Naughty or nice: Club For Growth releases 2010 vote scorecard

Jonathan Strong Jonathan Strong, 27, is a reporter for the Daily Caller covering Congress. Previously, he was a reporter for Inside EPA where he wrote about environmental regulation in great detail, and before that a staffer for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA). Strong graduated from Wheaton College (IL) with a degree in political science in 2006. He is a huge fan of and season ticket holder to the Washington Capitals hockey team. Strong and his wife reside in Arlington.
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Club For Growth, a pro-free market group with a history of targeting Republicans who stray too far to the left, released its 2010 voting scorecard Thursday, highlighting how lawmakers voted on a series of key measures over the last year.

The scorecard is good news for stalwarts like Sen. Jim Demint, South Carolina Republican, one of two Senators to vote “pro-growth” 100 percent of the time, according to the group (GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was the other).

And while there’s plenty of liberals from states like California, Massachussets and New York who scored a lowly 0 percent – and don’t care – the report could sting for some moderate Republicans in solid red districts or conservative Democrats trying to show their independence from President Obama and their party.

For instance, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who faces reelection in 2012, scored a 49 percent, the lowest of the low for Senate Republicans.

Snowe voted for the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, against reinstating vouchers in D.C. schools, and against permanently repealing the Estate Tax, or “death tax,” among other foibles – from a right wing perspective, at least.

Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, is one lawmaker who might wince at the scorecard. He scored a 61 percent, the fifth worst among House Republicans. His district, near Pittsburgh, is ranked a R+6 by the Cook Political Report; Sen. John McCain beat Obama there 55-45 percent.

The Club for Growth hit Murphy for votes on extending unemployment benefits and a bill regarding trade with China.

One of the most interesting ways to look at how lawmakers voted is comparing their scores in 2010 with how they’ve voted over the course of their careers.

In the House and Senate, six lawmakers swung by over 30 percentage points in the conservative direction in 2010 compared to their lifetime scores by the Club for Growth.

Included in the list is Rep. Dave Reichart, Washington Republican (36 percent swing), Rep. Candice Miller, Michigan Republican (34 percent swing), Rep. Peter King, New York Republican (33 percent swing), Rep. Mary Bono Mack, California Republican (32 percent swing), Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and new chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee (31 percent swing), and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Republican (31 percent swing).

Among Senate Republicans, Sens. Snowe and Orrin Hatch or Utah had the biggest swings in the conservative direction, changing by 23 percent each. Both could face primary challengers. Hatch changed from 74 percent lifetime score to 97 percent in 2010.

Former Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi was the Democrat with the biggest swing to the right (24 percent), but one that ultimately proved fruitless in avoiding defeat at the polls in November.

On the other side, some lawmakers’ scores plummeted in 2010 as they swung to the left.

Former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania took his 32 percent lifetime score all the way to zero, for instance, but he also switched parties.

The Republican with the biggest drop in scores was Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, who dropped 9 points from 84 percent lifetime score to 75 percent in 2010. His chief fault, according to the scorecard, was voting for a protectionist trade bill regarding China.

Representatives with perfect, 100 percent scores in 2010:

