The Real Story of the U.S. Chamber’s 2012 Political Efforts

Dec 7, 2012

A polling station in Manhattan on Election Day, 2012. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg.

A number of recent stories have come out about the U.S. Chamber’s 2012 political record, citing biased and inaccurate data and a very limited view of the program. The full story requires a more thorough look.

The goal of the U.S. Chamber’s political program is to support candidates who will advance policies that promote free enterprise in Congress. During the 2012 cycle, we launched our voter education and grassroots campaign a full year out—in November of 2011—in support of incumbents with strong business records. In total, the Chamber endorsed 304 candidates and 80% were elected. We invested in the most competitive races across the country in order to educate voters on economic and business issues, launching multiple rounds of advertisements.

We also worked closely with our state and local chamber and small business members nationwide to hold more than 40 endorsement events, and made millions of contacts with pro-enterprise voters across the country.

One of the principal objectives of 2012 was to protect the 2010 gains made in the House, and we achieved that goal. Of the 40 House races we invested in, 17 candidates were elected, successfully retaining a pro-business majority in the lower chamber.  In the Senate, the results were disappointing.

In the days and months ahead, we’ll continue to advocate for policies that will allow our members to grow and create jobs. And we’ll continue to hold candidates accountable for their votes during the 2014 elections, including playing an aggressive role in primaries.

2012 was a status-quo election where the balance of power stayed the same. However, the defining narrative of the 2012 cycle was the unprecedented support we received from the U.S. Chamber’s membership nationwide, reflecting what’s at stake for the business community in the years ahead.  With their votes, Americans tasked both parties with the responsibility to fix our economy, create jobs, and control the debt. We have important work to do and we look forward to working with the 113th Congress and the administration to help address these critical national priorities.

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