Uber-Republican billionaire Harold Simmons is Dallas' biggest player in the presidential money game, having pledged to pump $36 million into the election by November. But Dallas has a well-heeled partisan on the other side of the aisle in Naomi Aberly, and she's doing her part to make this the most expensive presidential contest in history, by far.
Aberly, who is married to hedge fund manager Larry Lebowitz, is a known quantity in Democratic circles. She has given lots of time and money to groups like Planned Parenthood, serving as board chair of the North Texas chapter, and Annie's List, which supports (left-leaning) women candidates seeking public office in the state. She's donated widely to Democratic candidates and causes.
In the lead-up to the 2008 election, she began serving as a bundler for Obama, one of the people who gather checks from their friends and acquaintances before handing them to the campaign in a large, neat package. She raised, according the New York Times, on the order of $400,000.
That was then, before the Democrats became seriuosly outgunned by deep-pocketed Republican Super PACs, and this is now. According to the Times, Aberly has raised $1.14 million for Obama's 2012 campaign, roughly three times what she pulled in in 2008. That puts her well behind author Andrew Tobias, who has pulled in $4.08 million and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who's brought in $2.68 million, and 34 others. But a million plus is nothing to sneeze at.
Nor has Aberly's largesse gone unnoticed. In 2011, she and her husband attended a state dinner at the White House. She can expect more of those if he wins in November.