WASHINGTON (6/25/14)--The Credit Union National Association's Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) said May was its largest month for giving this election cycle, according to a report by Roll Call
. CULAC gave out $229,000 and raised $3,035,732 this cycle placing it in the publication's top five most-active PACs for the month. Roll Call
also highlighted the strongly bipartisan nature of CULAC contributions, with 50.39% of contributions going to Republican candidates and 49.46% going to Democratic candidates.
Richard Gose, CUNA's senior vice president for political affairs, said CUNA's and CULAC's campaign finance decisions are based on backing leaders who will do the most for credit unions and their almost-100 million members.
"Like all of our political activities, our PAC contributions aren't focused on helping candidates of one party or the other. First and foremost we look to help candidates that understand and support credit unions," he said.
Several candidates attempting to win election to the U.S. Congress are directly affiliated with credit unions. In California's 31st District, Pete Aguilar, Democratic candidate and mayor of Redlands, Calif., is the former vice president of Arrowhead CU, with $773 million in assets.
Aguilar was the recipient of a $197,189.03 independent expenditure for direct mail and digital advertising, both in English and Spanish by CULAC. CULAC had previously contributed $10,000 to Aguilar's campaign, and he has strong support from the California Credit Union League and local credit unions.
The certified vote count in the district has Aguilar 209 votes ahead of Republican candidate Lesli Gooch for the second spot on November's ballots. The San Bernardino Sun
reports that Gooch will likely call for a recount, but cites the San Bernardino County registrar of voters who says there were no anomalies in the first count, making a change in the vote count unlikely.
The highest vote getter between Aguilar and Gooch will face Republican Paul Chabot in November for the seat left open by the retiring Rep. Gary Miller (R).
In Georgia, Republican Mike Collins, congressional candidate for the 10th District is a board member of Associated CU, based in Norcross, Ga., with $1.3 billion in assets, will be in a runoff election July 22. If elected in November, Collins would be the first credit union board member elected to Congress from Georgia.
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.
CUNA and CULAC have been successful in supporting dozens of candidates around the country during primary season, with several notable examples:
Credit union-backed candidate Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) handily defeated challenger Matt Bevin in the Kentucky Republican primary May 20. McConnell, the current Senate minority leader, was supported by $156,000 worth of television ads from CULAC.
In Alabama, state Rep. Paul DeMarco (R) was the top vote-getter in his primary and will face off against Gary Palmer in a July 15 runoff election. DeMarco was the recipient of more than 54,000 partisan communication mailers to credit union member households, and CULAC and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions are working on more support for the runoff.
Incumbent Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) defeated his opponent in the May 20 primary moving 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%.