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CU-backed candidates perform well in Ky., Ga., Idaho
WASHINGTON (5/22/14)--Senate and congressional candidates in Kentucky, Georgia and Idaho who garnered support from their state leagues, as well as the Credit Union National Association and the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) performed well in Tuesday's primaries.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate minority leader, defeated Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin to face Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes in what is predicted to be one of the tightest races in the country come November. McConnell was backed by the Kentucky Credit Union League and will be throughout the campaign. He was also supported with $156,000 in television ads from CULAC ( News Now May 21).

In Idaho, incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson (R) defeated challenger Bryan Smith and is expected to win in November due to the heavily Republican nature of the first district.

"Mike is a longtime friend of credit unions in Idaho, he has consistently supported upholding credit unions' tax status," said Will Hall, government affairs officer for the Idaho Credit Union League. "Most recently, he signed the King-Meeks letter to the National Credit Union Administration regarding its risk-based capital (RBC) proposal."

Hall was referring to a bipartisan letter with the signatures of more than 320 House lawmakers, joining Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), to urge federal regulators to be judicious as they work to finalize a RBC rule.  (See News Now May 13: Concerned about RBC proposal, 75% of U.S. Reps. sign letter to NCUA.)

In the Georgia Senate race, Rep. Jack Kingston (R), finished with 26% of the vote, a second-place finish to David Perdue, former CEO of Dollar General, who took 31%. The two will face off in July in an attempt to fill the seat left open by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).

Incumbent Rep. Hank Johnson (D) defeated his opponent in the primary with 50% of the vote, moving one step closer to being elected to a fifth term as representative to Georgia's 4th District. Johnson is a longtime credit union supporter who co-sponsored a bill to raise the cap on credit union member business loans (MBL) to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%.

Several candidates in Georgia finished high in the polls, but did not get the requisite 50% of the vote, so they will face off against another candidate in a July 22 runoff election.

State Sen. Buddy Carter (R) finished first in the 1st District race, winning 36% of the vote. He will face surgeon Bob Johnson July 22.

Mike Collins (R), owner of a trucking company and board member of Norcross, Ga.-based Associated CU, with $1.3 billion in assets, will also be in a runoff July 22 in the 10th District. If elected in November, Collins would be the first credit union board member elected to Congress from Georgia.

"He has met with credit union leadership throughout the district, visited branches located in the district as well as received financial support through CULAC as well as personal donations," said Cindy Connelly, the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates senior vice president of government influence. "In Georgia we are pleased to be able to work with Mike and his campaign to try to get a legislator who has spent years learning about the issues that impact credit unions and their members. For that reason Georgia credit unions have and will continue to support Mike's campaign."

In the 11th District, former Rep. Bob Barr (R) finished second place in the primary, with his 26% of the vote enough to put him into the July 22 runoff against State Sen. Barry Loudermilk.

"Rep. Barr was a solid CU supporter during his prior service in the House and earned the league's and CULAC's early support," said Trey Hawkins, CUNA's vice president of political affairs.

In Arkansas, credit union-supported candidate state Rep. Ann Clemmer (R), lost to banker French Hill for the nomination to replace retiring Rep. Tom Griffin (R).
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