Giuliani Gets a Boost From Vice - TheStreet

Giuliani Gets a Boost From Vice

He's raised more money from casinos, tobacco, and oil and gas than any other candidate.
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Rudy Giuliani is hardly the presidential candidate of the religious right. But he sure looks like the candidate of the politically incorrect.

Just consider where he's getting his money.

Giuliani is by far the most popular figure in the gambling and casino industry. He's raised $94,900 from bookies of all stripes so far -- twice as much as anyone else. Las Vegas' Fertitta family, owners of

Station Casinos

(STN) - Get Report

, is among his top contributors.

Giuliani is also the cigarette companies' favorite Republican, collecting $26,050 from the industry in the quarter. That's five times as much as cigarette makers gave to nonsmoking Mormon Mitt Romney.

And Rudy is the toast of the town for maybe the most politically incorrect industry of them all: oil and gas. The oilmen handed him checks totaling $216,123 in the quarter, nearly twice as much as they gave anyone else. Granted, it has mainly been the left that sees this as a sinful industry, but these days even evangelical Christians are starting to get antsy about global warming.

Naturally, in a lot of these areas, he's helped by the business relationships he's built up in recent years through his lobbying firm, Giuliani Partners, as well as his law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani.

No one at Giuliani's campaign office was immediately available to comment.

(For more on Giuliani's financial ties, see

Checking Giuliani's Ties which looks at his lobbying firm.)

The intriguing question is whether any of these sources might end up helping or hurting him. Once upon a time, "conservatives" tended to be libertarian when it came to domestic politics.

Think Barry Goldwater. Or Ronald Reagan, a former spokesman for Chesterfield cigarettes.

No longer, of course. These days, the religious right is just as stern about mischief as the PC brigade on the left. More so, maybe.

Giuliani already has to explain to evangelical primary voters why he's pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and he can be seen on YouTube wearing a dress and fooling around with Donald Trump. How will they feel, say, about his gambling winnings?

Analysis of first-quarter fund-raising data turns up a lot of other interesting stuff for political junkies. Such as...

Senator Barack Obama may have given up cigarettes, but at faculty fund-raisers, he's smoking Hillary instead. If you are looking for proof that he has blown past Senator Clinton among the party's intelligentsia, look no further than political donations from the "people's republic" of Cambridge, Mass., home of Harvard. Obama raised $183,039 in Cambridge, twice as much as Hillary Clinton.

Of course, he was editor of the Law Review there 16 years ago and has a lot of friends on the faculty. Hillary went to Yale Law School. The problem? Obama edged her in Yale's town of New Haven, Conn., as well, outraising her by $32,223 to $26,450. He also beat her at Stanford University, by $25,772 to $18,100.

Harvard Law professor Larry Tribe, who taught Obama, is among the former Harvard Clintonistas who switched. "This is a place where Bill and Hillary have many friends and strong support," he told me yesterday. "I have been very much in their corner since Bill ran for president." But, he said, many of them are now backing Obama because "he represents promise and possibility. He is every bit as smart as Bill or Hillary. And he is every bit as substantive."

If you followed the media, you would be under the impression that Mitt Romney's money all comes from his Mormon pals in Utah. Actually, the state provided less than 10% of his loot.

What's really startling is how successfully Romney raised money everywhere.Data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics from public filings show Romney raised the most money of any Republican in 30 states, including California and the Pacific Northwest, and most of the West, Midwest, and New England. Many have questioned how a Mormon will play in the evangelical Christian south, but Romney has so far raised more money than his GOP rivals in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In fact, Romney raised the most money of any candidate, Republican or Democrat, in 16 states. No one else did anywhere near as well in his or her geographic spread. Three months ago, as a former management consultant watching another of the breed run for office, I predicted that Romney's campaign would run like a well-oiled machine. So it is. His only problems are his own occasional gaffes and flip-flops.

If voters end up following the money, the Republicans are in trouble for 2008. OK, it's early days and the Democrats have enjoyed an early advantage in publicity. But so far the states with the swing electoral votes are mostly donating to the left. Democrats have collected 71% of the political contributions from Pennsylvania, 56% of those from Ohio and 58% of those from Florida.

Among the states with the most electoral votes, the Democrats are enjoying financial landslides so far from the blue states of New York (73%), California (62%), and Obama's Illinois (80%).

Maybe most alarming for Republicans: Right now, at least when it comes to money, the Democrats are even competitive in Texas.

Texas.

Latest figures from the Lone Star State: 52% Republican, 48% Democrat. You have to figure that's going to change.

In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, Brett Arends doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Arends takes a critical look inside mutual funds and the personal finance industry in a twice-weekly column that ranges from investment advice for the general reader to the industry's latest scoop. Prior to joining TheStreet.com in 2006, he worked for more than two years at the Boston Herald, where he revived the paper's well-known 'On State Street' finance column and was part of a team that won two SABEW awards in 2005. He had previously written for the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail newspapers in London, the magazine Private Eye, and for Global Agenda, the official magazine of the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland. Arends has also written a book on sports 'futures' betting.