Cash for Clunkers Haunts Car Dealers Turned Candidates

By Stephen Markley  on May 12, 2010

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Running for office has always had some overwrought theatrics, and a small group of car dealers running for U.S. Congress in the 2010 midterm elections has stumbled upon a political landmine that’s created opportunities for grandstanding and double talk.

Four car dealers now running for public office as Republicans are coming under attack by opponents (both Republican primary challengers and Democrats) for opposing “taxpayer bailouts” while benefiting from last year’s $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program.

For instance, Jim Renacci, running in Ohio, sold 39 cars under the CARS program, while another Ohio candidate, Tom Ganley, owns a number of dealerships that sold 876 cars through Cash for Clunkers.

After being hammered by opponents, both candidates have gone with the “I-had-no-choice” defense. Spokesmen for both Ganley and Renacci claim their candidates opposed the Clunkers program and would have voted against it. Pennsylvania candidate Mike Kelly, who previously said that Cash for Clunkers benefited his dealership, now says that it was little more than a “short-term boost.”

Running in Virginia, car dealer and candidate Scott Rigell has been hammered by fellow Republican Ben Loyola for the 138 cars Rigell sold under the Clunkers program. And in an all-too-easy bit of irony, what does Loyola do for a living? He works as a Department of Defense contractor.

Dealers-Turned-Candidates Run into Trouble (USA Today)



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