PE pros prefer Romney, VCs like Obama

Mitt Romney has regained favor among his former private equity colleagues, according to a PE Week analysis of records from the Federal Election Commission.

In the second quarter, the former Massachusetts governor had fallen behind Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani, but he leads all presidential candidates in the third quarter, having raised $71,100 from 43 private equity investors.

The Q3 runner-up is Chris Dodd, who raised $60,500 from 28 PE pros, including $34,500 from 18 employees of Apollo Management and its Apollo Investment Corp. affiliate. Obama came in third in Q3, having raised $55,185 from 36 PE pros, while Hillary Clinton ($53,350) and Giuliani ($33,045) rounded out the top five.

Meanwhile, Obama is the clear winner among venture capitalists. Throughout 2007, the U.S. Senator from Illinois has raised $128,208 from 75 different VCs. Running second is Romney, having raised $94,500 from 51 contributors. Clinton ($45,950), Chris Dodd ($22,700) and Rudy Giuliani ($21,100) round out the top five among VC donations.

The data analysis was limited to searches for employees of VC firms that have raised at least $150 million in fund capital since 2000 and PE funds of $500 million or larger.

Democrats raised nearly 60% more from VCs than Republicans, compared to an 18% advantage for the GOP among buyout pros. Counting the entire private equity market, Republicans have raised $762,000 while Democrats have raised $749,000

Going into the latest three-month period, some pundits had speculated that PE pros would flock to Republicans because of the carried interest debate in the U.S. Congress. The carried interest tax proposal, also known as the Blackstone Bill, came about in early summer following the $4 billion IPO of the Blackstone Group.

All of the Democratic candidates, except for Dodd, have pledged to change the tax treatment of carried interest from capital gains to ordinary income, which would roughly raise taxes that PE firms pay from 15% to 35%. But the Democratic candidates held their ground in Q3 fund-raising.

in year to date fund-raising, Romney, who co-founded Bain Capital, leads all presidential candidates with $394,500, in large part thanks to a monster first quarter that included dozens of donations from Bain Capital and H.I.G. Capital. Romney left Bain in February 1999 to oversee the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Also in 2002, he was elected governor of Massachusetts.

Following Romney in 2007 fund-raising is Obama, who was raised $211,385 for his coffers thanks to donations from PE pros. He’s followed by Giuliani with $148,345 and Clinton with $135,740.