WASHINGTON A banking SuperPAC founded ahead of the 2012 elections has released its preliminary list of 2014 races to watch.
The group, Friends of Traditional Banking, has identified seven Senate races and 13 House races deemed important to the industry. That number will be whittled down to two over the course of the summer.
"This is the beginning of our process," said Matt Packard, the group's chairman and president and chief executive of Central Bank in Provo, Utah, in a press release Thursday. "Our leadership will narrow this list down to eight or so candidates in July, four or so in August, and after Labor Day will announce the two most critical races for banking that our membership will be strongly encouraged to support financially."
Rather than raising and spending funds to advocate for or oppose candidates directly, the traditional method of SuperPACs, the group asks bankers to donate to specific campaigns. In 2012, Friends of Traditional Banking supported Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who was locked in a heated race with now Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The group has said it was able to direct more than $200,000 into those races, and that it has since grown to nearly 6,000 members in all 50 states.
This year, the SuperPAC has highlighted Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who are all running for the Senate, along with Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Mitch McConnell, Ky., the chamber's minority leader. State senator Joni, R-Iowa, and Terri Lynn Land of Michigan have also been identified on the watch list for their Senate campaigns.
In the House, the group has identified current Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky., Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., Scott Garrett, R-N.J., Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., David Scott, D-Ga., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, as well as Arkansas banker French Hill and former state senator Richard Tisei, R-Mass.
"While there are many members of Congress who have established themselves as loyal friends of traditional banking this bipartisan, bicameral watch list represents those in greatest need of support, who have made an extraordinary effort to support traditional banking, or whose opponents have demonstrated a blatant disregard for the health of traditional banking and the local communities we support," said Rick Sanborn, an FOTB board member and chief executive of Seacoast Commerce Bank in San Diego, in the press release.