WASHINGTON (6/7/12)--Credit union-backed primary candidates "had a good night" on Tuesday, with the majority of them moving on to run in November's general election contests, Credit Union National Association Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins reported.
All in all, the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) supported candidates in 57 of Tuesday's 78 primary contests, and 57 of those CULAC-backed candidates will run in November's general election. Primaries were held in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.
One of those candidates is current U.S. House member Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who will run for New Mexico's open Senate seat after he defeated primary opponent Hector Balderas (D) by winning 59.1% of the Democratic primary votes. Heinrich, who is backed by CULAC and the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) and has supported House member business lending legislation, will face Republican Heather Wilson this fall.
Also in New Mexico, Ron Griggs, who has credit union ties, defeated former Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico Chair Sarah Dion Kidd-Johnson to win the Republican state senate nomination for the 34th district. Griggs, who won 57.4% of the vote, was backed by CUANM.
Not all of the wins on Tuesday were clear-cut primary victories, however. Changes to California's primary process mean that the top two finishers in each U.S. House and Senate primary race, regardless of party affiliation, will face each other this fall.
The biggest result in California for credit unions was credit union champion Rep. Brad Sherman's (D) first-place finish in California's 30th district, where the incumbent picked up 42% of the total vote. He will face fellow incumbent Howard Berman (D) this November.
Other successful CULAC-backed candidates in California included incumbent Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) and current House members Jeff Denham (R) and Brian Bilbray (R), as well as California House candidates Doug La Malfa (R), Jared Huffman (D), David Valadao (R), Tony Cardenas (D), Janice Hahn (D), Alan Lowenthal (D) and Juan Vargas (D).
Hawkins said CULAC will continue to support many of these credit union friends in this fall's election.