Consider the three casualties among incumbents thus far:
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) lost his bid for a fourth six-year term at the Utah Republican Convention despite his nearly perfect ratings from virtually every major conservative organization.
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), a 14 term incumbent whose father held his seat before him, was defeated by a virtually unknown Democratic state senator.
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA)’s fifth term in the Senate will be his last, as he lost to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) despite the support of virtually the entire Democratic establishment, from the White House on down.
Each of these major defeats has its own unique story – Bennett lost in a convention process that magnifies angry activists; Mollohan was dragged down by repeated ethics questions; Specter faced questions about his integrity following his party switch – but the one common thread in each of these stories was incumbency. And we’re talking longtime incumbency: in just three races, voters turned their backs on 76 years of combined service in Congress.
If there is a take-away from these shocks to the political landscape, it is this – incumbents, no matter how long they have held office—should be running scared. And maybe those who have been in office the longest should be worried the most.
So what does this have to do with credit unions? We can’t take for granted that our friends in Congress will be there next January just because they already have been. We owe it to those incumbents who have supported credit unions to do all we can to help return to office.
If we don’t, we may wake up Wednesday, November 3rd to find that some of our best friends in Congress are no longer there to help us.