How midterm elections touched automotive politics


In Missouri, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill lost her bid for a third term. McCaskill in 2014 grilled GM CEO Mary Barra and other company executives during the automaker’s ignition-switch crisis.

For the first time since 2010, Democrats will control the U.S. House of Representatives after Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Republicans retained their majority in the Senate.

Democratic control of the House would leave President Donald Trump without congressional support to move his agenda forward, including another round of tax cuts, funding for his border wall and attempts to undo Obamacare. Democrats have pledged to check the president’s power and investigate his tax returns, Russian interference in the 2016 election and actions by his administration.

A number of the elections have implications for the auto industry.

  • In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — the ranking member of the Commerce Committee and a frequent critic of NHTSA over the pace of the Takata airbag recalls — fell narrowly behind Rick Scott, the state’s outgoing governor. NBC News reported Wednesday morning that the race was too close to call and could head to a mandatory recount.
  • In Missouri, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill lost her bid for a third term to state Attorney General Josh Hawley. McCaskill in 2014 grilled General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra and other company executives during the automaker’s ignition-switch crisis.
  • In Nevada, home of Tesla’s Gigafactory battery plant, Republican Sen. Dean Heller lost his seat to Rep. Jacky Rosen. Heller recently proposed legislation that would lift the current cap on electric vehicles eligible for tax credits.
  • In Ohio, Richard Cordray, the controversial former head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under former President Barack Obama, fell short in his bid to become governor.
  • In Michigan, Haley Stevens, who was chief of staff on Obama’s auto task force, won an open seat in the House.
  • In Pennsylvania, former Ford Motor Credit and Jaguar executive Bibiana Boerio, running as a Democrat, fell short by a wide margin in her House bid.

Meanwhile, congressmen with auto dealership backgrounds won their races.

  • Florida: Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan
  • Virginia: Democratic Rep. Don Beyer
  • Pennsylvania: Republican Rep. Mike Kelly
  • Texas: Republican Rep. Roger Williams

However, Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci, a former dealer, lost his Senate bid to Democrat Sherrod Brown.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.


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