From Open Secrets:
As many Americans sat in front of their television sets Thursday evening to watch the first party-sanctioned debate of the 2016 presidential election season, they were probably not surprised that the GOP contenders attempted to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
As the Center’s recently updated 2016 presidential profiles show, however, the candidates’ top industry contributions are fairly homogeneous.
The funding sources consistently appearing among the candidates’ top five contributions include the lawyers and law firms, securities and investment, real estate, miscellaneous business and miscellaneous finance industries. This isn’t surprising, considering that three of these industries were listed in the top five interest groups giving to members of Congress during every election cycle since 2000.
There are, however, variations that suit certain candidates. For example, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee‘s (R) fifth-largest industry contribution, at $33,202, was from clergy and religious organizations. Those who have followed Huckabee’s career will know that he is an ordained minister and very outspoken about his faith, which informs his positions on social issues.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) received top five industry contributions ($151,345 and $185,073, respectively) from health professionals, which makes sense since both of them are doctors. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry‘s (R) top contributing sector, at $104,550, was that same industry; although Perry himself is not a doctor, his wife, Anita Perry, is a nurse and was actively involved in healthcare issues as first lady of Texas.