October 25, 2018

Election Q&A with NAFCU's Adams: Possible outcomes, industry impacts

NAFCU's Chad Adams

Midterm elections are right around the corner and NAFCU's award-winning advocacy is hard at work with current congressional leaders and those in the running to assume a seat on Capitol Hill. While the association's bipartisan advocacy will remain intact regardless of the outcomes of these elections, NAFCU Director of Political Affairs Chad Adams provides some insight ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.

For those credit unions looking to reach out to their lawmakers while they are on the campaign trail, NAFCU's website has resources available on top industry issues, and its Grassroots Action Center has lawmakers' contact information readily accessible.

Q: What are some of the possible election outcomes?
A: Historically speaking, voter turnout is consistently lower for midterm elections than during a presidential election, and it is not uncommon for the president's party to lose some congressional seats. We've seen Democrats voicing confidence over the last few months regarding a blue wave but, as the 2016 presidential election demonstrated, elections can be pretty unpredictable.

While polling has generally favored Democrats in the past few months, the races have begun to tighten. Both parties are extremely motivated for a midterm election year. The final outcome on Election Day will come down to who better "motivates" their voters to get to the polls.

Q: What is the current make-up of Congress and what needs to happen for Democrats to overtake the majority? How likely is that outcome?
A: In the House, Republicans currently hold 235 seats to the Democrats 193 (there are currently seven vacancies). If the vacant seats are won by the party that most recently held the seat, Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take over the majority. There are a number of retirements on the Republican side that have created "open seat" races that favor the Democrats.

In the Senate, Republicans enjoy a historically favorable map this midterm, as they only have eight seats to defend to the Democrats' 25 (including two independents caucusing with the Democrats). There are also two seats up for special election in Mississippi and Minnesota, but both seats will remain in their respective party's hands. Most of the seats Democrats are defending, save for a handful of key races, are in Democratic strongholds. Control of the Senate looks like it will ultimately come down to just a handful of hotly contested seats, including those in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and Indiana.

While it is difficult to predict how this will all play out, most agree that the odds favor Democrats gaining the majority in the House as the Republicans keep the Senate (even possibly increasing their majority by two to three seats).

Q: What does all this mean for NAFCU's award-winning advocacy and its credit union members?
A: No matter the outcome, rest assured that NAFCU maintains relationships and works well with both parties. Split-party control of Congress and the Executive Branch is a formula for gridlock in the next Congress, which means it may be hard to pass major legislation in the next two years, especially once the 2020 Presidential campaign gets started in earnest in late 2019.

While some of our advocacy focus may change – for example, regulatory relief efforts may become more targeted and specific – NAFCU will still work to ensure a legislative environment that will allow credit unions to grow and thrive, and achieve results within our basic tenets of a healthy and appropriate regulatory environment, which include:

  • a regulatory environment that allows credit unions to grow;
  • appropriate, tailored regulation for credit unions and relief from growing regulatory burdens;
  • a fair playing field;
  • transparent and independent oversight; and
  • a strong, independent NCUA as the primary regulator for credit unions.