Credit union group to spend $7 million on Senate, House races

Credit union group to spend $7 million on Senate, House races
© Greg Nash

A major trade group representing credit unions launched a multimillion-dollar spending campaign on Thursday in support of congressional candidates on both sides of the aisle.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and its PAC, the Credit Union Legislative Action Council, said they plan to spend $7 million this cycle, with PAC donations supporting over 350 House and Senate candidates who have been credit union supporters.

In the 2018 midterms, CUNA and its PAC spent $6.8 million and in 2016 the groups spent $5.8 million.

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CUNA has endorsed and launched ads for Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase MORE (R-Maine), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Daines to introduce bill awarding Congressional Gold Medal to troops killed in Afghanistan Powell reappointment to Fed chair backed by Yellen: report MORE (R-Mont.), Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Officials urge Congress to consider fining companies that fail to report cyber incidents Senate Democrats announce million investment in key battlegrounds ahead of 2022 MORE (D-Mich.) and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Democratic leaders vow climate action amid divide Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (D-Minn.), with all of its ads focusing on positive messaging.

“All of our messaging for these candidates is entirely positive in nature,” Trey Hawkins, CUNA’s deputy chief advocacy officer for political action, told The Hill. “A lot of these close races for the House and Senate are turning really nasty and negative. Credit unions are typically held in really high regard by their members, and they have a high degree of credibility with their members and with the public as well.”

Hawkins noted that CUNA and its PAC are leaning into emerging technology platforms to run ads, including digital advertising on Hulu and Facebook. They also launched their ads to be ahead of early voting in most states.

“The other component of this is the timing of all of this and the fact that we’re highly cognizant that more people are voting earlier and in different ways than they have, because of the pandemic,” he said. “We’re really conscience of making sure that our communications in various races are timed to be ahead of early voting starting, or to coincide.” 

While CUNA has endorsed and spent on Senate and House candidates, the trade group's policy is to not endorse or spend in presidential elections and it does not plan to get involved in this year's race.

CUNA also launched Credit Unions Vote this cycle, which is an initiative focused on getting credit union members to vote. One in three Americans are credit union members and 44 percent of registered voters belong to a credit union, the trade group noted.