WASHINGTON (6/5/12)--With a combined 78 primary electoral contests set to take place today in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, June 5 is a mini-Super Tuesday, and credit union advocates are key players in several close races, Credit Union National Association Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins notes.
One key race involves incumbent Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who is facing fellow incumbent Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and five other opponents. Sherman has consistently championed many credit union legislative priorities, including maintaining their not-for-profit tax status, relieving regulatory burdens, increasing the member business lending (MBL) cap, and easing access to supplemental capital.
Hawkins said the Sherman race is "critical" to credit unions. The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) and the California Credit Union League are both supporting Sherman, and the league is stepping up its efforts with in-district activities.
California's primary process has been tweaked this year, with the top two vote getters from each district, regardless of party affiliation, moving on to face each other in November's general election contests. CUNA political experts expect Sherman to be one of the top-two finishers in his district, and noted that the real race will take place in November.
CULAC and the league are also backing incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) in her primary bid, and Feinstein is expected to lead the group of 24 candidates that are running for one of California's U.S. Senate seats.
California U.S. House primary candidates Doug La Malfa (R), Jared Huffman (D), David Valadao (R), Tony Cardenas (D), Janice Hahn (D), Alan Lowenthal (D) and Juan Vargas (D), and incumbent candidates Jeff Denham (R) and Brian Bilbray (R), are also among those facing competitive primaries that have received CULAC and league support in their respective general election contests.
Senate candidate Mark Heinrich noted that increasing credit union MBL authority would help boost the economy in a recent debate.
Potential U.S. Senate candidate and current U.S. House member Martin Heinrich (D) is also backed by CULAC and the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, and he noted his support for legislation that would increase the credit union MBL cap in a June 3 primary debate against fellow Senate candidate Hector Balderas (D). Heinrich added that the U.S. Congress could help create new jobs by opening such new financing opportunities for small businesses.
Heinrich leads Balderas by 25 points in a recent Albuquerque Journal
polls, and is expected to face Republican Heather Wilson (R) this fall, the Journal
reported. Wilson held Heinrich's current House seat before she left to mount an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate. Hawkins said this year's New Mexico Senate race should be competitive.
He noted there are many other credit union candidates running in other states, including current Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), but they are all expected to win their nomination fights.