CUNA Bids To Save Senate Majority Leader

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LAS VEGAS – In its most ambitious independent campaign effort to date CUNA is spending almost $413,000 on special campaigns ads this weekend on behalf of three favored candidates, including embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

CUNA reported this morning it is spending $152,535 on glossy, full-color mailings for Reid, the four-term Democrat and one of the co-sponsors of the member business loan bill, who is trailing Republican challenger Sharron Angle, just three weeks before election day.

CUNA is also spending $143,046 on independent television ads to tout Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, the four-term member of the House who is in a tight race in South Dakota; and another $117,000 on radio ads pushing Republican state rep. Cory Gardner in his bid to unseat freshman Democrat Betsy Markey.

While CUNA has financed independent expenditures such as these in the past–by law they must be orchestrated separate from the candidate’s official campaign–these three initiatives, following Tuesday’s $34,380 direct mailing for freshman Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader represents the most ambitious independent campaign ever launched by CUNA.

CUNA, which will spend more than $4 million in campaign activity this elections, still has more than $1 million in cash in its campaign warchest, meaning several other independent expenditures in this watershed election may be expected over the next few weeks.

CUNA has had mixed success on independent campaign expenditures. Most recently CUNA spent $66,000 on radio ads to boost Ovide Lamontagne, the former chairman of the board of St. Mary’s Bank (credit union) in his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in the New Hampshire senate race.

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