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Political prowess of CUNA noted by media
WASHINGTON (10/18/10)--With midterm campaign season in full swing and candidates from both sides of the aisle reporting record fundraising tallies, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has been receiving attention of its own for its political activity. As reported by The Hill and later noted in the pages of The Politico, CUNA has come out in support of South Dakota House incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) by financing a 30-second television ad. The ad hails Herseth Sandlin as an "independent leader" who opposed the Wall St. bailout, supports small businesses, and is not afraid to stand up to her own party. The most recent Rasmussen poll shows Republican opponent Kristi Noem with a slight 3 point lead over the incumbent Herseth Sandlin. CUNA has also backed Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in his reelection attempt against Sharon Angle. Former House Republican Whip and current Missouri Senate candidate, Rep. Roy Blunt (R), and Colorado-based Republican House candidate Cory Gardner have also received support. CUNA's backing of these candidates was noted in opensecrets.org's Oct. 8 listing of top independent expenditures. Oregon-based Democratic House incumbent Kurt Schrader has also received CUNA backing during his reelection attempt. “These are just some of the record 13 races this election cycle in which CUNA has undertaken direct voter communications on behalf of credit union candidates," CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said. The Herseth Sandlin, Reid, Blunt, Gardner and Schrader efforts are independent expenditures financed by CULAC, CUNA's federal political action committee, and by law cannot be coordinated with the candidates or their campaigns. CUNA, leagues and credit unions are also engaged in five partisan communications campaigns, in which leagues and credit unions can coordinate with the candidates and send political mailings to credit union members. Partisan communications campaigns for the general election include efforts for incubment Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.); open seat candidate Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who is challenging incumbent Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D). A total of 16 credit unions in five states are participating in these efforts. CUNA, leagues and credit unions also engaged in three primary campaigns earlier this year, including the successful nomination of Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) in his Republican primary. These CUNA-backed candidates "have a long history of supporting credit unions," CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said. "While we can't be a player in every race, we will support the candidates that have supported credit unions in the past. The races we do take part in are ones where we have had clear support from the candidates," he added.


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