WASHINGTON (8/16/12)--A trio of credit union-backed Senate candidates cruised through their primaries this week and can begin preparing in earnest for this November's general elections.
In Connecticut, current U.S. House member Chris Murphy (D) won the Democratic Party's Senate nomination, defeating Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysewicz by winning 68% of the total vote.
Murphy was supported in his primary campaign by the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) and the Credit Union League of Connecticut, and will face former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon for the right to replace the retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
Elisabeth Etsy won the Democratic nomination for Murphy's former House seat on Tuesday.
Current Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) easily won her own Tuesday primary, and is expected to defeat her opponent, high school economics teacher Kurt Bills (R), this November. Klobuchar is also supported by CULAC and the Minnesota Credit Union Network.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) will face another CULAC-backed candidate, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), this fall after Baldwin ran unopposed in Tuesday's Senate primary. The Thompson/Baldwin race is expected to be competitive.
CULAC backed state Rep. Kelda Roys in her bid to take on Baldwin's vacated U.S. House seat, but Roys was defeated in her Democratic primary by fellow state Rep. Mark Pocan. However, CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said Pocan is also a strong credit union supporter.
Rep. Connie Mack (R) will face CULAC- and credit union-supported Senate incumbent Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) this fall. Some polls give Nelson a slight edge in what is expected to be another close November race.
Arizona will be the next state to hold a major contested primary. That primary election, which is scheduled for Aug. 28th, will feature an open U.S. Senate contest and several competitive House races.