WASHINGTON -Don Sherwood won a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives in last week's election and retained his membership in an exclusive club: active car dealers in Congress.
Returns from across the country indicate that Sherwood, R-Pa., again will be the only club member. Two other dealers, newcomers to congressional politics, were defeated.
Republican Andy Ewing lost a bid for an open seat in the 2nd Congressional District of Oklahoma, and Democrat Mike Stedem was unsuccessful in his campaign in the 12th District of Florida.
'I'm afraid I'm going to be a caucus of one,' Sherwood said in a telephone interview Wednesday, Nov. 8, the day after voters in northeastern Pennsylvania gave him a comfortable 53-to-47 percent win over lawyer Pat Casey.
'I'm just thrilled to have the support of the dealer body,' Sherwood said. He received campaign contributions from fellow dealers throughout the United States, he said.
Sherwood, 59, of Tunkhannock, Pa., said he will focus in his second term on the issues that matter most to his constituents, such as improving health care and providing prescription drug benefits to senior citizens.
But he said he also will work on top issues for dealers, such as banning mandatory binding arbitration clauses from franchise agreements and repealing the estate tax.
Stedem, 50, of Lakeland, Fla., said he too got support from other dealers but was disappointed in the backing from automotive political action committees.
He said the Dealers Election Action Committee sent $500, well short of the $10,000 maximum, and he got nothing from the Ford Motor Co. political action committee.
He is a second-generation Ford dealer, and owns Stedem Ford Inc. of Fort Meade, Fla. He was defeated by Adam Putnam, a 26-year-old Republican state legislator.
'On paper, I shouldn't have lost,' Stedem said. But he added, 'I'm much too blunt.' He said he doesn't plan to run again.
Ewing, 62, of Muskogee, Okla., said he'll stay active in politics but only behind the scenes. 'I won't run for another public office,' he said in a morning-after interview.
He blamed negative advertising, much of it funded by outside groups, for confusing voters.
His opponent and the winner, Democrat Brad Carson, ran ads that warned people not to trust 'a millionaire car salesman' who 'has trouble with the truth.'
Ewing is majority owner of Andy Ewing Oldsmobile-GMC Trucks Inc. of Wagoner, Okla.
Sherwood owns Sherwood Chevrolet-Pontiac and Western Star Inc. of Tunkhannock, and is a partner in Sun Auto Group, which has seven franchises in two northeastern Pennsylvania locations.
He said he will keep delivering the message in Washington that 'we, as small-business people, provide employment and create wealth.'