DeMint, Paul, and Lee earn perfect Club for Growth scores

W. James Antle III Managing Editor
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Three Republican politicians received perfect scores Tuesday in the 2012 Club for Growth congressional scorecard: former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

Marco Rubio of Florida, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin were three additional GOP senators to receive the anti-tax group’s “Defender of Economic Freedom” award, meaning they scored better than 90 percent for both the year and over the course of their careers.

Toomey is a former Club president, and DeMint is now president-elect of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Positive scores are based on voting to cut marginal tax rates, lower and limit federal spending, reform entitlements and expand free trade. The Club for Growth often supports primary challenges for Republican officeholders it deems insufficiently conservative on fiscal policy.

Two Republican House members who were elevated to the Senate in 2012, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tim Scott of South Carolina, also earned the Defender of Economic Freedom award. In total, 18 House Republicans qualified.

That number did not include any members of the House Republican leadership team, however. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California both scored 66 percent. House GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington earned 70 percent, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin 71 percent.

The highest-scoring member of leadership was Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford, the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. He supported the Club 80 percent of the time on key votes. House Speaker John Boehner rarely votes unless it is necessary to break a tie, though he did vote for the fiscal cliff deal near the end of the 112nd Congress.

The two House Republicans with perfect 100 percent annual and lifetime ratings, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash and Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, were kicked off the House Budget Committee at the start of the new Congress.

The highest-scoring Democrat was Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, who faced a strong challenge from Republican Mia Love last November. Matheson outscored 98 House Republicans by supporting the Club for Growth on 68 percent of key votes.

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