Last-Minute CU Help Can't Save Candidate

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An unprecedented last-minute hand from credit unions was not enough of a push for Sheriff David Huffman, who lost the Republican primary run-off to State Rep. Patrick McHenry by a mere 86 votes. Huffman, who immediately asked for a recount, was the recipient of $50,000 from CUNA and the North Carolina CU League to help finance a radio ad campaign in the final days before the run-off as well as a $5,000 CUNA PAC check.

The preliminary vote count found Huffman, a long-time member of the advisory board for North Carolina Local Government Employees FCU, with 49% of the vote, after leading the pack in the July 20 GOP primary with 35%, to McHenry's 26%. However, McHenry was able to demand a run-off because neither candidate received 40% of the vote in the primary.

The $50,000 radio buy was only the third time CUNA and its state leagues have made so-called independent expenditures on behalf of a favored candidate, and the first time in a primary.

CUNA's first foray into independent expenditures, so-called because they are supposed to be independent of the candidate's campaign, helped Republican Jon Porter of Nevada and Democrat Michael Michaud of Maine win election to the House in 2002.

Richard Gose, political director for CUNA, said they are planning other independent expenditures leading up to the elections.

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