee show
that individuals in Ann Arbor have donated $244,260 to Bush and
only $16,500 to John Kerry. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who
dropped out of the race in February, received $64,350,
Opensecrets.org reported.

The Center for Responsive Politics rims Opensecrets.org, a non
profit, non partisan research group that tracks money in politics.
According to the website, the reason for the imbalance of
Republican and Democrat contributions can be partially attributed
to the many Republican business owners and executives who live in
the Ann Arbor area.

University Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) said he also
felt that the number of wealthy Republicans in Ann Arbor
contributes to the difference in donation amounts.

“(Ann Arbor) is a highly desirable area to live in, so you
have a lot of very wealthy people who live here — many of
whom are politically active — and I think that manifests
itself in the contribution records. Republicans donate more
money,” Deitch said.

Some notable business owners and executives who live in Ann
Arbor and fund Bush’s campaign include Gerard Anderson,
president and chief operating officer of Detroit Edison Energy, who
donated $2,000 to Bush, and William Boddie, vice president of Ford
Motor, who also gave $2,000 to Bush.

Many University administrators also donate frequently to
political campaigns, including the regents. The following numbers
reflect donations made by the regents to a presidential candidate,
national or state party committees for the 2004 election cycle:

— Kenneth Coleman, husband of University President Mary
Sue Coleman, donated $1,500 to Dean.

— Regent Olivia Maynard (D-Goodrich) donated $200 to Dean,
and has given $250 to Kerry.

— Regent David Brandon (R-Ann Arbor) contributed $365 to
the Republican State Committee of Michigan. Deitch donated $1,000
to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).

— Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor) gave $2,000
to Bush.

— Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) contributed to a
presidential campaign or national committee according to the
records available.

— Regent Andrew Richner (R-Grosse Pointe Park) donated
$2,000 to Bush.

— Regent Martin Taylor (D-Grosse Point Farms) gave $1,000
to Bush.

— Regent Katherine White (D-Ann Arbor) contributed $400 to
Wesley Clark.

Maynard said she still plans on giving more money to Kerry in
the near future.

“I think it is important for everyone to participate in a
democracy, and part of that is donating money,” Maynard
said.

Deitch said he feels that donating money is part of what it
means to be a good citizen.

“Contributing money is an important way to advance
principles and people you believe in, and it’s something that
I’ve been doing since I was a student, and will continue to
do until I die,” Deitch said.

Although Deitch gave to Lieberman, he said he will donate to
Kerry now that Lieberman has dropped out of the race.

Taylor, who donated to Bush despite the fact that he ran for
regent as a Democrat, would not comment when asked about his
donation.

When asked whether her husband’s donations reflect her own
political interests, Mary Sue Coleman would not comment.

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