In Tennessee, 37205 donates most to presidential candidates with $377,468

By Marissa DeCuir
THE TENNESSEAN
October 21, 2008

Blair Wilson believes so strongly in John McCain, the investment manager dug as deep into his pockets as permitted.

Twice.

And so did his wife, Linde.

The Wilsons donated a total of $9,200 to the presidential candidate, helping make 37205 the most giving ZIP code in the state to both McCain and Barack Obama.

More donations have gone to Democratic candidate Obama, but larger gifts to McCain put the Republican on top financially in 37205, according to donation records updated Sept. 20.

The Wilsons each donated the maximum amount possible: $2,300 a person for both the primary and general election campaigns.

“I wanted to help as much as I can,” Blair Wilson said. “I think he’s the best candidate by far.”

His father, Justin Wilson, also threw in $2,300 for the Republican candidate.

Who’s donating in 37205?

Belle Meade and its surrounding areas donated a total of $214,100 to McCain and $163,368 to Obama through August, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama garnered more than 220 separate donations from a variety of professions including university professors and music executives.

He got $1,000 from Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. and $2,300 from Vanderbilt’s Provost Nicholas Zeppos.

McCain pulled in about 170 donations in the area from investors and business owners. State Rep. Beth Harwell donated $2,300 and Grace Grissom of Mrs. Grissom’s Salads forked out $700 to the Republican.

Candidates file their financial reports on the 20th of each month, so the most up-to-date numbers available for the Nov. 4 election will be September’s donations, released after deadline for this edition.

Individuals of any age can contribute to campaigns, meaning even “a four-year-old can technically donate,” said Carolyn Sharpe, researcher for the Center for Responsive Politics.

She said it’s quite common for spouses to each donate the maximum amount.

No regrets for donors

Michael and Lisa Bressman have Obama campaign signs displayed in their Belclaire Place home’s window.

They plan to help campaign for the Democrat in New Hampshire closer to the election.

And the Vanderbilt law professors both maxed out donations for the general campaign.

“We don’t want to have to explain to our children that we didn’t try everything we could to get him elected,” said Michael Bressman, father of three.

Other forms of public campaigning, such as posting yard signs, Blair Wilson said, aren’t very effective in his neighborhood. So he sticks to donating.

“We don’t have any traffic other than the people that live in the neighborhood. They’ve already made up their minds,” he said. “It’s just a waste of money.”

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