Trucking campaign spending for 2018 elections heavily favors Republicans

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Updated Nov 7, 2018

For the fourteenth election cycle in a row, trucking industry campaign contributions favor Republicans over Democrats, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That dates back 26 years, to the 1992 midterms, and includes presidential elections and midterm years.

For the upcoming midterm elections, campaign donations to Republican candidates from trucking-associated contributors totals $3.16 million, compared to $644,886 in donations to Democrats.

Though the most pivotal months of the election season still remain, trucking-backed political spending is at its lowest point since the 2010 midterms. The $4.03 million total spent so far lags behind 2016’s $8.26 million, 2014’s $7.97 million and 2012’s $10.65 million.

However, the spending split between Republicans and Democrats is in line with recent elections. So far, 83 percent of trucking contributions have gone to Republicans, compared to 2016’s 80 percent, 2014’s 82 percent and 2012’s 88 percent.

Top recipients from trucking campaign spending include Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Penn.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

Denham, who has received $82,500 from trucking contributors, has been a chief proponent of legislative action meant to block states from enacting and enforcing laws that require carriers to provide drivers with paid rest breaks. Mostly isolated to California, the issue has caused carriers to be hit with major payouts to drivers. The move is heavily supported by the American Trucking Associations and the Western States Trucking Association, among others.

Graves has received $57,900 from the trucking industry. He’s a top pick to replace Rep. Bill Shuster, who’s not seeking reelection, as head of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Barletta, who’s received $44,100, is also a ranking member on the House’s transportation committee. He’s also been a proponent of reforming the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

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The American Trucking Associations has spent the most among trucking industry campaign contributors, donating $566,083 this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. ATA has donated $369,550 to Republican candidates and $195,533 to Democrats.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has spent $126,000 on the 2018 elections, with $93,000 going to Republicans and $33,000 going to Democrats. Of note, according to data from the Federal Election Commission, OOIDA has contributed $10,000 to the campaign of Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), who has introduced bills aiming to repeal or delay the electronic logging device mandate.

Freight forwarder and carrier CenTra Inc. has spent $318,980, with almost all of it ($310,710) going to Republican candidates. Prime Inc., third among trucking donors, has spent $236,812, favoring Republican candidates and conservative groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The National Tank Truck Carriers trade association has contributed $145,500, heavily tilted toward Republicans.

Paccar, maker of Peterbilt and Kenworth, has donated $121,711 to campaigns, all of it to Republican candidates.

Werner ($93,941), Old Dominion Freight Lines ($114,579), Crete ($87,738), Knight-Swift ($81,175), Schneider ($77,125), Navistar-International ($69,325) are all ranked among top contributors within trucking.