Winning the Race

At the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, a moment is taken to celebrate wins in the midterm election and beyond.

November 7, 2014

The official welcoming ceremony of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Thursday became more of an after-party celebrating a huge victory for the real estate industry: winning the election.

Though not represented on ballots by name, the REALTOR® Party swept Tuesday’s midterm election, helping 430 REALTOR®-backed candidates—both Democrat and Republican—in 465 federal races around the country claim seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown congratulated members at the NAR 360 program at Morial Convention Center, saying the strong showing in the election will keep real estate issues at the forefront of national consciousness.

“One of the reasons the REALTOR® Party is so successful is because we are involved in every race that will impact the real estate industry,” said Iona Harrison, REALTOR® Party Disbursements Liaison.

Harrison broke down further REALTOR® victories in Tuesday’s election.

  • In addition to supporting candidates with direct contributions, the REALTOR® Party sent mail and online communications to members in more than 100 districts. REALTOR®-backed candidates won in 88 percent of races in those districts, which are considered more competitive than the average Congressional race.
  • The REALTOR® Party conducted independent expenditure campaigns for 12 of the most highly competitive races in the country, producing TV spots and online ads. The races were for four Senate seats, six House seats, and three primaries earlier in the year. The campaigns helped win 11 of the 12 races, with the twelfth still undetermined.
  • REALTORS® supported 383 candidates at state and local levels this year, up from 252 last year. The REALTOR® Party win rate in state and local races this year was 76 percent.
  • More than 100 of the state and local candidates REALTORS® backed are REALTORS® themselves.
  • The REALTOR® Party was involved in 51 issue campaigns this year, including fighting sign ordinances, saving write-offs for the mortgage interest deduction, and battling property tax hikes. The most successful campaigns resulted in defeating a hefty real estate tax on multifamily flippers in San Francisco and getting transfer taxes banned in a sixth state: North Dakota. (The REALTOR® Party has previously helped to get transfer taxes banned in Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon.)

“Thank you for the advocacy work you do at all levels,” Harrison said.

News Corp: We’re With You

Coming off Tuesday’s election wins, REALTORS® are also hoping to emerge on top in another race: lifting realtor.com® to the No. 1 spot among real estate portals.

News Corp’s recent acquisition of Move, Inc. is expected to turbocharge realtor.com®’s visibility in the online real estate space. At NAR 360, special guest Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, greeted REALTORS® via satellite from the New York newsroom of The Wall Street Journal—one of the media empire’s biggest properties—and explained how News Corp’s values align with those of the real estate industry.

“We’re very careful with the relationships we’ve built with readers,” Thomson said. “It’s like REALTORS® and their customers. At the heart of both relationships is trust.”

He said that the importance of REALTORS®’ contributions to the role real estate plays in American society is profound, and News Corp plans to throw its resources at the REALTOR® brand. The company will use its media network—its websites get half a billion views a year—to promote realtor.com® and bring more visibility to REALTORS®.

“It’s clear to us that REALTORS® are at the heart of property, and you can’t look at property without partnering with REALTORS®,” Thomson said. “It struck us as slightly absurd that realtor.com® is the No. 3 brand [in online real estate sites] when REALTORS® are No. 1 in property. There is a profound social value to REALTORS®, and we’re proud to be part of that social value that you create in every town, every city around the country.”

To bolster realtor.com®’s standing, Thomson said News Corp’s objective is to make the real estate site “more functional and user-friendly.” He also said that the company would create content to inform REALTORS® of the types of conversations Americans are having around real estate.

“We build brands, but this partnership is also about relationships and trust,” he added. “The relationship between NAR and News Corp will be one of trust.”

Graham Wood
Senior editor

Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@realtors.org.

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