The National Association of Realtors, the largest trade group in the nation, backed a lot of winners in the latest national election and its political action committee outspent all other PACs.

The association reported that it spent a record $13 million in the 2003-04 election cycle, and its PAC raised $7 million and distributed $4.2 million in direct contributions to federal candidates. The $13 million included dues-funded political advocacy activities for some candidates.

The Realtors PAC supported 439 candidates for the U.S. House and Senate in the election cycle, and 424 candidates won their races.

“RPAC’s record of success this year demonstrates that Realtors are among the most politically active and engaged citizens in the country,” said Al Mansell, association president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Salt Lake City.

“Realtors are proud to have successfully supported several high-profile candidates for Congress who support private property rights and helped expand the Republican majority. We look forward to working with the president and the 109th Congress on a variety of real estate and homeownership issues next year,” he said.

More than 400,000 Realtors contributed to RPAC this year, or about 40 percent of NAR’s 1 million members. Overall, 396 of the 407 RPAC-supported candidates in House races won their seats. On the Senate side, 28 of the 32 NAR-supported candidates were elected.

In addition to PAC receipts, Realtors raised $2.5 million in corporate contributions that funded NAR’s Opportunity Race Program. RPAC used direct mail pieces and professional phone banks to reach more than 100,000 Realtors living in the nation’s most competitive districts to inform them of the RPAC-supported candidate in 24 House and Senate races. Twenty-one of these candidates won election.

In addition, RPAC spent nearly $2 million in hard-dollar independent expenditures utilizing direct mail and advertisements to support four successful general election candidates: Reps. Anne Northup, R-Ky., and Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., and Senate candidates Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

Concern that big banking conglomerates might be allowed to enter the real estate business was one of the major issues that sparked the record RPAC success this cycle, Mansell said. He also credited the tremendous work of Dick Gaylord, 2004 RPAC fundraising chairman, and Bill Brown, 2004 RPAC chairman.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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