WASHINGTON -- Auto dealers had a string of legislative victories during the first two years of the Obama administration, and they will have a few more allies in Congress in January.
Three of the four current and former dealers bidding to unseat Democratic incumbents in the House of Representatives swept into office on the national Republican wave.
Their election will increase the number of dealers or former dealers in the House to a record six -- twice as many as in the current Congress, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. All six are Republicans.
Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, James Renacci of Ohio and Scott Rigell of Virginia won their races by at least 10 percentage points.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, all three candidates got at least 52 percent of the vote.
They will join the Republican majority, likely to be led by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, that will take control of the House.
House Republicans held a 239-186 margin, with 10 races undecided, as of late last week.
Democrats will retain control of the Senate.
Dealers had extraordinary success under the Democratic-controlled Congress.
President Obama signed the cash for clunkers legislation to jump-start auto sales and a dealer-arbitration bill that let rejected General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group dealerships seek reinstatement through arbitration.
The president also sought to expand dealer floorplan credit by enacting an increase in federally backed loans for small businesses. And NADA won from Congress an exemption for dealers from oversight by a new consumer finance agency.
The only dealer who lost last week was Tom Ganley of Ohio, also a Republican. Ganley, an NADA board member, lost by 10 percentage points to Democratic incumbent Betty Sutton.
Sutton wrote the cash for clunkers bill and was an early sponsor of the arbitration legislation that allowed some dealers to win back their stores after being terminated by Chrysler and GM.
The three current and former dealers now in the House -- Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.; Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.; and John Campbell, R. Calif. -- won by large margins.