|"You've got a lot of dynamics in play," said the NCCUL Political Affairs Director, Pam Melton. "Redistricting has altered election prospects for some members of Congress, including some strong credit union advocates, and the governor's race looks to be wide open," she said. Melton adds that the sluggish economy will challenge the re-election prospects of some incumbents.
The announcements Thursday that Congressman Brad Miller & Governor Beverly Perdue will not seek re-election underscore the changing landscape of NC politics. As the year unfolds, this ever-changing reality stresses the challenges & opportunities credit unions face -- and the need for credit unions to be especially engaged in the political process.
"You've got a lot of dynamics in play," said the NCCUL Political Affairs Director, Pam Melton. "Redistricting has altered election prospects for some members of Congress, including some strong credit union advocates, and the governor's race looks to be wide open," she said. Melton also noted that the sluggish economy will challenge the re-election prospects of some incumbents. "Taken together, all these factors ensure that this will be one of the more challenging election cycles for credit unions in NC that we've seen in quite a while."
Miller & Perdue were both victims of these election year realities. Miller faced a primary challenge from fellow Democratic Member of Congress David Price after they were drawn into the same district by the Republican-controlled NC General Assembly. As for Perdue, her re-election prospects looked dim due to a sluggish economy and flagging popularity ratings.
Melton noted that in order to deal with the twists and turns of the coming May primary and November general election, it would be imperative for credit unions to engage in the political process. "That's especially true for some of the newer faces that will appear in the election campaign. Understanding how much candidates know about and support credit unions is vital, and that comes through clearest through in-person contact," Melton said.
Some political newcomers will get introduced to credit unions and cooperatives next week at three Campaign Academy events. Co-sponsored by the League and NC's Electric Co-operatives, these day-long Campaign Academy events help political newcomers understand how to run an effective campaign.
While many Academy attendees are running for local and county races, a few end up running for state and federal offices. "Renee Ellmers attended the Campaign Academy event in Rocky Mount last year, and today she represents NC's Second District in Congress," said Melton.
While Thursday's announcements will be hard to outdo in terms of political drama, especially this early, Melton said the road ahead will continue to offer credit unions "the chance to support our friends, get to know some new faces and show the strength and diversity of the credit union movement. We encourage credit unions to make political participation a key goal this year."