Yesterday’s election results clearly represent a significant change of direction for Washington. As has been widely reported, Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, picking up a net of at least 60 House seats, with the outcome of 13 races yet to be determined as of early this morning.
Democrats retained control of the U.S. Senate. Despite a six-seat pickup by Republicans and three yet-to-be-called races, they maintain a minimum of 51 seats.
As for credit unions, we had a strong night despite losses of Democratic friends. We engaged in this election to a greater degree than ever before.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and league support, as defined by Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) donations, extended to 358 House candidates and 31 Senate candidates, meaning we backed a pro-credit union candidate in 82% of the seats up in Congress.
As of this writing, 26 of our Senate candidates won and just three lost (Brad Ellsworth in Indiana, Lee Fisher in Ohio, and Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania). A fourth race, involving credit union-backed incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), remains too close to call.
In the House, 300 CULAC-backed candidates won election, and 48 lost, with 10 races yet to be determined. Overall, as of this morning, 93% of candidates in called races who received CULAC support won election.
Of perhaps greater note, our involvement extended beyond mere CULAC donations in a number of key races. CUNA, CULAC, leagues and individual credit unions spent a combined $1.1 million on direct communications with voters in 13 races, 10 in yesterday’s general election.
Millions of voters heard some form of communication from us in 12 targeted states, all positive and all in support of candidates from both parties who understand and back credit unions.
Indeed, a Washington Post analysis in late October ranked CUNA the fifth-largest outside spender in campaigns among trade associations, and the most bipartisan among the top 50 organizations.
Our efforts ranged from statewide television ads in South Dakota and radio ads in Colorado, Missouri, and New Hampshire, to more than one million pieces of mail sent to voters since early August.
Of particular note, 22 credit unions worked with CUNA and their leagues to send more than 600,000 pieces of direct mail to their members in support of their local congressional candidates.
Next: Results in key races