Boeing, Lockheed Retain Key Congressional Seat

Yesterday’s US elections were a win for the military-industrial complex, even though its favorite candidates didn’t all keep their jobs.

The top recipient of campaign contributions from military contractors, Missouri Democrat Ike Skelton, lost his reelection bid for the US House of Representatives. Skelton’s top four contributors in this election were major military contractors: Lockheed Martin ($44,000), General Dynamics ($40,400), Boeing ($23,900), Northrop Grumman ($21,760). His opponent was a Tea Party-backed candidate who was far less dependent on support from the defense industry.

California Republican Buck McKeon, looks set to replace Skelton as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Guess which industry McKeon’s biggest backers came from?

It’s a win-win!

Yesterday’s electoral outcome doesn’t in any way threaten the profits of Pentagon contractors and arms makers. Those companies spent over $18 million on this election to make sure that would be the case. More than half of that money went to Democrats.

From initial returns, it looks like US House and Senate candidates who were among the top defense industry donors had more or less the same chance of keeping their seats as other candidates.

War and military spending were not widely discussed issues during the campaign, and the shift in control of one chamber of the US Congress was a predictable consequence of the ongoing recession.

Devotees of the populist Tea Party, whose chosen candidates led the successful Republican charge to control the House, philosophically oppose excessive government spending, but tend to make a (glaring) exception for the defense industry.

Losing candidates in the chart below are marked in bold.

It’s morbidly interesting that John Murtha, who died this year not long after a contractor-related corruption scandal, still cracked the top 20 donees list. His successor, Mark Critz, kept the seat under Democratic control. Critz got $115,149 from the defense industry for his campaign, according to federal records compiled and analyzed by

Top 20 US Defense Industry Congressional Donees, 2010

Ike Skelton (D-MO)


Richard C Shelby (R-AL)


Howard P “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)


Daniel K Inouye (D-HI)


Patty Murray (D-WA)


Jim Moran (D-VA)


Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)


Richard Burr, (R-NC)


Joseph A Jr Sestak (D-PA)


Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)


John P Murtha (D-PA) [Critz]


Steny H Hoyer (D-MD)


John McCain (R-AZ)


Kay Granger (R-TX)


Norm Dicks (D-WA)


Barbara A Mikuslki (D-MD)


C W Bill Young (R-FL)


Rob Wittman (R-VA)


Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)


Duncan D Hunter (R-CA)