November 2, 2004

Chamber Highlights Successful Pro-Business Election Effort

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce devoted manpower and money in key U.S. House and Senate races in a successful effort to elect pro-business candidates – putting 215 people on the ground in 31 states, sending 3.7 million pieces of mail, placing 5.6 million phone calls, and sending more than 30 million emails.

“The victors in this election are the American people, because the significant increase in the number of people who went to the polls – 15 million more voters – affirms the strength of our democratic process,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue. “The success of pro-business candidates is encouraging news for expanding economic growth, improving global competitiveness, and creating jobs.”

Early returns indicate that 249 of the 269 Chamber-endorsed candidates for office were elected yesterday, with six races still undecided. The Chamber devoted significant additional efforts in nine close Senate races and 28 House races – working with its member affiliates to hold fundraisers, educate voters, and organize get-out-the-vote efforts. The early returns predict wins in 19 of the House races and 7 of the Senate races, including a significant pick up in South Dakota with the election of John Thune.

The Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) worked closely with local chambers and other supporters of civil justice reform to educate the public on the importance of having state judges and attorneys general who enforce the rule of law with integrity and impartiality. “The election of attorneys general and state Supreme Court justices who are committed to a reasonable and balanced liability system will help make our legal system fairer for everyone,” said Lisa Rickard, ILR president.

Pro-legal reform candidates were elected in 15 out of 16 key races. In the most closely watched judicial contest in the country, Judge Lloyd Karmeier, a pro-legal reform candidate, was elected to the Illinois State Supreme Court in the state’s fifth district that encompasses Madison County, notorious for its abusive legal system. In addition, pro-legal reform candidates also prevailed in West Virginia, Mississippi, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Texas, Alabama and Indiana.

While the U.S. Chamber maintained its policy of not issuing endorsements in presidential elections, it ran a voter education program in key presidential battleground states, stressing legal reform issues with its federation members. The Chamber also supported The November Fund, a 527 group that raised public awareness in Iowa, West Virginia, Ohio, and New Mexico about the dangers of the growing political influence of the trial bar.

The Chamber and ILR welcomed the voting results on four legal reform initiatives on state ballots in California, Colorado and Nevada. These state election results will promote a simpler, fairer and faster legal system.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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