While most credit union supporters on Capitol Hill aren’t facing formidable challenges this year, some are fighting tough races in the 2012 election. Here’s a rundown of the top five races that could have an effect on credit union support in Congress.
Sen. Jon Tester (D) vs. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R)
Tester (shown at right) led an unsuccessful attempt in 2011 along with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to delay the Federal Reserve’s regulation of interchange fees. He is facing what NAFCU Director of Political Affairs Katie Marisic called “one of the most competitive Senate races in the country” against six-term congressman Denny Rehberg.
CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins agreed with Marisic regarding the race’s competitiveness and said CUNA has put “significant resources” into Tester’s re-election effort. As of Oct. 16, Rasmussen Reports polling showed the candidates were polling dead even at 48% of the vote each.
- California’s 30th District
Rep. Brad Sherman (D) vs. Rep. Howard Berman (D)
Sherman (shown at right) is a longtime credit union supporter, pressing industry issues through his position on the House Financial Services Committee, and was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3993, which would allow credit unions to receive supplemental capital. He also is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3461, the Exam Reform Act.
Due to redistricting, he faces fellow Democrat Rep. Howard Berman in one of this year’s nastiest races. Both Sherman and Berman are co-sponsors of H.R. 1418, a bill that would raise the member business lending cap.
Sherman was a top campaign contribution recipient of both NAFCU and CUNA. Marisic said Oct. 24 that Sherman appears to be ahead of Berman in the polls and is well liked by his constituents.
“We look forward to working with him in the next Congress,” she said.
- New York’s 24th District
Former Rep. Dan Maffei (D) vs. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R)
Maffei (shown at right) lost after one term in 2010 to Buerkle by just 567 votes. He now is seeking to recapture his position in the House. During his term, he sat on the House Financial Services Committee, and according to Hawkins, was a vocal advocate for small institutions during the debate and passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. He was endorsed by the Credit Union Association of New York.
- California’s 52nd District
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) vs. San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (D)
Hawkins called Bilbray (shown at left) a “strong credit union friend” in a tight race against Peters. Indeed, even as recently as Oct. 24, the Washington publication The Hill reported that different polls put both Bilbray and Peters in front, with margins of error that could swing the race either way. He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1418, the bill that would raise the member business lending cap.
- Colorado’s 7th District
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) vs. Joe Coors (R)
Perlmutter, who is a co-sponsor of member business lending bill H.R. 1418 and H.R. 3461, the Exam Reform Act, is in a dead heat in the polls with Joe Coors, great-grandson of beer brewer Adolph Coors. Marisic called Perlmutter (shown at right) “bi-partisan, smart on issues and good with members in his district.”