ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (7/28/08)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) and credit unions will take advantage of a rarity in this year's election campaigns to educate candidates about issues and challenges facing credit unions. New Mexico's elections will be among the most-followed in the nation because no incumbents are running for re-election in any of the House seats open this election year, says Juan Fernandez, vice president of government affairs at CUANM (CUANM Network July). That means three races are up for grabs, with two expected to be very close races, he said. Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican Darren White are running to replace Rep. Heather Wilson (R-1st District) in Congress. Democrat Tom Udall and Republican Rep. Steve Pearce will run for the seat vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici (R), who is retiring. Democrat Harry Teague and Republican Ed Tinsley are competing for the seat vacated in the 2nd District by Pearce. Pearce was the first New Mexico lawmaker to co-sponsor the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA) and is a strong credit union supporter. "This political situation provides credit unions with a golden opportunity to shine and to demonstrate that we can have an influence in elections," Fernandez wrote. CUANM is "taking the necessary steps to make the most of this election rarity. We are reaching out to all campaigns, educating them about the issues and challenges that credit unions face, and supporting the most credit union-friendly candidates." Some credit unions in the state are planning to have spotlight events where candidates discuss their agenda with members while others will have voter registration drives, said Fernandez. CUANM is supporting Pearce for Senate, Heinrich in District 1 and Ben Ray Lujan in District 3. It also is talking with the Teague and Tinsley campaigns to educate them about credit unions. The Credit Union Legislative Action Committee (CULAC) is supporting Pearce, Heinrich and Lujan, according to Trey Hawkins, political director at the Credit Union National Association. CULAC has contributed $10,000 to Pearce and $5,000 each to Heinrich and Lujan.