WASHINGTON–CUs had their eyes on a number of important races, including:
• In Montana, freshman Democrat Jon Tester won re-election over the state’s lone House member, Denny Rehberg, with a broad coalition of credit unions and banks helping to boost the incumbent. The odd coalition of credit unions, banks and credit card companies was forged during last year’s brutal fight against the Durbin amendment’s cap on debit card fees, during which Tester sponsored an unsuccessful bill to repeal the cap.
What may have pushed Tester over the top in this state with just 1 million residents was a series of voter initiatives coordinated by Montana’s credit unions. “This was a super, super cause, and the right guy won,” said Tracie Kenyon, president of the Montana CU Network, which helped organize fundraisers, neighborhood canvasses, phone banks and direct mailings on Tester’s behalf.
• California Republican Ed Royce, a longtime credit union supporter who has sponsored credit union legislation all the way back to HR 1151, the 1998 CU Membership Access Act, will be returning to the House after winning reelection.
• Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus, the chairman of the all-important House Financial Services Committee, won reelection easily, but not without critical credit union assistance during a tough primary when CUNA send out independent direct mailings on his behalf in the primary’s final days.
• North Carolina Democrat Larry Kissell, a big CU supporter who CUNA supported with a direct mailing in the final days of the campaign, went down to defeat.
• Democrat Elizabeth Warren, the one-time credit union foe and the creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Republican incumbent Scott Brown. Warren, who fought the CU lobby for many years over bankruptcy reform, and later over her brainchild, the CFPB, won election nevertheless with the endorsement of the state’s CU lobby, even though none of the major credit union groups, neither CUNA or NAFCU, contributed to her campaign.