ARLINGTON, Va. -- So far, certain members of Congress key to credit unions appear to be in good standing for re-election, according to NAFCU Director of Political Affairs Dillon Shea.
Shea said that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Representatives Paul Kanjorksi (D-Pa), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), all "appear to have a very safe road to re-election at this point."
While other members appear to have a clear path to re-election with no top opponents in the way, Kanjorski does have a competitor in Lou Barletta, the current mayor of Hazelton.
"Barletta is a credible challenger, though at this point he is a long-shot to upset Represe Kanjorski," Shea said. "He is a one trick pony campaigning almost exclusively on the issue of immigration."
In 2002, Kanjorski beat Barletta by 13%. In his 2004 election, Rep. Kanjorski won with 96% of the vote. And in 2006 he won with 72% of the vote.
Even though it is still early on, Kanjorski's 20 years of experience will build another strong campaign to re-election. "It also doesn't hurt that he is sitting on a war chest of $1.5 million," Shea said.
While these campaigns are showing to be pretty straight forward with no serious competition showings as of yet, the current mortgage crisis could potentially cause some turbulence come election time.
"The mortgage crisis is probably going to get worse before it gets better," Shea said. "Which means voters will probably still be angry about it on election day. If things continue, it may lead to a 'throw the bums out' attitude among voters that obviously might hurt some vulnerable incumbents."
At this point, though it may not be possible to determine just who the mortgage backlash will affect, Shea said "I don't think the issue can be pegged to one party or any specific member or members of Congress."
As of yet, NAFCU has no Get Out the Vote plans, but Shea promised political action among its members to help credit union-friendly members of Congress out.
"We have a lot of members who are active politically on the local level and I know some folks will be campaigning, contributing, and volunteering for local candidates," Shea said.
Though his prediction right now is for mild elections, Shea said that NAFCU members will be ready if any races turn competitive. "If any credit union friends are in a competitive race, we will make sure our members in that district know who NAFCU supports."