Mixed Election Results For CUs
CUNA and NAFCU's PACs supported more winners than losers in the midterm elections, yet CUs still lost some key allies.
The biggest loss was Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), who saw his 26-year congressional career end as part of a GOP wave that gave Republicans control of the House after four years in the minority.
Kanjorski, who sponsored many key credit union initiatives, lost to Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta despite financial and in-person support from national and local credit union groups. CUNA's PAC did an extensive partisan communication effort and gave his campaign $10,000. NAFCU's PAC also gave him $10,000, and its members did extensive work on the ground.
He lost 55% to 45% to Barletta, who ran against him twice before.
"We tried really hard as we have in previous cycles, but given the trends, we couldn't do it," said CUNA Senior Vice President Richard Gose.
But CUs got a big piece of good news when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confounded many experts and won his race.
He received contributions from both PACs. In addition, CUNA's PAC spent $152,535 on independent expenditures for a direct mail campaign on his behalf.
When the dust settled, he defeated former state Rep. Sharron Angle 50% to 45%
CUNA's CU Legislative Action Council contributed to 358 House candidates and 300 of them won, 48 lost and 10 hadn't been decided at press time. It gave money to 30 Senate candidates for a 26-4 record.
NAFCU-PAC contributed to 65 House candidates, 55 of whom won and 10 lost. It gave money to 15 Senate candidates, picking 12 winners.
NAFCU Executive Vice President Dan Berger said the results tracked with the trends he had been seeing in the lead-up to the election.
"We knew that a wave was coming. What surprised me was the extent to which the undecideds and independents broke so heavily for the Republicans," he said.
Berger added that while he was disappointed that Kanjorski lost, many other CU friends won.CULAC made independent expenditure and partisan communications contributions on behalf of 10 candidates, eight of whom won and two lost.
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), won an open Senate seat by defeating Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, 50% to 46%. CULAC spent $152,500 to produce radio ads for Blunt.
It also spent $156,320 for a direct mail campaign on behalf of Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), who defeated state Rep. Scott Bruun, 51% to 46%.
CULAC spent $147,000 to produce and buy radio air time for ads on behalf of state Rep. Cory Gardner, who defeated U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), 53% to 41%.
Another $163,041 went to produce and buy air time for TV ads on behalf of Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) who was narrowly defeated by state Rep. Kristi Noem.
In addition to Kanjorski, CULAC sent out partisan communications on behalf of Reps. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), both of whom won. It also did partisan communications on behalf of U.S. Rep.-elects Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.).
Both House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and the top Republican Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) were re-elected, with financial support from credit unions. Bachus is the likely new chairman.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, was also re-elected. However, because the Democrats kept their majority in that chamber, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is going to take over the Banking Committee. Johnson wasn't up for re-election but in the past has been supported by CUNA and NAFCU.
Credit union allies who won include Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, both Democrats, who won open Senate seats.
Physician Rand Paul, a favorite of credit unions and the tea party movement, won the U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky by defeating Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway 56% to 44%. Paul, a Republican, received $10,000 from CULAC.
Other credit union allies who lost included: Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (R-S.C.).