Credit Union Trades Eye Mid-Term Senate Races
With less than a year to go before the 2014 midterm elections, credit union trade organizations are focusing much of their attention on key Senate races.
CUNA and NAFCU have both endorsed the re-election of Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
“Udall has been a champion for credit unions on the business lending issue,” Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs, told Credit Union Times.
“McConnell has been a credit union supporter. We will continue to be involved in that race,” Hawkins added.
CUNA and NAFCU are also supporting Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
NAFCU Vice President of Political Affairs Katie Marisic pointed out that Begich has been a vocal supporter of tax exemption for credit unions.
In addition, NAFCU and CUNA are backing Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, over former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie in the Virginia race.
Among House races, both groups are supporting many incumbents on the House Ways & Means and Financial Services committees who are currently occupying safe seats.
“Most of the incumbents on Ways & Means and Financial Services are in fairly safe districts,” said Hawkins. “The interesting dynamic this cycle when looking at these two committees is that we actually have a few strong credit union supporters currently serving on these key committees who are seeking election to the Senate.”
CUNA has endorsed Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, in the Michigan Senate race. Both trade groups are supporting the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit, Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), in her bid for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.
Among the tight House races, CUNA is backing Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), a former credit union director for re-election, and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), mayor of Redlands, who is a candidate for the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.).
Hawkins pointed out that Aguilar is a former employee of the $773 million Arrowhead Credit Union in San Bernardino, Calif.
Support of Aguilar by the CUNA-affiliated California Credit Union League during the 2012 elections, when he attempted to challenge Miller for the seat, angered the Congressman, prompting him to speak out against the organizations during NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus.
CUNA has also endorsed Republican candidate Mike Collins, a member of the Board of Directors at the $1.3 billion Associated Credit Union in Norcross, Ga., for the open GA-10 seat.
Marisic told Credit Union Times that NAFCU is supportive of House members in leadership positions on both sides of the aisle.
“We are actively supporting re-elections of many members of the House Financial Services Committee, like Chairman Hensarling, Rep. Ed Royce, Rep. Pete King, Ranking Member Maxine Waters, Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Carolyn Maloney to name a few,” she said.