The National Marine Manufacturers Association BoatPAC paid off in terms of re-electing members of the Congressional Boating Caucus.
“Overall, we think our BoatPAC money was well spent,” NMMA legislative director Jim Currie told Soundings Trade Only in an email. “Almost everyone to whom we gave money was re-elected and we are quite pleased that Rep. Joe Donnelly, co-chair of the Congressional Boating Caucus in the House, is now Senator-elect Joe Donnelly. He should prove to be a great ally and friend in the Senate. We gave him money to help with his election campaign.”
The Boating Caucus went into the 2012 election with 130 members: 21 in the Senate and 109 in the House of Representatives. Coming out of the election, the caucus stands at 111.
Three members left the Senate — two voluntarily — but two members from the House side of the caucus were elected to the Senate, leaving the Senate portion of the caucus with a net loss of one member as the 113th Congress convenes in January.
Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., did not run for re-election and will be replaced by Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is not a caucus member. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine., also left the Senate voluntarily and will be replaced by former Gov. Angus King. NMMA staff will be reaching out to both of the new senators.
“We will be looking to grow the Congressional Boating Caucus and to reaching out to new members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — and educating them about recreational boating,” Currie told Trade Only. “One of the great things about recreational boating is that it is not a partisan activity. People across the political spectrum enjoy it, and every politician likes businesses that create jobs, which recreational boating does, in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Eighty new members will be entering the House of Representatives in January — 42 Democrats and 35 Republicans, with several races yet to be decided. NMMA staff will be asking NMMA members to contact the new lawmakers and ask them to join the caucus.
Seventeen caucus members stepped down voluntarily from the House of Representatives, were defeated in a primary or were defeated in the November election. The election for the 7th Congressional District of North Carolina remains subject to a recount, with Democratic incumbent Boating Caucus member Mike McIntyre leading his Republican opponent by 378 votes with all precincts reporting.
In Nevada, Democratic Boating Caucus member Rep. Shelley Berkeley lost her Senate race by 2,815 votes out of 808,000 votes cast. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., ran for the Senate against Democratic Boating Caucus member Sen. Bill Nelson and lost by a 55 percent to 42 percent margin.
Boating Caucus members who will not be returning to the House of Representatives for the 113th Congress are Sandy Adams, R-Fla., Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., Jerry Costello, D-Ill., Geoff Davis, R-Ky., Norman Dicks, D-Wash., Elton Gallegly, R-Fla., Jay Inslee, D-Wash., Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, Connie Mack, R-Fla.,, Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., Sue Myrick, R-N.C., Ron Paul, R-Texas, Michael Pence, R-Ind., Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., John Sullivan, R-Okla., and Allen West, R-Fla. NMMA staff will be reaching out to their successors and asking them to join the Boating Caucus.
Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., co-chairman of the Boating Caucus in the House, won a surprisingly-easy election to the Senate by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin, replacing Sen. Richard Lugar, a Boating Caucus member who lost in the primary. Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., joined the Boating Caucus this year and won election to the Senate by a 51-46 percent margin.
— Reagan Haynes