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by Nathan Riedel, Big “I” VP, Political Affairs
There is no question that Tuesday was a historic election for our country. Republicans gained more seats in the House than any election since 1948, and closed the gap significantly in the Senate. Mid-term elections are generally a referendum on the president, and are often influenced by the state of the economy. This election was no different as exit polls showed a 54% disapproval rating of President Obama, and 62% ranked the economy as the single most important issue facing the country (health care was second with 18%).
As of this writing, the Republican Party has gained a net 60 seats in the House, reclaiming the majority that it lost in 2006. Eleven races are still too close to call, but all are held by Democrat incumbents so the Republican margin of victory will only grow in the days ahead. In the Senate, Republicans have gained six seats, significantly narrowing the Democratic majority. Two Senate races are still outstanding, but will not change Democrat control of the chamber.
While the election was historic for the nation, it was also historic for InsurPac. Your federal political action committee supported more House and Senate campaigns than ever before, and distributed a record amount of money along the way. InsurPac distributed $1,722,750 to a total of 265 federal campaigns, winning at least 247 of them for an amazing 93% victory rate. In disbursing this money, InsurPac did not look at party affiliation; as always, it gave money to representatives, senators and candidates for federal office that have been friends and advocates of the independent agency system. At the urging of agent leaders, the Big “I” and InsurPac went on the offensive in a handful of races to knock off incumbents that have been antagonistic to our industry. InsurPac went “all-in” against three Members of the House who co-sponsored legislation creating a federal regulator (called Optional Federal Charter) for the insurance industry. Two of these members lost by wide margins, and the race of another sponsor is too close to call at this point. Additionally, InsurPac went all-in against two Members of the House who introduced legislation to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act and both incumbents lost soundly. Overall, InsurPac challenged 14 incumbent House Members with the maximum amount of money allowed; 12 of those incumbents lost with one race still too close to call.
Not only was InsurPac’s financial support in these races critical, but equally important were the grassroots efforts demonstrated by independent agents. Numerous individuals volunteered their time, organized fundraisers, attended campaign events and, most importantly, cast their ballots. The Big “I” has always prided itself on representing individuals who understand and appreciate their civic duties and responsibilities, and this year was no different.
As with every election, independent agents suffered some congressional losses. While disappointing, they are an equally important reminder that our friends in Congress cannot be taken for granted. They must have the necessary financial resources to win re-election each cycle. For that reason, it is critically important to have a strong PAC with which to support and defend our allies.
Click here to learn more about how you can support InsurPac.