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Lenders See Influence Expand as Favored Candidates Win Key Races

Candidates supported by the mortgage industry by and large performed well on Election Day, with the notable exception of Hillary Clinton, leaving the door open for meaningful housing finance reform.

"Frankly, the outcome of the election, surprising as it is, tees off an exciting time where we think we can get a lot of stuff done for the housing sector," said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders.

The NAHB endorsed a slate of congressional candidates for the first time in its nearly 75-year history, a reflection of the housing industry's frustration with the lack of movement on real estate finance reform during the Obama administration. Of the nearly 140 candidates the trade organization endorsed, only seven have lost their races as of Wednesday morning, with votes still being counted in another six races.

"We're thrilled with the results of the candidates we endorsed, and we'll definitely be doing it again in two years," Howard said, adding the organization plans to stick to just congressional endorsements for the time being.

Of the 10 Senate candidates who received the most campaign support from mortgage industry employees and affiliated political action committees, all but two won. All of the top 10 House of Representatives candidates with the most mortgage industry backing won their respective races.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who was running for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., lost to his Democratic challenger, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. Meanwhile, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., lost to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. — both of whom were among the mortgage industry's most-backed candidates.

Of course, Hillary Clinton, who received the largest amount of mortgage industry contributions, lost in the presidential race. As of Oct. 28, Clinton amassed nearly $360,000 in industry contributions during the 2016 election cycle, compared to nearly $62,000 raised by President-elect Donald Trump, according to a National Mortgage News analysis of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that tracks political donations on its website, OpenSecrets.org.

Among mortgage industry donors, Clinton outraised Trump nearly six-to-one, compared to the two-to-one advantage she held among all donors. Clinton's loss — and Trump's victory — marks the second consecutive election where the candidate who received the most mortgage industry support did not win the presidency. The mortgage industry had backed the winning candidate in each of the five previous presidential campaigns, dating back to 1992.

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