Special CUNA Electoral Initiative Goes For Naught

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MANCHESTER, N.H. – Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte edged credit union-backed Ovid Lamontagne in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary despite extra efforts by CUNA, which funded last-minute radio ads for Lamontagne in the days leading up to the vote.

Lamontagne, who was backed by the state’s tea party affiliates, attracted the unusual credit union support – a $70,000 independent expenditure – because of his 10-year service on the board of St. Mary’s Bank, the nation’s first credit union – where he was chairman until last April.

CUNA also contributed a $5,000 campaign donation to Lamontagne, who lost by just 1,667 votes out of almost 150,000 cast in the Republican primary.

Ayotte will move on to face Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes in the general election to succeed Judd Gregg, who is retiring after three terms.

The failed effort comes just weeks after another CUNA special elections initiative, a $69,000 mailing on behalf of former Arizona state Sen. Jim Waring, failed to propel the sponsor of the state’s controversial immigration law to victory in the Republican primary for the state’s Third Congressional district. The crowded primary – there were 10 candidates, was won by Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle.

Tuesday’s loss of the Lamontagne race was the second major defeat of a CUNA-backed candidate this week, following the shocking win by tea party-backed Christine O’Donnell over nine-term Congressman Michael Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate primary.

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