Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat who was a co-sponsor of three credit union bills while representing North Carolina’s 8th District, was defeated by Republican Richard Hudson, who snagged 54% of the vote.
The losing congressman was a national GOP target, identified by national Republican leaders as one who could be defeated to increase the party’s majority in the House.
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Kissell was endorsed by the North Carolina Credit Union League and was the recipient of CUNA partisan campaign communications for the second consecutive election cycle. He was an original co-sponsor of supplemental capital bill H.R. 3993 and co-sponsor of H.R. 1418 and H.R. 3461.
Hudson is a Capitol Hill veteran, having worked as a chief of staff for three different congressmen. That includes former Rep. Robin Hayes, who was defeated by Kissell in 2008 and had been a credit union supporter. The sprawling district reaches from Charlotte east to Fayetteville in the Tarheel State.
Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs, said he has no reason to believe Hudson won’t be a friend to credit unions, but CUNA didn’t want to “abandon a friend just because the polls said he was going down” when supporting Kissell.
CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose added the race was “a classic case of us not being against somebody; but rather, supporting a friend.”
Dan Schline, league senior vice president of association services, said during Kissell’s two terms in Congress he had “been supportive on essentially all issues across the board”, including interchange, member business lending and supplemental capital.
“He’s been really in tune with what credit unions are trying to do in his district,” Schline said.
Because North Carolina is a stronghold for the banking lobby, the NCCUL spokesman said conservative credit union executives “threw party tags out the window” in support of Kissell.
“Our folks have been receptive to the idea that we should view congressional delegates through the lens of whether they are credit union supporters or not,” he said.