Florida CUs Hedge Their Bets In KeySenate Race

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - (08/16/04) -- In a rare incidence ofticket-splitting, the credit union lobby has weighed in on behalfof two separate candidates in the contest to succeed three-termSen. Bob Graham, one of a handful of races that will decide controlof the Senate in the 109th Congress. "We gave to a Democrat and aRepublican, which is kind of unusual. They're both good friends,"said Aletta Schutes, chief lobbyist for the Florida CU League, ofcontributions to Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Betty Castor,the leading candidates in the state's Aug. 31 primary. Martinez,who quit his job as director of the U.S. Department of Housing andUrban Development to run for the Senate, is a strong credit unionsupporter and appears to have the edge on former Congressman BillMcCollum, for the party's nomination. While Castor, who has neverhad a bank account but always 'banked' at a credit union, is aformer state lawmaker, Commissioner of Education, and local collegepresident. The credit union support in the general election will bedependent on which candidates survive the primary, Schutes told TheCredit Union Journal. The Florida league has also weighed in onbehalf of Democratic State Sen. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a memberof the Senate Banking Committee, who is vying to succeed six-termCongressman Peter Deutsch, another candidate in the DemocraticSenate primary. The credit union lobby has yet to choose acandidate in the race for the state's 14th congressional district,where Porter Goss planned on retiring before he was nominated lastweek to head the CIA.

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