WASHINGTON-CUNA Senior Vice President for Political Affairs Richard Gose said the Credit Union Legislative Action Council of CUNA began this election cycle (2005-2006) doling out funds faster than in the past. He explained that as lawmakers begin ramping up for re-election earlier and earlier in the House’s two-year election cycle, CULAC was contributing faster in 2005, than typical nonelection years. New reporting requirements are also pushing politicians to bring in money early on as a strong showing against opponents to meet new quarterly filing deadlines. And, costs are skyrocketing, CUNA Political Director Trey Hawkins commented. “The price of campaigning annually is going up and up,” he said, pointing out that $1 million was very rare for a House race not so long ago, reserved only for the tightest of races, but it is becoming more and more common. Gose agreed, adding that tough primaries are also kicking up the price tags as some are already becoming heated this year. But, you ain’t seen nothing yet, he said. “This is an interesting season,” Gose observed. “It’s not yet determined if this will be your typical year: race-by-race, case-by-case, or if you’re going to have a wave.” By wave, Gose explained he meant a “mood for change” across the country, like the Contract with America where the Republicans took over the House in 1994. Several factors are at play from gas prices to the economy to the War on Terror to healthcare, he indicated. He said the general public is still trying to sort through the ethical issues. Hawkins interjected that it is still very early in the election season and, in the spring of 1994, no one would have predicted the Contract with America, which “crystallized in the last few weeks.” In political circles, spring is a “lifetime” until the elections, Hawkins concluded. -

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