Of the 99 Congressional Boating Caucus members that ran for re-election this week, 89 were successful and 12 of what some industry members call their closest allies in Congress retired.
“We already knew that 12 of our closest allies and advocates in the Congressional Boating Caucus announced their retirements earlier this year and were not on the ballot [Tuesday],” the National Marine Manufacturers Association said in a post.
Those members included honorary chairman Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., as well as Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, has not conceded to Republican challenger Dan Sullivan, but appears likely to lose that race.
“The race has yet to be called, but it is unlikely Begich, a strong ally of the industry, will come out victorious,” the NMMA brief said.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner appeared to be victorious over Republican Ed Gillespie, but news outlets still hadn’t declared him the winner last night.
“We will work with the newly elected officials to ensure that they, too, become committed to the recreational boating industry,” the post said. “The election outcome is a prime opportunity for NMMA and our partners to build new, strong relationships with many members of Congress and educate them on the importance of recreational boating to their community and their constituents.”
Government relations staff members plan to reach out to new members as soon as possible, “setting up face-to-face meetings to introduce them to our $37 billion industry,” the post said. “A ‘Welcome to Washington’ letter and packet of information is already being prepared for when they are sworn in in January.”
BoatPAC helped 48 of the 54 supported candidates get re-elected. Four other races were too close to call.
When the 114th Congress is sworn in, the NMMA will refocus its efforts on legislative reform or repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard to address E15.
It will also focus on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to get the bill governing coastal fishing to specifically include recreational fishing. Begich had spearheaded efforts to reauthorize the law.