WASHINGTON -- Elections swing back and forth, but the race for campaign cash from the auto industry is typically no contest.
Republican nominees for president have raked in seven-figure sums from auto industry donors in each election cycle since 2000, outraising their Democratic rivals several times over. Even after the government-led bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler, President Obama was outraised 7-to-1 by Mitt Romney in 2012.
This year is different.
Donald Trump is on pace to amass the smallest pot of auto industry cash of any GOP presidential candidate in 20 years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. And Hillary Clinton has raised about 40 percent more than Trump so far. If the trend holds, it would be the first time since at least 1992 that a Democratic nominee has outraised the Republican, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Beyond that, though, cash flows have followed historical patterns. Dealership employees and executives gave far more than their counterparts at carmakers, and Republicans on Capitol Hill attracted more support than Democrats.