Voters across America are heading to the polls today for state and local elections, and just like in federal elections, big business has been writing big checks to campaigns across the country. To follow the money in your state, see which industry topped the list of campaign contributions in the last election cycle:
Using data from www.FollowTheMoney.org, we mapped which industries gave the most to state-level campaign donors for the 2012 election (ballot initiatives and party PACs excluded) and limited our search to the top business in each state. We also excluded unions, law firms, and nonprofits, since political giving from these entities can be associated with a variety of industries.
It's important to note that many contributions are made by individuals, and an individual donor's industry or occupation is not necessarily connected to their giving. We could expect gifts under the category of "Health," for instance, to include both donations from hospital chains and the personal contributions of doctors and nurses.
To make the map easier to read, we grouped related industries under a single color. "Real Estate" for instance, includes donations by individuals and groups connected to both construction and the sale of buildings.
*In California and Maryland, we have included the industry with the second-highest total of contributions, because the designation of the top industries in those states requires additional reporting.