Call it the business platform. Players from the world of business and finance—CEOs, investment managers, entrepreneuers—often move into the world of politics and government and the 2010 election is no exception. This year, some three dozen business types decided to run for public office, stressing the importance of their business skills at a time when the economy is struggling to recover from a recession and government borrowing is at a record high.
About half have already been knocked out, but if the remaining ones succeed, they'll be following in the footsteps of a long line of business types, such as former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney (consulting, finance), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (info technology), U.S. senators Mark Warner of Virginia (venture capital) and Bob Corker of Tennessee (construction and real estate), California Congressman Darrell Issa (electronics) and former New Jersey Governor and U.S. Senator John Corzine (finance).
Take a look at some of this year’s business leaders turned candidates (in alphabetical order.)
Published Sept. 27, 2010
US Senate, Washington
Akers founded and is the president of FastCap, a company that invents and manufactures tools and other products. He ran and lost during the August 17 primary to Dino Rossi (R).
US Senate, New Hampshire
Binnie, currently the president of investment firm Carlisle Capital Corporation, is facing Republicans Kelly Ayotte, Jim Bender and Ovide Lamontagne in the September 14 primary.
Dunne is currently the manager of community affairs for Google, overseeing corporate social responsibility in local markets. Dunne faces three other Democratic candidates for governor—Sue Bartlett, Deb Markowitz and Doug Racine—in the September 14 primary.
Fedele started information technology firm Pinnacle Group in 1983. He’s currently lieutenant governor of Connecticut and will face Tom Foley in the GOP August 10 primary.
US Senate, California
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO led the computer company from 1999 to 2005. Before that, she worked at AT&T and Lucent Technologies. Fiorina is running against incumbent Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
Having worked at both Hughes Electronics and Sprint, Fisher was most recently senior vice president of telecommunications company Alaska Communications Systems. He lost in the August 24 primary to incumbent Don Young (R).
Flores spent most of his career in the energy industry and was CEO of Phoenix Exploration Company before retiring. He is running against Congressman Chet Edwards (D), who's seeking relection.
Greenberg founded two mobile-telecommunication companies, Adirondack Mobile Telephone and Adirondack Radio Telephone, after college. In 1980, he started real estate management firm MGRE. He's faced and lost during the August 10 primary to Republican candidate Sam Caligiuri.
US Senate, Florida
The real estate investor made the Forbes billionaire list this year at No. 488, with an estimated net worth of $2 billion. Greene challenged and lost to Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek in an August 24 primary.
US Senate, North Dakota
Hoeven was CEO of Bank of North Dakota before being elected governor of the state in 2000. He’s running against Democratic nominee Tracy Potter.
The gubernatorial candidate owns and operates 27 Wendy's and Sisters' restaurants in Arkansas and Texas. He’s running against Mike Beebe (D), who’s seeking reelection, and Jim Lendall of the Green Party.
Governor, New Hampshire
Lynch is seeking reelection as governor of New Hampshire. Before moving into politics, he was CEO of furniture manufacturing company Knoll. His Republican counterpart won’t be chosen until the September 14 primary, but the candidates so far are Jack Kimball, John Stephen and Karen Testerman.
US Senate, Connecticut
McMahon stepped down as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment last year after working for the Stamford, Conn.-based media company for about 30 years. She’ s running against Richard Blumenthal (D) in the general election.
US Senate, West Virginia
The wealthy businessman joined the special election, and won the Republican nomination, to contend for the the seat of Robert Byrd, who died in June. Raese, who is the president and CEO of mining company Greer Industries, is up against current West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D).
Renacci started LTC Management Services, a company that owns and manages nursing homes. He is currently a partner and managing board member of the Columbus Panthers, an Arena Football League team. He's running against incumbent John Boccieri (D).
US Senate, Washington
Rossi has spent most of his business career in commercial real estate and is currently a principal at Coast Equity Partners. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2008, after serving as a state senator from 1997 to 2003. He’s running against incumbent Patty Murray (D).
US Senate, Connecticut
Schiff (on left) bought the brokerage firm Euro Pacific Capital in 1996, where he’s currently the president and chief global strategist. He has garnered attention for predicting the financial crisis in 2006. Schiff lost in an August 10 primary to Linda McMahon (R).
After leaving his CEO post at computer company Gateway—now owned by Acer—Snyder started web health tool HealthMedia. The company was bought by consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson. The Republican candidate is running against current Lansing, Mich. mayor Virgil Bernero (D).
Ward worked at advertising companies BBDO and Widen and Kenned—representing companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Nike—before becoming senior vice president at LucasFilm. He is currently a partner at the venture capital firm Alsop Louie Partners. He lost to fellow Republican David Schweikert in the August 24 primary.
After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1979, Whitman began her career at Procter & Gamble. She also worked at Hasbro and The Walt Disney Company before landing at eBay in 1997 when it was still a start-up. She eventually became CEO of the shopping and auction website.
She’s running against Democratic nominee and Attorney General Jerry Brown, who served as governor from 1975-1983.