WASHINGTON (6/11/13)--The Credit Union National Association is closely watching the planned New Jersey special U.S. Senate election as the race unfolds.
A number of candidates that have entered the race are credit union supporters, including two-term Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D), State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D), and U.S. House members Rush Holt (D) and Frank Pallone (D). Holt and Pallone have been credit union member business lending cap increase supporters in Congress, and Booker has expressed his support speaking at a number of credit union-related events. Oliver was a key sponsor of state assembly legislation to enable credit unions to become eligible municipal depositories.
Former Bogota, N.J., mayor and state gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan (R) and Dr. Alieta Eck (R) will compete for the Republican nomination in this contest.
"We've built strong relationships with many candidates, and credit unions are in good shape whatever the outcome of the special election," New Jersey Credit Union League Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel said.
"Credit unions, the state league and CUNA have almost an embarrassment of riches with credit union-friendly candidates to choose from during this election," CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins added.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday indicates Booker is the early favorite. New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972.
The candidates will vie for the former Senate seat of Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died at age 89 on June 3. The special election will be held on Oct. 16.
In the interim, State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa (R) will fill New Jersey's vacant Senate seat. Chiesa was appointed by Governor Chris Christie (R) late last week, and was sworn in on Monday.
CUNA, the leagues and credit unions have supported special election candidates in the past. One recent example of interim-election success is Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D), who won the right to represent Oregon's first congressional district in early 2012.
Bonamici made her support for member business lending a key part of her campaign and platform, and has remained a strong credit union supporter during her time in office.