Elections have consequences and perhaps none have been as consequential as Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District race between incumbent Congressman Don Bacon and challenger Kara Eastman. In a coordinated effort between CUNA, the Nebraska Credit Union League and eight (8) credit unions, more than 70,000 credit union members in NE CD-2 received positive messages supporting the re-election of Congressman Don Bacon. Unofficial election day results have Congressman Bacon winning re-election by 15,131 votes. The direct communication with credit union members is the first of its kind for Nebraska credit unions but it is not new to credit unions across the country. Scott Sullivan, President/CEO of the Nebraska Credit Union League said, “The credit really goes to the eight credit unions that stepped up to make this possible and who took a chance on communicating with their members on this important election.”
CUNA began utilizing this political tool to advance credit union interests in 2002 by partnering with Leagues and credit unions to talk directly with credit union members on issues and candidates running for Congress. The League’s chief advocacy director Brandon Luetkenhaus said, “CD-2 peaked our collective interests because Congressman Bacon has been a strong supporter of our issues and District 2 is one of about 50 in the country that are competitive each year due to the close split of Democrats and Republicans in the district. It’s a purple district and we knew that credit unions could make the difference especially considering this is a rematch of 2016 when Congressman Bacon won re-election by less than 5,000 votes.”
The effort ran from September 21st until election day and consisted of direct mail to credit union households as well as digital ads and banners. The messaging on the direct mail and digital ads was positive in nature showcasing Congressman Bacon as a bi-partisan champion for Nebraska and Nebraska’s credit unions. Themes of the ads included his support for veterans, small businesses, seniors, Nebraska families, and credit union members. The effort employed digital ads (both display and video) online and on various platforms such as Facebook as well as six (6) separately themed direct mail pieces sent to 42,000 credit union households. Online also included ads on sites/apps Roku, POLITICO, FoxNews, Omaha.com, The Hill, and Washington Post.
- Direct Mail: Six (6) separate themed mail pieces targeting 42,000 credit union members in NE-2.
- Videos: We featured three subjects including Bob & Sue Foehlinger of Stepperettes Studios, Rich Hagedorn a Veteran, and Gail DeBoer credit union CEO and member.
- Online Ads/Banners: Reached 44,000 credit union members with 28 ads per person and Facebook reached 27,000 with 19 ads per person…combined 71,000 reached.
“Credit unions are not the only ones talking to their members about these important issues and in fact we are just one of the most recent groups to do so. Many other trade groups have done this type of activity for many decades including the teachers, realtors, union workers, and law enforcement organizations to name a few”, said Luetkenhaus.
The participating credit unions included Centris FCU, Cobalt CU, Family Focus FCU, First Nebraska CU, Four Points FCU, Liberty First CU, OPPD Employees FCU, and University of Nebraska FCU.