The midterm election in November 2006 saw Democrats gain six seats in the U.S. Senate and at least 30 in the House of Representatives. Two independent members of the Senate, Bernard Sanders from Vermont and Joe Lieberman from Connecticut, caucus with Democrats, giving them a 51-49 majority. And with several House races still undergoing recounts, it appears Democrats now have a 232-seat majority to the Republicans' 203.
ROOFPAC is NRCA's federally registered political action committee (PAC), and, similar to other construction association PACs, has leaned toward supporting Republicans since its inception in 1990. This has been driven by NRCA's issue orientation coupled with ROOFPAC's candidate criteria. NRCA leaders review the following criteria before contributing funds to Senate or House candidates: voting record, electability, campaign team, positions on NRCA issues and leadership potential.
With Democrats taking control of Congress, one might expect ROOFPAC fared poorly for the two-year election cycle. In fact, 73 percent of ROOFPAC-supported candidates for 2006 won, receiving 58 percent of funds dispersed to those candidates. Percentages are based on a total of 80 candidates who received $157,500. You can see the list of ROOFPAC winners in "What lies ahead?" page 24.
ROOFPAC's list of 80 candidates for 2006 was bipartisan, with contributions made to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), among others; however, most of the 80 candidates were Republican. Candidate selection was quite difficult because of the turbulent political atmosphere and immigration issue, which confounded typical giving patterns. This resulted in a strategic decision not to spend all the funds ROOFPAC raised for the cycle.