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Success Out of the Gate
NAR chalks up wins in Congress and with new advocacy initiative.
President Barack Obama wasn’t the only big winner
at the polls in November. Realtors® also came out
on top thanks to widespread victories by congressional candidates backed by the Realtors® Political
Action Committee. It was also an impressive first-year performance by the Realtor® Party Initiative,
the program NAR launched to put major advocacy
and community outreach resources into the hands of
state and local associations of Realtors®.
RPAC, one of the most bipartisan PACs in the
country, invested $15.5 million in the 2011–2012
election cycle, contributing to 457 House and
Senate races and winning 427 of them for a
94 percent win record. The investments
were split 54 percent for Republicans and
46 percent for Democrats.
The largest share of the money—about
$7 million, or an average of $775,000 per
race—went to nine congressional candidates whom RPAC trustees targeted for
support through the PAC’s independent expenditure program. Eight of those candidates
won, including Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.). He
was author of NAR-backed legislation that would
help restore private lending for residential sales and
reform the secondary mortgage market in a way that
would ensure safe, affordable mortgages in good
markets and bad. Secondary mortgage market reform is expected to be on Congress’ agenda the next
session, so Miller’s victory is an important one for
Realtors®, NAR analysts say.
Carried the Day—Mostly
The independent expenditure program supports
candidates for Congress that Realtors® designate
as “Realtor® champions.” To meet federal election
rules, such support must be given without coordinating with the candidates’ campaigns. In these races,
Realtors® appeal to the general public with TV,
radio, and other ads, phone calls, and direct mail.
In another key California race, Democrat Brad
Sherman retained his seat. Sherman shares NAR’s
concerns over banking regulators’ proposed qualified
mortgage and qualified residential mortgage rules.
The rules would implement consumer protections
enacted in 2010. The concern: The rules could be
written so narrowly they would hinder lenders’ abil-
ity to make loans to applicants other than the most