SUPER TUESDAY: Home Depot Founders Split

By Anthony Weiss

Published February 05, 2008, issue of February 08, 2008.

Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus have been through a lot together — the two of them were fired from the same hardware store chain on the same day; they then founded the Home Depot chain of hardware mega-stores, building it into a multi-billion dollar business; and they are now both prominent Jewish philanthropists in their adopted city of Atlanta.

But the two have parted ways in the presidential race.

According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Blank has donated the maximum of $4600 to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as $2100 to Mitt Romney. Marcus, meanwhile, has conserved his cash, making one $2300 donation to the now-defeated Rudy Giuliani.

The political divergence of the two is nothing new — Blank has historically donated heavily to Democrats, though he has also supported a few Republicans, including Georgia’s incumbent Republican Senators. He also donated to Senator Joseph Lieberman, both before and after Lieberman split with the Democratic Party in his 2006 Senate race.

Marcus, meanwhile, has been a steady supporter of Republicans, though he disburses far less cash than Blank. His donations have supported several prominent Jewish Republicans, including Senators Arlen Specter and Norm Coleman, and Rep. Eric Cantor, as well as hawkish Democrat Rep. Tom Lantos.

Marcus and Blank did team up in 2006 to back local Democrat Hank Johnson in his successful congressional race against controversial incumbent Rep. Cynthia McKinney.



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