Credit Union Times Washington Reporter Claude Marx sat down with CUNA's top two political strategists Richard Gose and Trey Hawkins to discuss the results of the elections and the role their trade association's political action committee played in helping credit union supporters on the campaign trail. Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above and read the transcript below.
Claude Marx: Gentleman, thank you for taking the time to chat. I was curious, in yesterday's elections, how many races did you participate in and what was the outcome?
Trey Hawkins: So far, we've participated in 358 House races and 31 Senate races. So far, of the ones that have been called, we were successful in 301 House races and lost 48, and there are-as of this morning-about 9 that are outstanding, and we won 26 Senate races and lost 4, and there is one in Washington State that's still outstanding at this hour.
CM: And in terms of the independent expenditures and partisan communications?
Richard Gose: Well, in terms of partisan communications, we participated in the general election for five different races and we were four and one. In terms of independent expenditures, we participated in five races and we were four and one there as well, and these include six incumbents, two challengers and two open seats.
CM: Congressman Kanjorski's race-he was one of the more high-profile credit union supporters-what types of efforts did you do on his behalf as far as partisan communications, and I know you also did work on the ground for him as well. Can you talk a little bit about your efforts for him?
RG: Well, the Pennsylvania Credit Union League orchestrated the ground game. A number of credit unions, I know that they attended several events-rallies as well as doing direct voter solicitation for the congressman. We worked with them on a number of issues including a mail program to several thousand credit union members, consisting of five different rounds of mail, not unlike what we did in the 2008 cycle. Unfortunately, even though it's proven in polling that we do help in these situations, it just wasn't enough given the wave that particularly hit states like Pennsylvania with the Republican majorities coming in.
CM: What, if anything, surprised you about what happened last night, in terms of any specific races or just sort of overall trends, or both?
RG: Well, there's always a race or two that you don't expect. There were a couple situations that there would be Democrat or likely Democrat and they found out that they lost. Most of this is due to turnout waves. I think if you look at a state like Iowa, where the waves seem to not hit Iowa, there was at least one toss-up seat there and a couple of other vulnerable seats, but they managed to hold. Why does Iowa hold and a state like Pennsylvania, states like Ohio and Tennessee, really the wave hits them-Alabama-hard. And you can see that not just in the federal races; you can see that in state legislatures. Alabama's state legislature just turned over for the first time since the late 1800s. So you never know if a wave election is taking place. But one thing I think is unique about this wave is that the Democrats did maintain the Senate, and that normally does not happen. As a matter of fact, I don't think it's happened in the last three or four times since you've had a change in the House from one party to the other.
CM: All right Richard and Trey. Thanks so much for your time gentlemen, and I'm sure we'll be talking. Thank you.
TH & RG: Thanks a lot.
CM: Thanks folks.