Thanks to David Hogg, candidates who support the National Rifle Association won’t receive campaign donations from Publix — for now — but neither will NRA critics like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. John Lewis.
While Publix tilts decidedly right in its political giving, the supermarket giant has also donated more than $760,000 since 2008 to Democratic committees, including at least two dozen candidates for federal office at odds with the NRA.
They include multiple members of the Black Congressional Caucus, former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Patty Murray of Washington, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
The grocery chain based in Lakeland, Florida, also chipped in for presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders in 2016, as well as then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, according to campaign finance records posted by Open Secrets.
Publix suspended its political giving Friday after Mr. Hogg and other activists launched a boycott and announced “die-ins” at two stores over reports that the company had donated $670,000 in three years to GOP gubernatorial hopeful Adam Putnam, a staunch NRA supporter.
Minutes before the Friday protests began, Publix issued a statement saying that the company “did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate.”
“We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve,” said the statement. “As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we re-evaluate our giving processes.”
The Florida agriculture commissioner, Mr. Putnam has been dogged by his July tweet calling himself a “proud #NRASellout” after a Tampa Bay Times columnist blasted him in an op-ed headlined, “Adam Putnam sells out to NRA.”
The donations to his gubernatorial campaign came from Publix, its founder’s heirs, and former and current company executives, according to the Times....Rep. Ron DeSantis, who’s running against Mr. Putnam for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, criticized the Publix decision.“I can’t understand why Publix would cave to such misguided and unfair complaints. The protests against Publix are ridiculous — who the heck wants people laying down in a supermarket? Shopping won’t be a pleasure if left-wing agitators get their way. I’ll always stand up for #2A,” he tweeted.Like many corporations, Publix has donated to candidates on both sides of the aisle, with the advantage going to Republicans, who received about $4 million of the nearly $5 million donated to federal candidates and committees since 2008.Among the Democratic beneficiaries were numerous members of the black caucus, including Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Reps. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. of Georgia, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, Hank Johnson of Georgia, Alcee Hastings of Florida, David Scott of Georgia, Terri A.