  • John Fleming, Louisiana; lifetime score: 96 percent
  • Lynn Jenkins, Kansas; lifetime score: 94 percent
  • Tom McClintock, California; lifetime score: 100 percent
  • Paul Broun, Georgia; lifetime score: 100 percent
  • Michele Bachmann, Minnesota; lifetime score: 94 percent
  • Jim Jordan, Ohio; lifetime score: 99 percent
  • Doug Lamborn, Colorado; lifetime score: 100 percent
  • Robert Latta, Ohio; lifetime score: 96 percent
  • Jason Chaffetz, Utah; lifetime score 99 percent
  • Rodney Alexander, Louisiana; lifetime score: 72 percent
  • John Boehner, Ohio; lifetime score: 83 percent
  • John Campbell, California; lifetime score: 90 percent
  • Eric Cantor, Virginia; lifetime score: 85 percent
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona; lifetime score: 100 percent
  • Scott Garrett, New Jersey; lifetime score: 96 percent
  • Jeb Hensarling, Texas; lifetime score: 100 percent
  • Wally Herger, California; lifetime score: 89 percent
  • Darrell Issa, California; lifetime score: 85 percent
  • Steve King, Iowa; lifetime score: 96 percent
  • John Kline, Minnesota; lifetime score: 84 percent
  • Kenny Merchant, Texas; lifetime score: 85 percent
  • Randy Neugebauer, Texas; lifetime score 93 percent
  • Mike Pence, Indiana; lifetime score: 99 percent
  • Tom Price, Georgia; lifetime score: 96 percent
  • Jean Schmidt, Ohio; lifetime score: 79 percent
  • Lamar Smith, Texas; lifetime score: 74 percent
  • John Sullivan, Oklahoma; lifetime score: 86 percent
  • Todd Tiahrt, Kansas; lifetime score: 77 percent

Senators with perfect, 100 percent scores in 2010:

  • Tom Coburn, Oklahoma; lifetime score: 97 percent
  • Jim DeMint, South Carolina; lifetime score: 100 percent

Top ten worst scores, House Republicans:

  • Joseph Cao, Lousiana: 40 percent; lifetime score: 44 percent
  • Mike Castle, Delaware: 40 percent; lifetime score: 39 percent
  • Walter Jones, North Carolina: 55 percent; lifetime score: 51 percent
  • Charles Dent, Pennsylvania: 59 percent; lifetime score: 51 percent
  • Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania: 61 percent; lifetime score: 47 percent
  • Jim Gerlach, Pennsylvania: 62 percent; lifetime score: 43 percent
  • Zach Wamp, Tennessee: 64 percent; lifetime score: 71 percent
  • Frank LoBiondo, New Jersey: 64 percent; lifetime score: 41 percent
  • Don Young, Alaska: 65 percent; lifetime score: 56 percent
  • Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida: 66 percent; lifetime score: 57 percent

Top ten worst scores, Senate Republicans:

  • Olympia Snowe, Maine: 49 percent; lifetime score: 26 percent
  • Susan Collins, Maine: 51 percent; lifetime score: 35 percent
  • Scott Brown, Massachusetts: 62 percent; lifetime score: 54 percent
  • George Voinovich, Ohio: 63 percent; lifetime score 54 percent
  • Richard Lugar, Indiana: 70 percent; lifetime score: 63 percent
  • Lisa Murkowski, Alaska: 72 percent; lifetime score: 64 percent
  • Charles Grassley, Iowa: 76 percent; lifetime score: 76 percent
  • Judd Gregg, New Hampshire: 77 percent; lifetime score: 82 percent
  • Lamar Alexander, Tennessee: 78 percent; lifetime score: 69 percent
  • Thad Cochran, Mississippi: 81 percent; lifetime score: 72 percent

Top ten scores by Democrats, House or Senate:

  • Rep. Bobby Bright, Alabama: 65 percent; lifetime score: 64 percent
  • Rep. Daniel Boren, Oklahoma: 60 percent; lifetime score: 38 percent
  • Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi: 57 percent; lifetime score: 33 percent
  • Rep. Walt Minnick, Idaho: 56 percent; lifetime score, 54 percent
  • Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska: 50 percent; lifetime score: 32 percent
  • Rep. Mike McIntyre, North Carolina: 50 percent; lifetime score: 28 percent
  • Rep. Collin Peterson, Minnesota: 44 percent; lifetime score: 27 percent
  • Rep. Marrion Berry, Arkansas: 44 percent; lifetime score: 21 percent
  • Rep. Travis Childers, Mississippi: 43 percent; lifetime score: 40 percent
  • Rep. Lincoln Davis, Tennessee: 40 percent; lifetime score: 28 percent

Ed. note: this article has been corrected regarding votes taken by Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.